In essence, this is a story about a horse that helps breathe some life into a sleepy town in Wales.
This little ‘stud’ helps bring some life back into Jan’s (Toni Collette) and Brian’s (Owen Teal) lifeless marriage, as well. Brian is unemployed and Jan works two jobs to keep the lights on.
‘Dream Horse’ is the ultimate feel-good film. It’s filled with the same spirit and character that the young horse, Dream Alliance, distinctly has. This sweet story centers around Dream Alliance, often shortened to ‘Dream,’ and the group of people who came together to raise him.
I challenge anyone to walk away from having watched this not affected positively. Did I mention the film is based on a true story? And a popular one at that. Stick around at the end because several stars of the film and the individuals they portray sing a song to bring about the final credits. Do watch as it’s a joyful and amusing tune, and they look so delighted by it all. You will be, too.
For the most part, ‘Dream Horse’ was incredibly formulaic. There’s not a thing that happens you couldn’t have scripted yourself. Be that as it may, that doesn’t take away from your enjoyment of watching the movie unfold.
Jan is a cashier at a local co-op during the day and at a bar in the evenings. A gentleman named Howard (Damian Lewis) comes in and discusses a winning horse with some of the patrons at the bar. She listens and begins asking questions. At the co-op the next day, she rips a page from Horse & Hound magazine on the shelf and begins her research into how to become the owner of a thoroughbred racehorse. She first needs to buy a mare. Brian thinks she has gone crazy, so she explains to him that she’s doing this to have a reason to get up in the morning and have something to look forward to.
But, there are stud fees to think about, insurance to pay, vet bills to consider, not to mention where they’ll keep this mare they have no choice but purchase to get the ball rolling. Then, will said mare be able to give birth to their possible champion? She’s done the research part, and now all Jan has to do is set up a syndicate. She figures she needs about ten people to put in ten dollars a week, and they’ll have enough to put her plan into motion. She passes out flyers and, surprisingly, she gets her ten people and then some. Jan and Brian purchase and house the mare and everyone starts saving for the baby. The stud fee itself is three thousand because the horse they get to be Dream’s sire is a 10-million-dollar winner before he retired. The foal will have racing in his blood.
Dream Alliance is born; he’s a lovely tone of burnt sienna. He jumps and kicks in his pen, giving everyone the assumption that he already knows what he was born to do. Much of this part of the film is about the people who own Dream rather than the young colt because he’s boarded with a trainer. The trainer is a bit skeptical of Dream’s talents but does want to see what he can do with him. Then the horse is of age to start racing. We finally see his first few races, where he never dips below third place. Dream makes everyone proud and catches the attention of someone who wants to purchase him.
During this period, we see clips of the horse and scenes with his owners, building upon the story of who he is and who they are. Dream likes to push himself and come from behind. This last-minute surge drives the audience to applaud him, whereas his owners begin to doubt they made the right choice in getting involved with the syndicate.
You can’t help but cheer for him and this movie. At the same time, you get a kick out of the distinct personalities within the group. All in all, ‘Dream Horse’ is a sweet story that starts out a little slow, but you’ll be happy to have watched.
*Streaming date is June 11, 2021.
Director: Euros Lyn
Writers: Neil McKay
Stars: Toni Collette, Damian Lewis, Owen Teal, Siân Phillips
Run Time: 1h 53m
Genres: Biography, Comedy, Drama