Dreams of a Life
2011
**½
Director: Carol Morley
Cast: Zawe Ashton, Neelam Bakshi, Cornell John, Alix Luka-Cain

In January 2006 a 38-year-old woman was found dead in her flat in North London. She had died more than two years earlier, and the body was too badly decomposed to determine the cause of death. Who was this desperately lonely woman and how could her death go unnoticed by everyone for so long? The story of Joyce Carol Vincent is intriguing and heartbreaking, but Carol Morley fails to turn it into a gripping documentary. The film pieces Joyce’s life together, but the answers Morley provides are frustratingly contradictory and inconclusive. The people who (thought they) knew the victim describe her as lively and attractive, but somewhat aimless and elusive; her four sisters are conspicuous by their absence. Apart from the talking heads, which are never explicitly identified, the film relies heavily on speculative dramatisation, which becomes irksome towards the end.