I'll See You in My Dreams

 

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A tailor-made fantasy romance set in L.A. that targets a particular demographic.


It seems fair to suggest that this film is aimed first and foremost at female audiences aged sixty or over. I say that because viewers are clearly invited to identify with Carol Peterson, the film’s central character played by Blythe Danner (born in 1943). When we meet her she has been a widow for twenty years (her husband had been killed in an air crash) but now, with the loss of the dog that has been her companion, she feels the need to move on. She has three old friends with whom she plays cards regularly, but the emphasis is now on finding a man. The only problem here seems to be one of choice since she at once attracts the attention of a handsome older man (Sam Elliott born in 1944) while the young man who cleans her pool (Martin Starr) takes up with her declaring, improbably, that he sees her as a good drinking buddy.

This kind of material presents something of a problem for the serious critic. It is obvious that the story, co-written by Marc Basch and the director Brett Haley, is intended to appeal to the fantasies of older women (or to their idea of them). To say that the film is contrived and fictional is irrelevant because what is being attempted is escapist romanticism, a mode which fits with the simplistic approach adopted here. One can validly regret that June Squibb, so memorable in Nebraska (2013), is wasted as one of the card players, but the fact that Sam Elliott’s role lacks the conviction of his character in Grandma is beside the point.
 

I'll See You in My Dreams 

A new leaf: Sam Elliott and Blythe Danner

 

It is appropriate to say that one episode in which the women take marijuana feels out of place and the film’s resolution (not foreseeable as it turns out) may or may not satisfy the target audience. What is positive here is that all of the players are thoroughly assured. However, if last year’s release Ruth & Alex offered older audiences something altogether more interesting, it cannot be overstressed that I’ll See You In My Dreams does indeed exist only to satisfy dream fantasies.
 

MANSEL STIMPSON 


Cast: Blythe Danner, Martin Starr, June Squibb, Rhea Perlman, Mary Kay Place, Malin Akerman, Sam Elliott, Max Gail.

 

Dir Brett Haley, Pro Rebecca Green, Laura D. Smith and Haley, Screenplay Marc Basch and Haley, Ph Rob Givens, Pro Des Eric J. Archer, Ed Haley and David Dean, Music Keegan DeWitt, Costumes Mirren Gordon-Crozier.

  

Two Flints/Jeff Rice Films/Northern Lights Films-Picturehouse Entertainment.
92 mins. USA. 2015. Rel: 12 February 2016. Cert.
12A.