The Secret: Dare to Dream Shines a Little Positivity on 2020

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Many people believe in the power of positive thinking.

I dare say it's in short supply in 2020, so it seems like a great time for the release of The Secret: Dare to Dream. It's a scripted story inspired by the bestselling self-help book, The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne.

To be honest, I don't know many people who ascribe to positive thinking and utilize the power of the universe to achieve their goals.

The Secret: Dare to Dream Poster 1

I've never read The Secret, either, and it sounds like complete hooey that if you're always focused on the negative, that's what you'll attain.

The good news is that everyone, including me, can find joy in a feel-good movie, and you don't need to be familiar with The Secret or ascribe to its philosophy to find some enjoyment with The Secret: Dare to Dream.

Katie Holmes stars as Miranda Wells, a single mother down on her luck. Raising three children on her own after the death of her husband five years earlier, Miranda has had a difficult time making ends meet and finding her place in the world in the wake of tragedy.

But while their finances could use a little pick-me-up, the family is full of love and fully committed to each other.

Miranda and Her Kids in New Orleans

Miranda has a good job managing a local restaurant, and she's dating the owner, Tucker (Jerry O'Connell), although she isn't resolved to calling him her boyfriend, something her kids seem to find amusing.

There's no sign of Miranda's family, but her mother-in-law, Bobby (Celia Weston) is still in the picture and wants Miranda to take the kids out of their money pit of a house, commit to Tucker, and move on to the next phase of her life.

After getting the news that she has even more expenses on the horizon than she imagined, Miranda bumps into Bray Johnson (Josh Lucas), who has a secret of his own.

He's a glass is full kind of guy and seems to follow whatever philosophy is outlined in The Secret because he sees the bright side of every rotten turn of luck.

Katie Holmes and Josh Lucas in The Secret

Yet, instead of being annoying in his positivity, it's kind of infectious. Lucas has a soothing voice, and he's not too difficult to look at, so it's a relatively easy sell. Still, the idea of looking at things differently does have its merits.

Miranda begins to see the appeal of believing something good is around the corner, and her kids are drawn to Bray from the onset, as they've had about all the bad news they can muster.

There are 16th birthdays to plan, science fairs to attend, and the hope that one day a pony might be on the horizon to enjoy. They want to be kids and eat delivery pizza.

The Secret: Dare to Dream is a family film with romance and uplifting sentiment. It doesn't require a lot of heavy lifting. Instead, it sweeps you along in the story and brings a slight smile to your face.

Celebrating in The Secret: Dare to Dream

For anyone who was first acquainted with Katie Holmes as a high school student climbing into her best friend's window on Dawson's Creek, it's still jarring to picture her as a mother, even after living her adult life under the spotlight with Tom Cruise and her lovely daughter, Suri.

But Holmes seems very comfortable as Miranda Wells. She eases into the less-than-admirable life as a broke, single mother the same way she fits into Miranda's jeans -- with very little effort.

She has a natural chemistry with Lucas, and he's equally as comfortable playing the upbeat and forward-thinking Bray (strange name and all).

Miranda's kids are well cast, and Weston and O'Connell are as close to antagonists as they come, which, in the cast of The Secret: Dare to Dream means that they want the very best for Miranda and her family even if it might not be what Miranda wants for herself.

Finding Love Again in The Secret: Dare to Dream

If those are the worst people in your life, a leaking roof, frozen chicken for dinner, and a dented fender are minor woes.

Despite being based on the best-selling book, the guts of which I still have no idea, outside of coincidental happiness and an urging to, on occasion, voice your hopes instead of lamenting your troubles out loud, there doesn't appear to be any overt messaging.

The Secret: Dare to Dream is just a pleasant movie about good looking people reminding each other that there is still a lot of good left to celebrate in their lives.

I don't know that positive thinking can will back to work 15 million people, nor can it eradicate the fears over COVID-19 or change our equal rights situation, but maybe it can help alleviate some of the negative energy bombarding us across all platforms daily.

The Secret: Dare to Dream Poster 2

The worst that could happen, and I know this because it happened to me, is that you'll chastise yourself for presenting exactly as Miranda did.

But nobody in their right mind will watch the flick and suspect that the desire to have pizza will unexpectedly whisk it to their door among other unlikely karmic shenanigans. But should we, erm, dare to dream?

Even with my suspicions about how the laws of attraction could make a difference, I still had a decent couple of hours that kept me from discovering the latest doomsday predictions on social media. I'd call that a win.

The Secret: Dare to Dream drops on VOD this Friday, July 31.


Editor Rating: 3.25 / 5.0
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Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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