Dream Horse movie review: This Toni Collette starrer is a heartfelt, charming movie thanks largely due to characters and performances.
Dream Horse cast: Toni Collette, Damian Lewis, Owen Teale, Joanna Page, Karl Johnson, Steffan Rhodri, Anthony O’Donnell, Nicholas Farrell, and Siân Phillips
Dream Horse director: Euros Lyn
Dream Horse movie rating: 4 stars
2015’s documentary Dark Horse told an unlikely tale of a racehorse, bred by a barmaid Jan Vokes in a small Welsh town, who defeated all odds to emerge a winner. Vokes had successfully persuades her husband, neighbours, and friends to invest money into her risky undertaking.
The equine went on to win the Welsh Grand National despite previously undergoing an injury that kills most horses. When I watched the documentary, I thought it was only a matter of time before a screenwriter or director would spot this wonderful story and turn it into a movie.
And Euros Lyn’s Dream Horse, written by Neil McKay, is here. The film naturally takes liberty with the truth to fill in the gaps and embellish the story and create drama. Despite the predictable nature of the story — you know the horse is going to win after the big setback, Dream Horse is a heartfelt, charming movie, thanks largely due to characters and performances.
Toni Collette is reliably superb in the lead role as Jan Vokes who decides to go into horseracing to escape the daily grind and find meaning in her tedious life. Jan had won a pigeon racing competition before, but lost her way somewhere down the line. Now, she makes a very expensive bet on a sport she has no experience with.
Owen Teale, who played the role of Ser Alliser Thorne in Game of Thrones, that scourge of Night’s Watch who was a lot of trouble for Jon Snow in the first few seasons, essays Jan’s husband Brian, lovingly called Daisy, a defeatist whose life has come to a standstill after arthritis. He is initially stupefied at his wife’s decision but finds an escape for himself with the venture .
The film’s supporting cast is populated with a lesser known but experienced array of actors that you will look twice to see where you’ve seen them before.
Thanks to engaging writing when it comes to the characters, which really brings out their innate Welshness (Toni is Aussie, but nearly the entire main cast is Welsh), each actor is given something to chew on. They are quirky, weird, funny and very, very Welsh.
Damian Lewis, Owen Teale, Joanna Page, Karl Johnson, Steffan Rhodri, Anthony O’Donnell, Nicholas Farrell, and Siân Phillips are some of the names in Dream Horse.
The film does not nearly focus on the finer details of horse breeding. Its main concern is human characters and their aspirations. Diehard equine enthusiasts might be disappointed at that. Also, as mentioned above, the story is also predictable, even if you are utterly unaware of the tale of real Dream Alliance. However, like many great stories, it is the journey that matters in the end.
In India, Dream Horse is available to watch on Book My Show Stream.
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