Review: Dreamer

Posted by: Dean Kish  //  October 21, 2005 @ 11:59am

Filed under: Reviews

A little girl, her horse, and a triumph of spirit are all elements that we have seen before in a lot of classic films like The Black Stallion, National Velvet, International Velvet, and of course The Horse Whisperer.

Dreamer tells the story of Ben Crane (Kurt Russell), a rancher/horse trainer who acquires a crippled racehorse and with the help of his young daughter (Dakota Fanning), nurses the horse back to health in hopes of breeding or racing the horse once more.

Can you for a minute imagine the world of Disney films from the late 1960s and early 1970s? You know, those heart-warming dramas that you knew that the whole family would enjoy. Well, imagine those films mixed with The Horse Whisperer and The Black Stallion and you might have an idea of what Dreamer is like.

Like a lot of those old Disney films, the film itself is predictable, sweet, enduring, and sometimes manipulative, but its primary focus is to entertain. Dreamer doesn't apologize for being that kind of film and it is magical in a lot of respects.

One thing I was surprised with was how silent the film was. There was no soaring theme music to add extra emotion and there was no raging race music to amplify the underdog. It was almost tranquil.

What I thought was pure genius about the film was the casting of Kris Kristofferson as Kurt Russell's father. Why haven't we seen that before? They look so much like they should be father and son.

I really enjoyed Russell and little Dakota in the film and they brought me to remember a lot of the infamous father-daughter duos from previous family films. I didn't really feel a presence from Elizabeth Shue, who plays Russell's wife. She was just there, but it is basically a father-daughter movie. David Morse is also very effective as the film's villain but we have seen this before from him.

This one is one of those films for the whole family, even if has all the typical hang-ups. (3 out of 5) So Says the Soothsayer.

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