Making the Grades
Floating amidst of an ocean of lush Kentucky bluegrass are beautiful mansions, fabulous stables, and one rundown farmhouse. The small island of land upon which the shabby dwelling stands represents all that is left of the Crane estate.
While we are unsure what has caused the family's present financial plight, it is obvious Ben Crane (Kurt Russell) is a broken soul who has forgotten how to dream. No longer talking to his Pop (Kris Kristofferson), not sure what to say to his daughter Cale (Dakota Fanning), weary of listening to his concerned wife (Elizabeth Shue), the gifted trainer now spends his uncommonly-good horse sense on helping other, wealthier men increase their fortunes.
Then one morning the despondent dad agrees to take his youngster to work. Tagging along in the hopes of a bonding experience, Cale instead witnesses an argument with the boss and a terrible racetrack accident. By the end of the day, Ben returns home jobless with an injured thoroughbred in tow.
Although a hero in his child's eyes, the unemployed man fears rescuing the filly, rather than having her put down as the vet recommended, may have been an expensive mistake. Now saddled with medical expenses and feed costs on top of the usual household bills, he is looking for a way to make this long-shot pay off.
However, there are a few dividends he has forgotten to take into account. As the Cranes, including Ben's estranged father, pull together to nurse Sonador back to health, the thankful animal reciprocates with her own special cure for the ailing family. She also gives them all a reason to dream again.
Is this run-for-the-roses another predictable, sentimental horse flick? You bet! Still, that shouldn't stop you from putting down a few dollars on this one. Odds are the film's careful crafting and great performances will be enough to make it a worthy watch.
Young viewers should be aware the movie portrays some of the perils of horse racing for both man and beast, as well as briefly mentioning breeding procedures. It also contains a few mild profanities, a depiction of gambling and moments when Cale sneaks behind her dad's back.
Yet these minor blemishes aren't enough to beat out the story's messages of family unity and the joy parents receive as they champion their children's hopes and aspirations. Thanks to such elements, Dreamer: Inspired By a True Story is not just a show -- it's a winner.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story.
How do Ben’s feelings about disappointing his father affect the way he treats his daughter? How does watching Cale pursue her dreams help to heal the strained relationship between father and son?
Dreamer is supposedly based on a true story. According to an article posted on news.yahoo.com, the inspiration for the movie was a horse named Mariah’s Storm, a two-year-old filly who broke her leg in 1992 but came back in 1994 to win four races and to finish ninth in the 1995 Breeder’s Cup Distaff. Why do you think the movie script differ from these facts?