“I’ll See You In my Dreams”
Seventy-something Carol Petersen
(Blythe Danner) sets her alarm every morning for 6 a.m.
Not that she has anywhere particular to go; she just likes a routine.
Her husband died 20 years ago, and she’s slept alone ever since.
Well, other than her beloved dog, Hazel, who gladly joins her at the
breakfast table for hot tea and “The New York Times.”
Carol loves house plants, and
waters them regularly. Her house,
though not opulent, is nice and modern, and also neat and orderly.
Lunch is salad on the patio. She
shops for groceries, she plays bridge with three of her old girlfriends, who all
live in the nearby retirement center, but Carol is convinced she isn’t ready
for that, yet. (A minor quibble: when
the cameras show us the cards they’re holding, they’re obviously not sorted
by suits, which no social bridge player would fail to do.)
Her friends do convince her,
though, to participate in one of those “speed dating” socials, where you get
five minutes at your table with each guy, but Carol found that experience
vaguely depressing. She’s actually
more interested in talking to the pool guy, Lloyd (Martin Star), who’s young
enough to be her son, but somehow there’s a little connection here.
They find themselves drinking wine on the patio and just chatting like
old friends. Carol couldn’t have
explained even to herself what’s going on with that, but she’s not one for
But she does find herself mildly
interested when she catches the eye of Bill (Sam Elliott), who actually is her
age. They go on a “real” date
together, the first time she has done that since her husband died.
But she doesn’t want to spend a lot of energy analyzing that, either,
even when he seems eager to pursue the relationship.
She goes with the natural flow, including finally ending up in bed
together (the viewers are mercifully spared the disrobing, but it’s clear what
they’ve been doing). They enjoy
visiting his sailboat, sometimes out in the bay, sometimes just in the harbor
slip, having a quiet dinner together.
Carol has one daughter, Katherine
(Malin Akerman), who lives in another State, but has called to make sure she can
come visit for a couple of days. Sure.
No problem. But when
Katherine persists in asking Carol why she’s different, and she finally
confesses that she’s “seeing someone,” suddenly Katherine is all over
this, and wants to know everything, and wants to meet him, but Carol possesses a
natural reticence about such things. She
simply feels that her personal life is just that.
So it seems that after a couple of
decades of not much new happening in her life, suddenly this retired
schoolteacher finds herself needing to make decisions about new directions:
with Bill, for sure, and Lloyd, maybe, and even her girlfriends, who want
her to go on a cruise with them (they’ve already embarked together on a
naughty adventure in pot smoking). And
does she want to get another dog?
Not exactly earth-shaking stuff.
But Carol is the kind of retired person that many of us semi-retirees
really identify with, so we’re right there with her.
Sorry, Millenials and post-millienialists, this one’s not for you.
But those of us “of a certain age” would love to see more quiet
little films like this, about people who are older, yes, but not dead yet.
And maybe even ready to find out more about who we really are, and who
we’d like to become.
Questions For Discussion:
How important is routine in your life?
How important should routine be in church worship services?
Should seniors feel guilt about expressing their sexuality outside
marriage? Does age affect the
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen is the Supply
Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Kaufman, Texas