A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that In My Dreams is a worry-free romantic drama about fate and true love. Though it paints an unrealistically rosy picture of finding and falling in love, it does so through two very likable young adult characters who forgo fleeting physical attractions for the chance at a deeper, more meaningful relationship. The concept of fate plays a big role in the characters' choices, and their connection is more virtual (in dreams, though; not in cyberspace) than tangible for most of the story, which illustrates the value of connections forged by communication and common ground. There are few surprises and little to stand out in this story, but it's sweet and noticeably lacking anything of concern, so it's a safe choice for older tweens.
What's the story?
Nick (Mike Vogel) is an accomplished architect whose vision of his romantic future is a little clouded, despite his meddling mom's (JoBeth Williams) best efforts to see him settled down. Natalie (Katharine McPhee) is a struggling restaurant owner trying to put her own stamp on the business that, until recently, was her late mother's life work. Neither has much time or inclination for the dating scene, but each secretly yearns to meet that special someone. But a fateful visit to a city landmark with a little-known legendary secret turns the tables on both when it sweeps each one away on a week's worth of dreams about the other. Suddenly Nick and Natalie feel confident they're falling in love with the mysterious stranger from their dreams, but as the legend goes, if the week ends without a real-life connection, the magic will be broken and love will be lost. Can this perfect couple find each other before time passes them by?
Is it any good?
IN MY DREAMS puts an unusual twist on the traditional boy-meets-girl romance, and jumping in and out of the characters' dreams proves a little jarring to the story's flow. Just when you get into the rhythm of characters' days spent pining over their mystery someone and nights spent sharing hopes and dreams, Nick and Natalie bow out of each other's dreams to pursue other romantic interests in the real world, creating further aesthetic breaks to the plot. But eventually it gets back on track, and after several near-misses at finally finding each other, there's a happily-ever-after ending that's as sweet as it is unsurprising.
As romances go, In My Dreams is squeaky clean, with limited physical contact (a few kisses is as far as it goes) and no language or other mature content to speak of. Teens might find the premise a little hokey, but if they do choose to watch, rest assured that they'll be seeing a positive example of a relationship that moves from the "like" stage to "love" quickly, but with a lot of respect and no sexual pressures. Ultimately it's always fun to cheer for star-crossed relationships, and even more so when the two parties are as appealing as Nick and Natalie prove to be.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the entertainment industry presents romantic relationships. Is the emphasis on compatibility and long-term connections, or is there an assumption of disposability instead? Why are celebrity couples so fascinating to follow?
Teens: How has technology changed how we meet and get to know people? Are there benefits to our constant access? What unique challenges does social media in particular pose to relationships?
Do you believe in fate? If so, what of your life experiences point to its plausibility? How large a role do you think fate might play in love? Do you believe in love at first sight?
- In theaters: April 20, 2018
- On DVD or streaming: July 17, 2018
- Cast: Katharine McPhee, Mike Vogel, JoBeth Williams
- Director: Kenny Leon
- Studios: American Broadcasting Company (ABC), Hallmark Entertainment, Sony Pictures Entertainment
- Genre: Romance
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy
- Run time: 94 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: December 1, 2020
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