Movie Review: “I’ll See You In My Dreams” Is By No Means A Sleeper

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Review by Tracee Bond

* Review contains some plot spoilers

Carol, a widow in her 70s, is forced to confront her fears about love, family, and death. After her routine is rattled, she decides to start dating again and falls into relationships with two very different men.

Blythe Danner, with a lengthy history of stage and film credits, is a natural for the role of Carol Peterson, a widow in her 70’s. After twenty years of complacency following the death of her husband, she realizes she has become stagnant in life, yet she doesn’t quite know how to undo the complacency she has become accustomed to. She constantly resists the offers of her close-knit girlfriends to move in with them at the Royal Oaks Retirement Village, as well as their offer to hook her up with a male companion. She shares her bed, her life and insecurities with her faithful four-legged companion Hazel. Carol’s life becomes even more mundane when she has to put Hazel to sleep and deal with yet another loss of a loved one.

When a pesky rat forces her to sleep out on the patio a few nights, Lloyd (Martin Starr), the new pool guy mistakes her for being dead. While she is highly offended, she realizes that Lloyd would be the perfect person to get rid of the rat. Lloyd, a much younger oddball who seems to have too much time on his hands, is smitten by Carol and is bent on finding other odd jobs to do in order to be in her presence. At the same time, Carol starts moving out of her comfort zone and slowly gets the courage to do a few new things including Lloyd, speed dating and marijuana. With this new-found energy, Carol makes a trip to the local pharmacy to pick up vitamins and other vices that will enrich her life, and she runs into Bill (Sam Elliott), the local Retirement Village Stud, who tells her that she doesn’t need any of those things.

With Bill and Lloyd both vying for Carol’s attention, she juggles time with each of them while her Retirement Village buddies milk her for every detail about what she’s doing with who. Determined not to be the Cougar her friends want her to be, Carol gets serious with Bill and subsequently breaks Lloyd’s heart. Just when Carol realizes that Bill is indeed the one, her daughter makes a surprise visit to town and immediately recognizes that her mother is giddy due to a new man in her life. During the visit, Bill dies suddenly and the support from her daughter leads to a new-found respect for each other. After a brief period of mourning, Carol reaches out once again to Lloyd who had once filled a gap in her life, and surprisingly enough, he’s right there waiting with open arms.

Director Brett Haley is to be commended for just the right mix of raw emotions which expose human frailty. With an excellent cast whose personalities were realistic and uncompromising, this film certainly has the potential to capture the hearts of all who see it. The standing ovation that Blythe Danner received at the World Premiere of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival should be repeated at every showing.

You can watch my interview with director Brett Haley and star Blythe Danner HERE

In select theaters May 22nd including the Angelika Film Center in Plano

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James McDonald
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