REVIEW: ‘Dream Horse’ won’t be in award races, but it can still please viewers

The races featured in “Dream Horse” aren’t related to the American Triple Crown competitions, but it still feels like the right time to watch this flick.

“Dream Horse” takes place in a small town in Wales and revolves around a group of residents who decide to invest in a racing thoroughbred. Mainly, the movie follows Jan (Toni Collette), the woman who comes up with the idea and convinces other community members to pitch in.

Together, they breed a horse and because it was a group of residents coming aligning for a cause, they name it Dream Alliance. The proposal initially seems like a risky gamble until Dream Alliance becomes a success on the track.

“Dream Horse” doesn’t break any new ground in its formula. An audience can pretty much predict one plot point after another.

Plus, as a sports movie, when compared to other recent flicks like “The Way Back” or “Eddie the Eagle,” “Dream Horse” falls short. However, there is enough charm here to win a viewer over.

The sense of a community coming together around a common goal, regardless of background, makes for crowd pleasing experience. As an audience member, you want them to succeed and root for Dream Alliance when he’s on the track.

Seeing a town that’s been clearly hit by an economic downturn find a reason to rally simply tugs at heartstrings, and it works. One just wishes its plotting was a bit better.

Courtesy Bleecker Street.

There is a lot packed into the first hour of this movie, from Jan buying the breeding horse, to that horse giving birth, to the owning syndicate being formed and a trainer being selected. It all happens rather quickly and an audience doesn’t have much time to breathe as another event takes place.

Once things are mainly established, though, the movie hits a fairly nice stride. It’s around that time that the racing starts, and things get pretty engaging from there, with some fun moments to cheer for.

Character-wise, Jan is a likable and works well as the protagonist. While not an expert in horse racing, she has a drive for something in life and works hard for it, which fits this film’s genre. Collette makes Jan believable, too, and brings some depth to the role.

It is too bad that so much of the focus is on Jan, though, as viewers only get a little bit of insight into the rest of the Dream Alliance ownership team. We see some of their quirks, but the only other character we see more of is Howard, who is the most experienced horse owner in the group.

Still, it is a mostly endearing bunch to watch and it’s a real joy when they get to see Dream Alliance compete well.

“Dream Horse” isn’t the most memorable flick but it’s an alright crowd pleasing movie to rent at home for the family. 2.9 out of 5.


Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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