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Dreamer: Inspired By a True Story

Christian Movie Review

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating

By

Dreamer

Courtesy of © DreamWorks Pictures

Dreamer is not just the story of an amazing dream come true. It's a real-life look at how broken dreams can alter the course of our lives. We learn that crushed desires can ultimately be God's way of fulfilling even greater dreams, if we have the courage to take the risky steps toward healing. In Dreamer each character faces pain and masters fear to realize a lifetime dream. The theatre audience cheered with rare emotion, we cried, we laughed, and in the end we applauded a great story.

Synopsis:

• Genre: Drama
• DVD Release: March 21, 2006
• Film Release Date: October 21, 2005
• Rated: PG
• Distributed by: DreamWorks Pictures
• Director: John Gatins
• Cast: Kurt Russell (Ben), Dakota Fanning (Cale), Kris Kristofferson (Pop Crane), Elizabeth Shue (Lilly)
• Writer: John Gatins
• Producers: Mike Tollin and Brian Robbins

Dreamer is the story of a young girl, Cale (Dakota Fanning), who longs for a close relationship with her adored father. Ben Crane (Kurt Russell), Cale's father is a great horseman who sacrifices everything to save an injured racehorse, Soñador (called Sonya - means "dreamer" in Spanish). Sonya's bright future on the racetrack is suddenly cut short by a career-ending broken leg. Out of love for Cale, Ben rescues Sonya from euthanasia and takes the horse as severance pay on the day he loses his job. With unstoppable faith and determination, Cale unites two damaged souls, the father she adores and the horse she loves. Together they surmount great hurdles, both physical and emotional, to compete in the Breeders' Cup Classic, turning broken dreams into a miraculous, many-faceted victory.

Valuable Elements:

Manolin (Freddy Rodriguez), the exercise jockey, aspires to be a great professional jockey until his dream is destroyed by a devastating fall. He now has nightmares about racing, which he accepts as God's way of telling him, "No more racing." But through the same determination he sees in Cale, Ben, and Sonya, he too faces his fears and God grants him a new dream - to race again. We see him praying to God. We see "the bad guy" defeated. We see a mother's dream fulfilled - to have her family restored. We see a father and son forgive each other and rebuild their bond.

The overwhelming spiritual theme woven into the story is found in Romans 8:28, "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." (NLT) A potentially fatal injury, numerous failed hopes and devastating set backs, these things work together to bring about something good, something even better than originally dreamed.

Visit the official Dreamer Web site for:
Family Faith and Values Activity Guide
Christian Study Guide

Negative Elements:

Racially prejudiced remarks are made in the film toward Mexicans, however, these insults are spoken by the villain in the story, played by David Morse. Later, more of these racial insults are boldly objected to by the hero, and the villain is rightly put in his place.

Sexual Content:

None.

Violence:

The injury to Sonya is dramatically, but not graphically depicted.

Language:

There are three uses of the d-word.

Drug and Alcohol:

None.

Conclusion:

Writer-director Gatins explains, "Being a race fan, I had heard some amazing stories about horses that came back from what should have been career-ending injuries. Mariah's Storm was one such story that really stuck out in my mind." In 1994 Mariah's Storm came back after suffering a fractured left front cannon bone to be the only horse ever to win all three stakes races for her age class at Arlington. She was the filly who inspired Gatins to write Dreamer.

And I have to say, I loved every bit of this film! The casting is perfect, with Kris Kristofferson (Pop) and Kurt Russell truly resembling father and son. Dakota Fanning is completely captivating as Cale. When she clumsily seeks her father's approval, only to receive disappointing disinterest, I felt I could walk right into her emotions. She pursues her father with unconditional love, she believes in him and inspires him to believe in his dreams again.

The racing scenes are dramatic and engaging. The camera carries viewers right into the stands of the Lexington, Kentucky racetracks.

I believe the appeal of Dreamer is its ability to inspire us to "get back in the game," face the hurdles of broken dreams and believe an even better dream is waiting to be realized.

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