A movie review of “I’ll See You in My Dreams”: Blythe Danner has the breakthrough role of her career, playing a longtime widow who discovers two dreamboats at once (Sam Elliott and Martin Starr). Rating: 3 stars out of 4.
“Great actors can do anything, and I believe that we underestimate most actors,” said writer-director Brett Haley when he brought his new movie, “I’ll See You in My Dreams,” to the Seattle International Film Festival last month.
“You look at Steve Carrell from ‘The Office’ and Steve Carrell in ‘Foxcatcher,’ ” said Haley, who is 31. “It’s kind of my manifesto whenever I write something: I’m going to go with the person you’d be least likely to put in this role, and see them come alive.”
For instance: He cast 72-year-old Blythe Danner in “Dreams,” as a widow whose husband died 20 years ago. Always a lively supporting presence but never a star, she’s in every scene, and she earns Haley’s trust almost immediately.
Movie Review ★★★
‘I’ll See You in My Dreams,’ with Blythe Danner, Sam Elliott, Martin Starr, Mary Kay Place, June Squibb. Directed by Brett Haley, from a screenplay by Haley and Marc Basch. 95 minutes. Rated PG-13 for sexual material, drug use and brief strong language. Several theaters.
Whether she’s belting out “Cry Me a River” in a karaoke bar, developing a friendship with a pool boy (wonderful Martin Starr), falling for a man her own age (ageless Sam Elliott) or cleverly handling the neighborhood gossip (Mary Kay Place), she’s clearly having a ball with this character.
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Early in the movie, she’s forced to put down her favorite dog, and her re-engagement with life feels a bit contrived. So does the arrival of two very different beaus at the same time, yet the twist ending doesn’t feel wrong. Indeed, if you’ve reached Danner’s age, it may seem all too familiar.