Young Jesse Owens (Stephan James) becomes a track and field sensation while attending the Ohio State University in the early 1930s. With guidance from coach Larry Snyder (Jason Sudeikis), Owens gains national recognition for breaking numerous records. After heated debates, the United States decides not to boycott the Olympics in Nazi Germany. Overcoming racism at home and abroad, Owens seizes the opportunity to show Berlin and the the world that he's the fastest man alive.
Race features one of the best performances we've seen from James. His portrayal of Jesse Owens is authentic and heartfelt. Particular impressive is the portrayal of the beautiful and unlikely friendship between Stephens' character and his coach, Larry Snyder (Sudeikis) – a bond that would have been unheard of in those racist times which wreaked of racism.
The movie succeeds in giving us an insight into the shocking foundations being laid by Nazi Germany in the run-up to the invasion of Poland. The plot is both educational and rich in history, telling the story of the Nazi regime and showing the stark reality of its hatred of the Jewish community in Germany. The movie is able to be keep a fun and interesting storyline through telling the journey of Owens, who became the fastest man in the world and his struggled with prejudice. The best quote from the film is when Owens is dealing with a dilemma and tells his coach: "For me there is no black and white, there's only fast and slow."
The intimidating German Olympic officials are manipulative and offensive towards anyone who does not believe in their regime, which is shown through the portrayal of Joseph Goebbels (Barnaby Metschurat), the propaganda minister under Adolf Hitler who demanded America's Olympic team take its Jewish competitors out of the competition. But there's no such dilemma for Owens, who's allowed to compete in the games and who eventually walks away with four gold medals. But the reality of the times sinks in towards the end of the film when a black tie event is hosted for Owens and he is told to use the service entrance around the side of the buidling, while his white friends walked through the front.
Race is an effective and emotional movie with nods to Nazi Germany and its terrifying mistreatment of people.