How many sports movies were inspired by a true story? “Remember the Titans” was about an African American football coach who coached high school football in a newly integrated and previously white school. Who could forget “Hoosiers” about a small town high school basketball team that wins a state championship? Are you ready for another sports movie based on a true story? Like some of the others mentioned, “Dreamer” is worth watching and is newly out on DVD.
In the movie racehorse trainer Ben Crane (Kurt Russell) loses his job after one of the horses he had trained, Soñador, breaks her leg during a race. Never mind that Ben had told the owner the horse needed rest. Ben, who demanded his full payment immediately for himself and the men who helped him train horses, was denied the chance by the owner. Instead the owner said he would give a partial payment and mail the rest. Ben took a lesser amount plus the horse-to keep the animal from being put to sleep.
Ben refuses to put the horse to sleep, and his daughter (Dakota Fanning) falls in love with the animal. Unemployed and penniless, Ben has a plan to treat Soñador and when her leg heals breed her to be able to sell the animal’s colt. All during the time there is bad blood between Ben and his father (Kris Kristofferson).
On the other hand, Cale, Ben’s daughter has dreams of the horse getting better and of racing her. Could that be only a child’s fantasy?
The plan to use the horse for breeding falls through. One day the horse, with a healed leg and with Cale on top, breaks free and starts running loose. After Ben chases the horse down and Cale jumps to her father, the other men who had helped Ben train horses noticed the animal was running pretty fast after recovering from a broken leg.
Then the training starts to get Soñador back into racing. No more of the plot will be revealed-to not spoil it for anyone who might want to watch it.
It will be mentioned, however, that this is a good movie for a family to watch together. One can learn a lesson from Ben about fathers spending time with their daughters.
One can be inspired by the value of never giving up on your dreams, after watching how Soñador succeeds after a broken leg. The movie was inspired by Mariah’s Storm, a horse that also had a broken leg and then came back to race again after the life threatening injury. Ben used Mariah’s Storm as an inspiration in the movie. In real life, Mariah’s Storm came back to win several races and raced in the famous Breeder’s Cup.
Also inspiring was how Ben fought for his wife, Lily (Elizabeth Shue) and Cale to provide for his family. Ten-year-old Cale then takes over as trainer and she had to act as strongly as an advocate for her horse as any grownup. She also asks Ben for help.
Other family values are demonstrated -one example was when Ben and his father work out their differences. Mom told Ben she would work seven days a week for her husband to spend more time with Cale. Ben once said he would have put the horse to sleep if Cale had not been there, and she overheard him. He later apologized for wronging her, telling her he made mistakes. He tells his wife she is smart and beautiful.
All of the actors in the movie did a convincing job. Russell told Entertainment Weekly that Fanning is the best actress he will ever work with. Russell has worked with Oscar winner Meryl Streep.
There were a few mild profanities in the movie, with he – – and d – – being used a very few times.
There is no real violence in the movie, but a scene is shown of Soñador breaking her leg in a race. Very young children could be frightened when the horse breaks free with Cale on her back.
The movie is rated PG.