User Score
6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 42 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 42
  2. Negative: 10 out of 42

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User Reviews

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
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.