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Dream movie review: A much needed reminder to pursue your goals passionately without fixating on success or failure!

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Aishwarya Srinivasan
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Dream movie review


In our Dream movie review we talk about its refreshing departure from cliché underdog sports films but also how it lacks a fully developed arc for IU's character!

Dream movie review: Every zero to hero, underdog sports film has a fixed path that it follows. The protagonist is extremely talented in a sport, he is the prodigy, but due to some difficult circumstances there are way too many obstacles for him to cross. But he fights against all odds and comes out victorious. Dream by Lee Byeong-Heon breaks that conventional path and goes beyond keeping it as black and white as just winning or losing. 

Yoon Hong-Dae (Park Seo-Joon) is a professional footballer whose public image has been tarnished by relentless probing from news reporters into his personal life. To improve his reputation amongst fans and earn more brand deals, he must win the general public’s heart again. So his PR firm gets him to coach a team in the homeless football world cup. While he is super hesitant to do so, he has no other choice but to comply. The homeless football world cup’s winning prize is to give houses to every member of the team. But the catch here is, the people who qualified for the team are anything but athletic. They are a group of misfits put together who are either way too old, injured or just lack the motivation. Lee So-Min (IU), a documentary filmmaker is recording the trials and triumphs of their journey. She plays an important role in pushing Hong-Dae to form a connection with his team.

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Every member has an emotional backstory that makes you feel like they deserve to win this and get a roof above their head. Like Jung-Soo (Kim Hwan-Dong) who went from riches to rags after getting into corruption and his family leaving him. In-Sun (Lee Hyun-Woo) an orphan who suffers from aphasia and lost the love of his life in an accident. Beom-Soo (Jung Seung-Kil) a former construction worker who injured himself on site and loses his money to all his treatments. Hyo-Byong (Ko Chang-Seok) who is naive enough to lose his money to a friend, watch his wife fall out of love and is ready to marry an Australian. He badly wants his daughter to stay back but there is no house to stay in with her. So there’s a lot at stake for each and every one of them. 

For a sports movie, the story focused more on the emotional side of it than actually showing them practice and getting better but maybe that was so that we connect better with the team. This isn’t your typical ‘we did it’ sports story. When you watch a football match, you expect good play from both sides no matter what team you’re supporting and that’s what Hong-Dae and his team aim for. To be able to at least walk shoulder to shoulder with the other talented teams who have players much younger than them. The film recognises since the beginning that this is not a team who can win and give you those happy tears as an audience but it's that team you will root for to push beyond their comfort zone and score even one goal.

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There have been times in real life as well where the winning team is different but the real MVP of the game is another team altogether. This is that team of misfits that you expect will score nothing at every game but they are surprised with what they’ve got. It gives you a good lesson about focusing on your journey, doing what you love and not worrying about success. Sometimes rather than having the eyes on the prize, you need to slow down, strategise, know your strengths and weaknesses and use it to your advantage to yield surprising results. Winning or losing is not in our hands but trying and giving your ultimate best is totally in our control.

Having said that, this is definitely not Park Seo-Joon or IU’s best work. The hype of seeing these two together falls flat as IU’s character really does not have much to do except making him look good. She is just holding a camera for about 90% of the film and that’s a shame given that her acting seems so natural in all her previous work. The banters between the two are funny but they don’t share as much screen space as you’d expect them to as leads. While the moral of the story has good intentions at heart, for a 2 hour 7 minutes film, there were a lot of heart racing moments that could’ve been explored, a story like this definitely has the potential for it. And because it is solely focused on the team, it can feel slow sometimes. 

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Dream takes a refreshing and unconventional approach to the typical victory story, delivering an unexpected yet essential reminder. It beautifully portrays the idea that love finds its way to us in various forms, and we'll always discover a community where we truly belong. Remarkably, despite being centered around men in sports, the film manages to offer meaningful representation for queer and disability communities. However, despite these positive aspects, Dream falls short in capturing that special spark or providing a satisfying closure that viewers usually seek from a narrative like this.

Dream is currently streaming on Netflix!

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