Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story

Posted By on Wed, Oct 26, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Starring Dakota Fanning, Hollywood’s most prolific 11-year-old, this a kid-and-pony show that’ll have equestrian-obsessed youngsters slumbering with visions of horses prancing in their heads for weeks. Dreamer, however, is like Seabiscuit for the SpongeBob set — extremely satisfying for horse lovers but less so for general audiences, at least for those who can tolerate unapologetic displays of can-do positive energy for 90 minutes.

Screenwriter John Gatins took all sorts of liberties with the story of a real racing horse, Mariah’s Storm, who suffered an injury that easily could have ended her career. Mariah’s Storm and her trainers didn’t give up, however, and she came back to a string of successes, producing a brood of champion offspring. For Dreamer, her name is changed to Sonador, and Gatins adds a few after-school-special elements. Down-on-his-luck Ben (Kurt Russell) saves the injured Sonador from a callous owner and brings the mare home to his daughter, Cale (Fanning). Cale’s grandfather Pop (Kris Kristofferson), a retired horse breeder who’s grown apart from his son, is among those who tell Cale and her dad to put Sonador out of its misery. But the kid and the horse are determined, and together they urge everyone else to not give up.

Russell, Kristofferson and even the wee Fanning are not usually schlocky actors, and they bring an air of realism to the family story, keeping it from becoming too ridiculously sentimental. On the other hand, Dreamer’s horse story runs amok with underdog clichés and optimism unbridled, so much so that when Sonador’s big race day comes, if you listen closely, you can almost hear Rob Schneider shouting, in a fake accent, “You can do it!”

Clare Pfeiffer Ramsey writes about film for Metro Times. E-mail


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

More by Clare Pfeiffer Ramsey

Read the Digital Print Issue

December 1, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation