Heart Like a Wheel

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Shirley Muldowney is determined to be a top-fuel drag racer, although no woman has ever raced them before. Despite the high risks of this kind of racing and the burden it places on her family life, she perseveres in her dream.

ACTORS :  Bonnie Bedelia, Beau Bridges, Bruce Barlow

YEAR OF RELEASE : 1983

POSTAGE : Free In Australia No Tracking

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Heart Like a Wheel, Shirley Muldowney is determined to be a top-fuel drag racer, although no woman has ever raced them before. Despite the high risks of this kind of racing and the burden it places on her family life, she perseveres in her dream.

Moving story about an unusual woman

 

Heart Like a Wheel, This is one of those rare performances in which you fall in love with the actress. Bonnie Bedelia was apparently nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Actress for her performance as Shirley Muldowney – she should have won an Oscar.

Whether or not you care anything about drag racing – I don’t – this is just as much a movie about an unusual, sweet but driven, woman through two decades. It’s really tops.

The only criticism I have is that the movie lets the character off rather lightly for abandoning her husband and child after a fight over whether she should be gone from home throughout the year. The truth is that it must be terribly difficult for someone not in the industry to keep a marriage going – including parenthood of a 12 year old – with someone who wants to be gone throughout the year and throughout the country. At one point, Beau Bridges accuses her of abandoning her husband due to ambition – and I suspect there may be more in the accusation than the movie allows the viewer to believe (since Beau Bridges at that point is behaving pretty awfully).

Still, Bonnie Bedelia is so charming, sweet, pretty, winning in every way – that the viewer does nothing but cheer her success.

This is very enjoyable.

It’s not about the cars, it’s about the woman

 
Heart Like a Wheel, A gem. Pretty much ignored when it came out, because the industry tried to push it as a “hot rod movie” which it is not. Bonnie Bedelia gives a brilliant performance (apparently race folks who knew Muldowney believed she appeared as herself in a couple of scenes!). Film and TV seldom succeed in portraying auto racing; but that doesn’t matter here because it doesn’t pretend to. The movie has the same spirit as BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM; a young woman facing down family and society in order to fight and win in her chosen field. At the end, you will want to pump your fist and cheer, the way I saw a cinema audience do for the recent Beckham piece. Also, some quite heart-piercing moments when Muldowney’s ambition and drive and hard shell fall apart from love and betrayal. Beau Bridges loves his role as a boozy cynical scoundrel, and what fun singer Hoyt Axton must have had doing his thing. 1960 out on the Depot Road near Schenectady — that’s what it was like!
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