Are you a dreamer? Have you ever wanted to step away from the same monotones routine and do something exciting? Well, Jan Vokes did, and Dream Horse is the fantastic tale of her dream becoming a reality. Written by Neil McKay and Directed by Euros Lyn, this uplifting and tear-jerking true story will tug on those heart strings and may just leave you wanting to pursue your own dreams.
Jan Vokes, portrayed by the ever so wonderful Toni Collette, is a former award-winning pigeon racer living in a quaint little Welsh town. Jan works the local co-op grocer during the day, cares for her parents and then tends the local pub at night. It’s a simple life, but she’s stuck and going nowhere. Her life takes an exciting turn when she overhears Howard Davies, played by Damian Lewis, boisterously chatting about his time as a racehorse owner. Piquing her interest, Jan asks Howard a few questions about what it takes. The spark was lit, and Jan is now on a mission to own a racehorse of her own.
We have all seen the footage of race meets, owners and trainers all dressed to the nines in their fancy clothes, looking all wealthy and happy. So how was a blue-collar worker from the country going to make it as an owner? Well, with a little ingenuity and passion, Jan wrangles together a group of locals to contribute ‘a tenner a week’ to form a syndicate and ‘Dream Alliance’ was born.
Dream Horse was one film that I was unsure of going into. What could a film about a racehorse possibly have to offer? Well, it has everything from love, happiness, excitement, heartbreak to sadness, and at times, multiple emotions at once. I found myself welling up, smiling, laughing and finally succumbing to those tears I was fighting back.
Toni Collette was the perfect choice in the leading role as the quiet lady with big dreams in Jean Vokes. I can safely say that I have yet to see a bad film that Toni Collette has starred in, and Dream Horse is another film I can add to that list. Damien Lewis shot to fame in television and personally I have only really seen him in serious, high drama roles such as Homeland. I am thankful I was able to see another side of Damien Lewis in his portrayal of Howard Davies, and I look forward to catching more of this from Davies in the future. Owen Teale as Jan’s husband Owen ‘Daisy’ Vokes was just as fantastic and was one role that really got the dear ducts filling up.
There will be many people that will likely avoid this film due to the horse racing narrative and the controversy of the industry, but if you can put that to one side, there is much more to this film than a tale about a lady and her dream to own a horse. It is a heartfelt emotional rollercoaster about following your dreams, community and there are some beautiful moments that will catch you by surprise and move you.
If you are looking for an uplifting emotionally charged film that will leave you wanting to follow your dreams or at the very least, step outside the norm and try something new, then Dream Horse is the film for you. Give the film a chance, because like me, it might just surprise you.