Arts & Culture · Film & Television

Movie Review: Sweet Possibilities in ‘I’ll See You in My Dreams’

From the movie’s trailer, as well as what I’ve written here, you might expect I’ll See You in My Dreams to follow the recent formula of grey-haired rom-coms. These vehicles, starring the likes of Diane Keaton and even Meryl Streep, are fairly typical romantic comedies with the added humor of age. “Oh look, old people getting physical and being all awkward about it. Isn’t that cute? Isn’t that funny?” Happily, I’ll See You in My Dreams is at once more graceful and more substantive. The movie does follow some tried-and-true conventions. Carol and Bill have their Hollywood “meet cute” moment: she’s looking at various supplements in a health and beauty aisle; he passes by and advises her not to waste her money. “You’re perfect the way you are.” But, when they do become intimate, we are only invited to the proposition and the aftermath, neither of which is played for belly laughs.

If I’ll See You in My Dreams transcends other movies with similar set-ups, much of the credit goes to writer/director Brett Haley. Young (and male), Haley has tapped into both Carol’s outer dialogue and inner monologue. He seems to have had a wonderful working relationship with his leading lady and together they create a character and a story well worth watching.

The movie’s supporting cast is excellent. In addition to the two men in her life and her posse of women, Carol has a grown daughter Katherine, played by Malin Ackerman, who comes for a visit. Katherine is at first a bit miffed to find her mother so distracted, then quite surprised as she realizes how complicated and emotional her mother’s life has become. Eventually, the tables are turned as Katherine comforts Carol. “You’ve had a great life,” she tells her. Her mother answers, “But, it’s all in the past.

In real life, Danner is also the mother of a daughter, Gwyneth Paltrow. Watching I’ll See You in My Dreams, it’s easy to see where Paltrow gets her glorious looks.

Danner is far and away the center of this lovely, moving film. A highlight (and there are many) is when Lloyd takes Carol to karaoke night at a local bar. Haley had originally wanted Carol to sing “Superstar.” It turned out that the rights were “outrageously expensive.” Danner suggested that they use “Cry Me a River” instead. The result is haunting and the director later agreed it was the right choice. “I’m happy the Carpenters cost a lot of money.”

Like other later-in-life romantic movies, I’ll See You in My Dreams tells us that it’s never too late to fall in love. But, don’t expect a completely happy ending. Carol learns that life is short and unpredictable. Nevertheless, by the end of the movie, she seems to have opened up to possibility; she realizes that there’s more to experience even if that means embracing sadness along the way.



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  • Patricia. Moscatello July 10, 2015 at 9:55 am

    I look forward to seeing it as soon as possible.

  • Chris L. July 10, 2015 at 9:01 am

    Did you just spoil the ending? Will likely still see it – Blythe Danner is five times the actress her glamorous offspring is.