Not rated, but there is a scene of drug use, language and discussion of sex
Written by Marc Basch and Bret Haley
Directed by Bret Haley
Starring Blythe Danner, Martin Starr, Sam Elliot, Malin Akerman and more
It's amazing how much life you can breathe into a genre when you strip away the clichés.
"I'll See You In My Dreams," a sweet, beautifully made little movie that gives Blythe Danner her first starring role, is proof of that. It breathes new energy into the "old woman rediscovering life" genre, deftly avoiding all of the traditional tropes to deliver something fresh, tender and surprisingly believable.
This is true even of the movie's broadest jokes, which includes a marijuana scene that is all the funnier for being low-key. Their trip for munchies, however, turns out to be even funnier, an unexpected juxtaposition that doesn't have to dive for slapstick to make the audience laugh.
Even that, though, is just decoration to the real heart of the movie. That comes in Danner's performance, tough as steel with flickering notes of warmth, and her unexpectedly lovely friendship with the younger man who cleans her pool. Martin Starr has some of Danner's wry warmth, and the two fall into one another's orbit like planets susceptible to the other's gravitational pull. The two actors have an amazing chemistry, and it's a delight to watch them do nearly anything together.
If this was another movie, their relationship would merely be the catalyst for some sort of convenient plot development, but director Bret Haley doesn't cheapen it like that. Here, it's allowed to become whatever it wants to be, and the beauty that results is a gift.