Dreams of a Life movie review

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Last night I saw the 2011 documentary film Dreams of a Life where a filmmaker sets out to discover the life of Joyce Vincent whose body was found in January 2006 decomposing in her apartment in North London after dying unnoticed apparently in December 2003, surrounded by unopened Christmas presents with her television set still turned on. The documentary pieces together the story of her life by interviewing many people who knew Vincent interweaving the interview footage with reenactment scenes.

After the film’s dramatic introduction, the pace slows down before picking up again about midway through. I initially thought this film would be like a CBS 48 Hours Mystery TV show focusing also on the forensics surrounding the death, but instead it was almost a celebration of Vincent’s life where the audience gets to know her. The interviewees and the audience try to make sense of how Vincent could have disappeared for so long without anyone noticing, especially considering she was a very social person and no substance abuse.

Some of the interviewees described Vincent as someone with no past because she never shared much of those details with anyone, and she would always acquire the tastes and interests of the boyfriend with whom she was at that time because she really did not have any of her own interests, other than singing.

Vincent feels like a few people I know who are driven by attention, seem quite genuine but stop for some mysterious reason any relationship growing deeper beyond a certain point. People like that are always searching for something but will never let you know what that is.

Dreams of a Life is certainly worth seeing because it is like a trip for the audience members to introspectively explore their personal voids and relationships.

Official Trailer on YouTube

Link to Dreams of a Life on Hulu Plus

Link to long article on the The Guardian website: Joyce Carol Vincent: How could this young woman lie dead and undiscovered for almost three years?

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