There is a tradition of working class Brits finding community and joy in feel-good movies like Brassed Off, Full Monty, and, of course, Pride. The newest addition to this cinematic class is Dark Horse – and it’s a winner. Unlike the others, this is a documentary, but it feels like a thriller as it gallops to glory.
The location is a tiny village in the midst of the green hills of Wales. The mines have all been shut down by Thatcher and the people are struggling without work. A woman who wants more from life than just her job as a bar maid decides to breed a race horse in her allotment (ie community garden space). By selling shares in the horse to her customers, she actually is able to breed “Dream Alliance” and pay for its training. They climb the ladder of the racing world. And because they are actually “owners” who can move freely at the tracks, they enter deeper each time into the turf of the elite moneyed aristocrats. Each one of the villagers is a fabulous character and the contrast with the 1% who are freaked out by their presence is a hoot.
I laughed. I cried (for joy). I happily trotted along wherever this little film took me. Congratulations to Louise Osmond who wrote and directed the movie – which has a 96% Tomatometer on the review site Rotten Tomatoes and which won the Audience Award at Sundance. If you have a chance to see it, pamper yourself and go.
Here’s the trailer: