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Thursday, December 19, 2013

DVD Review: Dream On

Dream On is a somewhat strange film about two teenagers who meet at a campground in 1987 and make a promise regarding their futures. It was written and directed by Lloyd Eyre-Morgan, based on his own play of the same name.

When the film opens, Denise (Janet Bamford) and her teenage son Paul (Bradley Cross) have arrived at a sad-looking campground by the sea. I love any film that opens with the words “Bloody hell fire,” as this one does. That is Denise’s reaction to the place, and she then adds that the place looks nothing like the brochure her mother had sent them.

Paul soon meets George (Joe Gosling) who has been coming to this campground with his father since he was four years old. However, this time his father hasn’t quite bothered to show up, and George is on his own. Paul tells him that his mom “is into all this self-help and crystal healing stuff” since his dad walked out. George gives him one of his purloined comic books, and a little later Paul reads it, upsetting his mother, who says, “You can poke me with a stick when the food’s ready if you don’t want to open your gob and talk to me.” Paul then does poke her with a stick, further upsetting his mother.

Paul comes across as overly awkward, due in large part to his voice. Though he is supposed to be sixteen, he looks older, but acts younger. He’s a nervous chap who is intimated by his mother. His nervousness is a bit over-the-top at times. Like, he admits at one point that his mother dressed him.

A father and daughter run the campground, and the father, Norman (Matthew Seber), takes a shine to Denise, while the daughter, Angharad (Emily Spowage), flirts with George.

The film has an odd feel to it, like part dark comedy, part sweet coming-of-age story, part family drama. There’s a kind of sweet montage of Paul and George hanging out together. And in one shot, Angharad is off to the side, but trying to be the center of attention. It’s brief, but funny. She then spies on George. When George doesn’t respond favorably to her none-too-subtle flirting, she lashes out: “You must be gay. Like I’m irresistible.”

She’s not irresistible, but he is gay. And when he and Paul spend the night together, looking up at the stars, they make a promise to each other. They will work to save money and then meet again in one year to follow George’s dream of moving to Australia and opening a bar. Sure, it’s not the grandest of dreams, but it’s one that seems feasible.

The film then jumps to the following year, as Paul makes his way back to the campground. The second half of the film is a lot more serious in tone. One thing I love is that the characters have changed a bit, particularly Angharad. She has grown up a bit, and is much more likeable. And though the film is really about Paul and George, I am glad she is allowed her moments. There is a brief scene in the later part of the film where her father hugs her, and it’s a truly sweet moment.

Yes, the film does suffer from a bit of cheesy, melodramatic dialogue. But it’s generally enjoyable. And toward the end there’s a great surprising bit with a female bartender and a girl named Trish.

Special Features

The DVD includes one deleted scene – an early scene at the campground, where Norman invites Denise and Paul to go for a walk. There is also some footage shot during a performance of the original play, when the boys first kiss, and then when Paul’s mom catches them in bed. The DVD also includes the film’s trailer.

Dream On was released on DVD on November 12, 2013 through TLA Releasing.

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