Like many people, I first heard of The Secret when Oprah announced she was a devotee of the book. Her support led to over 30 million copies sold and introduced a new audience to “the law of attraction”. The idea that thinking of the things you want with positive energy can bring them into your life has appeal. Whether manifesting the things you need feels realistic when everyone is in the middle of a global pandemic, however, might require a level of optimism that’s a little unreasonable.
The Secret is a self-help book, so turning it into a dramatic film meant creating an entire story from scratch and then weaving in the layers of inspiration. This isn’t a unique situation. The film Mean Girls was based on the parenting guide Queen Bees and Wannabees. Unfortunately, there’s no one as fun as Regina George in The Secret: Dare To Dream.
Miranda Wells (Katie Holmes) is a widowed mother of three with a mountain of debt and a leaking roof. Bray Johnson (Josh Lucas) is a professor from Tennessee who comes to town with a mysterious envelope for Miranda. Instead of giving her the envelope, however, he offers to fix her roof after a storm causes a tree to come crashing through. Miranda’s boyfriend Tucker (Jerry O’Connell) is confused as to why Bray is being so helpful to a stranger. She’s confused too, for that matter. Miranda’s not used to things going her way, after all. Bray’s irrepressible positivity is ready to change that.
I spent many quality years watching Dawson’s Creek in the 90s, so it was a little weird to watch Holmes’ performance in Dare To Dream. It was as if Miranda was the middle-aged mom version of Joey Potter, hands in pockets, slouched shoulders, and all. She had not one but two love interests in the film, yet not a drop of chemistry with either.
Bray was the living embodiment of The Secret, a point he hammered home with the subtlety of a bulldozer. When explaining the law of attraction to Miranda’s children he literally used a magnet and a paperclip. The kids then learned such valuable lessons as thinking of pizza can cause a pizza delivery guy to show up at your door. I clearly should have practiced teachings of The Secret myself when I was a broke college student.
Imagine the lovechild of a Nicholas Spark story and a Hallmark Christmas movie, minus most of the romance, and you have The Secret: Dare To Dream. The positive message is sure to resonate with some who are seeking out inspirational fare. Those who harbor a tiny bit of cynicism are more likely to find Dare To Dream too sappy and unrealistic to truly inspire.
The Secret: Dare to Dream is available for digital rental now.
About The Secret: Dare To Dream
Based on the groundbreaking best-selling book about the law of attraction by Rhonda Byrne, The Secret: Dare to Dream follows Miranda (Katie Holmes), a young widow trying to make ends meet while raising her three children and dating her boyfriend (Jerry O’Connell). A devastating storm brings an enormous challenge and a mysterious man, Bray (Josh Lucas), into Miranda’s life. Bray reignites the family’s spirit but, unbeknownst to Miranda, also holds an important secret — one that will change everything. With its timeless messages of hope, compassion, and gratitude, The Secret: Dare to Dream is an inspiring and heartwarming film that shows how positive thoughts can transform our lives.