6.8/10
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28 user 68 critic

Dreams of a Life (2011)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Biography, Drama | 3 August 2012 (USA)
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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.

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7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Joyce Vincent
Alix Luka-Cain ... Young Joyce
Alistair Abrahams ... Himself
Mandy Allen ... Herself
Prue Almond ... Herself
Kim Bacon ... Herself
Daniel Roberts ... Himself
William Barthorpe ... Himself
Alison Campsie ... Herself
Catherine Clarke ... Herself
Michael Davies ... Himself
Alton Edwards ... Himself
Jerome Everette ... Himself
Lynne Featherstone ... Herself (as Lynne Featherstone MP)
David Gibbs ... Himself
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Storyline

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.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

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Official Facebook | Official site |  »

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Release Date:

3 August 2012 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Oneira mias zois  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,085, 5 August 2012, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$6,595, 12 August 2012
See more on IMDbPro »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

When the police forensics team begin looking around Joyce's flat, at one point her television is seen, on top of which is a statue of a women, appearing to be made of wood. Later on in the film, when Joyce's friends begin discussing her mother, they speak over a flashback of her mother and Joyce as a young girl, the same statue can be seen on a mantelpiece in the background. See more »

Quotes

Alistair Abrahams: Everyone has their secrets, she just seemed to have more than most.
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Soundtracks

My Smile is Just a Frown (Turned Upside Down)
Performed by Carolyn Crawford
Written by Smokey Robinson (as William Robinson Jr), Janie Bradford (as Jamie Bradford), William Stevenson
Courtesy of Motown Record Company L.P.
Under license from Universal Music Operations Ltd
Published by EMI Music Publishing Ltd / Jobete Music CD Inc
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User Reviews

Saddening and engaging despite not offering more
10 March 2013 | by See all my reviews

About a decade ago I worked in the offices of a local council's Environmental Health department and, among the jobs that fell into this department was that of dealing with the issue of people who had been found dead and didn't have anyone to make the arrangements. It didn't happen too often but occasionally the office would be used as a temporary store for loads of books, VHS tapes or other hoarded possessions of people who had died alone and seemed to have nobody. I never attended the funerals of these people but colleagues who did the arrangements generally reported a few friends or family but that was all. Despite never knowing these people, I had made the decision that these were sad lonely people who lived alone forever, knew nobody and had always been that way.

In a way, when we enter this film and hear about Joyce, this is the same impression it is very easy to have; she died alone and lay undiscovered for three years Three years with nobody anywhere really making an effort to find out why they hadn't seen her for a while. The lack of information in the paper about this person is what led Morley to make this documentary and she does unearth a lot and a great deal of it shows that Joyce was not some introverted hermit but in some ways just the opposite. It was clear from the detail that she did carry a great sadness within her, but at the same time she was active socially, had famous connections in the music industry and was a very attractive woman. The film builds this picture well – even surprising her friends with some details, but it never really gets to a point or to answers and this is the main problem with the film.

On the whole it does engage by virtue of how saddening it is and in the way it forces the viewer to ask questions of (and about) ones self, but this isn't quite enough to make the film fill 90 minutes. The details of Joyce's life only increased the questions but the film doesn't lay blame anywhere and doesn't investigate how anyone can go unnoticed for three years. This side of things isn't as good and it is a real shame as it could have had more of an impact. The subject itself is fascinating though and the mix of interviews and dramatized moments does work pretty well – with some interesting characters in her life and some great moments acted out by Ashton. The direction and look of the film is mostly good – it is very lively and good looking, not unlike the Joyce we see portrayed as well.

Dreams of a Life is a depressing and engaging film thanks to the subject matter and the way it is delivered, but it doesn't go far enough. It doesn't have an overall point in particular and it leaves as many questions as it answers; the viewer is left with a sense of sadness which is worthy but not a real understanding of anything beyond this one person. I liked it for what it did well, but the gaps are disappointing.


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