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Recommended age 12-18
135 minutes
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GRAN TURISMO cover image Click to play video trailer
A scintillating, exhilarating watch, Gran Turismo will hold your attention from start to finish with its well-written script, deep characters, and detailed and immersive graphics.

The film follows Jann Mardenborough (Archie Madekwe), a teen from Cardiff, Wales, who's obsessed with the video game Gran Turismo. Jann's family doesn't really understand his passion and worries about him, especially since he dropped out of university because of his dream to be a racecar driver. When Jann is selected as one of 10 kids worldwide to compete in Nissan's GT Academy for a shot to be a professional racer, he must face tragedies, love, deceit, and so much more on the path to glory.

The cast shines in this film. Archie Madekwe as Jann Mardenborough captures the emotions of a teen with big dreams and the fire inside him to pursue them. He comes across as emotionless in the first few scenes but warms up into his character--by the climax, you're sure to be rooting for Mardenborough. My other favorite character is David Harbour as Jack Salter, a tough character to play. He's a typical Hollywood coach, aggressive but a bit jaded because of his previous experience in racing. Over the course of the film, he warms up, which is where Harbour shines; the transformation from a brooding middle-aged has-been to a kind but fiery coach is spellbinding. The screenplay by Jason Hall and Zach Baylin enhances the film massively, as do the cinematography and graphics, as well as the monumental score by Lorne Balfe and Andrew Kawczynski. In every racing scene, you feel like you're in the car with Jann; my jaw was clenched throughout every hairpin turn. When the lights go green at the beginning of every race, the whole theater vibrates with the sound of the engine starting up.

Gran Turismo promotes resilience. Every time Jann fails, Jack Salter (David Harbour), his trainer, pushes him to overcome the failure, get up, dust himself off, and move on to the next race. Interestingly, Salter starts off in the film by not believing in Jann or any of the other kids in the GT Academy. Jann's performance turns Salter into his most ardent supporter. Herein lies another message: proving your detractors wrong. Salter's belief in always doing the right thing puts him at odds with Nissan marketing executive Danny Moore (Orlando Bloom), but is another great takeaway. And of course, the core of the film is about achieving your dreams, no matter how unattainable they seem; when fate, fortune, and prowess align, you will find success. Parents should be aware of scenes with slightly foul language, one kissing scene, and one scene where kids drink and hang out in an industrial area and then have to run from the police.

I give Gran Turismo 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Gran Turismo releases in theaters on August 11, 2023.

I am blown away by the new film Gran Turismo. From the start, Gran Turismo pulled me in on an emotional roller coaster - or should I say emotional "racetrack." This movie had me and everyone else in the movie theater on the edge of our seats due to a steady stream of intense racing and deep care for the characters.

Based on an unbelievable yet true story, Gran Tursimo follows Jann Mardenborough (Archie Madekwe), a teenager who is obsessed with the "racing simulator" Gran Turismo and who happens to be one of the best in the world. He is one of ten selected to train and compete for an opportunity to become a professional racecar driver for Nissan. Can Jann beat the odds and overcome the challenges of racing and fulfill his lifelong dream of racing? Your body will experience a lot of adrenaline finding out.

After watching this movie, I definitely have a newfound respect for racers. I had no idea about the amount of physical and mental strain racing causes. The writers and actors of this movie really deliver on this point. One of the strongest performances comes from Archie Madekwe as Jann because he makes you really feel his emotions. You celebrate his highs, worry about his close calls, and grieve with his lows. I also love David Harbor because he brilliantly plays a "salty" yet lovable chief engineer, Jack Salter. He is such a dynamic character, and I can sense his change from a cold and doubtful to warm and caring. I wouldn't necessarily consider this movie a comedy, but one of the biggest things that contributes to its humor is the dichotomy between the musical tastes of Jack (Black Sabbath) and Jann (Enya and Kenny G.) They play each song at the perfect moments and let the audiences relax or have a good laugh after being so tense during stressful scenes. The stunts, sets, and special effects are insane! All of the racetracks are spot-on accurate and the actual Jann Mardenborough (the man the movie is based on) is the stunt driver for Archie Madekwe. Additionally, all of the scenes with Jann/Archie Madekwe playing Gran Turismo are genuine, which adds to the realism of the film. I'm not a huge fan of racing, and I've only played the actual game, Gran Turismo, a couple of times, but I still love this movie and believe that others will too.

The messages of Gran Tursimo are to never give up on your dreams and to always believe in yourself, no matter what others think. There is some profanity and aggressive driving scenes. Don't watch this movie and plan on sleeping right away-- adrenaline courses through your veins well after the movie ends.

I give Gran Turismo 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. This is a must watch for Gran Turismo players and racing fans. This movie comes out in theaters August 11, 2023.

By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Gran Turismo: A True Story, a cinematic masterpiece, zooms into the spotlight as a racing film of the decade. It captures the electric feeling of racing, offering a whirlwind of action, emotion and delightful humor.

Centered around the inspiring true story of Jann Mardenborough (Archie Madekwe), the film follows the incredible journey of a young man whose passion for racing propels him from the virtual world to the real racetracks. The film beautifully showcases how Mardenborough's racing skills, honed through video games, catapulted him into the world of professional racing, smashing preconceived notions and fueling his aspirations.

With its gripping narrative, Gran Turismo: A True Story is a beacon of hope for those with big dreams. As the story unfolds, the racing becomes increasingly captivating, mirroring the evolution of Jann's journey. The film effectively captures the transition from playing racing video games in his bedroom to the high-stakes reality of racing on the track. David Harbour shines as Jack Salter, the mentor who guides and transforms Jann into a formidable competitor. Harbour's portrayal is compelling, akin to a real-life crew chief, adding authenticity to the film. An intriguing twist in this cinematic gem is that Jann Mardenborough himself served as a stunt driver for Archie Madekwe, adding an extra layer of realism to the racing scenes. The movie's pacing is finely tuned, ensuring the audience remains engrossed throughout. The racing cinematography is a masterpiece -- every scene is a testament to precision and attention to detail, propelling viewers into the heart of the action.

The film's core message is simple, yet powerful: dreams do come true. This theme resonates deeply as Jann Mardenborough's journey from gaming enthusiast to professional racer reflects the tenacity required to turn aspirations into reality. Note that there is a good chunk of profanity in this film.

I give Gran Turismo: A True Story a well-deserved 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, as well as adults who possess big dreams. Rev up your calendars for August 11, 2023, when it speeds into theaters, promising an adrenaline-charged cinematic experience.

By David E., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Gran Turismo is a heart-pounding action film that kept me on the edge of my seat as it follows the story of Jann Mardenborough (Archie Madekwe) as a video game player turned race car driver. The CGI is phenomenal, transporting the actor from his bedroom to the racetrack and vice versa.

Based on a true story, Gran Turismo is about Danny Moore (Orlando Bloom), a marketing executive from Nissan with an idea that the top 10 Gran Turismo players should compete in an actual race. He and Jack Salter (David Harbour), start an academy to train the gamers to race against professional racers.

No one believes that video game players will be able to handle a real life racing experience. The film demonstrates how we have to believe in ourselves if we ever want to succeed in life. When everyone is telling Jann that he can't and shouldn't follow his dreams, he commits to working harder and ultimately shows that he can make it happen. When a crash inevitably happens, we learn the importance of facing your trauma in order to realize your actual potential. The performances by the key characters are outstanding; I could feel the emotions that the actors portray. Archie Madekwe is amazing as Jann Mardenborough because I can feel his passion and dedication to racing. Djimon Honsu delivers an incredibly touching performance playing Jann's dad. He is initially unsupportive of Jann, but feels remorse when he sees Jann actually start to succeed in his dreams. David Harbour and Orlando Bloom are really great -- the whole GT academy idea seems realistic as they define it. Even when facing failure, they do not give up and keep training the racers.

This film's biggest theme is that when the world looks down upon you, you show them that you have what it takes and, with hard work and dedication, will make it happen. Be forewarned that there is some profanity.

I give Gran Turismo 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It releases theaters on August 11, 2023.

By Avani M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

see youth comments
Based on the unbelievable, inspiring true story of a team of underdogs - a struggling, working-class gamer, a failed former race car driver, and an idealistic motorsport exec - who risk it all to take on the most elite sport in the world.
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