In the movie Racing Stripes, directed by Frederik Du Chau, a circus truck leaves behind a baby zebra in a rainstorm while they were fixing a flat tire. Walsh drives by and picks the zebra up to take home to his ole Kentucky farm. Walsh is a thoroughbred trainer for a famous farm on the other side of the fence. His daughter, Channing, falls in love with the little zebra she names “Stripes” right away. Walsh gave up the horse training to be at home with Channing on their own farm. The zebra loved to watch the thoroughbred’s race from across the fence from the beginning, he wanted to become one of them. Stripes didn’t know he wasn’t exactly a horse but with the help of the farm animals, he works hard to make it to a race known as the big Kentucky crown which he wins after all.
In Understanding Movies, Giannetti states that ideology is defined as the ideas reflecting social needs and desires of a group or class. He explains filmmaking, “every movie presents us with role models, ideal ways of behaving, negative traits, and an implied morality based on the filmmaker’s sense of right and wrong” (403). I believe Racing Stripes ideology is shown to give the audience multiple messages. This film teaches children you should never bully and they can be whatever they want to be despite some problematic things in the film the overall message is positive.
Racing Stripes connects to families and children throughout the entire film. The way Stripes desires to be a race horse, without keeping the zebra aspect of himself from stopping his dream of competing. His farm animal friends are there to support and encourage him every step of the way. The difficulties along the way include the fancy horses across the fence degrading and putting Stripes down. This is another part that is a great lesson for children, you shouldn’t bully one another because someone is different than you. Someone never knows what potential that they have and that if they put the effort in what they could become.
According to some critics, the movie doesn’t have a clear-cut bad villain (threemoviebuffs.com). The adversity Stripes overcomes the biggest challenge. They believe that the moral lesson is ridiculous because a zebra is not born to be a race horse, they are shorter and wider than thoroughbred horses. This suggests the physical characteristics mean nothing and all you need is the desire to accomplish what you want. That is crap because it doesn’t matter how hard you train you can never be an Olympic runner or something big if you don’t have the ideal image.
I think the positives outweigh the negatives. Children can relate to these popular farm animals and see themselves becoming anything as they grow. Racing Stripes was a movie I watched when I was younger because of the horses in the film, later I realized this meant more than seeing the horses. It gave me courage and drive to not let small difficulties stop me from what I want to do. I was younger when I first saw it so my outlook on life is a little different than it is now but the message learned from this film is still true. I haven’t given up on my dreams and goals because something went wrong. Stripes is still an important character and still shares a message for future children and families. I give this movie a 4 out of 5 rating, the positive tone will change a child’s life for the better.