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Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story (2005)



Average Rating: 6.3/10
Reviews Counted: 117
Fresh: 75 | Rotten: 42

Though formulaic, this horse story's saving grace is its strong performances.


Average Rating: 6.3/10
Critic Reviews: 32
Fresh: 20 | Rotten: 12

Though formulaic, this horse story's saving grace is its strong performances.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 90,542

My Rating

Movie Info

Ben Crane was once a great horseman, whose gifts as a trainer were now being wasted on making other men's fortunes. Sonya was a great horse whose promising future on the racetrack was suddenly cut short by a career-ending broken leg. Considered as good as dead to her owner, who also happens to be Ben's boss, Sonya is given to Ben as severance pay, along with his walking papers. Now, it will take the unwavering faith and determination of Ben's young daughter, Cale, to bring these two damaged


Drama, Kids & Family

John Gatins

Mar 21, 2006


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All Critics (125) | Top Critics (37) | Fresh (75) | Rotten (42) | DVD (9)

A great family film.

October 24, 2005 Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
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For family audiences seeking easy assurance, moral certitude and, of course, moving scenes of a gorgeous, galloping horse.

October 21, 2005 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
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Lovely family film, which has a way of resonating in one's imagination for days.

October 21, 2005 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
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As a sports drama -- a genre that's gotten entirely too much play lately -- Dreamer is singularly unexciting.

October 21, 2005 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
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It's to Fanning's and Russell's credit, and the filmmakers', that the formula never gets the better of the film.

October 21, 2005
Philadelphia Inquirer
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Too obvious, too trite and too sentimental to ever be more than Seabiscuit for tweens.

October 21, 2005 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

All the characters are familiar, the story is familiar, but it is well-constructed and the actors do a good job with the material.

December 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

Dreamer is loaded with enough clichés and formulas to choke a horse. But truly, it works.

September 22, 2006
Christianity Today

It is a movie that will captivate children, yes, but it will also capture the hearts of the grown-ups, too.

March 31, 2006 Full Review Source:

simply feels more professional than most family fare

March 27, 2006 Full Review Source:

Screenwriting manuals have taught us that every film is (or should be) a Hero's Journey, but writer-director John Gatins takes that gospel so literally it's hard to know whether to admire his purity or marvel at his lack of imagination.

March 4, 2006 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

The charismatic Fanning proves she is the best child actress in decades.

December 11, 2005 Full Review | Comment (1)

A quiet and poignant story.

December 9, 2005 Full Review
Tooele Transcript-Bulletin (Utah)

Sure, it's as goopy as Kris Kristofferson is grizzled, but families might find a genuinely warm experience in the simple story of a child following her heart %u2014 especially in the rare moments when we're not told how to feel.

November 21, 2005
Tyler Morning Telegraph (Texas)

This is a slow track of wish-fullfillment fantasy and all who come through the turnstiles will wear a happy face.

November 15, 2005 Full Review Source: Cinema Signals
Cinema Signals

Painfully earnest and aggressively sappy, it requires an outrageous suspension of disbelief, and becomes even more far-fetched as it goes along.

November 9, 2005 Full Review
Denton Record Chronicle (TX)

Ah. Here's the family film we've been dreaming of all year long.

November 2, 2005 Full Review
KWQC-TV (Iowa)

In short, Dreamer may be shot through with cliches but they're good ones and, more importantly, they work. This is feel-good family entertainment of the first order and if you loved Seabiscuit, you'll love this too.

October 29, 2005 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

It manages to be a watchable, even enjoyable movie about and for girls, and in our world of candy-coated sparkly pink crap, that's a rare and commendable thing.

October 29, 2005 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

"Seabiscuit" it ain't, but "Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story" is one of those harmless horse movies that will entertain the kids.

October 26, 2005 Full Review Source:

Dakota Fanning, the busiest child actor on the planet it seems, brings her usual maturity to this fine family film. The horse is pretty good too.

October 26, 2005 Full Review Source:

A nice film for a father to take his daughter to. Others may find it so by-the-numbers that even high-powered actors (+ a horse) have a hard time breathing life into it.

October 25, 2005 Full Review Source: Hollywood Report Card
Hollywood Report Card

For fleeting moments, this movie about a little girl and her horse becomes one that fathers will know best.

October 25, 2005 Full Review Source: Sun Publications (Chicago, IL)
Sun Publications (Chicago, IL)

An ordinary movie about a girl and her horse, but Dakota Fanning makes the difference.

October 25, 2005 Full Review

Its problems aren't its claims to truth so much as its letdowns to genre.

October 25, 2005 Full Review

Mildly pleasant, but never once does it surprise us.

October 25, 2005

Audience Reviews for Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story

dreams can come true
May 27, 2010
erika bruhns

Super Reviewer

Emotional true family story with an once-great horse.
September 10, 2006
Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

    1. Cale Crane: She'll never race again?
    2. Ben Crane: No, honey. But she might walk again.
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (11 months ago)
    1. Palmer: You were the best horseman that I know for the worst flock. And I can't afford to have it in my stable.
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (11 months ago)
    1. Cale Crane: Run hard tomorrow. Run hard for my dad. He deserves a good run.
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (11 months ago)
    1. Ben Crane: How about it, Pop?
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (11 months ago)
    1. Ben Crane: I'll take the six thousand and the horse.
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (11 months ago)
    1. Cale Crane: It's a long shot... but why not Sonador? Why not us?
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (11 months ago)
View all quotes (17)

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