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Movie Review - Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating


Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story from Dreamworks

Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story


The Bottom Line

This is a horse racing movie that fills the niche between recent successes "Seabiscuit" and "Racing Stripes", perfect for families to watch together. Shot on location at the Fair Grounds, the old Evangeline Downs, and picturesque Keeneland Racecourse, racing fans will appreciate the familiar scenery. Definitely a movie to bring children to, to introduce them to the pageantry and sport that is horse racing.


  • Very accurate portrayal of the racing business
  • Breathtaking cinematography accompanied by an excellent classical music score
  • Writers make sure the Breeders' Cup is explained concisely to potential new fans
  • Excellent movie that old and young alike can enjoy
  • Ticket stub from any Loews Cineplex gets you into the 2005 Breeders' Cup for free!


  • Pulled out every cliche in the book, very predictable story
  • Breakdown scene early in the movie may be frightening to some


  • A formulaic story filled with cliches, but still enjoyable for all audiences.
  • Dakota Fanning performed beautifully in her role
  • Unlike in Seabiscuit, the characters actually place bets on their horse!
  • Writers made a point of explaining the Breeders' Cup to those unfamiliar with racing's Championships
  • It was entertaining to hear Dakota Fanning explain the Breeders' Cup field selection process!
  • Fans who dream of a Breeders' Cup at Keeneland with Trevor Denman as announcer get their wish here
  • Parents are advised that there is one scary scene, the very graphic breakdown early in the film

Guide Review - Movie Review - Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story

In his directorial debut, John Gatins brings together Kurt Russell and Dakota Fanning as the father and daughter in a dysfunctional family brought closer together by a horse. Trainer Ben Crane loses his job when he refuses to put down a stakes-quality filly who breaks down in a race at the Fair Grounds, because he did not want his horse-loving daughter Cale to witness such an atrocity. He accepts the horse and some cash as severance, and takes the stricken filly home. Now forced to keep his daughter's dream alive despite the family farm nearing bankruptcy, he, his father (played by Kris Kristofferson) and two assistants, a groom and an exercise rider who used to be a jockey, nurse Sonedor back to health. Having had ownership of the horse signed over to her, Cale decides that "Sonya" would make her comeback in the most difficult of spots, the Breeders' Cup Classic. Somehow the family finds enough money to pay the entry fees, and Sonya is off to Keeneland for the Classic with jockey Manolin (Freddy Rodriguez) in the irons making his comeback from a racing injury of his own.

The story may be predictable, as you'd expect in a family movie about a girl and her horse, but Gatins successfully tugs at the heart strings while at the same time presenting an accurate portrayal of racing life. Cinematographer Fred Murphy provided some breathtaking scenery of Kentucky horse country, while composer John Debney produced the melodic score to accompany it.

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