Thursday, March 19, 2015

CIFF Opening Night: 'I'll See You in My Dreams' Adds Dimensions to Aging

Photo courtesy of Bleecker Street Media
The echo of deep-belly laughter swirled with sounds of sobbing at the CIFF opening night screening of I'll See You in My Dreams. From retirees getting stoned to Blythe Danner prodding, "People talk about living in the moment like it's some kind of goal. What does that even mean?," the film adds dimensions to aging that go beyond the usually flat Bingo-playing, crotchety senior often seen on-screen.

Danner portrays Carol, a 70-something with a 6 a.m. wake-up time and days filled with reading the paper and swigging  generous amounts of white wine. She's lonely but detests the thought of being cooped up in a retirement community with her busybody friends. Her predictable existence gets shaken up when she meets a sparky senior Bill (played by Sam Elliott) with a similar dislike for stereotypical aging and a young pool boy Lloyd (Martin Starr) who's in a similar stage of restlessness in his life.

While it starts admittedly slow and tears flowed within the first 10 minutes, the story is smart and honest — especially when it comes to addressing an older woman's deepest thoughts. Life is in the past tense. What's the point of getting close to people if they leave you? Despite all the questioning, we are certain this is a journey worth witnessing — and a testament that it's never too late for new beginnings.

The Cleveland International Film Festival runs through March 29. To view a schedule, visit I'll See You in My Dreams has a theatrical release May 15. 

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