tek's rating:

Dreamer (PG)
DreamWorks (archived); IMDb; Rotten Tomatoes; Wikipedia

Caution: potential spoilers.

Well, this is "inspired by a true story," which is actually sort of the subtitle of the film. I don't know anything about horse racing, but from what little I read on Wikipedia, it sounds very loosely inspired by... whatever. Um, anyway, there's this horse trainer named Ben Crane, who takes his daughter Cale to work with him one day. (Cale is played by Dakota Fanning, who is the best part of the movie.) Ben was responsible for a horse named Soņador (Spanish for "Dreamer," hence the title), whose nickname is Sonya. Ben tells his boss, Everett Palmer, that Sonya shouldn't race that day, but he wants her to anyway, because of some rivalry between the horse's owner, and his brother. They're rich princes named Sadir and Tariq. (The princes have small roles in the film, even if their rivalry is the impetus for everything that happens.) Anyway, Sonya breaks her leg during the race, and Palmer wants her put down. Plus, he seems to blame Ben for what happened, even though Ben warned him not to race her. So, Ben gets fired. But he's owed some money for his work, and accepts part of the money, plus ownership of Sonya.

So, Ben takes Sonya back to his family's horse farm or whatever, which has suffered hard times in recent years, and doesn't have any horses anymore. And most of their land has been sold off already, and there's a mortgage that's gonna be foreclosed on soon. And Ben can't get work because... Palmer had him blacklisted, or something. So his wife, Lily, who works as a waitress, is pretty much the only source of income. There's also a subplot about Ben being... not on great terms with his father, who was also a good horse trainer. And Ben's not as close to Cale as he should be. But she gets close to Sonya, and that helps her get closer to her father (and Ben to his father). And um... so, the horse recuperates. And there's a plan to breed her, since she was sired by a champion, I guess. But that doesn't really pan out, and eventually, her leg heals better than expected. So Cale and her father and also a couple of guys who work for Ben, named Balon and Manny (the latter is a jockey with his own tragic backstory), all begin to hope that Sonya might, against all odds, be able to race again, herself.

But, there's always the problem of money. It was hard enough just worrying about the money it would cost to breed Sonya, and the cost of racing her is even more. But, this being one of those heartwarming, inspirational films, of course all odds have to be overcome one way or another (I did like how they finally find a sponsor for Sonya, in a way that brings the story full circle, sort of). And... I dunno. It's not a terribly exciting or cool movie, or anything, but one can't help but like an underdog story. And there's a bit of decent humor I guess. And as always, Dakota Fanning's utterly charming.... So, the movie was watchable, for sure, though it's not something I need to see again.


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