Dream (2023) Review - an average sports film with a small twist

Dream (2023) Review – an average sports film with a small twist

1 minute, 53 seconds Read

At times, sports films can appear repetitive, following the classic formula of a seasoned professional coaching a struggling team, often comprising less skilled players, with personal growth being the central focus rather than the final outcome. Netflix’s Korean film “Dream” fits into this sports movie mold but offers a unique twist by revolving around a team of homeless men preparing for the Homeless World Cup, an actual event that has been taking place since 1999.

The story kicks off with Yoon Hong-dae (Park Seo-joon), a professional soccer player facing a public image crisis after an altercation with a press member over his mother’s legal issues. He is asked to coach Korea’s team for the Homeless Football World Cup, while documentarian Lee So-min (Lee Ji-eun) captures the journey for television.

The team has a mere two months to prepare for the major competition in Budapest, and as expected, the group is an unlikely assembly of men from various ages and backgrounds. The film does a commendable job of illustrating that homelessness can happen to anyone, revealing that many of these men were once successful businessmen before facing hardships.

However, the film falls short in addressing the actual issues faced by the homeless. It seems to lose focus on this aspect midway through the story, failing to deliver a substantial statement about their plight as one might anticipate.

The decision to frame the story around the documentary director and the celebrity coach does a disservice to the more intriguing characters within the homeless team. Nonetheless, the ensemble of players, portrayed by talented actors, shines and captivates the audience even when the narrative neglects to center on them.

In a film of this genre, it’s typical to expect a romantic subplot between Hong-dae and So-min. However, it is refreshing that the movie avoids such a cliché. Instead, the characters develop a deeper understanding of each other without venturing into romantic territory.

Both Seo-joon and Ji-eun deliver solid performances, although their roles may not fully showcase their acting abilities. Ultimately, it is the strong cast that carries the film through its two-hour runtime, keeping the audience engaged and invested in the story.

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