Ford V Ferrari begins with a dramatic sequence where Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) wins the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France. The story then fast-forwards to the mid-1960s when Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) attempted to buy Ferrari. Lee Iacocca (Jon Bernthal) travels to Italy to make the offer, but Enzo Ferrari (Remo Girone)–whose cars and race team have dominated the race at Le Mans for years–insults Ford and his “crappy cars.” When Ford realizes Ferrari has played him, Ford writes a “blank check” to build a race car and team to beat Ferrari at Le Mans.
Lee Iacocca recruits Carroll Shelby, the best American car designer, to build the race car. But Shelby insists the key factor is the driver. Shelby’s talented but prickly friend, Ken Miles (Christian Bale), reluctantly agrees to drive Shelby’s car. Miles is an English-born World War II veteran who struggles financially because he keeps telling customers the truth. His loyal and long-suffering wife, Mollie (Caitriona Balfe), and his son (Noah Jupe), moderate Miles’s rants. Miles is his own worst enemy as he riles Ford’s Marketing director, Leo Beebe (Josh Lucas), who undermines both Miles and Shelby. I loved the race sequences, the suspense of the machinations of corporate politics, and the marriage of Ken Miles and Mollie. Caitriona Balfe is marvelous! Ford V Ferrari features terrific acting and a compelling true story. Don’t miss it! GRADE: A