Monday, May 11, 2015

I'll See You In My Dreams

Explaining why he just bought himself a yacht, Bill (Sam Elliott), the sexy septuagenarian whose arrival at a retirement community creates a stir in Brett Haley's I'll See You in My Dreams, tells Carol (Blythe Danner) that he can't understand people who wedge themselves into a rut after retirement and stay there until they die. Carol simply listens, no longer sure where she stands on the subject. Since her husband died 20 years ago, she's been living just the sort of life Bill is sneering at, so she's well aware that there are far worse ways to pass the time than reading the morning paper by the pool in your L.A. bungalow, playing bridge or golf several times a week with your best friends, or settling into bed with your pet and a glass of wine to watch some TV before falling asleep. On the other hand, a series of small but seismic changes in her life—the death of her dog, a budding friendship with the sensitive young man, Lloyd (Martin Starr), who cleans her pool, and Bill's unexpected interest in her—is altering her longstanding routine and making her wonder if she wants to spend the rest of her life doing essentially the same thing every day.

I'll See You in My Dreams attempts to find a balance between the stimulatingly new and the comfortably familiar. Highly polished yet never quite slick, the film devolves now and then into cartoonish cutesiness with its broadly drawn minor characters, as in a heavy-handed sequence in which Carol and her girlfriends get high on Sally's (Rhea Perlman) medical marijuana and then behave like superannuated teenagers, buying a ridiculous mound of munchies (literally a shopping cartful) and giggling profusely when they're detained by a hunky young cop on their way home. Worse, the montage of painfully bad moments from Carol's encounters with speed dating is a tired trope that doesn't feel any fresher just because everyone partaking in the process is old enough to qualify for Medicare.

But the three main actors' emotional authenticity keeps the story from drowning in unfunny shtick or facile wish-fulfillment. Read the rest in Slant Magazine

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