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I’ll See You In My Dreams

05 Jun

I’ll See You In My Dreams – directed by Brett Haley. 92 minutes Romantic Drama 2015.

★★★★

The Story: A middle-aged widow moves through her days happily, her routine interloped by a romance with a handsome stranger.

~

I’ve seen Blythe Danner most of her performing life, starting with her playing young romantic leads at Williamstown with Frank Langella and Mildred Dunnock. Her acting energy was never teeth-clenching dramatic. A soft allure surrounded her and was taken for granted by the roles she was cast in as the natural focus of sexual attention.

This halo has stayed with her throughout her long career. She is an actress whom it is understood must be given so much that she has not earned. Everyone – everyone – expects her to be the focus of romantic attention.

What I am describing here is, of course, the quality of a type – the true leading lady.

The looseness of our expected attributions to her are embodied in her vague, carefully unkempt hair. She is an actress who is expected to give little and does so give. She is naturally elegant, and this is brought forth sternly by the three bridge-playing cronies who surround her, all of whom are short and homely. Her clothes hang on her easily. She is one of those women who always looks so svelte you never know what their figures actually look like.

The romantic interest is brought on by Sam Neill, in a role which is marked, of course, by machoistic shallowness. He plays sexual confidence with a self-satisfied and knowing smile which reduces every move he makes to smugness.

At any rate, it’s not about him. It’s about Blythe Danner. And, sure enough, she is both the one you are given to watch and the one you do watch. Some women are like that on the screen. Catherine Deneuve is such an one. For all the attention I bestow on Blythe Danner is done knowing she is – unlike her daughter Gwyneth Paltrow – cold. To act she sometimes moves her mouth. Incorrectly. Why, then, do I root for her? It’s because she’s so lovely.

The theatre was packed. It’s still packed. The actor I loved in it was Martin Starr as a diffident pool guy. The script is badly underwritten, and yet Starr makes everything he says true and funny. But this is not a story about young people. For there is an audience for stories about and for people who are over 24 years-old.

To see Blythe Danner for me is to rest in the expectations and hopes of my youth, as though, this time, they might be met. I gaze upon Blythe Danner’s complexion, which at 72 is unmapped by time, and wonder if only she had the right husband, maybe me. That is to say, we have all of us who ever saw her, and see her still, to give her only as much as what her coolness dares inspire, a focus for our own vanity.

 
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Posted in Blythe Danner, Martin Starr, PERSONAL DRAMA, Sam Neill

 
 
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