User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 39 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 39
  2. Negative: 10 out of 39
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  1. DonnaB.
    Oct 27, 2006
    10
    In a time of such violence, this is truly a welcomed movie. One based on unconditional love. Love for an injured animal that could have had its life cut short instead of being given the time, care and love to heal, allowing it to do what it was meant to do... run. A truly heartwarming movie.
  2. MarkB.
    Jan 4, 2006
    5
    What's with that title, anyway? Besides its obvious structural ungainliness (I doubt that many theater employees bothered to put more than the first word on the marquee anyway), it places the movie's goings-on under immediate suspicion: even relatively unsophisticated patrons know that the difference between "based on a true story" and "inspired by a true story" is the What's with that title, anyway? Besides its obvious structural ungainliness (I doubt that many theater employees bothered to put more than the first word on the marquee anyway), it places the movie's goings-on under immediate suspicion: even relatively unsophisticated patrons know that the difference between "based on a true story" and "inspired by a true story" is the difference between a waterproof watch and a water-resistant one. (And the final seconds of the closing credits bear this out.) This is an extremely tried-and-not-so-true story of a little girl who Beats Innumerable Odds to enter her beloved underdog horse in The Big Race; the plot details and outcome are crystal-clear from the first 5 minutes on to anyone over the age of 3 and/or who has seen more than twenty movies in his or her lifetime. (The only thing remotely resembling a surprise is how the young heroine manages to feed "Dreamer" so many cherry popsicles without giving him a brain freeze.) It's essentially harmless, I guess: the horse and the Kentucky scenery are lovely to look at; it's nice to see the adorable Dakota Fanning in a film that doesn't require her to be tormented either by aliens or Robert DeNiro; the rest of the cast performs adequately, even though Kurt Russell was more effective in the equally inspirational but far more imaginative 2004 hockey film Miracle and Elisabeth Shue needs to add a cheeseburger or two to her diet. Major debits include one of those all-encompassing, instruct-the-audience-exactly-how-to-feel music scores (by the usually capable John Debney, who also did The Passion of the Christ) that does nothing more than reiterate how numbingly predictable the rest of the movie is. Again, I suppose your family could do a lot worse, but with the cost of a night at the movies being what it is these days, why not just buy some Orville Redenbacher popcorn, a couple of 2-liter bottles of your favorite soft drink and a DVD of the Elizabeth Taylor-Mickey Rooney classic National Velvet and treat your kids to a REAL movie about horse racing? Expand
  3. Harriet
    Nov 28, 2005
    3
    It may have been inspired by a true story but the story presented never happened. Sappy and bland.
  4. wesley
    Nov 17, 2005
    1
    Cutesy but not much substance. Forgotten as soon as you leave the theater.
  5. JoanP.
    Oct 22, 2005
    10
    This is a beautiful movie chock full of great performances. Treat yourself to a wonderful family film and see "Dreamer."
  6. TeddyA.
    Oct 25, 2005
    2
    As a member of the thoroughbred industry I had eagerly looked forward to seeing this movie. I had hoped that it would be on par with the highly successful Seabiscuit. Instead, I was horrified to see Disney pull out every tear jerker imaginable Hollywood style while ignoring every basic concept of horse racing. It's disgraceful to sensationalize this as a true story because the movie As a member of the thoroughbred industry I had eagerly looked forward to seeing this movie. I had hoped that it would be on par with the highly successful Seabiscuit. Instead, I was horrified to see Disney pull out every tear jerker imaginable Hollywood style while ignoring every basic concept of horse racing. It's disgraceful to sensationalize this as a true story because the movie distorted all truths. If you even wanted to say this was loosely based on a true story, even that would be a reach. As for the film, it's a very slow developing story with a predictable Hollywood ending. Why Disney would insult its' audience with such a ridiculous premise is beyond all belief? $15,000 claiming horses do not run in the Breeders Cup Classic and have no chance to even be considered for the race. And a filly, if qualified, which Sonya wasn't, would run in the Distaff, not the Classic. And finally, when she's injured, the farm manager would never give her away for a mere $3,000 in back pay. She was worth considerably more as a brood mare. The entire story is preposterous. Expand
  7. TriciaE.
    Oct 6, 2006
    10
    It's great! I love these types of movies.
  8. ChadS.
    Jan 8, 2006
    8
    Yes, "Dreamer" can be a little disingenuous for the sake of tugging heartstrings. It may occur to some viewers that Sonador is being abused by Cale (Dakota Fanning) and her family. If the horse's owner was, say, Veruca Salt, we would be second-guessing the Crane's plans to run a horse that was rehabbing a broken leg. What Cale is doing could be construed as borderline animal Yes, "Dreamer" can be a little disingenuous for the sake of tugging heartstrings. It may occur to some viewers that Sonador is being abused by Cale (Dakota Fanning) and her family. If the horse's owner was, say, Veruca Salt, we would be second-guessing the Crane's plans to run a horse that was rehabbing a broken leg. What Cale is doing could be construed as borderline animal abuse, probably. But if you ignore this obscure angle, "Dreamer" actually works in spite of our abilities to recite all the sports movie cliches, chapter and verse. If you're not jaded and cynical, the final outcome, unlikely although it may be, is actually more exciting than Seabiscuit's win, even though Sonador's story is largely fictionalized. But really, there should've been some acknowledgement by somebody in the movie, or the filmmaker, that Sonador could've reinjured her leg and be sent off to the Gary Larson Animal Hospital. "Dreamer" hints at being a much darker film. Ben (Kurt Russell) already is something of a bastard, but then he lets her daughter make all the decisions concerning Sonador's future after the horse's leg is healed. That's too much responsibility for a little girl. Fanning would've had the chance to outcry Ricky Schroeder in "The Champ" if her horse crumpled in a heap during the climactic race. Expand
  9. rlb
    Nov 25, 2005
    9
    I thought it was very refreshing to see a movie without cussing and violence. If you're an innocent kid or a mature adult, you will enjoy this movie. All of you others don't bother.
  10. [Anonymous]
    Oct 17, 2005
    10
    Inspiring for young children who may have "unreasonable" dreams. Excellent!
  11. DavieR.
    Oct 22, 2005
    6
    Wanted to love this film? But unfortunately it is so sterile that it is very hard to do so. The film is very slow moving, and for children, it will activate their ADD. Every cliche in the book is used with predictable results. As for the technical aspect of the film, there are more holes than swiss cheese. But unless you fully understand the thoroughbred racing business and how it truly Wanted to love this film? But unfortunately it is so sterile that it is very hard to do so. The film is very slow moving, and for children, it will activate their ADD. Every cliche in the book is used with predictable results. As for the technical aspect of the film, there are more holes than swiss cheese. But unless you fully understand the thoroughbred racing business and how it truly works much of this will escape the audience. The sad part is that the actors really do a good job. Dakota Fanning is absolutely darling even if she's an 80-yr. old woman trapped in a ten-year old's body? Unfortunately, the bad guys are the bad guys and the good guys are the good guys with the moral of the story that good triumphs over evil. With just a little bit more imagination this film could have been so much more. Kurt Russell gives his best performance since playing the part of Herb Brooks. Kris demonstrates once again that he is an underused Hollywood star playing the part of Kurt's father. Overall, it's an okay movie but far from great. Even giving it a score of six is a bit of a stretch, but then again, I am a hopeless romantic at heart. Just wish they had placed more thought into this bland script. The film comes across as a dose of weak tea and dry toast. Expand
  12. SusanM.
    Apr 18, 2006
    8
    How cold do you have to be to not like this movie? What were you expecting from it? It's a cute movie about a kid and horse and a family that finds itself in the face of hardship. I quite enjoyed it. Dakota Fanning is a terrific actress!
  13. beccam.
    Nov 1, 2005
    10
    It was a very good movie it was tense and had the whole theater on their feet. I belive that it is good for all ages. My mom said it was the best movie she had seen all year.
  14. CindyW.
    Nov 12, 2005
    10
    A beautifully filmed, beautifully acted film for those who love a good family film. Dakota Fanning is such an expressive actor.
  15. Adrian
    Nov 16, 2005
    1
    Shucks this was goddawn awful and a tall tale at that. Avoid ya all hear!
  16. Reggie
    Nov 18, 2005
    0
    I think I want to puke. Nothing could be this lame or could it?
  17. LeoS.
    Oct 17, 2005
    10
    Simple, linear and moving, the film hits all the right notes for a true family film. It is a nice story, beautiful scenery, attractive characters and enough drama to cause the little ones some concern. No aliens, no explosions, just the world's greatest actress getting the role she deserves. You could see tough-guy Kurt just melting around Dakota. His best performance.
  18. RichardB.
    Oct 23, 2005
    5
    It is a wonderful children's story but offers no reality for any individual possessing any knowledge of the racetrack. Therefore, it makes it very hard to like when presented in such a distorted manner. The acting is robotic with every cliche from racetrack lore used. And the ending is telegraphed about twenty minutes into the film. To see the studio obliterate all authenticity It is a wonderful children's story but offers no reality for any individual possessing any knowledge of the racetrack. Therefore, it makes it very hard to like when presented in such a distorted manner. The acting is robotic with every cliche from racetrack lore used. And the ending is telegraphed about twenty minutes into the film. To see the studio obliterate all authenticity without so much as educating the viewers is simply awful. As I said, it makes a nice children's story but not much else. Expand
  19. Froman
    Oct 26, 2005
    8
    To all the critics who gave this a 70 and below...idiots. Stop concentrating on the trees and remember what true storytelling is.
  20. Hollie
    Oct 27, 2005
    3
    Froman the problem is it is NOT TRUE Story telling. It is complete FANTASY LAND and that is the problem. Nothing is truthful nor makes any sense. The story is a fabrication of the author. In other words it is a total lie. If you want to tell a FAIRYTALE based on a TRUE story you don't lie to your audience. This is what Disney did. Very slow moving and unbelievable. Not only did this Froman the problem is it is NOT TRUE Story telling. It is complete FANTASY LAND and that is the problem. Nothing is truthful nor makes any sense. The story is a fabrication of the author. In other words it is a total lie. If you want to tell a FAIRYTALE based on a TRUE story you don't lie to your audience. This is what Disney did. Very slow moving and unbelievable. Not only did this NOT HAPPEN, it can't happen. Expand
  21. ChristinaH.
    Nov 12, 2005
    10
    I must admit that the real reason that I went to see Dreamer was because large parts of the film were filmed in and around Lexington, KY, my hometown. While I am a HUGE horse-racing fan, I cringe a little at sappy, feel-good, cheesy stories involving 11-year-old girls. And so, I almost passed on Dreamer because of the trailers with Dakota Fanning. I was pleasantly surprised though. In I must admit that the real reason that I went to see Dreamer was because large parts of the film were filmed in and around Lexington, KY, my hometown. While I am a HUGE horse-racing fan, I cringe a little at sappy, feel-good, cheesy stories involving 11-year-old girls. And so, I almost passed on Dreamer because of the trailers with Dakota Fanning. I was pleasantly surprised though. In fact, reamer had far, far fewer moments that could be considered sappy or cloying than the much more publicized and well-regarded Seabiscuit. Dakota Fanning is a fantastic actor, and she plays the part of Cale Crane beautifully, only once (when Dreamer is reclaimed by her father as a surprise) striking a false note of over-enthusiastic cheesiness. The rest of the time, Fanning plays the horse-crazy, idealistic, and yet surprisingly level-headed Cale to a tee. Although it is true that the story follows a fairly predictable story arc, it is plainly clear that the writers and director are horse-racing fans. Despite the very economical story-telling (the movie almost felt too short and rushed from one scene to another), the story captured many of the fabulous quirks of horse-racing in Kentucky (not least the reference to the Saudi prince who flies his private 737 to Lexington to see his horse run against his brother's horse--the *real* sheik of Dubai has flown his 737 into Lexington for years, where he parks it on the tarmac at the airport across Versailles road from Keeneland...everyone *knows* when the sheik is in town to see or buy his horses). The cinematography captures the horse country around Lexington and Keeneland superbly--they look far better (and more realistic) here, unfussed with and pure, than they did in their limited exposure in Seabiscuit. The best testimony to the film's success as a crowd pleaser was its reception on a Saturday night, several weeks after the movie's release (mid-November), in a North Carolina theater. The majority of the audience were NOT horse-crazy adolescent girls, but rather adult couples, who spontaneously broke into applause at Sonya's triumph in the Breeder's Cup Classic, and who lingered at the end credits, clearly hoping for even more. (Actually, an infertile 3-year-old mare has got little ahead of her except to continue racing... How about a sequel where Sonador's earnings allow the Crane's to attempt to restore the family farm to its mysterious and mythical former glory?) All in all, Dreamer is a movie that promises a story about a horse overcoming the odds and a family coming together which delivers resoundingly and convincingly on both counts. (There are a handful of minor goofs in the movie in terms of accuracy, but they do not detract from the overall film. More amusing than anything else is the scene in the pasture where Sonador, who is supposed to be a filly, is very, VERY clearly played by a gelding.) Collapse
  22. Aug 23, 2012
    7
    I enjoyed watching this movie, but I wish there were more progression with the horse and the characters before going into the very best race (such as the true steel movie, where there were many challenges, where they start losing and win later).
  23. Jul 3, 2013
    0
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This movie is so unbelievably predictable. I kid you not, before the movie I guessed the ENTIRE plot when i heard it was about a girl and a race horse. It is so cliche that I guessed each sunset scene, the part where the bad guy tries to buy the horse, the horse being announced last in the choosing of horses to race, and the hopeless race that they suddenly won. I do not believe this is a true story. It's a load of crap. It is an abomination of cinema and pathetic. Expand
Metascore
59

Mixed or average reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. Recycles just about every sentimental ploy and cliche from a raft of horse racing movies.
  2. Reviewed by: Joe Leydon
    60
    Modestly engaging but mostly unexceptional.
  3. 60
    There are no surprises in Dreamer--except that for all its visible and unselfconscious schmaltz, it's actually pretty enjoyable.