An under-horse story arrives at charming the hearts of moviegoers in Bleecker Street’s Dream Horse from director Euros Lyn. The film tells the inspiring true story of Dream Alliance, an unlikely racehorse bred by a small-town bartender, Jan Vokes (Toni Collette).
In the former mining village of Cefn Fforest in South Wales, Jan Vokes (Toni Collette) rises at dawn each morning to clean and work the register at the local supermarket. She bartends at a workingmen’s club at night, all while caring for her elderly parents and husband, Brian (Owen Teale). An animal lover who has raised rabbits, whippets, and even prize-winning pigeons. Jan finds inspiration from club patron Howard Davies’ (Damian Lewis), who was once part of a syndicate that owned a winning racehorse.
Not letting her husband’s lack of support furthermore despite being strapped for cash, she buys an undistinguished mare. She then installs her in a makeshift stable in her garden. Breeding and training a racehorse will take thousands of pounds more, so Jan enlists the help of a motley crew of 23 villagers to each contribute ten pounds a week to join a fledgling syndicate.
Using their retirement savings to pay the stud fee, Jan and Brian are overjoyed when the mare gives birth. They name the foal Dream Alliance and bring him to Philip Hobbs (Nicholas Farrell), a successful trainer. Impressed by the horse’s raw talent and Jan’s fierce optimism tentatively agrees to take him on.
Even though my step-grandfather was a horse trainer and my wife knows horse facts like I know New Edition trivia, I have never been an animal person. Nevertheless, I am a fan of Toni Collette, so I will generally watch anything she does. Dream Horse is a harmless movie that is strictly for a specific audience. Honestly, I am not in that demographic. However, as I sat watching the film with my wife, I found joy in the moments where my wife would point out what was wrong or acknowledge the authentic horse traits.
I will also admit I enjoyed seeing Dream Alliance grow and achieve its goals. The cast is strong and having fun with the film and the positive vibes of a true story. Dream Horse isn’t a film that I will ever revisit. However, equestrian fans and families will find much to enjoy with the film.
Final Grade: B
Dream Horse opens limited In Theaters May 21st and will be available On Demand June 11th