Is Gran Turismo safe for kids? Should you see Gran Turismo with your children or teens? As an adult, will you enjoy it? I’m going to share some things with you in this review – no spoilers, as always. I lay it down in this review and share my teens’ reactions to the movie as well.
Gran Turismo is based on the unbelievable true story of a team of unlikely underdogs – a struggling working-class gamer (Archie Madekwe), a failed former racecar driver (David Harbour), and an idealistic motorsport executive (Orlando Bloom). Together, they risk it all to take on the most elite sport in the world. Gran Turismo is an inspiring, thrilling, and action-packed story that proves that nothing is impossible when you’re fueled from within.
First Take Going In
In sincere honesty, I was not excited about this movie. I was only excited to take my teen boys, but I had no expectations of enjoying the movie myself. I knew it would be right up their alley – speed, actors they love (Orlando Bloom and David Harbour), and gaming. But as for me, gaming and race car driving are two things I know very little about (shockingly little, as I found out while watching the movie). We live in Montreal, the city of the world-famous Formula 1 race. Every summer, people from all over the world flock to see the races, and fans pack the city. I stay home. I’m not kidding! I have never seen an F1 race, and I live here. So you could imagine my lack of enthusiasm going in. However, I had an open mind for a good story and I’m so happy I did! We had the opportunity to see a pre-screening of the movie for review purposes and I’m incredibly happy we all were able to go.
Do You Need to Have Played Gran Turismo to Enjoy the Movie?
Absolutely not. None of us have ever played Gran Turismo. We don’t own a Play Station. I never did, growing up. And while I did have another console that will remain nameless in this review, I never got into racing video games. I thought it was fun, but not all-consuming like the players in this movie. My boys have some regular games they like to play, but they have never played any racing games either. So, is this movie something you can enjoy enough to spend over two hours watching? Absolutely. We all loved this movie.
Based on a True Story
Since the movie is based on a true story, I’m not sure if spoilers are relevant. However, I will keep it vague and let you discover the story in the theater. True story movies always grab my attention, and I’m telling you, this movie gets you from the get-go. Jann Mardenborough does exist, and the movie is based on his experience going from best Gran Turismo gamer to real racer in the top tracks in the world. If you don’t know the story before going in, that is ok. But I promise you, you will want to learn everything about Jann after watching the movie. There is so much more to this movie besides racing, and the film has so much depth to it. This is about a young man and his relationships to his friends, his team and his family as well.
The Heart of the Film
Finding your passion and going for your dream is what this movie is all about. The relationship between Jann and his parents is one that rings true for so many parents of teens. It’s a complicated time – your child is becoming a young adult with their own likes and dislikes, and if you can manage it, your role is to guide them to successfully follow their dreams (not yours). It’s not so easy! I really felt for the parents of Jann – trying to keep him safe from race car driving, trying to help him in different ways to “get a real job” and a “real career”. The acting of Geri Halliwell Horner and Djimon Hounsou were outstanding. There is so much tenderness and vulnerability in their roles and real reactions to their son. Who knew Ginger Spice would ever make me cry?! On its own, the story of Jann and his parents is phenomenal and something parents and teens will appreciate. It was also refreshing to see true emotions shown on film by a father and son.
The Racing – Is Gran Turismo Safe for Kids?
OK, here is the breakdown. The racing, the special effects, the accidents, and the full crashes are incredibly intense. I was on the edge of my seat for it all. We all were! There were moments in the film when the whole audience in the movie theatre made gasps in unison. As I always say, you know your child better than anyone. If your son or daughter loves racing movies, then you NEED to take them to see this movie. While I haven’t seen many other race movies, I believe this movie is a must-see for anyone who loves racing in any capacity. If your child gets stressed in high-intensity movies, I would skip this movie for now and wait until they are older. There are many scenes that are scary, and there is talk of death in the film. Accidents do happen in racing, and it is discussed in full honesty, which I appreciated as a parent bringing my teens to see it. This is not a movie solely about the glorification of the sport – there is so much more to it. The movie deals with every aspect of racing – losing, training, bullying, unfair play, accidents, crashes, and yes, death. In my opinion, this movie is rated PG13 for this reason and it is a fair rating for the topics showcased in the film.
Jann Mardenborough’s Character
Archie Madekwe plays Jann Mardenborough and it is a stellar performance. What I truly loved about Jann was his full personality. His roles as brother, son, friend, gamer, and racer all came out with such depth, even in this fast-paced movie. Jann shows the audience what a real person who loves something looks like. Let me explain. A lot of these movies, whether they are racing movies or other action-based films, show the good guy, the bad guy, the violence and the winner in the end. That is not real life. As a parent, I loved the full story that was produced and directed in Gran Turismo. Jann, his family, and his experience is something more teens should see in film. There are no gratuitous sex scenes, there isn’t that much cursing, there are meaner characters, but there are real-life takeaways in those scenes too, not just some ridiculous fight scene. Jann as a person shows us how to be wholesome, how to keep your values, and how to follow your dreams at the same time.
My husband, my three teen boys, and I loved this film. We watched a lot of movies over the summer; some classics, and some new in the theater. All of us agreed – this movie made it to the top of our list. My husband said it was one of the best movies he has seen in a long while. My boys loved it from start to finish, and my oldest really loved the music. The soundtrack to this movie is amazing and, shall we say, varied. Jann’s got some interesting go-to songs he listens to before racing to get focused. Turns out my boys are using the same songs now for the workouts at the gym! We haven’t stopped talking about this movie at home, it was that good.
I highly recommend you finish off your summer with your teens by going to see Gran Turismo in the theater. It will be a movie you will all enjoy. And be sure to read the end clips carefully to learn some amazing things about Mardenborough!