Dreams of a Life

  • Carol Morley (2011)
  • UK / Ire
  • 94 min
× Sky+ customers can now set up recordings and download directly to their Sky+ box using this button.
Film Review
Reviewed By
4 out of 5

In 2006, the body of 38-year-old Joyce Vincent was discovered in a flat in north London. But this was no murder mystery. She had been dead for three years. Film-maker Carol Morley became obsessed with this tragic incident, spending several years attempting to find out who Joyce was, and how anyone could fall through the cracks so completely. This affecting portrait of a lost life features interviews with people who knew her, as well as some moving reconstructions. Zawe Ashton (Vod in C4 sitcom Fresh Meat) gives a fine performance as Joyce, subtly portraying a beautiful, popular woman who was nonetheless disconnected and lonely. It's also an incredible piece of investigation by Morley, who tracked down individuals from Joyce's childhood right up to the months before her death. The truth about what happened to Joyce will never be known, but the film suggests that she was always unknowable; many of the interviewees describe her in completely opposing terms. And when a tiny snippet of her recorded voice is played, it's a truly spine-tingling moment. She may have been forgotten in life, but Joyce Vincent will haunt anyone who watches this astonishing film.

Plot Summary

Zawe Ashton stars in this drama documentary that, using reconstructions and interviews with friends, looks back over the mysterious life of Joyce Carol Vincent, a 38-year-old woman whose body lay undiscovered in her flat for three years after she died.

Cast and crew


Joyce Carol Vincent
Zawe Ashton
Young Joyce
Alix Luka-Cain
Cornell S John
Neelam Bakshi


Carol Morley

Other Information

Theatrical distributor: 
Sexual references
Available on DVD
Released 16 Dec 2011
Certificate E