March 31st, 2016
Showtime: 8:20 pm
Director: Brett Haley
Cast: Blythe Danner, Martin Starr, Sam Elliott
Runtime: 95 minutes
“A modest, quietly touching portrait of an older woman radiantly portrayed by Blyth Danner.” – Stephen Holden, New York Times
“What “I’ll See You” does particularly well is get at how any relationship – whatever your age – comes with a limited, rather than a lifetime, warranty.” – Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times
Nominations: Georgia Film Critics Association Awards, Gotham Awards: Best Actress,
I’ll See You in My Dreams is an anti-sentimental look at aging and the complexity of human connections when we have more history than future.
Blythe Danner gives a quietly potent performance as Carol, part of the Greenwich Village folk scene when she was young and then a moderately bored schoolteacher who retired when her husband died—a whopping 20 years earlier.
She passes her days reading, drinking white wine, and meeting three long-time pals (played delightfully by Rhea Perlman, June Squibb, and Mary Kay Place) for bridge or golf at their nearby retirement complex.
Her modest Los Angeles bungalow is a bit barren, but she does have a dog and a pool, and the latter is how she happens to meet an unlikely cleaner called Lloyd. Martin Starr plays Lloyd with a Paul Rudd–like mix of boyish charm and self-aware melancholy. A budding, if not very good, musician, Lloyd encourages Carol to reclaim some of her youthful expressiveness.
Carol soon gets distracted by attentions from new golf-club member Bill, played by silver-’stached Sam Elliott with undiminished sexiness and that ram-tough voice. The cigar-chomping Bill questions Carol’s habitual ways and, to the credit of writer-director Brett Haley, she doesn’t quite figure out how she feels about that. This is apparent with the late arrival of Carol’s daughter (Malin Akerman), whose presence seems to bring out the older woman’s more selfish qualities.
The film is a small masterwork of deceptively ordinary dialogue and exceptionally realistic emotions. Its characters, whatever their age, yearn for earlier dreams. But their eyes remain open.