There’s a reason people will go out of their way to help Brett Haley. After only a few minutes, his generous nature is readily apparent, as is his delight in giving credit where he thinks it’s due. My only quarrel is that he might be giving too little to himself. True, the superb cast and crew of I’LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS has created a deeply satisfying, delightfully entertaining, emotionally rich film about living life in the moment, but none of it would have been possible if it hadn’t been for Haley’s script.
When I spoke to Haley by phone on May 13 2015, the first thing I wanted to know was how he had made his debut feature narrative, THE NEW YEAR, for only $6000. We went on to discuss some of the subtextual issues in DREAMS, including the dangers of becoming too comfortable, and why it is that, culturally, we seem to segregate by age group. Then we moved on to the sparkling performance by Blythe Danner, in particular a scene where all she needs is a good song, a karaoke bar, and the way emotions flicker across her face to tell a story of reawakening.
I’LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS is his film about old habits, new beginnings, and stepping out of your comfort zone. Blythe Danner plays Carol, a widow of 20 years who is jolted out of her semi-isolated sleepwalking of a waking life by the death of her beloved dog. With the nudging of her friends, she considers dating for the first time in two decades, forms a unique relationship with Lloyd, her pool guy, and surprises herself with a more traditional relationship with Bill, who lives on a golf course, but doesn’t play. The film co-stars Martin Starr, Rhea Perlman, Mary Kay Place, June Squibb, Malin Ackerman, and Sam Elliot who gets to deliver the best pick-up line ever. Haley directed from a script he co-wrote with Marc Basch. His previous work includes playing Blake in THE RIDGE, which he also wrote and directed, and THE NEW YEAR, that film he made for an astounding $6000.