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Review: The Secret: Dare to Dream

This weekend Roadside Attractions releases the feel good film Dare to Dream starring Katie Holmes and Josh Lucas. Based upon the book The Secret from Rhonda Byrne, is a story that demonstrates the power of positive thinking.

Is it too much sweet for this day and age, or just the right amount of hope people are looking for?

Story

Miranda Wells (Katie Holmes) is struggling to provide for her three kids after losing her husband in a tragic accident. Like so many, it seems to be one thing after another making life more than difficult.

When a storm arrives bringing high winds and even more trouble for the family, a chance accident brings Bray Johnson (Josh Lucas) into their lives. With a positive take on life, Bray offers some heartfelt advice that brings hope to a struggling family.

The Good

Whether you subscribe to the idea found in the self help book The Secret or not, Dare to Dream offers a powerful message in a day when people are feeling a wide range of emotions that often delve into the realm of negativity. 

There are few options generally in the range of family entertainment that doesn’t in someway reflect either a religious overtone, or “woke” / social justice message. This can be a turn off for many who just want to be entertained and not subjected to ambiguous moral codes wantonly inserted into a story.

Expertly, “Dare to Dream” avoids both and steers a path based on positive thinking and hope without being political nor pushing religious dogma.

Katie Holmes does an excellent job portraying a mom as she often utilizes an array of expressions that easily convey what it’s like to deal with a teenager.

Alongside her is the always good Josh Lucas who gets to deliver some of the best lines in the film from a charming and easy demeanor that surely makes the message more palpable.

Jerry O’Connell also co-stars in the film, he plays the nice guy; and we all know what happens to nice guys.

 

The Bad

Not everyone wants to watch a wholesome film. Some want their entertainment to be filled with explosions, fight sequences, and high drama. Dare to Dream is more along the lines of real life challenges without delving into the ugly side of humanity, which in some ways can be less interesting as an entertainment source.

Katie Holmes and Josh Lucas in The Secret: Dare to Dream Trailer

Dare to Dream is being billed somewhat as a Romantic Comedy, being that Holmes and Lucas are staring in it and are featured in most of the trailers in a romantic embrace. In actuality the film is a drama.

This somewhat reminds me of the 2006 Aronofsky film The Fountain which starred Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz. In the trailer it looked like an romantic adventure film and turned out to be a high concept Art House film (which was exquisite) but at the time people dogged it out simply because it was not what they expected.

This is not a romantic comedy and that perceived expectation from the trailer will be a let down for some.

High drama aside, the general story itself is pretty predicable and doesn’t have a lot of high or low points. It plays as mildly entertaining with a you can see it coming from 5 miles away twist at the end, which if you watch a lot of films you can probably divine from the images.

The Verdict

While not everyone is going to embrace a film that in essence is a story about hope, The Secret: Dare to Dream is truly a film you can sit down and watch with your entire family including Grandma.

Performances from Holmes and Lucas meld on screen in comfortable ways that allow for your own introspection without being preachy or judging. Although somewhat predictable, there’s a worthwhile story being told that will resonate with many in a positive way. On that alone, “Dare to Dream” offers a good time for those with an open mind.

Opening this weekend as a Premium On-Demand (POD) choice. POD is a new service that differentiates on demand titles based on release date. As this film was scheduled to be released in theaters it will be offered initially at $19.99 as an On-Demand Rental vs other titles that have been out for a while that often play for a rate of $5.99.