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Still shot from the movie: Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story.

Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story

Ben Crane (Kurt Russell) fears he may have been crazy when he decided to rescue an injured racehorse, but his daughter (Dakota Fanning) thinks he's a hero. So does the thankful filly that returns the favor by giving the economically-challenged family a reason to dream again. Get the movie review and more. »

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Overall: A-
Violence: B
Sexual Content: A
Language: B+
Drugs/Alcohol: A-
Run Time: 106
Theater Release: 20 Oct 2005
Video Release: 16 Mar 2006
MPAA Rating: PG
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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.

Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story is rated PG: for brief mild language.

Cast: Dakota Fanning Kurt Russell Dreamer
Studio: 2005 Dreamworks Animation

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About the Reviewer: Donna Gustafson

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