The Secret: Dare to Dream (2020)

I had a friend buy me a copy of The Secret, the Rhonda Byrne self-help book. It was well-intentioned, but it felt like the New Thought of the past and a sanitized version of Chaos Magic that didn’t work quite as well. But hey — everyone needs something to help them get by, and like I said, the thought was in the right place.

Now, the book has inspired a film which I can only imagine will be the first of many.

Director Andy Tennant knows romcoms. After all, he was behind It Takes TwoFools Rush InEver After and Sweet Home Alabama, the kind of movies that the lady in your life wants to put on any time they show up on a Sunday afternoon (and you’d be the jerk wanting to watch The Replacements again).

Miranda Wells (Katie Holmes) is the kind of hardscrabble, yet gorgeous, widow that these movies are all about. She’s raising three kids on her own but a storm blows into town and she has to hire Bray Johnson (Josh Lucas, who was in the aforementioned Sweet Home Alabama) to help fix things up, which includes her life and her family. Bray is pretty much The Secret in human form, because he’s a positive thinker, as well as someone that has a mysterious past that could ruin everything.

Don’t you just hate the third part of the hero’s journey?

If you’re already in for the 90’s stars in this, Jerry O’Connell shows up as well to seal the deal.

There was another movie version of the book in 2006, but that one didn’t have romance, a storm or Katie Holmes trying to raise kids. The universe talked to me and told me not to watch it. However, the universe did tell me to watch this, as we got a screener in the mail and it felt like I was watching too many slashers and perhaps it was time to watch a family-friendly movie about the power of positivity.

Now, for you moment of meta, sponsored by the IMDB trivia page for this movie: Josh Lucas played Mitch McDeere in the television adaptation of The Firm, a role originated by Holmes’ ex-husband Tom Cruise.

Now, back to The Secret. I feel as if my movie writing is now a success, as I have been able to convince movie studios to send me films to get my “expert” opinion. Most of my opinion is based on how much I love movies where people are menaced by gardening implements. That said, when this crossed my plate, I knew that I had finally achieved something worthwhile.

Then my wife said, “Why do you want to watch this movie?”

So I explained The Secret*somehow combines the Protestant teachings of Norman Vincent Peale with the Theosophy of Madame Blavatsky to create a theory that you can reprogram reality without needing to make sigils or set things on fire or masturbate. Then she stared at me even longer, wondered why she married me and went out to smoke a cigarette.

*The movie does this with pizza magically arriving when the children wish it in existence. Maybe I’m being too hard on this book, because if I can conjure pepperoni and extra cheese slices into being, I might have to get more serious about this.

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