Combustible Celluloid
Own it:
Search for Posters
Search for streaming:
NetflixHuluGoogle PlayGooglePlayCan I
With: Blythe Danner, Sam Elliott, Martin Starr, Malin Akerman, June Squibb, Rhea Perlman, Mary Kay Place
Written by: Marc Basch, Brett Haley
Directed by: Brett Haley
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual material, drug use and brief strong language
Running Time: 92
Date: 05/15/2015

I'll See You in My Dreams (2015)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Blythe Spirit

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Here is something very rarely seen, a movie not only with a female lead, but a movie with a female lead over forty. Despite that novelty, Blythe Danner gives an amazing, truly touching performance. Writer-director Brett Haley may seem like the wrong man for this material, but he lends it an appealingly soft touch. Neither the tragedy nor the comedy is forced or foreshadowed too heavily. In this movie, everything — even awkward moments — just happens naturally and gracefully.

Carol Petersen (Danner) is a widow living quietly and simply, when her beloved dog Hazel dies. As she begins to face her loneliness, her friends (Rhea Perlman, June Squibb, and Mary Kay Place) try to convince her to move into their retirement community. She meets the new pool boy, Lloyd (Martin Starr), and strikes up a friendship with him; he takes her to a karaoke bar, and she sings for the first time in years. She also meets the handsome Bill (Sam Elliott) who begins to sweep her off her feet and even talks about marriage. A black rat begins making random appearances in her house, and her daughter, Katherine (Malin Akerman), shows up for a visit. Through all this emotional turbulence, Carol starts to learn how to live again.

The relationship between Danner and the younger Starr initially seems scandalous, but it turns out to be touchingly innocuous and sweet; Starr regards Danner with a genuine affection and curiosity. Even the supporting players seem to have lives, and are not just there to react to the main characters. If I'll See You in My Dreams has a failing, it's the rather flat, artless look of the cinematography, but even that doesn't detract from the wonderful characters. (The title comes from a lovely little song that Starr sings for Danner.)

Hulu Castle Rock SVOD