Enjoyable due to the script, the tone and Bettis' delivery
I was quite surprised given his success, that this old short film from Brick, Looper and Breaking Bad director Rian Johnson was not listed on IMDb. Deciding to rectify that situation I figured I may as well watch it at the same time. The only copy that seems to be available is a pretty grainy one so watching on a big screen is not a great look, but it is good enough to watch if I imagine it really doesn't do the cinematography any favors to see it in such a way. Anyway, to judge this film by the plot sounds terrible; a woman takes a class on the "Psychology of Dream Analysis" and in doing so comes to the realization that she has never been in any of her own dreams. Not once. She then comes to the second realization that when she dreams she is dreaming as a guy in his mid-30's – and not just any guy but the same one every single time. Of course things don't stop there.
There are so many directions this film could have gone with that basic premise and, sight unseen, you would be forgiven for bracing yourself for a sappy "found my true love in a dream" short. Instead what we get is a rather bemused story which is engaging thanks to the tone of delivery. In terms of tone the majority of the film plays it straight – with images from dreams but not overly flamboyant; mostly the scenes are quite ordinary day-to-day and are presented as such. What totally sets the tone though is the dialogue and the narration. It is delivered as a woman telling the story in a bemused but slightly detached manner. The narration works because it feels like a friend telling you over coffee, making little jokes as she goes and it is very well delivered by Bettis – she essentially is the heart of the film with her good delivery of good dialogue.
As such I really enjoyed it and I did feel like I was sitting in a NYC coffee shop with a busy friend telling me this story – which is a cool tone and one that is well captured in the design and the delivery. The future success of the makers means it will be more likely to get attention, but I think on its own merits it is worth a look.
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