Dreams of a Life
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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… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 70%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Somewhere at the bottom of this story is an ache about the value of a life."
‑ Stanley Kauffmann, The New Republic
"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."
‑ Charles Gant, Variety
"Disappointing documentary-fiction hybrid on the true story of a woman found dead and alone in an apartment three years after her demise. A pile-up of unanswered questions and unidentified witnesses frustrates more than it intrigues."
‑ Doris Toumarkine, Film Journal International
"Stunningly perplexing ... while it does leave you terribly bummed out in the end, it also leaves you with a whole lot of questions."
‑ Christopher Campbell, Movies.com
"It is necessarily incomplete but still constructs a haunting portrait of a woman who deserved a better life and death."
‑ Allan Hunter, Daily Express
"Its holes or omissions cannot diminish the gaping eloquence of the situation and the questions that arise."
‑ David Thomson, The New Republic
"Director Morley has at least restored something of a soul to her subject."
‑ Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
"Dreams of a Life unintentionally amounts to a mean-spirited snooze."
‑ Eric Kohn, indieWIRE
"It's a fascinating film, skilfully assembled, and one is inevitably reminded of Citizen Kane and Rashomon..."
‑ Philip French, Observer [UK]
"Makes for queazy viewing."
‑ Jamie Dunn, The Skinny
"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."
‑ Stephen Holden, New York Times
"Left with barely any there there, Morley compensates with long reenactments starring look-alike Zawe Ashton that are never quite convincing but instead suck more air out of the haunting vacuum left behind in Vincent's wake."
‑ Michael Atkinson, Village Voice
"Dreams of a Life succeeds in making its point about the unkowability of the people in our lives, but there isn't quite enough substance here to fully sustain the film."
‑ Andrew Schenker, Slant Magazine
"What results is an impressionistic study of how the big city can envelope a person until there is almost nothing left except what bits and pieces acquaintances can remember."
‑ Derek Malcolm, This is London
"She may have been forgotten in life, but Joyce Vincent will haunt anyone who watches this astonishing film."
‑ Lucy Barrick, Radio Times
More reviews for Dreams of a Life on Rotten Tomatoes