The world of horse racing is usually reserved for the uber-wealthy who love the glamour of the sport and the prestige that comes with winning. But, the true story of Dream Horse true flies in the face of that norm.
Dream Horse is about Jan Vokes (Toni Collette), a small-town Welsh bartender who decides to breed a racehorse, inviting her friends to contribute some of their meagre wages to help get him on the track and compete with the big guns. Jan’s got little experience – aside from being an award-winning pigeon breeder, and when other owners find out about her “allotment-bred” stallion they all but write-off her plans.
Reminiscent of last year’s Ride Like a Girl, Dream Horse is about rising up in the face of prejudice and the cost of success in this competitive sport, but more so anchors itself in an exploration of hope and its power.
Jan is settled into a life that doesn’t inspire her anymore. She’s working multiple jobs, looking after elderly parents and her husband Brian (Owen Teale) is more interested in the TV than her. Jan tells him, “I need a reason to get up in the morning” and raising her horse (Dream Alliance) becomes that.
At one point, Jan tells Dream that their unique connection has allowed her to not just be “Brian’s wife” or “the barkeep” but she can now be completely herself. She looks at life before and after raising him, and knows he’s given her newfound purpose.
It does something similar for the entire village syndicate. They’re a collection of misfits, pensioners, and idle hands who all benefit from the common cause in different ways.
Howard Davies (Damian Lewis) is among them, and he’s got an addictive personality that’s been burned by horse racing before. As the only member with a connection to the sport, he becomes Jan’s mentor and she helps him recover from the mistakes of his past.
Dream Horse truly is thrilling to watch, as you experience the intensity of hooves pounding on the track and the split second kinks that can make it all come undone. You can’t help but feel a swell of emotion as Jan and her compadres ride the highs and lows of the sidelines, falling in love with Dream Alliance as he holds the hearts of the town.
Dream Horse is a great watch for teens and adults, offering inspiration for those who need to find hope once more. It beautifully proves how helpful community is in helping us soothe loneliness, feel joy and find reasons to love life.
Dream Horse is in cinemas now. Rated PG