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Movie Review: Ride Like A Girl

Ride Like A Girl is the story of Michelle Payne, the first female jockey to win the 150 year old Melbourne Cup.

It’s always challenging going to a movie when you know the story. Will it be a straight forward depiction of events or will we learn something new in the retelling? I’m pleased to say that Ride Like A Girl is an interesting insight into the inspirational true story of Michelle Payne’s 2015 Melbourne Cup win.

Thanks to Ride Like A Girl

Ride Like A Girl is the story of Michelle Payne, the first female jockey to win the 150 year old Melbourne Cup.

Viewers gain insight into her horse obsessed home life, where she lives with her 9 older brothers and sisters. With her mother dying soon after her birth her father Paddy Payne (Sam Neil) is left to raise the brood. From all appearances he did a good job with the hand he was dealt. Cast in the mold of an old-school Australian male, Paddy was a man of few words and even fewer hugs.

With eight of her siblings becoming jockeys, Michelle had dreams of winning the Melbourne Cup, but when her sister died in a horse race Paddy was reluctant to let his ‘little girl’ enter the big league.

Undeterred Michelle left home to pursue her dream but she soon became stifled in the male dominated environment. Largely ignored, one day she jumped on a horse and took her future into her own hands.

All was going well until a race fall left her with a fractured scull and a mountain of work to even walk again. Dedication and stubbornness resulted in over 350 wins and ultimately the history making ride in the 2015 Melbourne Cup.

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The movie features a cast of Australia’s favourite actors. Michelle Payne is nicely portrayed by Teresa Palmer. Paddy Payne (Sam Neil) can always be relied on to convey the tough Aussie male, not bad for a kiwi. Also on board are, Sullivan Stapleton (as Darren Weir the trainer who gave Michelle a chance), Mick Molloy, Magda Szubanski (as a scene stealing nun), and Shane Bourne. In a nice piece of casting Stevie Payne Michelle Payne’s 35-year-old brother, portrayed himself. I’m so pleased he agreed to take part as it greatly enhanced the authenticity of the movie.

I remember the day well, and yet somehow in the triumph of the Cup ride the story of Michelle’s fractured skull got lost, at least for me. It was fascinating to learn what she had to go through. The sheer determination she showed is an inspiration to anyone going through a tough time. It was also interesting to gain insights into the noise within a race and what happens in the change-rooms (will leave this for you to find out). The movie is visually stunning, particularly the beauty of the horses. If nothing else go see this movie for bringing back the phrase ‘ding bat’ and of course the great ‘get stuffed’ quote.

Congrats to Rachel Griffiths for directing her first feature length film.

Watch: Ride Like A Girl Trailer

For more information go to Luna Cinemas

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