A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that I'll See You in My Dreams is a dramedy about a widow in her 70s (Blythe Danner) who learns to live life again. It will probably appeal most to older viewers, but teens who watch may gain an appreciation for the older people in their lives. Expect some salty language -- including one use of "f--k" -- and some comical sexual innuendo, as well as some kissing and a sex scene that shows a couple afterward, under the covers (no graphic nudity). The main character drinks pretty heavily, mostly wine, but also beer and a cocktail. She sometimes regrets decisions made while drunk. Characters smoke pot in one scene and get the munchies. A dog dies (on screen) in the vet's office, and a major character dies (off screen). There's also a story of a plane crash and a husband's death.
What's the story?
Carol Petersen (Blythe Danner) is a widow who's living quietly and simply when her beloved dog Hazel dies. As Carol begins to face her loneliness, her friends (Rhea Perlman, June Squibb, and Mary Kay Place) try to convince her to move into their retirement community. Carol meets the new pool boy, Lloyd (Martin Starr), and strikes up a friendship with him; he takes her to a karaoke bar, and she sings for the first time in years. She also meets the handsome Bill (Sam Elliott), who starts to sweep her off her feet and even talks about marriage. Meanwhile, a black rat begins making random appearances in Carol's house, and her daughter, Katherine (Malin Akerman), shows up for a visit. Through all this emotional turbulence, Carol starts learning how to live again.
Is it any good?
Here's something refreshing and very rarely seen -- a movie not only with a female lead, but one with a female lead who's over 40. And it's very good: Danner gives an amazing, truly touching performance, and writer-director Brett Haley lends the material an appealingly soft touch. Neither the tragedy nor the comedy is forced or foreshadowed too heavily. In this movie, everything -- even awkward moments -- happens naturally and gracefully.
The relationship between Carol and the much-younger Lloyd initially seems scandalous, but it turns out to be touchingly innocuous and sweet; Starr regards Danner with a genuine affection and curiosity. Even the supporting players seem to have lives; they're not just there to react to the main characters. If the movie has a failing, it's the rather flat, artless look of the cinematography, but even that doesn't detract from the wonderful characters.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how I'll See You in My Dreams depicts drinking. Do the characters drink for pleasure or other reasons? Does anyone seem to have a drinking problem? What are the consequences of substance use?
What is the relationship like between Carol and Lloyd? Teens: Does the movie make you rethink your relationships with the older folks in your own life? If so, how?
The main character is dealing with loss. How does she cope? What does she allow herself to do? What does she not do?
Why are there so few movies and TV shows that feature older characters? Teens: Does seeing a mostly older cast make you not want to see a movie? Why?
For kids who love romance and quirky characters
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.