#REVIEW: “I’LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS”
Review by George Kozera for Mr. Will Wong
It’s time for the world to finally realize that there is more to actress Blythe Danner than just being Gwyneth Paltrow’s mother. Despite having a Tony award for her work on Broadway and, in 2005, being nominated for three Primetime Emmy awards, winning one, her movie career never reached the stature of her daughter’s. Hopefully that will change now with her revelatory performance as Carol in the vibrant I’LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS.
Widowed for over 20 years (that her mantelpiece is filled with pictures of her real life husband, acclaimed producer/director Bruce Paltrow, who had passed away in 2002, adds poignancy to the scenes) and with her daughter away, Carol spends her days watching TV with her dog, drinking wine and playing bridge with her 3 best friends (a glorious triumvirate played with zesty humour and vivacity by Rhea Perlman, June Squibb and Mary Kay Place) at a local retirement home. Carol lives a very quiet complacent life, until her dog has to be put to sleep, and she realizes she is now truly alone in her big house. Frazzled by seeing a rat scamper through her house, she locks the doors behind her and falls asleep on a chaise lounge only to be awakened the following morning by Lloyd (Martin Starr who best known for being in many Judd Apatow movies), the pool repair guy. Not only do these two lonelyhearts develop a genuine friendship, a few days later Carol meets and accepts a date with the sexy, cigar chomping Bill, played with macho swagger and sensitivity by Sam Elliott. For Carol, life begins again at 70.
Directed and co-written by Brett Haley, I’LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS succeeds on so many levels. This lovely Dramedy never makes stupid, cheap jokes at the expense of an aging population. When the four actresses smoke some medical marijuana and wind up in a grocery store shopping for supplies to sate the munchies, the characters are never made to look or act old and foolish. Even in a “speed dating” sequence played for comic effect, the laughs are sweet and never malicious.
The relationship between the much younger Lloyd and Carol develops so beautifully that the age difference is never a factor. Discovering they both share a love of music, they meet that night at a neighbourhood karaoke bar. After Lloyd butchers I Think We’re Alone Now, Carol assertively hits the stage, takes the microphone and sings the classic Cry Me A River. It’s a cinematic moment filled with joy and confidence and bravado that, not only is it sheer perfection, I got the goosies (as JLo is prone to say during American Idol) and had to restrain myself from jumping up and giving it a standing ovation!
Conversely, Carol’s dates with Bill are filled with haunting conversations about losses they’ve suffered and the shared fears of aging and being alone.
Ultimately, the unequivocal success of I’LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS is due to the luminous and vulnerable performance from Blythe Danner. She dominates every scene with grace, humour and dignity.
Elevation Pictures release I’LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS, in theatres now.