Dreams of a Life

Dreams of a Life

Nobody noticed when Joyce Vincent 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, Dreams of a Life is an imaginative, powerful, multilayered quest, and is not only a portrait of Joyce but a portrait of London in the eighties 3.9 out of 5 based on 12 reviews
Dreams of a Life

Omniscore:

Certificate 12A
Genre Documentary
Director Carol Morley
Cast Alix Luka-Cain, Jonathan Harden Zawe Ashton
Studio Dogwoof
Release Date December 2011
Running Time 90 mins
 

Nobody noticed when Joyce Vincent 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, Dreams of a Life is an imaginative, powerful, multilayered quest, and is not only a portrait of Joyce but a portrait of London in the eighties

Reviews

Time Out

Dave Calhoun

Morley’s film is a mirror. How much do we know ourselves? How much do others know us? It works on the ego as much as it works on our empathy. Could it ever happen to me, you wonder, while lamenting that it happened to Joyce.

12/12/2011

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The Times

Wendy Ide

Perhaps Morley’s greatest achievement is the fact that she makes Joyce into such a vibrant presence in the film that we grieve for her alongside the boyfriend from the 1980s who clearly never stopped loving her.

16/12/2011

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The Observer

Philip French

A fascinating film, skilfully assembled.

18/12/2011

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The Sunday Times

Edward Porter

The film isn’t a blunt indictment of our fragmented society, but an enigmatic illustration of how a person can remain unknown to every observer. In this context, some of Morley’s dramatic reconstructions seem oddly presumptuous in the way they imagine private scenes in Vincent’s life — but this barely diminishes the film’s power to haunt.

18/12/2011

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Total Film

Tom Dawson

A compelling, compassionate mix of imaginative reconstructions, shrewdly chosen songs and interviews.

02/12/2011

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Empire Magazine

Patrick Peters

Sincere and desperately sad.

12/12/2011

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The Evening Standard

Derek Malcolm

We will never know [what happened]. But Morley's film makes us care. It's a different, risky kind of investigation but a valid one.

16/12/2011

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The Financial Times

Nigel Andrews

Morley recognises that this tragedy is surrounded by potential triteness. Yet her film is never trite – or only once, in the borderline-naff “reconstruction” of the day officials broke in to find Vincent’s remains. Vincent’s life is documentarised as far as knowledge allows, leaving lacunae that Morley fills with a kind of wish-fulfilment amplification of what appeared to be Vincent’s hopes, gifts, ambitions. These are the “dreams of a life”.

15/12/2011

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The Guardian

Peter Bradshaw

A searing prose-poem on celluloid about loneliness: the kind of loneliness that can only happen in the big city. It is a terrible vision of London as a kind of emotional wasteland ... A morbid thought is bound to creep into the mind of anyone watching this film: how many more Joyce Vincents are out there, alone, unloved and unremembered?

15/12/2011

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The Independent

Anthony Quinn

This is a painfully sad portrait of an atomised society in which people may slip through the cracks into oblivion, but more haunting still are the unresolved personal mysteries: given Joyce had lost touch with almost everyone, who were those Christmas presents for?

16/12/2011

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The Scotsman

Alistair Harkness

A compassionate, haunting and tragic film with a desperately sad seasonal twist that makes it almost unbearably poignant viewing.

16/12/2011

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The Daily Telegraph

Tim Robey

The problem – and it’s a glaring one – is that Morley imposes a creative stamp on the material that keeps getting in the way. Her recreations of Joyce’s last days, with Zawe Ashton in the role, jar quite ruinously ... It’s not the promising Ashton’s fault at all, but thoughts of Crimewatch are hard to bat away.

15/12/2011

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