Review: Qualified (2019 SXSW)

Title: Qualified
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Director: Jenna Ricker
Starring: Janet Gutherie
Runtime: 1 hr 18 mins

What It Is: Race car driving. It’s a man’s world…or at least until one woman dared to inject herself into a man’s world. Driver Janet Gutherie began first by becoming the first female driver in NASCAR. Her best was yet to come. In 1977 she tried and succeeded to qualify for open-wheel racings greatest spectacle the Indianapolis 500. Not only did she qualify but her doing so set into motion a series of events that’d change the sport forever.

What We Think: What a story. There’s certain courage that Gutherie possesses. It isn’t something that can be taught. It’s an earned gravitas. Earned through a lifetime of defying the odds. I loved the story told and Gutherie is there to tell us all about it. It’s a wonderfully told tale and every interview comes across as genuine. Even stock car legend Richard Petty has a bit of the light taken away from him by coming off as a villain of sorts. Even if it isn’t in a direct sense. Not only did I learn a story I didn’t know before but got more insight in open-wheel racing as a whole.

Our Grade: B-, ESPN’s 30 for 30 series has always featured some fantastic sports stories and more often then not they are well told. Once again they make it easy to root for their protagonist and at 78 mins it is a quick and easy watch. When it does debut on ESPN I’d recommend you check this one out. Go see it. Likewise, the short I saw with it called Mac Wrestles which I found pretty good. It tells its tale but at a time I feel as though it skirts around its issue a bit too much for me. Overall a decent short.

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