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Review Dreamland (2016): I really liked it a lot!

genre: comedy, drama, music

When I saw the trailer of the film I was sold. Mostly because of the soundtrack. But also it's themes appealed to me. A young man (named Monty Fagan) getting tangled up in an affair with a hot older woman surely was going to be interesting.  The same Monty Fagan also was determined to make his dream happen. I am a sucker for that kind of thing. The film gave me a vibe it was going to be a thoughtful and sincere exploration. Now after having watched it I think I wasn't far of with my expectations. 

Before I get into it I need to share some trivia with you. Director Robert Schwartzman is the son of Talia Shire (who plays Monty's mother). Talia Shire as you know is the sister of Francis Ford Coppola. So that makes Robert his nephew. Jason Schwartzman is Robert's brother and also has a part in this film as a banker. It is clear that film making must be in their genes I mean a lot of members in the Coppola family (including Sofia Coppola and Nicolas Cage) are active in the film industry.  That is quite remarkable if you ask me. Anyway Robert Schwartzman who wrote and directed this film also composed and performed the majority of the soundtrack. Although there are also songs on there from other artists. This soundtrack is incredibly important in the film and without it the film simply would not have been good as it is now. A lot of the tracks really added to the emotional impact of certain scenes. They have to since the film lacks explosive dialogues and interactions. While I fully dug the soundtrack and the ambiance of the film I can imagine that some people might not get it. For those people Schwartzman could have at least added one or two heavier scenes. However I do need to point out that a lot of the drama is there but underneath. There are more than enough subjects touched upon and I wished some of them would have been explored a little deeper. I guess Schwartzman wanted to leave it up to the viewer to form their own thoughts about the topics raised. This could be seen as strength or a major weakness. If you think the latter it is also important to note that Robert Schwartzman was inspired by Eighties (sex) comedies like Loverboy, Risky Business, Better off Dead and John Hugh movies (Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club). 

Actually Dreamland feels very much like a contemporary John Hughes film. Main character Monty played by Johnny Simmons is very much the socially awkward type who is awakened from his slumber. And that is basically it. If you think about it John Hughes films also addressed a lot of issues but very rarely did they give solutions to those problems. Usually the films showed you how to deal with them appropriately. That alone resonated with me at the time as it did now. Amy Landecker as Olivia was a revelation to me. She truly played her part well as the sexy older woman who seduces Monty into an affair. Not once did it feel crude. All was done with taste and thought. Yet she managed to do so much with very little. However a real pity that she is not given the chance to give her character more depth. She is just there to be the sexy seducer, the one who awakens Monty and nothing else. Although there are moments where more could have happened. And maybe they did but Schwartzman leaves it up to the viewer.

For me Dreamland is a nice little film I undoubtedly will watch more times since I really liked it a lot. But I am aware that this film is not for everyone. It's not a real crowd pleaser so to say. If you like good music though you really have to check it out since it's easily one of the best soundtracks compiled for films.

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