Like a Moth to a Flame
by Bleecker Street | YouTube | May 21, 2021
by Bleecker Street | YouTube | May 21, 2021
by Pete Hammond | Deadline | May 20, 2021
If audiences are looking for a little uplift after a long time locked down, if they want a feeling of hope and human connection, and if they long for just a good old-fashioned, Rocky-like feel-good story, then Dream Horse, is the must-see movie for them. Finally hitting theaters Friday after debuting at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, it’s one of those small gems that somehow gets made in the shadow of blockbuster tentpoles and genre films. This true story of a small Welsh town and the unlikely racehorse champion that brings them together is a lovely movie designed to make you feel good about life. Nothing wrong with that.
by Glenn Kenny | New York Times | May 20, 2021
Toni Collette and Damian Lewis play two underdogs in Wales who invest in a race horse in this comedy-drama ripped from the headlines.
In the comedy-drama “Dream Horse,” a woman who works two jobs gets an idea. Remembering her glory days of training animals — pigeons, to be exact — she is determined to buy a mare and birth a race horse. She doesn’t have the resources to do it on her own, so she turns to her sleepy community in Wales to pool their assets.
This sports underdog story, which is based on true events, has several features endemic to the genre. But “Dream Horse,” an unabashed crowd-pleaser directed by Euros Lyn, earns its smiles and cheers.
by David Ehrlich | Indiewire | May 19, 2021
The hard-luck residents of a Welsh mining town find new hope in this satisfyingly sweet true story about a racehorse that beat the odds.
A charmingly guileless crowd-pleaser about a lovable group of working-class stiffs and red-faced retirees in a former South Wales mining village who find new reason to get out of bed in the morning when they pool their resources and invest in breeding a thoroughbred, Euros Lyn’s “Dream Horse” is more than a little hackneyed for something based on such an amazing true story. And yet, the Rocky-like theatrics that dominate the home stretch — already familiar to anyone who remembers Louise Osmond’s equally winsome 2015 documentary on the subject, “Dark Horse” — are perhaps the least compelling aspect of a light matinee that can fray around the edges as it strains to thread the needle between “The Full Monty” and “Seabiscuit.” On the contrary, “Dream Horse” hits its stride off the track, where the paint-by-numbers drama of winning and losing takes a backseat to a more nuanced tale about the need to get back in the race.
by Michael O’Sullivan | Washington Post | May 19, 2021
Based on a true story, “Dream Horse” is a straightforward and unfussy feel-good drama about a group of ordinary people from a small Welsh town who decide to inject a little zest (and the risk of financial ruin) into their humdrum lives by breeding a racehorse, although none of them has the slightest experience in the field. Improbably, the stallion — named Dream Alliance for the motley assortment of naive and starry-eyed nobodies who form a syndicate to financially support, raise and race him — manages to do better than anyone could have imagined.
Anyone, that is, who has never seen a horse-racing movie before. (For the factual backstory, watch the charming documentary “Dark Horse.”)
The film’s protagonists, including the town drunk, the butcher and a lonely old lady — all of whom are colorful but clueless, with the exception of a savvy Cardiff accountant (Damian Lewis) who once owned and raced a thoroughbred — are not in it for the money but for something called the hwyl. It’s a Welsh concept (approximately pronounced “hoil”) that roughly translates to: a reason to get up in the morning.
by Katie Walsh | LA Times | May 19, 2021
What’s in a name? For the plucky Welsh racehorse Dream Alliance, well, a lot. His mighty moniker reflects the big dreams of his unlikely owners, a syndicate of working-class folks from a tiny Welsh coal-mining village. Based on a true story, “Dream Horse” depicts the unlikely and amazing tale of Jan Vokes (played here by Toni Collette), who rallies her community to pitch in a few pounds a week and make a go of it in the high-stakes, high-class world of racehorses. In this rousing, inspirational film, one remarkable colt allows a group of people to regain a long lost connection with one another.
Welsh director Euros Lyn infuses the story of Dream Alliance, also the subject of the 2015 documentary “Dark Horse,” by Louise Osmond, with a warm sense of humor and heart, thrilling emotional stakes, and a deeply felt sense of local pride. The screenplay, by Neil McKay, demonstrates how something as formulaic as an underdog sports story can still resonate, with charming characters and relatable conflict.
by AP News Wire | The Independent | May 20, 2021
The based-on-a-true-story “Dream Horse,” about a Welsh bartender who turns unlikely race horse breeder, is a feel-good movie that’s a little too heavy on the “feel-good” to really do the trick.
But as with all long shots that pay off, “Dream Horse” has its hard-to-deny charms. While it deviates little from the conventions of the “Billy Elliot”/”The Full Monty” formula, Euros Lyn’s film also doesn’t stray from a dependable course of underdog triumph, midlife renewal and community spirit.
The performances by Toni Collette as the determined Jan Vokes, and Owen Teale, as her curmudgeonly but dedicated husband with a mouth half full of teeth, go a long way to enlivening it. So does a sense of Welsh pride. Outside “How Green Was My Valley” and Anthony Hopkins’ recent awards acceptance speeches, the richly rugged, pastoral land on the western shores of Great Britain seldom attracts the spotlight like it does here. It’s in these two things — the Vokes’ relationship and the movie’s Welsh heart — that “Dream Horse” finishes ahead.