Sunday 6 October 2019

Ride It Like A Girl Is The Movie You Didn't Think You Needed To See But Must Go Now!

Title: Ride it Like a Girl
Actors: Teresa Palmer, Sam Neil, Sullivan Stapleton, Magda Szubanski, Mick Molly
Release Date: 18th September, 2019


I had never planned to watch this film, nor even heard about it, until the day I went to see it and I am actually really glad I did see it. 

Ride Like A Girl has left an impression on me for two reasons. 

One, it showcases what I would think is one of the most controversial sports/sporting events in Melbourne - the Melbourne Cup. For readers who don’t know, the Melbourne Cup is a well celebrated horse racing event, so much that there’s a public holiday for the day. It’s “the race that stops the nation” as the saying goes. What makes it so controversial is the recent surge of protests from animal rights advocates that are fighting to stop the Melbourne Cup from happening due to a number of falls that have resulted in putting down some horses. Yet, here we have a movie that conveys the excitement of horse racing, the passion jockeys and punters alike have and how glamorous the Melbourne Cup is. It really puzzled me when I left the cinema, as I couldn’t tell how well Ride it Like a Girl would be received.

Two, it takes this controversial event to highlight sexism within the sporting industry and how a female jockey came to win the Melbourne Cup for the first time ever. I absolutely love the story of Michelle Payne and how she leaped over every obstacle she faced to achieve her dreams. Ride Like a Girl portrays the struggles Michelle faces, both at a personal and professional level, and how her determination and perseverance not only meant she was able to win but more importantly that she was recognised as an elite athlete amongst a male-dominant sport. It was plainly obvious how the horse racing industry looked down on women, despite letting them compete. No one would give her a chance, but once she worked hard to get there, she proved everyone wrong. 

The second point was personally why I have eventually decided that I really loved Ride It Like A Girl. Honestly, I had no clue that Michelle Payne was the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup or that she even existed - I guess because I’m not very interested in horse racing to begin with. Yet, I find her story inspiring. So much that I would urge young girls to watch the film. Michelle’s life story is retold in a concise manner, with great Australian actors but my favourite thing about the cast is that they included Michelle Payne’s real brother, Stevie Payne in the film to play himself. I love, love, love Stevie, and how his role not only tugs at your heart but speaks lengths regarding any person who has Down syndrome and what they can achieve if they are given the right opportunity. Furthermore, the film uses real life footage in some parts, which I appreciated because it really made me believe that Ride it Like a Girl is based on a true story. 

Be ready to laugh, cry and feel proud of a piece of Australian history that has unfolded in such a beautiful film.