Here is a sports movie in the tradition of the best sportswriting, where athletes are portrayed warts and all. You do not have to be nice to win races, but you have to be good.
James tries too hard to bring closure to Pre's life, and, as a result, strays a little too far into melodrama. The tearful reminiscences at the end, not to mention some of the stuff at the funeral, lay it on thickly.
Leto is the greatest beneficiary of these moments, seizing upon the opportunity to convincingly capture Prefontaine's egotistical, enigmatic, obsessive, charismatic personality even when the script fails to do so.