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Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story
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Index 106 reviews in total 

59 out of 71 people found the following review useful:

"Inspired by" and Inspiring

Author: tmbeah from United States
23 October 2005

As a long time horse racing fan and a former horse loving little girl, this movie had to go on my must see list. I would definitely recommend it for all families - and the adults may be surprised how much they enjoy it also. There is one scary scene for some young kids when the filly breaks down early in the movie - but this scene is part of the commercials that already have been on TV, so it should not be too much of a shock. As a racing fan, I found a few points that stretched credibility, but this is a "dream" after all, and they do point out that putting a filly or mare in the Breeder's Cup Classic has hardly ever been done, much less expecting she can win enough of the purse to justify the high entry fee needed. Even Azeri, who was a horse of the year, ran 5th when she took on male horses in the Classic. Sonador could have run in the Breeder's Cup Distaff instead, paid less for the entry fees, and still have astounded everyone with a win (when Mariah's Storm, the "inspired by" horse ran in the Breeder's Cup Distaff after her injury she did not win). Over all the movie does a pretty good job of representing the factual background (children can't generally be licensed as race horse owners, but the plot certainly works much better this way!).

I do think that if they are going to make "Inspired by a true story" part of the title, they should have provided information about this some where - perhaps as a post script at the end - but they do not. You have to find interviews with the screen writer to learn that it was inspired by Mariah's Storm who broke her leg as a 2 year old when she was expected to be a favorite in the 1993 Breeder's Cup Juvenile Fillies, but later returned to racing and won several graded stakes races. She has gone on to be the dam of several stakes winners, including Giants Causeway, who is one of the studs they admire at Ashmore Stud when looking for a horse to breed Sonadore to. Mariah's Storm is 14 years old now and is still having babies. I suspect that on their trip to the breeding farm we may be seeing the actual retired race horses, as the studs shown (Fusaichi Pegasus, Giant's Causeway, Johannesburg, Grand Slam) are all actually owned by Coolmore Lexington (formerly Ashmore Stud) in Kentucky. While inspired by Mariah's Storm, the movie is not really based on her. In fact, at one point, the characters talk about Mariah's Storm, when saying it may be possible for Sonador to race again after her broken leg, just like Mariah's Storm had. Grand Slam (the horse they considered breeding Sonador to) also made a comeback from an injury he suffered running in the 1997 Breeder's Cup Juvenile.

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48 out of 54 people found the following review useful:

Dreamer - A Delightful Story - Delightful Film

10/10
Author: mls-11 (mls@mahaska.org) from United States
27 October 2005

My wife and I saw this movie today, and were very happy to have spent the time and the emotion.

This is a heartwarming experience for virtually any viewer with a soul. Far beyond a simple story about a horse, this film delves in to multi-generational relationships and human frailty. In its relatively short time duration, the film depicted a great deal of real life.

Dakota Fanning is a remarkable actor. It is almost frightening to see someone of her tender years with such screen presence and ability to deliver a range of emotion so convincingly. If only the film industry will refrain from corrupting her - and her support group helps to keep her "real" - she will undoubtedly evolve into an excellent adult performer.

Kurt Russell is a perennial favorite of ours. We both commented on the joy of watching the growth of his career and ability from his child roles of Disney films through his present "mature" stage of career. Whether a husband and father in "Dreamer" or a dysfunctional husband and brother in "Backdraft, he is enjoyable to watch.

Kris Kristofferson as a crusty old horse person with a huge, warm heart, was a nice addition to the film. We have long acknowledge that his acting talent far exceeds his musical prowess.

Last, but not least, there is Elisabeth Shue. Since "Adventures in Babysitting," we have enjoyed her performances. She is beautiful, charming, adept, versatile and willing to take professional risks. It is unfortunate that the film industry does not provide her more good roles for someone of her abilities.

It is pleasing that "Dreamer" - and films of its style - are made. Such entertainment vehicles support a means to keep families bonded. "Dreamer" is a great way for families to spend a couple of hours together.

Don't hesitate to see this film. Open your heart, connect your soul to your brain, and enjoy yourself!

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44 out of 48 people found the following review useful:

Not Exactly True, But A Wonderful Inspired Story

10/10
Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
21 March 2006

Well, I just got through watching this much-anticipated film (by me) and it didn't disappoint except for one thing: I thought it was a true story. I didn't play close enough attention to the word "inspired" in the title because, unlike the story of Seabiscuit, this isn't what really happened.

It's based on a nice comeback story a real racehorse, Mariah's Storm, which did make a great comeback from a serious injury but not to the extent of what happens here in this movie. This was exaggerated to the hilt for dramatic purposes, but that's okay once you know that because the story is, indeed, "inspirational."

Most important, this is about as nice a modern-day film as you will ever find. There's nary a swear word, hardly even a raised voice. There are nice characters and a sweet, family-friendly tone to it with a tear-in-your-eyes Seabiscuit-type tale and ending.

Dakota Fanning once again demonstrates why she is the greatest child actor of her generation. Kurt Russell is excellent, too. Ole Kurt must be mellowing these days playing subdued nice guys like this. It's good to see. The same goes for Elisabeth Shue. This is a far cry from her role in Leaving Las Vegas. Even Kris Kristofferson holds his tongue in this film! Amazing.

Like Seabiscuit, this also is beautifully filmed. I wonder if any sport is filmed and is just surrounded by all this beauty in real-life, too, like horse racing? It IS "the sport of kings." There is some spectacular scenery in here, much of it in Kentucky and where better to be when filming a horse racing story?

So, if you and your kids - or just you - want to settle in for nice film, and you're looking for a pleasing, nice-looking, feel-good story you absolutely cannot miss with this film. Very highly recommended.

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50 out of 70 people found the following review useful:

Great Family Movie!!!

10/10
Author: rlnutt (rlnutt@sbcglobal.net) from Texas
23 October 2005

My wife dragged me to this movie and I kinda thought I might enjoy it, so, I didn't fight it too much. Once the movie started and I got into the plot, I was hooked. My wife started crying within the first 15 minutes and she didn't stop until we walked out of the theater!!! It was the good kind of crying... not bad!!! Take the WHOLE family to the classic Disney type story!!! If you have any ability to follow how these types of movies go, then you will know the outcome long before it happens... it doesn't matter because you'll be wanting that outcome and you'll embrace it when it happens!!! Good acting, as always, from Kurt Russell and even Kris Kristofferson showed some range. Young Dakota Fanning has to be one of the most talented actresses of our time!! I could never see her as a 'child actor'... she an actress that just happens to be a child!!! GO SEE THIS MOVIE!!! You won't be sorry!!

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61 out of 93 people found the following review useful:

a Truly Moving Picture

10/10
Author: tollini from United States
15 September 2005

I saw this film on September 13th in Indianapolis. I am one of the judges for the Heartland Film Festival that screens films for their Truly Moving Picture Award. A Truly Moving Picture "…explores the human journey by artistically expressing hope and respect for the positive values of life." Heartland gave that award to this film.

The setting is the beautiful horse country around Lexington, KY. A dysfunctional horse family falls on hard times. The family includes a grandfather (Kris Kristofferson), a son (Kurt Russell), his wife (Elisabeth Shue), and their daughter (Dakota Fanning). The son is a horse trainer and loses his job abruptly and takes with him a badly injured horse to his shrunken, empty, rundown horse farm.

Just as the horse, Sonador, which is Spanish for Dreamer, struggles to become healthy, the family also struggles to become a caring, loving unit again. The indomitable spirit of the daughter as she cares for the horse forces the family to confront their problems. And ultimately they do face their problems with courage, spirit and even heroism.

The acting in this movie by the family members was superb. But Dakota Fanning deserves a special mention. It seems once a generation there is an outstanding child actor that is believable. She is this generation's child actor.

The cinematography and music score are outstanding. The horse country comes alive and you begin to understand why "…the sport of kings…" becomes many people's profession.

FYI – There is a Truly Moving Pictures web site where there is a listing of past winners going back 70 years.

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28 out of 37 people found the following review useful:

Superb Story-telling

8/10
Author: maknight71 from SC, United States
6 October 2005

I was lucky enough to be able to preview this film on October 6, in Greenville, SC with my wife. While I had seen the previews several months ago for this film and thought it looked pretty good, I went in thinking it would be just another "chick flick". I was wrong. The story-telling was superb and very rarely dragged along, holding the attention well (I never looked at my watch). The acting was very good from all involved and Dakota is cute as ever. The drama was riveting without being over done or heavy-handed. All in all this film is a winner (no puns intended) and great for people of all ages (and genders).

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42 out of 70 people found the following review useful:

A Superb F.I.L.M.!

10/10
Author: Liza from United States
20 September 2005

I screened Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story on August 23rd in Washington DC. This beautiful film, a Truly Moving Picture, teaches children that they can achieve their goals despite any obstacles that may stand in their way.

Set in Lexington, Kentucky, this is a story about perseverance and empowerment in the face of hardship. Cale Crane (Dakota Fanning) dreams of having a race horse on her father's farm again. Although the family does not have enough money to purchase a new horse, Cale's father Ben Crane (Kurt Russell) acquires an injured racehorse named Sonador, the Spanish word for "dreamer."

The story that ensues encourages all children to reach high. Despite their economic setbacks, everyone on the Crane farm believes that they can nurse Sonador back to health. Although there are age and cultural differences among the family members and farm workers, they all find inspiration in Cale's unwavering determination. While working towards the goal of healing their injured horse, broken relationships within the family are healed.

In addition to providing an inspirational message, this film also succeeds in vividly depicting a rural lifestyle in which horses and people are closely connected. Children who view this movie can learn about the deep bonds between animals and humans.

Because of the positive messages this film exudes, it has been chosen as the upcoming featured film for a new joint project between the National Collaboration for Youth and Heartland Truly Moving Pictures. The exciting project, F.I.L.M. (an acronym for "Finding Inspiration in Movies and Literature") includes a three step process in which children screen select films, use activity guides for each film, and then partake in service learning projects.

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16 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

A Nutshell Review: Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story

7/10
Author: DICK STEEL from Singapore
11 January 2006

The premise of this movie is so similar to 2003's Seabiscuit, you'd think you're watching yet another biography of a real horse in some extraordinary, inspiring film that might just make you want to head down to the nearest race course and observe a real race.

But Dreamer (or Sonador as the horse is named) takes a slightly different angle in this tale about second chances and comebacks. If compared to Seabiscuit, yes, we have a horse with great potential faced with the troubles of breaking a leg during a competitive race. As with all race horses, this means instant death, as they have no future value, and are bred for the sole purpose of racing.

We also have a superb trainer, Ben Crane, played by Kurt Russell, and the doctor (Holmes Osborne), the written-off jockey (Freddy Rodriguez), the stable-hand (Luis Guzman), etc. But here's where the similarities end. Dreamer is a more personal film, with family friendly characters, like the daughter (Dakota Fanning), the wife (Elizabeth Shue), and the grandfather (Kris Kristofferson). Nursing the horse back to health had actually brought the family closer together, and that in itself makes this film quite cliché in its many "been-there-done-that" before moments to touch.

Dakota Fanning has held her own against "father-figure" heavyweights like Robert De Niro, Denzel Washington, and Tom Cruise, though many would have pointed out that she had rivaled Naomi Watts for the 2005 Scream Queen honors with her performance in War of the Worlds. Here, Fanning has returned to more credible acting, albeit in a safer role.

Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story, is a heartwarming tale about believing in oneself, having dreams, believing that you can achieve, and take action to achieve those dreams. While watching the movie, I can't help but chuckle at the parallels in seeing how my team and I are sticking together, just like those characters, in wanting to see our dream of making a short film, and entering it into competitions (in this case, the Breeder's Cup) come to a reality.

It's that kind of film, an inspiring one. It might be clichéd, the premise might be too good to be true, but hey, success might come to those who dare to dream, believe, and more importantly, do.

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19 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

Go see this movie...and dream along.

10/10
Author: rlbpe
25 October 2005

An uplifting, heartwarming movie...inspires one to dream and dream big. It's a must see, especially for the lovers of horses. Rivals the Horse Whisperer as my favorite movie revolving around horses. Kurt Russell is great, as always. Dakota Fanning is a very special young actress, perhaps a greater talent at her age than Drew Barrymore. Kris Kristofferson play his usual gritty character. And last but not least, it's great to see Elisabeth Shue on the silver screen again. She is a natural beauty and a great actress. The movie is very timely in that it involves the Breeder's Cup, which, at the time of this writing, is coming up this weekend. It's a movie for all ages, and if it comes out on DVD before Christmas, it'll make a wonderful gift.

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11 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Such A Great Movie!

10/10
Author: Alyssa from Canada
6 November 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Wow, I saw this movie last night and it was amazing! I have always had a love for horses and have been around them for over seven years, but that's not the only reason why I loved "Dreamer" as much as I did.

All the actors and actresses did such a great job in this movie. I have been a fan of Dakota Fanning for a while now, and I think she does well in almost everything she does, but I don't think it would be possible for her to do any better than she did in this movie. She played her character Cale Crane, perfectly. It was obvious throughout the movie that she loved her horse, Sonador, with all of her heart. She would even sneak out at night to feed her Popsicles! In real life, Dakota has her own horse named Goldie, so she was already used to being around horses before she started filming this movie.

Kurt Russel also did an amazing job in this movie. Honestly, I don't think there is any other actor out there that deserved that part more than he did. I've seen Elisabeth Shue (Lily Crane) in another one of her most recent movies, "Hide and Seek," which is a completely different genre of movie, but I thought she did a great job in it, and "Dreamer" as well. Dakota Fanning was also in "Hide and Seek," and did a great job too, as usual.

I didn't even notice one single thing in this movie that I would have changed. It was just so good, and I think there should be more movies like this to be made in the future. Everyone in the theater clapped and cheered when Cale's horse Sonador, crossed the finish line in first place at the Breeder's Cup. "Dreamer" is a movie that anyone can enjoy, so if you are looking for a really, really good, inspirational movie, I highly suggest you go see this one. 10/10.

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