Dreams of a Life Documentary Review, The Joyce Vincent Tragedy

What Dreams of a Life is all about without spoiling the show

Unless you count being a bad friend a crime or a disaster, the documentary Dreams of a Life is quite different from many of the others reviewed here. It’s the story of a woman named Joyce Vincent who was found dead in her apartment surrounded by Christmas presents. It was determined that her body had been there since 2003. The year when she was discovered is 2006.

Due to decomposition, it’s impossible to determine the cause of death. It doesn’t seem that foul play is involved. Instead, this is a story about a woman with so much to live for and yet she somehow seemed to disappear right under everyone’s noses.

Did you know about the Dreams of a Life story before watching?

This was a new story for me. I can see it grabbing headlines over in England when it happened. It’s not everyday a body is discovered three years later with no missing person’s report filed. She was exactly where she should have been, at home, ready to celebrate the holidays.

Will Dreams of a Life make people feel uncomfortable?

You know, this one does hit a strange nerve. It’s gruesome in its own way. More than anything it hits the emotions of a life wasted or at least ignored. I can see someone who struggles with depression feeling triggered by this one. Mental health is a big part of it and might not be for everyone.

What was good about Dreams of a Life?

Sometimes even I need a break from a knife-wielding ex-husband who tries to frame it on someone else. Dreams of a Life was a nice change for my documentary watching pleasure. It’s inspirational and heartbreaking at the same time.

Joyce Vincent, the subject of the documentary, had many friends at different points in her life. She bounces around in her life, often living as a chameleon who takes on the personalities of whoever she dates. We all have a friend like that. There doesn’t seem to be anything sinister as much as she seems unsure of who she is. Through interviews with ex-boyfriends, friends, and co-workers, we get a picture of a woman with many talents and great kindness.

This is the type of documentary that may make you want to call up an old friend to check in on how they’re doing. It’s different from any other I’ve seen in a good way. The presentation is not cheesy. Someone else could have easily made it cringy. This was not.

What could have made Dreams of a Life better?

I do like that they never really tried to make Dreams of a Life a possible murder-mystery like Crime Scene: Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel. This was never really about how Joyce died as much as it is how she somehow left the lives of so many people who seemed to care about her.

The only negative comment I’d have to say is the tone. English documentaries of many kinds have a dullness to them. This is no different. The documentary never does seem to drag, but after a while, it can get a little tedious. Because we are left with second-hand accounts of her life, a lot of the story is likely missing. There is a period of Joyce’s life where people don’t really know what was going on. Sadly, I don’t think we’ll get those answers.

Is Dreams of a Life worth watching?

This is definitely a good one. I didn’t find myself hoping it would just end already. Dreams of a Life is a gigantic mystery without the crime. How did Joyce manage to disappear and nobody seems to notice? I’m anti-social and even I have a difficult time trying to vanish; not that I have tried.

Through re-enactments and interviews, we get a solid story about a great person who mine as well disappeared off the face of the earth.

Overall Score: 8 out of 10

Dreams of a Life will hang with you after watching. It hits all of the right buttons. You’ll want to hug someone after.

Interested in watching Dreams of a Life or learning more about the case? Below you will find affiliate links to the series as well as other information about this case. By using this links, I may receive a small commission of any purchase you may make.

Watch Dreams of a Life on Amazon

If you have a series or film you want to know my opinion on, please leave a comment below. I may have already written about it. I can save you some time from watching a dud.

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