While you’re watching this movie and wiping the wayward tear, the full title keeps nagging — inspired by a true story, not based on a true story. You can’t help but wonder: Which parts of this movie should you pay attention to because their truths have meaning for your life and the lives of all the little kids who come to see it? And which parts can you ignore because they’re manufactured feel-goodies? And how do you tell the difference anyway? Especially if the filmmaker considers it his job to erase those distinctions and make us think that happy endings are always possible.
Do the real good guys in life, who drive old trucks and wear blue jeans, really win against the obnoxious suits? Can an injured horse — a filly, to boot, who is smaller than all those famous snorting stallions — and saved from the mercy bullet, really recover enough not only to walk again but win a famous horse race? Can a little girl really negotiate with an Arab prince, hoodwink hard-nosed racing officials, inspire a traumatized jockey to race again, and revive Dad’s dreams? Most importantly, is Mom ever going to get credit for encouraging the whole shebang?
You get my drift.
Dreamer is a modern-day fairy tale. You’ll be glad you saw it. It’s beautiful, sweet, heart-warming and charming, a family film gem. Kurt Russell (Miracle), as always, is appealing and empathetic as Ben Crane, a Kentucky horseman who’s seen better times. Dakota Fanning (Hide and Seek), endearing as ever, is Cale Crane, a horse-crazy urchin. Kris Kristofferson saunters through his role as the grumpy grandfather. Totally ignored is Mom, played by solid Elisabeth Shue (Hide and Seek), who works overtime at the local diner to pay the bills, and all she gets on the day of the big race is a big floppy hat.
You get my drift. Rated PG for brief mild language.
– reviewed by Marci Miller