I Dream Too Much is a coming of age story about 20-year-old Dora (Eden Brolin). I almost abandoned the immature but charming Dora in the first few minutes, but I held on. I was rewarded with a good story. Minor spoilers ahead.
Katie Cokinos wrote and directed I Dream Too Much. Just the kind of film I’m always looking for – female writer, female director.
The first few minutes of the film was waaay to cutesy. Silly, whiny Dora, funky junior high style fonts used in the credits – cutesy. However, I knew at some point Danielle Brooks and Diane Ladd would show up so I stuck with it.
Dora has already graduated college at 20. Her mother Helen (Christina Rouner) pushes her relentlessly to study for her LSATs and get ready for law school. Dora’s vivid imagination has her everywhere on the planet doing all sorts of amazing things, but she is stuck at home with mom. Then her Great Aunt Vera (Diane Ladd) breaks her foot. Dora immediately volunteers to go help out.
Dora’s arrival at Vera’s home is where the story actually begins. Vera doesn’t need help, really. It wasn’t a broken foot, only a broken toe, and she’s doing just fine, thank you. Dora amuses herself by getting to know her aunt’s past history. Vera was married to a famous writer and had many adventures following him around the globe – just the kind of life Dora imagines for herself. Vera was a writer herself, but couldn’t get published. Instead she edited her husband’s work and made him famous.
Dora finds her aunt’s journals and reads them, without permission. She really oversteps her boundaries with those journals.
She wanders into town and enters a clothing store run by Abbey (Danielle Brooks). Dora and Abbey become instant friends.
Nikki (James McCaffrey) comes into Abbey’s store to buy a gift for his teenaged daughter. When he leaves, Abbey reveals he is a big time music producer and she wants to sing for him. Dora, who in her imagination can do anything, promises Abbey she can get Nikki to listen to her songs.
Dora creates a series of disastrous situations for Abbey, for her great aunt, and for herself as the story moves forward. These are mostly a result of her immaturity and disregard for the feelings of others. Maybe she can grow up enough to figure out how to set things right before the movie ends, but it’s never a sure thing.
Diane Ladd as Vera was the best thing in I Dream Too Much. She manages to be the best thing in any movie she makes. That doesn’t lessen the quality of the performances from the rest of the cast. Truth be told, that opinion is probably more about my age than about a specific performance from any of the actors.
Did you picked up on star Eden Brolin’s last name? She is Josh Brolin’s daughter, and has an extended family of Hollywood greats. Based on the acting chops she showed in this film, she’s going to do fine as an actress without any help from the family.
Coming of age stories for women are a rare thing. There are hundreds about men. I Dream Too Much is a welcome change. You can find it on Amazon Video and Netflix.