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Dreams of A Life - Movie Review - 2012

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating


Dreams of A Life - Movie Review - 2012

Dreams of A Life Poster Art

Strand Releasing
Dreams of a Life is the story of Joyce Carol Vincent, a 40-something woman whose decomposed corpse was discovered in a North London bedsit in 2003, but when and because authorities broke in to evict her for nonpayment of rent. She'd been dead for three years and nobody had missed her, nobody had asked after her, nobody had noticed the mail piling up at the door.

Authorities found the television still on. So, not even the electric company and the meter reader had noticed the nonpayment of bills.

The gruesome story made headlines. Everyone was both horrified and fascinated that such a thing could and did happen in modern London.

Despite the public's intense response to the Joyce Carol Vincent story, little was actually known about the deceased woman's life and background. Nor was anyone able to say for sure what had happened to her. Was she a murder victim? Did she commit suicide? Had she died of usual or unusual natural causes? There were no answers.

A Story Worth Telling

The masses of people who wondered about Vincent and were saddened by her solitary demise kept interest in the case alive. British filmmaker Carol Morley was fascinated by the story and following it closely. She decided to try to find answers to some of the questions it raised, and to take a look at what might be called solitary bedsit syndrome, a condition that plagues many people who don't have families to relate to or people to look after them or ay attention to whether they were well, ill or dead.

Who Was The Woman Who Died Alone

Eventually, through some good detective work, Morley found a group of people who had known Joyce Carol Vincent during an earlier phase of her life. Colleagues who had worked with her commented that Vincent had been a managerial position, and was a very responsible and successful career woman. She was stylish, well liked and respected. Her coworkers had lost touch with her when she'd gone on to what they assumed was a better job, and were shocked to realize that the woman who died alone in the bedsit was their former colleague.

Similarly, there were ex-flatmates who reported that Vincent was always happy and on the go, that she loved the club scene and dancing and had a lot of friends. They, too, were stunned that she's wound up alone in a bedsit and dead at age 40-something. There was even a best friend and beau who was devastated by the realization that he could and would have helped Joyce out of whatever difficulty she was in, had he just known that she needed help.

What Really Happened?

Based on the comments of Joyce's former cohorts, Morley staged reenactments of her activities at work and play, and of her childhood. The reenactments are well-staged, well-acted and well-shot.

Morley never gets answers to the questions about what actually caused the death of Joyce Carol Vincent. Nor have the police been able to do that. But, Morley's film is a stunning and dramatic documentary that provides an intimate look at the life of one lonely woman. It is also an affecting and haunting reminder of how easy it is for a person to become isolated and forgotten as society at large hustles and bustles by, sometimes focusing more on the latest craze than on the simple needs of real friends and neighbors.

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Film Details:

  • Title: Dreams of A Life
  • Director: Carol Morley
  • U.S. Theatrical Release Date: August 3, 2012
  • Running Time: 95 mins.
  • Parental Advisory: Content advisory for parents
  • Country: Great Britain
  • Filming Locations: London
  • Language: English
  • Company: Cannon and Morley Productions
  • Distributor: Strand Releasing
  • Official Website
  • Trailer

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