Americans seem uncommonly uncomfortable discussing our own class struggles. But, boy, do we love to watch the Brits do it. I think that's one reason the inspiring and joyful Dark Horse is such an appealing film.

Undergirded by a stark realism, the Louise Osmond (Deep Water) documentary tells the story of Dream Alliance, a racehorse raised by a syndicate of 23 working-class men and women from a depressed Welsh mining town.

An underdog's underdog, the thoroughbred mare was bred by a barmaid whose only prior experience was with race pigeons. Dream Alliance and her owners were ignored by the hoity-toity racing world - until she won several midsize local races.

Dark Horse is at its best when it allows members of the syndicate to share their life stories. They speak lovingly of the mare, which became a symbol of hope for their impoverished region. They boast proudly of how she bounced back after a major injury for the 2009 Welsh National.

Dream Alliance and her friends - one can hardly call them owners - are now retired from the world of racing. Yet the camaraderie and love that binds them resonates.


Dark Horse

3 stars (Out of four stars)

Directed by Louise Osmond. Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics.

Running time: 1 hour, 25 mins.

Parent's guide: PG (some mild thematic elements and profanity).

Playing at: Ritz at the Bourse.