ride like a girl

DIRECTOR: rachel griffiths (debut)
starring: teresa palmer, stevie payne, sam neill, and sullivan stapleton


REVIEWER: emily carter


The story of Michelle Payne, the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup.

Ride Like A Girl is punchy in all the unexpected places, but is it a win for Rachel Griffiths directorial debut?


Based on the true story of Michelle Payne - the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup - Ride Like A Girl promises female empowerment and overcoming the odds, but delivers in other unexpected ways. While there's no denying Michelle (played by Theresa Palmer) has to overcome many extra hurdles for simply being a woman, that part was blurred into the background a little - enter Sam Neil. Neil plays Michelle's father, raising a large family (9 kids!) of horse lovers. While each sibling finds their way in the jockey world, the family is plagued by immense tragedy.


With such family dynamics being played out in front of our eyes, it almost seemed easy to forget Michelle's own plight. Palmer did a wonderful job portraying Payne - a woman with incredible grit and endurance. Throughout the film, we witness he special relationship with her brother Stevie (played by the real life Stevie), and the intriguing character that was her father Paddy. There was just something so compelling about Paddy and his life journey with his kids, especially Stevie, that seemed to take the shine off Michelle's. 


With insight into a world that real Payne herself has infamously called "chauvinistic", Ride Like A Girl is an interesting story with insight into a world not many are familiar with. 


And while beautiful and triumphant in many parts, I came away thinking perhaps it didn't completely fulfill its intended purpose - putting Michelle high and above any other. 

Ride Like A Girl is an interesting story with insight into a world not many are familiar with. 


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