11 January 2006 | DICK STEEL
A Nutshell Review: Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story
The premise of this movie is so similar to 2003's Seabiscuit, you'd think you're watching yet another biography of a real horse in some extraordinary, inspiring film that might just make you want to head down to the nearest race course and observe a real race.
But Dreamer (or Sonador as the horse is named) takes a slightly different angle in this tale about second chances and comebacks. If compared to Seabiscuit, yes, we have a horse with great potential faced with the troubles of breaking a leg during a competitive race. As with all race horses, this means instant death, as they have no future value, and are bred for the sole purpose of racing.
We also have a superb trainer, Ben Crane, played by Kurt Russell, and the doctor (Holmes Osborne), the written-off jockey (Freddy Rodriguez), the stable-hand (Luis Guzman), etc. But here's where the similarities end. Dreamer is a more personal film, with family friendly characters, like the daughter (Dakota Fanning), the wife (Elizabeth Shue), and the grandfather (Kris Kristofferson). Nursing the horse back to health had actually brought the family closer together, and that in itself makes this film quite cliché in its many "been-there-done-that" before moments to touch.
Dakota Fanning has held her own against "father-figure" heavyweights like Robert De Niro, Denzel Washington, and Tom Cruise, though many would have pointed out that she had rivaled Naomi Watts for the 2005 Scream Queen honors with her performance in War of the Worlds. Here, Fanning has returned to more credible acting, albeit in a safer role.
Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story, is a heartwarming tale about believing in oneself, having dreams, believing that you can achieve, and take action to achieve those dreams. While watching the movie, I can't help but chuckle at the parallels in seeing how my team and I are sticking together, just like those characters, in wanting to see our dream of making a short film, and entering it into competitions (in this case, the Breeder's Cup) come to a reality.
It's that kind of film, an inspiring one. It might be clichéd, the premise might be too good to be true, but hey, success might come to those who dare to dream, believe, and more importantly, do.