PG for brief mild language
October 21, 2005
Kurt Russell, Dakota Fanning,
Kris Kristofferson, Elisabeth Shue, Freddy Rodriguez
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By Elliott Ryan
Dakota Fanning possesses a preternatural acting ability
that steals the show in every movie in which she appears. That
talent is on display yet again in the new family film Dreamer:
Inspired by a True Story. I am not sure how well this
movie's plot matches the real story on which it claims to be based.
But regardless, Fanning shows that she can hit the right note
in scene after scene lending a eerie credibility to her character.
That is a good thing in this movie since all the characters around
her are making unrealistic career, financial, and family decisions.
Have you ever seen a sports movie? If you have, you won't be
surprised by much of anything that takes place in this movie.
But it is a movie with heart. It teaches lessons about following
your dreams, not giving up, and building a strong family. It just
happens to use sports movie cliches to do it.
Unrealistic characters and cliched plots aside, this is a pretty
good movie. Fanning is supported by a highly acclaimed cast featuring
Kurt Russell, Elisabeth Shue, Kris Kristofferson, and Luis Guzman.
It is directed by John Gatins. He has worked as a screenwriter
on a bunch of movies and an actor on a few movies. But this is
his first opportunity to direct a film. For a first attempt, it
was a passable effort helped by the solid cast.
It isn't very often that a movie comes out in theaters that is
truly appropriate for the whole family. But this is one of them.
It tells the story of the Crane family that has been fractured
by circumstances that are never fully explained in the film. Ben
Crane (Russell) lives on the family farm with his wife (Shue)
and young daughter (Fanning). The family lives right across the
street from Ben's father (Kristofferson) although Ben and his
father haven't spoken in years.
family has fallen on hard times. Piece by piece, Ben has sold
off sections of the family's farm. The small piece they still
own is in danger of being repossessed. He and his family take
in a wounded racehorse that ordinarily would have been put down.
While all the adults in the film know this horse could never race
again, they keep it around in hopes of breeding it and selling
its offspring. Perhaps then they could save their farm.
Without giving away any of the details, I'll just say that through
a series of events, the horse will race again. The plot parallels
the critically acclaimed film Seabiscuit in many ways.
A race horse and the people sponsoring it battle against the odds
to strive for victory. The ending of this film is never really
in any doubt. But the audience I viewed the film with cheered
the outcome of the race anyway.
Dreamer is a solid, family film. It teaches important
lessons about things that are important in life. For Christians
looking for an entertaining evening at the movies for the whole
family, this should more than make up for the lack of innovative
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