The AnyGoodFilms team were keen to see Dream Horse as we often have a flutter on the gees-gees at the Grand National. But we recently heard that Amanda Holden was a keen horseman to such a degree that an owner of some pedigree racing horses invited her to an event. So good a horseman is she that the owner decided to let her have a race and dropped his jockey’s and entered her at Aintree (‘You’re fired!’ – Ed). But we digress…..
Dream Horse is the true story of Jan and Brian Vokes, a middle aged couple living in a small economically downtrodden Welsh village whose children have left home. They now channel their passions into their pets which include geese, pigeons and just about anything they can place into competitions which they often come away with a variety of awards. But whilst Brian (an almost unrecognisable Owen Teale with teeth that disappear and re-appear from scene to scene) sits in front of TV watching shows about animal husbandry it’s Jan (Toni Collette) who works in the local Co-op during the day and the local social club at night. It’s here that she becomes aware of Howard Davies (Damian Lewis) an accountant more interested in horses despite having lost a fortune and almost his house and wife after a disastrous investment in a racehorse.
Interested in the possibility of owning a racehorse Jan she carries out her own research before she empties the last few hundred pounds from her savings account to buy a horse to put out to stud and sire a racehorse. With little money to spare she organises a syndicate in the village to chip in and raise the money to raise and train their hoped for racing winner. It’s an eclectic bunch of people who become the syndicate with each member representing a certain type of person from the officious know all to the village drunk to the batty old lady which we would suggest could have been played by one person, namely our Editor (‘You’re still fired!’- Ed). Inevitably the syndicate face a number of obstacles and opposition including a snooty racehorse owner nicely played by Peter Davison to Howard Davies wife discovering that he has gone behind her back and invested in another racehorse despite his previous calamitous experience.
Dream Horse very much follows the usual tropes of this kind of story as they face an uphill battle to train the horse before they find success until the unexpected potentially catastrophic set back before….well its no surprise how this ends. Having seen a number of biog name actors attempt Welsh accents only to find they are by way of the Indian sub-continent Australian actress Toni Collette shows them how it’s done carrying it off with aplomb. She leads an enjoyable if slightly underwritten cast which includes Sian Phillips channelling a look befitting of Cruella de’Vil and there are a number of familiar and very good Welsh actors that includes Joanna Page, Di Botcher and Karl Johnson amongst many others. Directed by Euros Lyn who has an impressive back catalogue of TV show to his credit and this is flatly lit giving it an air of a TV drama but he has captured the Welsh village and the community within in the most endearing manner in the feel good film that we all need after a year of lockdown.
Here’s the Dream Horse trailer…….