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

By Nicole Ackman
Published: July 26, 2023
2023 South Korean Netflix film Dream


Dream is, in many ways, just another sports movie. But this one at least has the unique feature of being about a soccer team of homeless men.

Here is our review of the 2023 South Korean Netflix film Dream, which does not contain significant spoilers.

Sometimes, it seems like if you’ve seen one sports film, you’ve seen them all. There’s the classic formula of a professional being called in to coach a failing team (often made up of not-so-talented youngsters) and learning more from them along the way.

Whether or not they succeed in the end is frankly unimportant; it’s more about how playing the game together helps them all develop personally.

Netflix’s Korean film Dream is, in many ways, just another one of these sports movies. However, it is somewhat unique in being about a team of homeless men preparing to play in the Homeless World Cup (a real thing that has existed since 1999).

Dream (2023) Review and Plot Summary

The film opens with professional soccer player Yoon Hong-dae (Park Seo-joon), who must revamp his public image after a physical altercation with a member of the press who had been goading him about his mother’s issues with the law.

He is called in to coach Korea’s team for the Homeless Football World Cup, while Lee So-min (Lee Ji-eun) will make a documentary about it to air on television.

The team only has two months to get into shape before they head to the big competition in Budapest. The team is as unpromising as you might expect; it’s made up of men of a variety of ages and backgrounds.

One thing the film does well is demonstrate that anyone can end up dealing with homelessness, showing that many of these men were actually successful businessmen before their fortunes changed.

However, I wish the film had dealt more with the actual issues of the homeless. It seems like part of the way through the film, it abandons that aspect of it and doesn’t really bother making any real statement about the plight of the homeless like you might expect.

The framing device of focusing on the documentary director and the celebrity coach feels like a disservice to the more interesting characters. However, the actors who make up the cast of players really steal the show even when writer-director Lee Byeong-heon‘s story doesn’t center them.

With this sort of movie, I expected Hong-dae and So-min to have a romance at some point. It’s actually rather refreshing that while we see them come to understand each other better over time, they never pursue a romantic connection.

That feels somewhat rare in a film, especially one of this genre, and I think the film is better for it. Both Seo-joon and Ji-eun do well with their roles, even though they don’t demand that much of their acting talent. Overall, it’s the cast that keeps the film afloat through its two-hour runtime.

Is the 2023 movie Dream good or bad?

Dream is really neither great nor terrible; it’s completely average. The performances aren’t anything particularly spectacular, but they are enough to keep the audience engaged.

And while it’s essentially another sports movie with a narrative we’ve seen before, the fact that it’s focused on the country’s homeless team does make it stand out.

Is the 2023 movie  Dream worth watching?

Dream isn’t a bad way to spend two hours. If you’re interested in either of the leads or like sports movies, then you’re sure to enjoy it.

Even if you just want something easy to watch that won’t demand too much from you emotionally, it’s a good pick. But if you’re not intrigued by the premise, then you can definitely skip it.

What did you think of the South Korean 2023 Netflix film Dream? Comment below.

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