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Overall Rating
4.04

Awesome: 23.91%
Worth A Look58.7%
Average: 15.22%
Pretty Bad: 2.17%
Total Crap: 0%

5 reviews, 16 user ratings


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Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by brianorndorf

"The performances save the material"
4 stars

“Dreamer” won’t exactly ring any originality bells, but this heartfelt family film delivers big on great performances and important messages. Kurt Russell leads the cast with a dynamite acting job, giving unusual nuance to a straightforward role, and lending the film a massive amount of vitality along the way.

Once the best horseman in the business, Ben Crane (Kurt Russell) is finding it hard to keep his dreams alive. When his last assignment, a racehorse names Sonador, breaks a leg on the track, Ben quits his job and takes the horse in, hoping to breed her for profit. After years of neglecting his father (Kris Kristofferson), wife Lily (Elizabeth Shue), and daughter Cale (Dakota Fanning), Ben finds Sonador's lengthy and demanding healing process brings him closer to those he loves. When disappointment strikes again, Ben and Cale hatch a plan to train Sonador to race, looking to enter the prestigious and expensive Breeders' Cup to finally test their questionable steed.

"Dreamer" is the kind of film Walt Disney Productions used to make with regularity decades ago. A sweet, solidly constructed family film, "Dreamer" may be short on surprises, but it has enough heart for ten movies.

Casting former Disney favorite Kurt Russell was the first of many smart choices made by writer/director John Gatins. "Dreamer" is a film that enjoys its formula, and the only way to rise above the stink of cliché is to cast tightly and Kurt Russell brings to the film a rippling sense of reality. His Ben is a man mired in frustration; he's shut his life down and pushed everyone away. Russell finds the soul of this man right away, from the embarrassment of Ben having to ask for favors to the ice-melting joy of seeing his daughter ease into the family business. Russell plays off his co-stars well, forming snug chemistry with Dakota Fanning (good as well, but a little too prepared at times), and passing off a strong sense of history with Kris Kristofferson without the script's assistance. Russell's work here is marvelous, making the sometimes dramatically questionable "Dreamer" appear vital and alive.

Gatins doesn't beat around the bush too much with "Dreamer," molding a straightforward redemption tale, complete with bad guys in black suits, and characters invented solely to recite inspiring speeches to the downtrodden (sorry Elizabeth Shue). However, Gatkins trumps his mess of clichés by leading with his heart. "Dreamer" is touching material, and as it slowly boils, the audience begins to care about the characters, and the thrill of Sonador's rise to health takes on real weight. Does Ben redeem himself? Will Sonador race in the Breeders' Cup? Does she even have a chance to win? The questions could be answered without even seeing the film. The true warmth of "Dreamer" lies in the journey, and to nitpick the film to bits would be missing its strengths.

This is a film about nuanced performances, positive messages on family and responsibility, and good old-fashioned underdog cinema thrills. To see "Dreamer" hum as strong as it does is worth the price of admission.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=12823&reviewer=404
originally posted: 10/21/05 14:51:15
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Toronto Film Festival For more in the 2005 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

12/30/10 Sharon Curtis This is my favortie movie. I love it and always want to be part of the story when I watch i 5 stars
1/10/09 Anonymous. a predictable, feel-good movie :] 4 stars
9/17/08 PAUL SHORTT A QUIET, POIGNANT AND WELL CONSTRUCTED FILM WITH STRONG PERFORMANCES 4 stars
4/02/08 rebecca does anyone have Manolin Vallarta ( freddy Rodigues scene scripts?) 5 stars
1/27/07 Tamara Leonard What a wonderful film! 5 stars
10/15/06 William Goss Harmless, typical, generic, and average. Less laughable than Flicka, at the very least. 3 stars
5/08/06 Diane Perkins loved this movie being from lexington. It was warm and inspiring 5 stars
4/12/06 Chantelle Venter It's a brilliant movie as i have horses of my own!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
12/07/05 Jackie It was wonderful. 5 stars
11/12/05 shelley alexander Will go back to see it again and again! 5 stars
11/09/05 Stan L Good family film. With little to no profanity. Great for 5-12 year old girls and parents. 4 stars
11/08/05 S. Romans Fantastic! What a great family film. 5 stars
10/31/05 Cathy H Great Family Film...my girls and I loved it!!!!!! 5 stars
10/24/05 richard riopelle irrational hollywood spin 2 stars
10/22/05 Julia Crone Lovely film. Fabulous performances. 5 stars
9/15/05 Teresa Fleming Absolutely Fabulous 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  21-Oct-2005 (PG)
  DVD: 21-Mar-2006

UK
  N/A

Australia
  09-Mar-2006




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