Ford v Ferrari is based on the story of how Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles worked together to help Ford Motor Company beat Ferrari in the Le Mans race of 1966.
It’s supported by two really solid performances from both leads, and the movie does a great job balancing the focus between the two; while we get to know more personally about Christian Bale’s character than the Matt Damon’s, Ford v Ferrari gets you to care a great deal about both.
Equally importantly, the racing scenes that make up a good chunk of the runtime are superbly done. It’s always clear what’s happening onscreen and this makes these scenes so much more enjoyable. The sound design was also super impressive, especially during the scenes of race action and when they’re constructing the cars.
As far as negatives, the buildup to Le Mans felt a bit sluggish at times, but when it picked up, it really picked up. However, considering the runtime, I definitely do feel this could have been tightened up a bit. Also, a lot of the side characters felt cartoonishly archetypical; I understand that it’s based off of a real story, but the way a lot of supporting characters are handled is pretty one-note. It follows the tropes and cliches of most sports movies, but the strong execution makes this a lot easier to forgive. Finally, in terms of emotional heft, this surprisingly worked really well at the end. It builds to an unexpected emotional climax and I really enjoyed how they handled it.
Overall, Ford v Ferrari is a great time; its two leads combined with its technically excellent racing scenes make it an entertaining watch, despite a slightly bloated runtime and some cartoonish side characters.