Dream Horse

Dream Horse

2021, PG, 113 min. Directed by Euros Lyn. Starring Toni Colette, Damian Lewis, Owen Teale, Siân Phillips, Peter Davison.

REVIEWED By Jenny Nulf, Fri., May 21, 2021

In 2018, it felt like the horse movie could do no wrong. The Rider, Lean on Pete, each one after the other was a certified tear-jerker, packed with emotionally gutting performances that elevated somewhat dubious material. Who knew horses could be key to the tear-jerker formula?

Director Euros Lyn is no stranger to the sappy emotion, having hailed from some of BBC’s finest: the David Tennant era of Doctor Who, Black Mirror’s “Fifteen Million Merits,” and Broadchurch. Dream Horse is Lyn’s first feature, a simple, kind truer-than-life tale about a small Welsh town that raise their own racehorse, aptly named Dream Alliance, to combat the malaise of their everyday lives. The most attached to the horse is Jan (Collette), a grocery store cashier by day and bartender by night who is tired of the same day-to-day routine and yearns for something worthy of waking up in the morning.

Dream Horse has the good nature of a Disney movie, right down to the dying parent cliché (poor Dream Alliance’s mother dying off moments after she births the tiny future gold winner). It has its sweet as sugar moments, with stakes about as high as a stadium jump. Lyn’s film is formulaic, but not to a fault, since Dream Horse’s problems are neither its predictability nor its familiar grab bag of supporting characters. In its familiar beats there’s a comfort, a nice story about nice, real people. Everything about Dream Horse is nice, right down to the credits karaoke of Tom Jones’ “Delilah” that includes the entire cast as well as the sweet real-life people they are performing as.

But when you have to stuff years’ worth of history an almost two-hour film, there is a certain flatness to the beats that need to be hit. Some scenes feel a bit odd, manufactured to serve the plot, or forced characterization. A scene where Alliance member Howard Davies (Lewis) leaves behind his owners’ badge the day of the first race for his wife to find, but somehow manages to skate past the doorman at the VIP entrance, feels fabricated and unreal. When Jan’s husband Brian (Teale) finds himself vegging out once again in front of the television, depressed because he misses caring for Dream Alliance, there’s a bit of a disconnect between actions and characterization.

Yet Dream Horse’s kind spirit makes it watchable and fine, the kind of film meant for lazy days where low stakes dramas feel aptly comforting. Inspiring true story? Perhaps not, but certainly a story that’s genuine enough to earn a few smiles.

Showtimes

Arbor Cinema @ Great Hills

9828 Great Hills Trail, 512/231-9742

Discounts daily before 6pm.

Mon., June 21

CC/DVS 1:30, 4:30, 7:30

Tue., June 22

CC/DVS 1:30

Wed., June 23

CC/DVS 1:30

Thu., June 24

CC/DVS 1:30, 4:30

Evo Cinemas Belterra

166 Hargraves Ste. A-100, 512/457-0700, www.evocinemas.com/drippingsprings

Mon., June 21

12:00, 3:00

Tue., June 22

12:00, 3:00, 6:00

Wed., June 23

11:00am, 2:00

Thu., June 24

12:00, 3:00, 6:00

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Euros Lyn Films
Doctor Who: "The End of Time"
...

June 21, 2021

More by Jenny Nulf
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
The Warrens are back at it again ...

June 11, 2021

12 Mighty Orphans
Historical football drama can't get past first down

June 11, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Dream Horse, Euros Lyn, Toni Colette, Damian Lewis, Owen Teale, Siân Phillips, Peter Davison

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle