Underdog sports movies are always crowd-pleasers, and this one doesn't disappoint. Yes, Dream Horse is somewhat predictable, but so are most movies in the genre. And by confronting issues of (literal) breeding and social class, it helps ensure that audiences root for the unlikely champion. If racism is the defining plague of American history, then classism is the United Kingdom equivalent. So it's particularly notable that Jan and her syndicate are a humble lot of horse owners: villagers who work blue-collar and service industry jobs (with the exception of Howard). These aren't folks who ever imagined rubbing elbows with landed, titled gentry in owners' boxes, but that's where they find themselves, even if it's with a bag of smuggled beer cans ("Welsh champagne," someone yells). Director Euros Lyn (best known for his stellar British TV work like Doctor Who, Happy Valley, and Broadchurch) doesn't delve deeply into the syndicate members' personal lives, focusing primarily on Jan's desire to love and protect Dream Alliance after Rewbell's death.
Dream Alliance is more than a horse: He symbolizes the villagers' collective hopes and goals -- a chance for working men and women to show the posh, pedigreed world of thoroughbred horse racing that a collection of cleaners and clerks can aspire to and achieve greatness. All it takes is dedication, hard work, and the dignity to know that all people deserve respect. The racing sequences spend as much time showing the spectating syndicate as the actual horses -- reveling in the awe and excitement the group feels at seeing their "boy" pass the other, favored horses. There are no insights about the jockey, no training montage to set the tone (outside of Dream's initial visit to the famous trainer, whose other clients arrive in a helicopter and Range Rovers instead of an old van). Although audiences will be able to guess much of what happens in the story, it's heart will make viewers young and old cheer for the beautiful horse from a tiny town in Wales -- and the band of villagers who become the ultimate underdog champions.