“Jockey” is lifted above it’s hoary sports-movie cliches by a trio of good performances including a radiant Molly Parker

Molly Parker

The last time I saw Canadian actress Molly Parker her midwife (last-minute REPLACEMENT midwife) was being swept-up, Tasmanian devil-like, into the 24-minute-long take at the beginning of “Pieces of a Woman”. As a medical doctor who left clinical medicine to specialize in Pathology and then, more specifically, Hematopathology, I have enormous admiration for my medical colleagues who have to handle one crisis after another as part of their daily routine. During that take, Parker’s midwife goes through a sea of emotions from EVERYTHING IS UNDER CONTROL to CAREFULLY DISGUISED CONCERN to WE’VE GOT TO GET THE BABY OUT NOW to ENORMOUS RELIEF to OMG SOMETHING IS SERIOUSLY WRONG HERE and she gets it just right. For those few minutes she IS the embodiment of a health care professional and in “Jockey” she acts like she has been around horses her entire life. She plays Ruth, the horse trainer friend of Jackson (Clifton Collins Jr.) an aging jockey who is plagued by health problems (the movie opens with his doctor telling him you’ve got to stop now or else..) who wants to win just one last race. Collins Jr. has been rightly praised for his performance. He is an excellent character actor whose face you recognize even though you may not know his name – isn’t that the definition of a great character actor? – and right now you can see him as a carnival barker in “Nightmare Alley”, his typical small disposable role. However, in this movie, all of his best scenes are with Parker. They have a lovely rapport based on their shared love of horses, and when they get a little drunk and let their guard down, there is a suggestion that there might be something deeper or a history of something deeper between them. It was also during these scenes that remembered where I had noticed (I mean REALLY noticed) Collins Jr. before: playing accused murderer Perry Smith to Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Truman Capote in the 2005 movie “Capote”. Their scenes together were crucial in Hoffman’s Oscar win.

Elsewhere the film is more uneven though director Clint Bentley, whose father was a jockey, knows his way around a track and their is a good scene where the other jockeys (mostly real jockeys and some other non-professional actors) get together and talk about their lives and their endless series of injuries. Even a hackneyed subplot in which a newly arrived young jockey in-the-making may or may not be be Jackson’s long lost son gets by thanks to the expert performance of Moises Arias who is a few inches shorter than Collins Jr. and perfect jockey material.

So, even though we know that THAT race will happen, there are many incidental pleasures along the way to make “Jockey” well worth seeing.

NOW SHOWING AT SELECT THEATRES 

Share this post

You may also like…

The Treachery of Awards: Kristin, Gillian and René Magritte

The Treachery of Awards: Kristin, Gillian and René Magritte

When a great actor like Stewart or Anderson gives a great performance like Princess Diana or Lilly Bart, and that work is not recognized, or, at least, not recognized to the degree that it should be, there is a cognitive dissonance of the type you get when you gaze at Rene Magritte’s 1929 surrealistic masterpiece “The Treachery of Images “and its three way paradox of image, words and objects.

read more
ALWAYS GOOD FOR A LAUGH, THE SAG AWARDS ARE EXCEPTIONALLY DREADFUL THIS YEAR.

ALWAYS GOOD FOR A LAUGH, THE SAG AWARDS ARE EXCEPTIONALLY DREADFUL THIS YEAR.

Voted on by hundreds of actors, most of whom are too busy waiting tables to see movies at all, and, if they do, their choice is EXTREMELY limited. Limited mainly to Friday night at the Sherman Oaks Galleria. Anything even remotely off the beaten track will not be seen or even heard of. Hence the hideousness of what is listed below. End of discussion. Movies only.

read more
It is Hat-Trick, as “Drive My Car” wins Best Picture from the National Society of Film Critics (NSFC) following its triumphs in  NYFCC and LAFCA.

It is Hat-Trick, as “Drive My Car” wins Best Picture from the National Society of Film Critics (NSFC) following its triumphs in NYFCC and LAFCA.

With the announcement of the National Society of Film Critics (NSFC) choices, ‘Drive My Car” has now won the Best Picture award from all three major critic groups. This is quite an achievement and with its additional awards for Best Director, .Best Screenplay and Best Actor, it now stands an excellent chance of being Oscar nominated for Best International Film, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay and to become the 11th Foreign Language Film to be nominated in the Best Film category following in the footsteps of…..

read more

Subscribe for the latest reviews right in your inbox!

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *