movie film review | chris tookey

Dreams of a Life

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  Dreams of a Life Review
Tookey's Rating
5 /10
Average Rating
7.80 /10
Zawe Ashton, Alix Luka-Cain, Martin Lister
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Directed by: Carol Morley
Written by: Carol Morley

Released: 2011
Genre: DRAMA
Origin: UK
Colour: C
Length: 90

Touching but limited drama-doc.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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Though more suited to television than the cinema, Dreams of a Life is one of the saddest little films Iíve seen, about Joyce Vincent, an attractive, mixed-race woman who died in 2003 at the age of 38, but lay undiscovered in her Wood Green flat for three years. No one reported her missing, and the film bears eloquent testimony to the way people can live isolated existences in the busiest of cities.

Carol Morley has rounded up many former friends and lovers for her docu-drama, but even so the film feels padded out to feature length. Itís clear that Joyce (played by Zawe Ashton, pictured) allowed very few people to know her, and even then was secretive about her background, and especially about her father.

The film is hamstrung by the reluctance of several crucial witnesses to talk. Relatives are notable by their absence (Joyce had three elder sisters), and itís probable that child abuse and being beaten up by a former lover (also unseen) contributed to her isolation.

Foul play was not suspected by the police, and she was apparently an asthmatic who didnít always keep her medication close by. But dramatised events from her life reveal a lively soul who deserved a better and much longer life.

The most touching interview is with Martin, Joyceís ex-boyfriend from the 80s, who breaks down as he recalls that she was the love of his life Ė only he didnít know it at the time.

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