It’s about a quick-footed horse, but Dreamer‘s only feat is winding up slower than Seabiscuit. Adults will be restless as stabled bucks, but even children may need unusually high Ritalin doses to slog through the visual and dramatic indifference on display. “Inspired by a true story” generally translates to “prompted by a true story but reconstituted as a cliché pileup.” A promising horse is injured, but father (Kurt Russell) and daughter (Dakota Fanning) don’t kill it, for sentimental reasons. Eventually Russell transfers ownership to Fanning, leading to race-qualifying meetings where the pre-teen holds her own alongside adult trainers—except for meanie David Morse, who upbraids his twee colleague in public. Dad worries about losing money, but Grandpa (a grizzled Kris Kristofferson) encourages the girl to follow her racetrack dreams. Meanwhile, viewers will be encouraged to sleep, to dream of better movies.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 11, 2005