Racing for Time Reviews
The movie is based on the accomplishment of real life coach and prison guard Sergeant Noel Chestnut (later promoted to lieutenant) and the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility's track team he started. The real story took place in California in the 1990s when California's Youth Authority's correction's officer Noel Chesnut started a track team for female inmates throughout the Camarillo area facilities where many of the female offenders had been convicted of murder and robbery. Noel sacrificed a lot to encourage these girls and several of them went on to lead successful lives due to his program.
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It teetered on the edge of that, and never quite made it. Oh, there were glimpses of real frustration, of anger and grief at past memories, but overall the acting didn't draw on much real emotion.
The female warden, who is supposed to be a truly tough cookie, is soft as marshmallows by the end of it. There wasn't much genuine emotion behind her acting, and I felt that the 'we love you too, Miss Baker' has to be the most cringeworthy, unrealistic line I have ever had to watch in a film. What happened to change still being believable and in line with someone's already-established character? Ugh, cheese.
There were some points, though, which saved this from being buried in the graveyard of Films-I-Never-Want-To-See-Again. The film didn't shy away from addressing the more shadowy aspects of prison life, of the challenges in life that shape and mould a woman, nor the lack of desire to change. I actually appreciated the fact that the ending portrayed one of them returning to prison - not because it isn't disappointing, but following on the end of such a cheesy, high finish the viewer needed to be reminded that reality isn't so simple as a race almost-won.
Worth the watch, as it makes you think.