Run time: 142 mins
In a small village in Wales, Jan (Collette) works two jobs to support her unemployed husband Brian. When she gets the idea to raise a thoroughbred race-horse, Jan forms a syndicate with a ragtag group of neighbours including tax advisor Howard, town drunk Kirby and chocolate-loving Maureen. Named Dream Alliance, the colt is raised on Jan and Brian’s allotment. Initially winning races against the odds, they can scarcely believe their luck but a severe injury soon forces the syndicate to face some very tough decisions.
Nothing is overplayed here. There’s a realist approach that never makes the comedy “too” funny, the tension “too” unbearable or the emotions “too" wrenching. Collette holds everything together in a committed performance as a woman who’s finally getting the chance to express her own passion. As Howard, Damian Lewis portrays a man who has been badly shaken and is afraid to risk his family again. Nothing earth-shattering, but they feel authentic.
Beautifully shot and packed with snappy, well-played characters, it’s a warm and engaging tale that will appeal to anyone who has struggled to hold on to a dream. (Chris Coetsee)