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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Thursday February 22nd 2024

Dream Scenario

Movie Review

By HOWARD MCQUITTER II

A24 2023
Comedy/ Horror

4/5 Stars

a photo of the author
Howard McQuitter II

In researching what film I was going to see at the theater on Thursday, December 5, I accidently came across Norwegian director Kristoffer Borgli’s Dream Scenario, starring Nicholas Cage. It was a good choice.


Paul Matthews (Nicolas Cage) is a nondescript professor of evolutionary science at a small fictional college. His students seem to be as incurious as he is tedious. Paul’s life begins to change drastically when his youngest daughter, Sophie (Lily Bird), starts to see him in her dreams. Paul appears to have the power of levitation in Sophie’s dreams, although it is not explained neither how or why he has this power. Everything seems innocent enough until his ex-wife, Claire (Marnie McPhail), runs into Paul with his current wife, Janet (Julianne Nicholson), at an event. Claire tells them both she sees Paul in her dreams, much to the couple’s chagrin. Claire insists that she see him alone to explain the phantasmagoria and Janet grudgingly agrees. And at this point, it may not be all that weird. After all, she was once married to him.

A24


Then the dream syndrome takes a bizarre and dangerous turn when his students begin to have dreams where Paul appears. However, the peculiar dreams do not stop with the students but pass over to the townspeople who do not know him. To add more malevolence to the situation, Paul often appears as a murky figure like a stalker or worse. Paul becomes a persona non grata in the town, something he never dreamed would happen. Now his life is in danger from marauders and other loose cannons. The ugliness spreads over to his family: Janet is fired from her job; his daughters Sophie and Hannah (Jessica Clement) are teased at school by other students who call their dad “Freddie Krueger” (the main character in A Nightmare on Elm Street). Dream Scenario delves into dreams on superficial levels, to be sure, but dreams (or nightmares, as in the film) are often buried deep in our subconscious minds, in the vast unknown, that can be frightening when tapped into.

Cast: Nicolas Cage (Paul Matthews), Lily Bird (Sophie Matthews), Julianne Nicholson (Janet Matthews), Jessica Clement (Hannah Matthews),Tim Meadows (Brett), Paula Boudreau (Sheila), Marnie McPhail (Claire), Maev Beaty (Naomi), Noah Lamanna (Jessie).
Director: Kristoffer Borgli. Screenwriter: Kristoffer Borgli. Cinematographer: Benjamin Loeb. Art Direction: Anoma Modi, John O’Regan.
Rated: R.
Running time: 102 minutes.

Howard McQuitter II is a longtime movie critic. He has been reviewing movies for the alley since 2002.

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