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REVIEW: Gran Turismo- Racing to Reality

By Zahra Ahmad

Gran Turismo, a film based on a true story, released Aug, 25th, 2023, illustrates the unimaginable occurrences in the life of Jann Mardenborough. 

The film did a phenomenal job from accuracy to tone in encapsulating the story of Jann Mardenborough and his journey to F1, describing the “drive” it takes to show-up when everyone is rooting against you. 

The movie truly deserves the title of a perfect movie, in its depiction of a true story. Not only does it accurately describe the astounding occurrences of Mardenborough’s life, but his emotions as well.

The story follows a special relationship of athlete and coach and how their bond broke barriers. 

It begins with the young boy’s strong passion for cars and gaming, while facing the discouragement of his father, who is unsupportive of his niche passion. Jann Mardenborough is later offered the opportunity of his dreams – a chance to become an actual race driver. And contrary to his parent’s opinions Mardenborough enters an online race competition, ultimately changing the rest of his life. 

After winning the online competition, Jann Mardenborough makes the cut and qualifies for the GT Academy, where he joins the real battle against the world’s greatest gamers. Joining GT Academy hosted by Sony and Playstation, truly tests his limits, from highly competitive opponents to intense training. In spite of the tough struggle and emotional collapse, Jann Mardenborough is finally triumphant and gains a spot as a Formula 1 driver! 

In one scene Jann Mardenborough experiences a deadly crash resulting in a spectator’s death. The film navigates through his internal dilemma of pursuing a passion with never-ending guilt. The real Jann Mardenborough approves the depiction saying, “it’s exactly how it happened, especially emotionally in those scenes.” 

Gran Turismo also perfectly encapsulates the strength of an athlete-coach relationship, and the vitality of having individuals pushing  others beyond their limits to truly achieve their full potential. It visits tough questions like, “When life-altering events result in someone’s death how does one continue?” and is an example of the risks and hardship it takes to achieve greatness. It also captures the small details of Jann Mardenborough’s real habits, such as his routine in playing the song Orinoco Flow as a way to calm his nerves. 

Even the actors chosen are also an example of great casting. Renowned actor David Harbour plays the role of Jack Salter or the coach in the movie. He’s known for previous roles in Stranger Things, Black Widow, and others, and his tendency to play strong fatherly and supportive figures is a perfect fit for Gran Turismo. 

Although the movie had strong personalities for a number of characters, many complain over its lack of depth for the parents in the film. However the scenes of Mardenborough’s reconciliation with his father is a clear example of the complex emotions felt by both father and son. 

From all aspects Gran Turismo is one of 2023’s greatest films. Its motivational message, strong words, and emotional impacts have been an inspiration to all who watch. Gran Turismo is truly a cinematic masterpiece. 

Rating: 5/5

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