GenreDocumentary, Biography, Drama Music directorBarry Adamson WriterCarol Morley LanguageEnglish
Release date16 December 2011 (2011-12-16) (UK) Initial releaseDecember 16, 2011 (United Kingdom) CastZawe Ashton (Joyce Vincent), Neelam Bakshi (Mother), Lee Colley (Sound Engineer), Frances Cooper (Joyce's Sister), Jonathan Harden (Eddie) Similar moviesCarol Morley directed Dreams of a Life and The Falling
TaglineWould anyone miss you?
Dreams of a life official trailer
Dreams of a Life is a 2011 drama-documentary film, released by Dogwoof Pictures, directed by Carol Morley and starring Zawe Ashton.
It tells the story of Joyce Carol Vincent, whose skeleton remains was found in her flat January 2006 surrounded by wrapped Christmas gifts with her TV still switched on in Wood Green, North London, and her death went unnoticed ever since December 2003.Her body was well beyond decomposed that the cause of death is unknown.
The film interviews various friends, acquaintances and former partners to try to tell the story of Joyce, who is played in reconstructions by Ashton.
Director Carol Morley was inspired to make the documentary on Joyce's life after reading a bare-bones article on her that failed to mention her age, race or any detailed information. She tracked down interviewees by taking out ads in newspapers and hiring a cab to drive around London asking people to contact her if they knew Joyce. She was surprised to learn that many of the respondents did not know Joyce was dead until she spoke to them even though some of them remembered hearing of her death when it made newspapers.
Morley was criticized for an extended fictionalized sequence that featured Zawe Ashton as Joyce performing "A Smile is Just a Frown". She stated that she was inspired to keep the sequence in the film by a similar sequence in Agnès Varda's Cléo from 5 to 7 and also credited Varda's documentary work with inspiring much of her movie.
Morley was also in contact with Joyce's four sisters, all of whom refused to be in the film. Though they asked Morley not to make the film, she went ahead with production anyway, but gave them an advance screening in order to show that she had been respectful in remembering their sister.
The film received a rating of 62 on aggregate movie review website Metacritic and 70% on Rotten Tomatoes indication overall positive reception.
Steven Wilson's album Hand. Cannot. Erase. was inspired by his viewing the movie.