June 14, 202450/1006 min
C. Thomas Howell, Annabeth Gish, Jake Allyn
Written by
Jake Allyn and Josh Plasse
Directed by
Jake Allyn
Release Date
June 14th, 2024
Overall Score
Rating Summary

Often, movies always keep the shine on things, especially when it comes to sports. What we see is the hard work put in and then the success, which tends to leave out the darker aspects of that life. I have only come to this conclusion after hearing enough stories about the wrong turns taken by those who have lived it. Writers Jake Allyn and Josh Plasse wanted to give you something that felt more real with their film Ride—not just about being an athlete, but also about family, all of which feels very authentic.

John Hawkins (C. Thomas Howell) used to be quite the rodeo star, but he gave that up long ago to be a full-time father. Currently, he is having a hard time, as his youngest daughter, Virginia (Zia Carlock), has cancer, and he is trying to come up with the funds to get her the treatment she needs. While this is happening, John’s oldest, Peter (Jake Allyn), is getting out of prison, where he served four years for killing someone in an accident. John, nor the rest of his family, came to see Peter while he was in jail, as John sees it as a “made his bed and now he must sleep in it” situation. Like his father, though, Peter is a cowboy, and he enters and wins a bull riding contest, which comes with a cash prize. Peter, however, has his demons in the form of addiction, but he knows that money will help with his sister’s treatment. Family can be difficult, though, and Peter’s is definitely that, as his mother, Monica (Annabeth Gish), is also the sheriff. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and John and Peter do something for Virginia that could make a tangled web even more tangled. But sometimes family is the most important thing.

Written by Josh Plasse and Jake Allyn, the latter also directing and starring in the film, Ride explores how relationships within a family can be complicated. In this case, it’s the Hawkins family, and Ride focuses intimately on this family’s hardships, which are closely depicted. Life is not easy for this family, as the chips definitely feel stacked against them, as the script explores the hellishness of the American healthcare system and the things people have to do to survive. All of this adds to a pretty straightforward story, which at times is quite compelling.

Ride doesn’t have the stamina to last the full eight seconds (a little bull riding reference), but it does enough to keep your attention. Where Ride loses its grip is in a plot that turns largely predictable, as well as relationships in the film that feel under-explained. The last act also has a crammed feeling to it, and while it is emotional, it throws off the pace a bit. Ride does keep its hold over the viewer for a good portion of the film, especially in way of its performances, led by Gish and Howell, and filled with a great supporting cast. The rodeo scenes are strong as well, as Allyn’s camerawork perfectly conveys the profession’s in-your-face attitude as well as the sport’s aggression. There might be a stronger and tighter shorter film here, but what we end up with is still a well-acted movie that has a great sense of place and understands the problems that affect many corners of America.

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