Dreams of a Life Movie Review (2011)

dreams of a life movie review 2011

Dreams of a Life (2011)

Fans of police procedurals will be familiar with scenes where the police try and recreate a victim’s last movements with the hope of finding the killer.

But what if there was only a victim and no killer? What purpose would a reconstruction serve?

In Dreams of Life writer-director Carol Morley uncovers the story of Joyce Vincent, a Londoner who died alone in her flat in 2003 but was discovered three years later.

The film is a mixture of first-hand interviews of the people that knew Joyce together with short dramatic reconstructions of key points in her life.

The path of her life is traced from child to adulthood and via key relationships. The film accomplishes something truly moving by recreating Joyce’s personality in vivid detail. This is no easy task as during her life Joyce appeared to be different things to different people.

The film can be likened to a reverse autopsy: instead of taking parts apart to find an explanation the film puts parts of her life that were seemingly unknown back together, so that the viewer understands how Joyce might have felt and thought during her life.

Although the film is underscored by Joyce’s eventual fate, her biography has moments that lift the viewer with interviews that are candid as well as funny.

By focusing on how Joyce lived rather than the circumstances of her death, you leave the cinema understanding that this wasn’t someone living in extreme conditions but someone who could easily be your best mate or neighbour.

And should you find yourself sifting through an old address book or been meaning to reach out to someone you’ve meant to call but haven’t then this film serves as a good reminder of why you should.

One of the best film’s of the year. Go see.

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