Carol Morley’s documentary, which received its world premiere at this years London Film Festival, attempts to piece together the life of Joyce Vincent, a woman whose dead body was found decaying in a North London flat in 2006, an estimated three years after her death. The sheer thought of someone being allowed to be left for so long, in such a position is truly baffling, and, through contacting and interviewing Joyce’s friends and loved ones Morley attempts to answer the question of how this could have happened.
While a noble, and ultimately very moving portrait of a life lost against the backdrop of the modern world, Dreams Of A Life is undeniably an affecting film, if not a little too intensely fixated upon its own crusade. The film utilises an array of different cinematic techniques to tell its story. Dramatic reconstructions, ala James Marsh’s Man On Wire are combined with news footage and talking head video interviews with the people that once surrounded Joyce. Its in these sections that the film is at its most effective, with sequences such as one in which the assembled colleagues and former boyfriends of the dead woman listen to recordings of her singing, and each pick up something different from said recording seemingly confirming that Joyce wasn’t the lost soul that many would have presumed based on newspaper headlines from 2006. It’s Martin whose reaction to the information presented to him affects the most. Joyce’s long-term boyfriend from 15 years before her death the man appears still heartbroken and to almost be blaming himself. His accounts are truly moving, and provide the film with a beat that will long linger.