Dreams of a Life

2012

Dreams of a Life (2012)

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Would anyone miss you? Nobody noticed when Joyce Vicent died in her bedsit above a shopping mall in North London in 2003. Her body wasn't discovered for three years, surrounded by Christmas presents she had been wrapping, and with the TV still on. Newspaper reports offered few details of her life -- not even a photograph. Interweaving interviews with imagined scenes from Joyce's life is not only a portrait of Joyce but a portrait on London in the eighties -- the city, music and race. It is a film about urban lives, contemporary life, and how, like Joyce, we are all different things to different people. It is about how little we may ever know each other, but nevertheless, how much we can love. -- (C) Official Site

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Critic Reviews for Dreams of a Life

All Critics (26) | Top Critics (8)

Somewhere at the bottom of this story is an ache about the value of a life.

Jun 18, 2013 | Full Review…

Its holes or omissions cannot diminish the gaping eloquence of the situation and the questions that arise.

Jun 13, 2013 | Full Review…

Dreams of a Life unintentionally amounts to a mean-spirited snooze.

Aug 3, 2012 | Rating: C- | Full Review…
indieWire
Top Critic

For all its subtext about identity and London's social fabric, "Dreams of a Life" leaves too many blanks and is ultimately more frustrating than rewarding.

Aug 2, 2012 | Rating: 2.5/5

A riveting tale of a onetime vivacious personality, described by those who knew her as "stunning," "lovely," and "very well liked," but who nevertheless died alone, friendless and seemingly missed by nobody.

Aug 1, 2012 | Full Review…
Variety
Top Critic

Director Morley has at least restored something of a soul to her subject.

Jul 31, 2012 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Dreams of a Life

Powerful, enigmatic and moving exploration of s life largely unknown but still celebrated, and mourned. It will make you want to reconnect with family and friends you may have list touch with.

Daniel Parsons
Daniel Parsons

Super Reviewer

½

"Dreams of a Life" is an artfully made and haunting documentary about Joyce Vincent whose body was found in her London bedsit(if Wikipedia is to be believed, it's the English equivalent of an SRO) three years after she died, and only because she was about to be evicted for non-payment of rent. While her remains were only idenitifiable through dental records and so badly gone no cause of death could possibly be found, it is the sort of case that is a pipe dream for tabloid reporters. At the same time, the local MP wants answers and filmmaker Carol Morley puts ads in the newspapers to get in touch with former friends and loved ones.(Joyce's older sisters refused to particpate out of privacy for the family.) Through interviews, Morley fills in the gaps of Joyce's timeline, along with faint glimpses of Joyce herself, through a snippet of her voice and a stunning final image. Joyce's death comes as something of a surprise considering she was only 38.(For the record, her mother was 41 when she died.) But with all the information given and theories floated, the one I don't recall having been given is the possibility that she might have been using drugs. Not to stereotype any more than absolutely necessary, but Joyce tried to get into the music business where musicians have been known to on occasion use drugs. This also might explain her fall from grace and frequent job changes which she tried to hide from her friends with her carefree manner.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

A terrible documentary, loaded with tacky recreations and lasting three times too long for the paltry amount of material available about the main issue (a woman who mysteriously died and went undiscovered in her apartment for three years). Instead of forensics, we're forced to sit through interview after interview establishing that the deceased woman was beautiful and was "fancied" by many suitors. Great. Thrilling. Too bad there wasn't time for even one legitimate photograph of the death site.

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

½

"Would anyone miss you?" A filmmaker sets out to discover the life of Joyce Vincent, who died in her bedsit in North London in 2003. Her body wasn't discovered for three years, and newspaper reports offered few details of her life - not even a photograph.

REVIEW
I remember learning about the discovery of Joyce Vincent's body a few years ago and thinking what a sad and disturbing news story it was, almost beggaring belief in present day civilised society. This superbly and sensitively crafted drama documentary from Carol Morley answers a mere handful of the many questions which inevitably followed while inevitably producing a myriad of others. It is a salutary reminder that life is both precious and mysterious, things are often not what they seem and how we all think we know our friends but in reality our comprehension is limited to what we are actually permitted to see and understand. The most refreshing and at the same time most disturbing impression given is that Joyce's friends appear to be genuine, caring people but despite this, she still slipped through the emotional and physical net which binds humanity together. The power of this film makes the loss almost as tangible to the audience as it must have felt to Martin. It reminds us that although time is often regarded as a great unhurried and invisible healer, it can also be corrosively destructive.

Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Lorenzo von Matterhorn

Super Reviewer

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