Centering around eleven-year-old Mary, played by newcomer Niamh McGirr, who lives with her estranged parents on a struggling farm in rural Antrim, THE RACE is an Irish film that's both inspirational and, ultimately, uplifting. With her exasperated mother and proud, stubborn father, played by Colm Meaney, constantly at each other's throats over lack of funds and the future of the farm, life at home is far from ideal.
But Mary has plans big plans. Ever since she can remember, she has dreamed of becoming a racing driver, so when the local, rich big-wig sets up a go-cart race down in the valley, she can't resist the chance to enter. But with opposition from home, general scorn from the community, most especially at school and the fact that she is a girl trying to make it in a boy's world, the road to success is never going to be easy.
But Mary doesn't give in. With perseverance, determination and a little help from her loyal friend, Tom, she sets about building a go-cart and, eventually, her spirit and dedication win over the most unlikely hearts. THE RACE is an inspirational drama in the best tradition of BILLY ELLIOT a film guaranteed to warm the heart.
The film maintains a wonderful balance between young Mary's dream to be a racing car driver and the realism of the difficult financial times in which it is set. Because the story is relatively straightforward the brilliance comes from the performances and the subtle touches throughout the film. The movie is charming and entertaining in equal measure and will be a treat for all, young and old alike!
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