Ride Like A Girl - A Horse With No Mane
Ride Like A Girl
Director: Rachel Griffiths
Cast: Teresa Palmer, Sam Neill, Sullivan Stapleton, Stevie Payne, Genevieve Morris
Running time: 98 mins
Censor: PG, Coarse language
TOBY WOOLLASTON’s Ride Like a Girl review discovers a film about Australia’s first winning female jockey, one that’s a bit sloppy in the saddle.
The Melbourne Cup is one of the more glamorous events on the world’s sporting calendar. A sport of small margins, jockeying specifically, requiring a delicate balance of weight management, knowledge, skill, and perhaps most importantly determination – something Michelle Payne, Melbourne Cup’s first female jockey winner, had in spades.
However, prior to her win in 2015, she couldn’t seem to catch the eye of the male-dominated horseracing fraternity. Considering it’s a job that seemingly suits gender parity (arguably even favouring a female’s slighter frame), it’s a travesty that female jockeys had been cast into the margins for so long.
Saddling up in her first feature as director, Rachel Griffiths tells Michelle’s true story of frustration and success. Since playing the tumultuous Rhonda Epinstalk in Muriel’s Wedding, Griffiths has had an exhaustive number of roles, suggesting directing to be the next logical step, and as I found in my Ride Like A Girl review, the fledgling director has quite understandably held the reins rather tightly.
The music swells at all the right moments, telling you how you should feel, and the dialogue is, well… safe. The result is a movie that hits you with a good dollop of feel-good vibes but occasionally feels a little by-the-numbers.
Palmer As Michelle
Teresa Palmer (Hacksaw Ridge) gives a dedicated performance as Michelle, and our very own granddad of cinema, Sam Neill, chips in with a solid turn as Michelle’s beleaguered father (he had 10 children!) He even gives our 1982 winner, Kiwi, a mention and, yes, Phar Lap. No mention of pavlovas, though.
Despite some deficiencies (loose editing and questionable scripting), this is far from McLeod’s Daughters on horseback, with Griffiths exhibiting a few nice formal flourishes that demonstrate her potential as director.
Ride Like A Girl Review – Summary
My Ride Like A Girl review can tell you that it’s a satisfying crowd-pleaser that does what it says on the tin, and if you bridle your expectations before the cinema lights dim, you’ll be off and racing.