- 1 hr 28 min
Dreamland is a 2006 independent drama film that takes place in rural Texas, around the time of the Vietnam War. It follows the story of two sisters, Audrey and Maura, who struggle with their own personal issues as they navigate through their lives. Audrey (Agnes Bruckner) is a high school senior who is dealing with the death of her mother and the responsibilities that come with taking care of her younger sister, Maura (Kelli Garner). Meanwhile, Maura is a wild child who dreams of leaving their small town and traveling to California to pursue her own dreams. The film opens with Audrey and Maura sitting in their backyard, watching a plane flying overhead. This plane becomes a recurring theme throughout the film, as the sisters both yearn to escape their current situations and find something better. The story then takes us through various moments in their lives, showing us their struggles with poverty, relationships, and family issues. One of the key relationships in the film is Audrey's tumultuous romance with Henry (Justin Long), a boy from her high school who is also struggling with his own issues. Henry is a bit of a bad boy, getting kicked out of school for fighting and dealing drugs. Despite Audrey's reservations about getting involved with him, she can't help but be drawn to his charisma and charm. Their relationship is rocky, with Audrey constantly questioning whether or not she should be with him, but ultimately she can't deny her feelings for him. Another important relationship in the film is the bond between the sisters. Despite their differences and occasional fights, they clearly care for each other deeply. Maura often acts out, getting into trouble and dragging Audrey into her messes, but Audrey always steps up to take care of her sister. We see this especially when Maura gets pregnant and Audrey helps her throughout her pregnancy, even though it means putting her own dreams on hold. Throughout the film, there is a sense of longing for something more. The sisters dream of escaping their small town, of traveling to California, of finding something better for themselves. We see this in Audrey's aspirations to go to college and become a writer, in Maura's desire to leave and start her own life. But as the film progresses, it becomes clear that their dreams may not come true, at least not in the way they imagined. Dreamland is a slow-moving film, with a lot of contemplative shots of the Texas landscape and the sisters' everyday lives. The soundtrack is moody and atmospheric, and the acting is generally strong, especially from Bruckner and Garner. However, the pacing can be a bit of an issue, with some scenes feeling drawn out and others feeling rushed. One of the strengths of the film is its honesty. It doesn't shy away from the harsh realities of poverty, of living in a small town with limited opportunities. The characters are flawed and complex, and the relationships feel real and raw. It isn't a perfect film, but it is an emotionally resonant one, with a lot of heart and soul. Overall, Dreamland is a poignant coming-of-age story about two sisters trying to find their way in the world. It is a film about dreams, hopes, and the struggle to overcome obstacles that stand in our way. While it may not be for everyone, it is a film that will stay with you long after the credits roll.