The Secret: Dare to Dream Movie Review

“The Secret: Dare to Dream” is a movie with an unusual origin. It is related to, or perhaps better stated – inspired by, a book called “The Secret” (written by Rhonda Byrnes). But this book is not a novel, and it does not tell any particular story. “The Secret” is more along the lines of a self-help, mystical awareness book on ‘Positive Thinking’ and the ‘Law of Attraction’. So how does that turn into a movie about a young widowed mother of three, struggling to make ends meet in Louisiana? Easy, just crib some notes off the typical Nicholas Sparks novel/movie – and you have yourselves the outline of a story. Girl is barely making it, girl meets mysterious Boy – who imparts some great wisdom and knowledge on her, and it all works out swimmingly.


“The Secret: Dare to Dream” will be available to rent for $19.99 through On Demand platforms such as Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, VUDU and cable providers starting Friday July 31.


Miranda Wells (Katie Holmes) is the young widowed mother of three. Her husband had died in a plane crash five years prior, and Miranda has had a tough time ever since. The kids are always helpful, but they cannot earn money to pay off all of the family debts. She has a decent job working at a family-style restaurant, helping to manage the place. Her boss, named Tucker (Jerry O’Connell), is the owner of the place – and also an un-official boyfriend. He is several years older, but he is very well-to-do. Miranda wants to be able to make it on her own, and likes Tucker – but she does not want to be smothered by his lifestyle.


One day, a stranger drives into the small town near New Orleans – to where Miranda lives. He is a college professor named Bray Johnson (Josh Lucas), and he has come to deliver a mysterious envelope with some documents inside. But as it works out, she bumps into him (literally) and he helps Miranda out. Later that night, a hurricane hits the town. Also a huge tree branch hits Miranda’s roof, creating a gaping hole. Bray is staying nearby, and he comes back to talk with Miranda. But he the sees the damage and offers to help out if he can. Miranda’s mother-in-law Bobby (Celia Weston) stops by the house and wants to know why a strange man is working on the roof.


Bray has made a point to deliver this package of material to Miranda. But it was swept up in the storm and it has disappeared. He is able to have a copy made and sent to where Bray is staying. He has wanted to tell Miranda something important about the contents, but there were always distractions. Miranda seems to have a ‘Charlie Brown’ type dark cloud following her. The roof damage, damage to her car, repairs of all kinds, even a root canal — all these debts are piling up. She is feeling like she is in way over her head. Bray explains that the ‘Law of Attraction’ is something that is real and it can change her life.


So, many of the standard ‘romance drama’ tropes are right there; The Girl in need of a Rescue, The Older Love Interest (who offers a safe, but passionless future), The Mysterious Stranger/Professor/Handy-Man who can just as easily teach a class in Engineering at Vanderbilt as he can patch up a roof, The Concerned, but very Pushy, Mother-In-Law who berates the Girl for being too Independent.


There is marriage proposal and some great gifts given. Miranda is grateful, but still not quite on board with Tucker’s plans.  She has a major misunderstanding about the intention of the mysterious Bray. But when Miranda finally finds out all the background of this guy who just popped into her life, she begins to see the entire story. There is a cloud that is lifted from over her head, and a realization that something special is going on. Her kids even agree that Tucker is a nice guy, but would be a terrible father. Miranda gets the point of the ‘Law of Attraction’ – and that is would be just as easy to attract Bray as it is right now to attract Tucker.


“The Secret: Dare to Dream” is an odd mixture of a middling romance novel slapped into a thin coating of self-help psychology. If you want a feel-good romance with the Right Ones getting together in the end – well – that is part of the plan. But you also need to hear an explanation (or three or four) about how the ‘Law of Attraction’ can turn your life around. It is unconnected to the how the story progresses, but it is there in any case. So it is an awkward fit at best.


The movie does have some pretty good acting, considering that the dialogue goes into some side tangents every now and then. Katie Holmes and Josh Lucas have a nice comfortable feel to the performances, and they have nice chemistry. It is just a middle-of-the-road job done in terms of the story and plot development.


Imagine if the Director and Co-writer Andy Tennant had correctly used the ‘Law of Attraction’ and told himself “I will create the best movie ever“, and not the “best movie ever — based on the book ‘The Secret’”.


“The Secret: Dare to Dream” will be available to rent for $19.99 through On Demand platforms such as Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, VUDU and cable providers starting Friday July 31.

The Secret: Dare to Dream


Directed by: Andy Tennant
Screenplay by: Andy Tennant, Bekah Brunstetter, Rick Parks
Based on: “The Secret” (by Rhonda Byrne)
Starring: Katie Holmes, Josh Lucas, Jerry O’Connell, Celia Weston
Length: 1 hour 47 minutes
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for language and an injury image
Genre: Romantic Drama


Rating contributor: JMcNaughton tmc

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