Friday Film Review--"Dream Horse"

May 7, 2021

Just in time for Triple Crown season in the U.S., "Dream Horse", a 2020 Sundance Film Festival favorite, is off to the races in a theater or on a small screen near you. Linda Jager shares her thoughts on the film in this week’s Friday Film Review.

As last week’s Kentucky Derby ushered in the 2021 horse racing season, "Dream Horse", a 2020 film from the Sundance Film Festival, sprints to theaters later this month and will be available to stream at home in mid-June.

"Dream Horse" is based on a true story that became a documentary, "Dark Horse", directed by Louise Osmond, that went on to win the Audience Award in the World Cinema Documentary Competition at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.

The film takes place in South Wales. Toni Colette stars as Jan Vokes, a middle-aged woman amid a mid-life crisis. Jan’s kids have grown and left home. She’s working two jobs as a cashier in a local grocery store and a bartender at the local pub, to support her arthritic husband Brian (Owen Teale). Jan and Brian have a shared passion for raising award-winning livestock, which has dwindled in recent years, leaving them with just a handful of geese and a dog.

One evening while tending bar, Jan eavesdrops as a customer tells others about his winning racehorse syndicate – a group of people who buy into a shared horse, who also share in it’s expenses and earnings. Intrigued, Jan hastily assembles an eclectic group of locals, including a tax accountant Howard (Damien Lewis), the only member who has experience breeding a racehorse.

The group invests in a mare, which Jan and Brian care for in a ramshackle stable in their back yard. The mare soon gives birth to a foal that the group aptly names Dream Alliance, or Dream for short. To make their winning dreams a reality, the syndicate must find a world-class trainer, a tall order for thoroughbred owners on a budget. Fortunately, one of the country’s top trainers sees the potential in Dream, and they’re soon off to the races.

What follows is an exciting series of races, and ups and downs, that take Dream and the syndicate of misfits all the way to the Welsh Grand National, a race on par with the Triple Crown.

"Dream Horse" is directed by Euros Lyn, a Welsh native best known as a television director for his work on the BBC’s "Dr. Who" series. Lyn wanted to share the story, which he says is a local legend that will resonate with people worldwide to inspire others to continue to dream and achieve great things.

Rated PG (for language and thematic elements), "Dream Horse" runs 1 hour and 53 minutes. It arrives in theaters on May 21 and will available on-demand on June 11.

"Dream Horse" is an inspiring film worth watching for all ages.

This is Linda Jager with the KPCW Friday Film Review