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I’ll See You in My Dreams – Movie Review

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I’ll See You in My Dreams – Movie Review

Rating: B- (Okay)

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In filmmaking, there are children’s films, which are movies made purely for a very young audience of toddlers with little appeal to audiences over the age of five. In the case of I’ll See You in My Dreams, we have an example of a senior’s film. This story of a group of elderly women in a retirement village probably won’t find much appeal among twenty-somethings as little attempt has been made to appeal to the current generation. That’s perfectly reasonable, as Hollywood constantly produces film made primarily for the 18-to-34 demographic and not every film should cater to them. However, it does make Brett Haley’s directorial effort not particularly interesting to people of my age.

I’ll See You in My Dreams mixes three subplots together, the best of which involves Blythe Danner’s Carol becoming romantically involved with another local retiree. Part of that is because of Sam Elliot’s endearing performance as Bill. In most of his roles, he brings a suaveness and confidence, possibly attained in his years of playing a cowboy from the Old West. The character’s philosophy on how to deal with aging and retirement does have a lot of good points behind it. His chemistry with Danner is nicely handled and their relationship is completely believable. The screen lights up whenever these two seasoned actors share the screen.

There are also some nice scenes Carol shares with her daughter. There’s a solid connection between them and it’s easy to buy Malin Akerman as her offspring. Despite Danner’s solid performance, the film’s other portions are more hit-or-miss. Carol’s bridge-playing friends are mostly there for comic relief and the humour doesn’t entirely hit. Even with the presence of June Squibb and Rhea Perlman, they’re not provided with the strongest material. One segment where they try their hand at marijuana doesn’t quite elicit the expected laughs and seems to go on for too long, ultimately not contributing much to the characters and story.

A storyline where Carol befriends her new pool boy is not fully developed. It seems to be building to something and it just sort of sputters to the story’s conclusion. Martin Starr’s performance is equally as disappointing, not departing too much from the stoned persona he’s known for. Meanwhile, there’s a recurring plot element of a rat that frequently appears in Carol’s house. It’s a little too on the nose and as soon as he disappears, it doesn’t take long to quickly forget his presence. Outside of a thematic purpose, its continued scatters don’t add much to the story as a whole.

Thinking about I’ll See You in My Dreams further, one realises how little the audience finds out about Carol. Blythe Danner brings more honesty and dimension to Carol than the script does. There’s a sameness and generic feel to the film with the bursts of energy coming through when Sam Elliot comes in to liven things up. Maybe with some extra polish, this could have been something special, but it’s mostly forgettable fodder that will serve its demographic well, but won’t stick in too many minds long afterwards. The possibility also exists that I’m far too young to appreciate the characters and their situations.

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Review By: Stefan Ellison

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