HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: I'll See You In My Dreams
HTS Overall Score:74
Have you ever heard the term “coming of age”? I’m sure you have, as it’s been a staple in life as well as film for as long as anyone can remember. Those turbulent times when a child becomes an adult, or at least embarks upon a more serious journey towards that end. However, coming of age can come much later in life as well, as “I’ll See You In My Dreams” so poignantly points out. You don’t have to be a child to reinvent your life, to find meaning in life, as you look at what comes before you. Sometimes your fast approaching mortality can seem comforting, as you’ve traversed much throughout this life, and see so much behind you, and so little in front of you. Director Brett Haley tells the tale of Carol Peterson, a woman who is coming into her own rebirth after living a full life, but feeling useless and worn out after so much living.
Carol Peterson (the beautiful Blythe Danner) has been widowed for 20 years, having lost her husband in a plane crash in 1994. She’s raised a daughter (Malin Akerman) along, and now she’s lost the only surviving piece of her old life, her dog Hazel. One would think that deep loneliness and sadness would be the most common reaction, but her own lack of sadness disturbs even Carol. She has her friends (Georgina, Sally and Rona), but there just doesn’t seem to be much zest in her dealings with them anymore. She goes through the motions, but the heart just isn’t there. Realizing that something is missing from her life, Carol begins an unintended reimagining of her life.
Forming a friendship with the local pool boy Lloyd (Martin Starr), she gains a little bit of her old life back. Going out on platonic dates to the local karaoke bar, the two gain some much needed comfort and perspective from the other. Lloyd is frustrated and young, thinking there is nothing ahead of him in life due to the limited experience that he has had so far. Trying to live in the now, he can’t seem to find any happiness, except in the friendship with Carol. Carol, on the other hand, has lived a LOT, seen a lot, and just can’t seem to reconcile the fact that there is anything left in life for her to enjoy. Meeting her polar opposite in the form of Bill (Sam Elliot), a retiree with a lust for life, Carol soon finds out that there is so much more in life, even with the limited time span she has left. Bill is vivacious, full of life and has no desire to waste what time he has left on this earth. Forming a whirlwind romance with Carol, he teaches the retired school teacher/singer that it’s not the amount of time you have left that counts, it’s all about what you make of that time.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=52594[/img]I really enjoyed “I’ll See You In My Dreams” as it resonated with me in a very personal way. I’ve watched family members live the rest of their aging lives in a sense of despondency and futility. Thinking that their looming mortality means that there is nothing left for them. They see what they’ve LOST over the course of the years instead of all things that life has to offer. Carol fits that mold to a T at the beginning of the film. She sees her lost husband, her lost dog, her lost youth, and that depressing weight keeps her from enjoying what time she has on earth. This alone becomes too much and her spur of the moment friendship with Lloyd sets off a chain reaction that will change her life for the better.
Both the characters of Bill and Lloyd are charming and poignant, each unlocking a piece of her that the other couldn’t. I loved the chemistry that went on between Bill and Carol, as Sam Elliot is enough reason to watch any movie. I don’t care, but if Sam Elliot winks at you and asks you out on a date, then you GO! While Bill and Carol were solid, the really enjoyable relationship was between her and Lloyd. I full expected this to be a love triangle with Lloyd falling for the much older woman, but Brett Haley kept the relationship platonic, allowing for the two broken people to heal each other without the unnecessary trappings of a forced romance of the age gap. Lloyd offers her a sort of youthful freedom, while Carol can impart her own wisdom of trial and error, with both characters drawing support from the other in their own seemingly stalled life.
The film is a slow burn, with a nice steady progression for Carol, but the only real flaw that I can take away from this viewing is the struggle for the ending. It almost seemed as if the director couldn’t seem to park the car, and instead just let it coast on until the end credits. The coalescing of Bill’s fate, as well as Lloyds change in jobs seemed like it was about 15 minutes before the end of the movie, rather than the actual end, which left me feeling like there was just something waiting around the corner. It’s not a deal breaker by any stretch of the imagination, but the great crescendo never happens, which is ever so slightly disappointing.
Rated PG-13 for sexual material, drug use and brief strong language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=52602[/img]It’s become a strong pattern recently that most modern films look good to amazing on Blu-ray, especially ones with a competent budget. “I’ll See You In My Dreams” is no different, with exceptional detail, strong contrast levels and some amazing color levels. The fine detail is never in doubt, with every fiber and wrinkle on the aging actors bodies and clothing are always visible, and the while the contrast is pushed to the high end of the spectrum, it never washes out the blacks TOO much. With that being said, I did notice a couple of times where said contrast gave the blacks a slightly washed out hue, but those were mostly at the beginning of the film, while the rest of the movie sports deep and inky blacks. Colors are warm and natural, with cheery blues, greens and pastels to fill out the image with a homey sort of feel.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=52610[/img]I’ve said it a million times, but you know what to expect from your average drama in the audio department. The 5.1 DTS-HD MA track on board sports great fidelity from the center channel, which carries most of the weight, and features a good balance with the rest of the track. The music adds the most activity to the surrounds, and listening to Blythe sing “Cry Me a River” is worth the price of admission alone. There’s a decent amount of ambient activity to keep the surrounds in use the whole film, but the majority of the work is really handled by the center with some support by the mains. LFE is mild, but perfectly acceptable for the genre, and even adds some low end weight that’s quite noticeable, especially with the cop car pulling them over, or the trip out on the ocean in Bill’s boat.
• A Look Inside "I'll See You In My Dreams"
“I’ll See You In My Dreams” is a sweet and charming little drama that pulls the heartstrings in just the right places. It’s neither too sicky sweet, or depressingly sad, dancing a fine line between humor and drama. Blythe Danner is always a treat to view, no matter what her age, but the triangle of friendship she forms between Lloyd and Bill is exquisite to watch unfold. Each one has a sort of charming realism that is both poignant and sad at the same time and really sells story, despite the flawed ending. As for the disc itself, it looks and sounds great, but unfortunately only carries a single paltry extra. Definitely worth checking out though.
Starring: Blythe Danner, Martin Starr, Sam Elliott
Directed by: Brett Haley
Written by: Brett Haley, Marc Basch
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Runtime: 92 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: September 1st, 2015
Buy I'll See You In My Dreams On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Check It Out
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