, of This Is Us fame, as Denny Swift (great name for a race car driver), Amanda Seyfried as the love of his life, Eve and Kevin Costner as the voice of Enzo, the Golden Retriever, who himself, is at the center point of the story. Enzo, so named for the founder of the Ferrari auto brand is a philosopher pup who is adopted by Denny from a litter whose humans had posted a roadside sign. Denny took a detour onto their property and left with a lifetime best friend. The canine narrator takes the viewer through a few decades of the life of the family with whom he lives. It is easy to sense his frustration to communicate what he knows since he can’t express himself to his people in words, but rather in gestures and barks.
The story develops as Denny meets and falls in love with Eve who Enzo also struggles with since he was accustomed to having the man all to himself, as he would take him to the track and watch racing shows on screen. Ultimately, Enzo finds himself in love with Eve and their daughter Zoe who he swears to protect. Devastatingly, he can’t shelter them from life events which play out on the screen causing weeping in the theater. You know how people say, “I’m not crying. You’re crying.”? Well, I was unashamedly tearing up throughout.
One of the concepts that consistently came through is that although it might feel that way at times. we are not at the mercy of our circumstances and there are always choices to be made regardless of how painful they may seem. Mindfulness is key, as Enzo definitively states, “The best drivers don’t dwell on the future or the past. The best drivers focus only on the present.”, as well as, “The car goes where the eyes go.”
Another key component is surrendering to that which we can’t control, for which the concept of rain is a metaphor. Since the action took place in Seattle, many scenes contained that element. Denny was known as one of the best drivers on a rainy track and as the story unfolded came to handle the hairpin turns in his own life off the track. “No one knows what curves life will throw at you, but if the driver has the courage to create his own conditions, the rain is simply rain.”
Enzo is also an avid television viewer and in this particularly poignant scene, he describes what he thinks his eventual destiny will be based on a show he watched.
“In Mongolia, when a dog dies, he is buried high in the hills so people cannot walk on his grave. The dog’s master whispers in the dog’s ear his wishes that the dog will return as a man in his next life. Then his tail is cut off and put beneath his head, and a piece of meat of fat is cut off and placed in his mouth to sustain his soul for its journey; before he is reincarnated, the dog’s soul is freed to travel the land, to run across the high desert plains for as long as it would like.
I learned that from a program on the National Geographic Channel, so I believe it is true. Not all dogs return as men, they say; only those who are ready.
I am ready.”