I Dream Too Much full movie review - Listen to Vera!
Good movies make it look easy, and really good movies leave you shaking your head wondering how they did it.
I Dream Too Much gives us a very young woman who suffers from severe indecision and her elderly aunt who suffers from severe regrets, and it does it without recourse to plot devices and acting choices that might make your teeth hurt. The story is simple and affecting, a deceptively plain frame enclosing greater depths than you'll find in a standard entry from the sub-genres it technically overlaps -- stories of mentors and protégés, crusty yet lovable old people, coming-of-age empties and so on. The makers of I Dream Too Much struck gold in casting -- it's hard to imagine anyone bringing more freshness and honest confusion to the young woman's role than Eden Brolin, just as it is hard to imagine anyone wielding a wise tongue and bitter wit with deadlier accuracy than Diane Ladd.
The writer-director, Katie Cokinos, clearly learned a lot from her own experiences of people at both ends of the generational divide. Brolin's character, like most 21-year-olds, can scarcely grasp the bliss of not knowing how many wicked tricks the future will play while it's swallowing the past; instead, she frets over what to do next, unsure of who she is. Ladd, in a fine, astringent late-career turn, looks back in anger as the memory of her late husband, a great writer and all-around dreamboat, is polluted by the Other Woman, now an author flogging a trashy memoir. It's a classic set-up: aunt and niece both have something of value to offer if they can only manage not to alienate and annoy each other half to death.
I Dream Too Much benefits a great deal from the choice of Saugerties, New York in winter as its chief location. It's a lovely place, seldom seen on film and full of dormant possibility through most of the film, suddenly released in breathtaking shots of rushing water in the last act. Finally, there is a terrific supporting cast that includes Danielle Brooks, Christina Rouner, and the great James McCaffrey (an actor's actor on this terraplane, an overpaid leading man in a zestier world we are not allowed to visit).