Based on Rhonda Byrne’s best-seller, this uplifting story follows a young widow (Katie Holmes) and a mysterious man (Josh Lucas) who helps her and her family transform their lives.
Life is not glamorous for Miranda Wells (Katie Homes), who holds it together by a pessimistic thread. Widow and working mother of three, Miranda has long ago buried her dream to be a nurse, and barely makes ends meet with her management job at a New Orleans seafood restaurant. Sometimes it helps to be dating Tucker (Jerry O’Connell), the wealthy owner of the restaurant, but Miranda can’t move forward as she hasn’t fully recovered from losing her husband, a scientific inventor, five years prior. Nevertheless, she gives her kids priority in life, even her surly 15-year-old daughter, Missy (Sarah Hoffmeister). Presently, the family and city are preparing for Hurricane Hazel to soon hit. Before the weather, a stranger (Josh Lucas) pulls up to the home, finding Greg (Aidan Brennan), Miranda’s son. When Greg explains his mom isn’t home, the man leaves an envelope intended for Miranda in the mailbox, but not before the sparkle in his eyes and kind manner make a lasting impression.
Shortly afterwards, in a quirky “coincidence,” Miranda, with girls Missy and little Bess (Chloe Grace Lee) in tow, distractedly bumps the back of a pickup truck. The stranger, Bray, calmly emerges from the cab. When seeing the stress consuming Miranda, Bray kindly offers to fix her bumper, which had been hanging on by a bolt until she kicked it furiously.
Bray, who traveled from Nashville, must wait for a new document after the envelope is lost in the storm, and baffles Miranda and her kids by fixing a gaping hole in her roof. Noticeably, happy “coincidences” just seem to happen, brightening their lives little by little. A spark ignites as Miranda and Bray realize their lives must have collided for a reason. Bray’s caring nature and insightful discussions encouraging positivity give a more hopeful perspective, winning the kids over. And Miranda also. However, Tucker, not so much, nor her mother-in-law, Bobby (Celia Weston), the epitome of a perfectly cunning Southern belle. As a doting grandmother, Bobby sincerely wants the best for Miranda and the kids, and Tucker’s money fits nicely in the plan. So she’s quite satisfied when Tucker springs on Miranda a proposal of marriage at a company dinner, to which Miranda reluctantly accepts. Meanwhile, Bobby does a little investigating, and digs up a secret Bray has not divulged.
A Secret: Dare to Dream is well-produced and acted, with a simple but enjoyable story line. Refreshingly, the language is non-offensive, outside of a couple of slightly sour words. Relationships are fully convincing, engaging the viewer. Detail in different personalities builds full characters, Holmes, Weston and Lucas each molding their roles precisely. Celia Weston adds a sprinkle of humor to her rich character, one of those actresses you’d like to see more of. Locations add Louisiana flavor, using both homes and buildings in the Quarter. Although faith in God isn’t particularly promoted, this is an uplifting film with a message stressing optimism over pessimism. A couple of bodily hits and an angry kick by our stressed protagonist mom may not be the best example for very young children so the film merits the Dove-approved Seal for Ages 12+.
The Dove Take:
A Secret: Dare to Dream brings us an uplifting, well-produced family drama and romance, encouraging optimism by likable characters in an enjoyable Louisiana setting.