Director: Andy Tennant
Cast: Katie Holmes, Josh Lucas, Jerry O’Connell, Celia Weston, Sarah Hoffmeister, Aidan Pierce Brennan, Chloe Lee
Runtime: 1 hr 47 mins
Released By: Shaw Organisation
Official Website: https://www.facebook.com/thesecretdaretodream
Opening Day: 6 August 2020
Synopsis: The Secret: Dare to Dream centers around Miranda Wells (Katie Holmes), a hard-working young widow struggling to raise three children on her own. A powerful storm brings a devastating challenge and a mysterious man, Bray Johnson (Josh Lucas), into her life. In just a few short days, Bray’s presence re-ignites the family’s spirit, but he carries a secret—and that secret could change everything. Rhonda’s ground-breaking book has been translated into 50 languages, sold over 34 million copies worldwide and spent an incredible 190 weeks on “The New York Times’ bestseller list.
If you walk into the screening of The Secret: Dare to Dream without a hint of the material it’s based on, you probably thought it’s adapted from a Nicholas Sparks novel. It contained the typical traits of a Sparks title with tragic, inspiring and romantic themes all rolled into one. The only exception being The Secret is actually based on the best-selling 2006 book of the same name by Australian self-help guru Rhonda Byre.
The Secret in general teaches one to believe in the power of positivity and good things will come your way. Since there’s no scientific evidence involved with Byre’s teachings, there’s certainly some controversy that comes with Byre’s book but of course you won’t find it here in this theatrical movie directed and co-written by Andy Tennant who brought audiences Hitch and Sweet Home Alabama.
Katie Holmes stars as Miranda, a widow struggling with money issues and trying to raise three kids after the death of her husband. One day, she meets a good Samaritan, Bray (Josh Lucas) after she rear-ends his car. Not only he didn’t ask her for any compensation but he also offers to repair her bumper and when an old tree crashed through her roof during a hurricane, Bray even volunteers to help her take care of it for a mere sum of $500 while Miranda and her kids stays with her mother-in-law, Bobby (Celia Weston) for the time being.
Then there is Tucker (Jerry O’Connell), Miranda’s on-and-off successful boyfriend and owner of the restaurant she worked in though it seems Miranda is not really into him. Anyway, is Bray a good guy or a symbolism of a God-like spiritual figure who spouts well-meaning phrases and stories? Well spoilers ahead, he is indeed a good guy and he is also hiding a SECRET! We wonder what is it.
Even though this is not a faith-based movie, we can’t help feeling it’s a combination of self-help and faith. Perhaps the fault lies in Tennant’s clunky and predictable treatment because it fares so similar to a Sparks adaptation. Bray is the perfect gentleman from god knows where. He is here to rescue Miranda from the depths of the unknown, a woman so overworked, stressed and in need of some positivity in which Bray has lots to spare.
Based on the laws of attraction, the book attempts to spread a simple message of whatever you experience in life is a direct result of your thoughts. Bray even tried to explain the concept by using magnets in one scene. The Secret: Dare to Dream is an on-screen testimonial of it. In other words, if you constantly think of a better life, you will achieve it in the end. If you wish for a pony, you might also get it on Christmas. It’s the sort of movie that non-believers will regard as pure hogwash while long-time readers of the book will love to death.
Holmes looking a bit aged here fits well into the role of a mother faced with a series of misfortunes. She is quite a good actress though we don’t really see her in a lot of big Hollywood titles nowadays. Lucas is almost perfect as the part-time handyman and full-time professor Bray. Admittedly, it’s kind of a surprise to see Jerry O’Connell in a live-action picture since mostly he has been busy dabbling in voice acting.
Coincidental or not, The Secret: Dare to Dream comes amidst a pandemic where the power of positivity is very much needed during this troubled time. The messages shared here might be tricky from a religious point of view and maybe doesn’t really suit those with a narrow perspective of things. Nevertheless, it’s a romance drama brewing with positive messages that ask you whether do you dare to dream? Just don’t wish for a unicorn.
(There’s no harm done in this old school romance movie that ask for audiences to apply the law of attraction in your daily life and goals)
Review by Linus Tee