Dreams of a Life

Dreams of a Life

Carol Morley (2011)

12A Certificate


Our Score
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.


Drama-documentary examining the life of Joyce Vincent, who died in her London bedsit in 2003, but whose body was not found for three years. Film-maker Carol Morley combines interviews with people connected to the case, with imagined scenes of the 38-year-old's life, to explore how it was possible for her absence to go unnoticed for so long. Starring Zawe Ashton and Neelam Bakshi.

Cast & Crew

Joyce Carol Vincent Zawe Ashton
Young Joyce Alix Luka-Cain
Father Cornell S John
Mother Neelam Bakshi
Director Carol Morley

Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: DogwoofGuidance: Sexual referencesAvailable on: DVDReleased on: 16 Dec 2011
Drama Documentary