Review: Feel-good Dream Horse allows a community to hope

Dream Horse, Cineworld Cinemas (PG), (113 mins)

Sunday, 6th June 2021, 5:53 pm
Dream Horse
Dream Horse

The power of hope – arguably exactly what we all need right now – is appealingly captured in the stirring, if rather predictable Dream Horse.

It’s the tale of the Welsh village which bred a racehorse not because they wanted the money (they didn’t make much) but because, almost without realising it, they simply needed to dream. And in this respect, they dreamed big and beautifully.

Dream Horse is based on a true story, as so many in this growing line of plucky-Brits-in-adversity movies so often are – and just like its predecessors, whether it be stripping steel workers or stripping WI ladies or singing fishermen or singing military wives – it ends up rousing and indeed moving for all we know precisely where it is going.

Toni Collette leads the cast as the Welsh housewife who works all hours and whose only rewards are to be ignored by a husband who has long since stopped noticing her and to be taken for granted by a pair of parents who haven’t a clue that she might have her own thoughts and feelings.

And that’s when she comes up with the idea of breeding a race horse, a rather unexpected way of finding a real reason to get up in the morning.

Inevitably she’s faced with local opposition; inevitably it melts away as the community gels; inevitably their race horse overcomes all the odds; inevitably it suffers serious injury; inevitably we can guess what’s coming next.

But for all the familiarity of the journey the film takes, there’s no doubting the genuineness of the spirit behind it, nor the attractiveness of all the varied and colourful performances the film conjures from its cast, from Damian Lewis as the fellow investor with a past which isn’t quite fully given to Owen Teale who finally rises out of his lazy, all-accepting slumber through life.

It’s an attractive, life-affirming 113 minutes you’ll spend with these Welsh villagers and their gee-gee – and maybe it’s a film which will seem all the more likeable the more you think about it afterwards. Certainly a lovely thread running through it is the way the non-professionals successfully take down the racing elite. A victory for the little (Welsh wo)man.