Have you seen it? It’s a complex one to review given the scrutiny horse racing’s under right now following the ABC 7.30 Report’s recent revelations.
But Michelle Payne’s story of breaking down barriers in her industry is a great one and well-worth telling.
I went along with my Mum to see the film earlier this week in Merimbula at a special screening sponsored by Far South Film. I thought it was a beautifully balanced story about love, determination and ambition. Rachel Griffiths has created something very special on her directorial debut and the cast is strong and believable. Sam Neill very credibly plays Michelle’s dad and the role of Michelle was played beautifully by Teresa Palmer.
The tension Griffiths built during the Melbourne Cup scene pushed all my emotional buttons and I was sobbing throughout. Nothing unusual for me!
There’s something about the Melbourne Cup, for those old enough to remember it as a little bit of excitement and glamour when we were kids. Back in the day, we didn’t have access to information about racing industry practices. That could be said for many things pre-internet. We were blissfully ignorant, for sure.
Now we understand the cost to these beautiful animals of a business model that is failing to manage the economic principle of supply and demand. It’s really important to hold the industry to account and to firmly encourage it to put things right.
But more than anything to me, this is a story of a young woman with ambition who refused to be thwarted. Michelle Payne fought hard. Hers is a story of a woman battling against the status quo and prejudice. She proved herself in a male-dominated industry. And she fought back from disaster and never gave up.