Have you been champing at the bit to see Gwyneth Paltrow’s mom sex things up in a wacky AARP approved rom-com? Well too bad for you because I’ll See You in My Dreams is far from formulaic Hollywood pulp. Admittedly, based on the trailer one could be forgiven for thinking otherwise.
I’ll See You in My Dreams follows a retiree named Carol (Blythe Danner) as she tries to step beyond her comfortable yet solitary life. Carol has to euthanize her aged dog who had been her companion after the death of her husband. The loss serves to further entrench Carol in her self-imposed isolation and were it not for a chance encounter with a rat and a pool boy she would never leave that safe zone.
Everybody’s favorite freaky geek, or more recently, satanic super coder, Martin Starr plays the pool boy Lloyd who prods Carol into stepping out into the world. Early on it looks like the relationship is going to step into Harold and Maude territory but instead explores a grounded and ultimately more interesting dynamic. They share a friendship that illustrates the beauty of of a healthy codependence.
Evergreen ass-kicker Sam Elliot enters the movie as Bill, a lifelong bachelor who eventually becomes Carol’s love interest in whom she gets to see an alternative to the marriage and children plan. Elliot and Danner’s romance is charming and their interactions feel natural. It doesn’t hurt that the two are very pretty; If Blythe were my Gram Gram, I would want her to hook up with the old guy from Road House.
I’ve already mentioned that the trailer for this movie does not accurately reflect its content. I take umbrage with this because I’ll See You in My Dreams deserves better but more specifically, Blythe Danner deserves better. It should come as no surprise that she turns in an amazing performance; the woman has awards coming out of her ears. I realize Blythe has been in her fair share of Focker movies but this role illustrates that her talents have been significantly under-utilized for the past fifteen years. As Carol she conveys a vast and complex array of emotions that one would expect from a person with a lifetime of experiences. Danner’s subtlety and nuance are masterful, and were that not enough, the audience is treated to her chillingly beautiful karaoke performance of Cry Me a River.
I’ll See You in My Dreams is distributed by Bleecker Street Media, cue saxophone, a relatively new company with a host of top level talent starring in its films. If this movie is any indication of the quality Bleecker Street is trying to maintain I very much look forward to their future releases.
Dreams has a lot of issues to overcome if it is to be a financial success, but all of these issues have to do with logistics not quality of content. I’ll See You in My Dreams is theatrically playing in limited release and, I fear, lost among a slew of flashy summer blockbusters. Let’s be frank, the movie stars old people whose appeal can be easily be lost on the biggest ticket buying demographic. Despite all these factors I’ll See You in My Dreams is the sweet, smart, funny movie cinephiles claim to want. If need be, bust out a good pair of Depends, hit up the Luby’s a little early, then go see this movie.