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Dreaming of Joseph Lees

VHS Tape


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  24 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Photographed 27 Nov 2000
By "outhousebob" - Published on Amazon.com
Dreaming of Joseph Lees is the quintessential little movie, British style. It is a beautifully photographed movie played by a cast of genuine actors you probably never heard of. The setting is rural England (actually photographed on the Isle of Man) in the late 1950's. It is a love story with a classic triangle. There is not a wasted scene, not a wasted moment.
Eva is a young woman who dreams romantically of an older second cousin, Joepth Lees, she remembers from when she was a girl. Joseph is a geologist who works in Italy where he lost a leg in a quarry accident. Eva thinks about him a lot, has heard about him from time to time but has not seen him in many years. In the meantime, she has come of age, has finished school and works in a lumber mill while also caring for her elderly father and younger sister. One of the local boys who works at the mill and tends his farm, Harry, is interested in Eva and lets her know repeatedly in a rather crude way. Eventually, seeing no other hope for male companionship, she moves in with Harry. Guess who shows up at that point? The remainder of the movie is Eva's emotional see-saw as she tries to decide between Joseph and Harry. There are hints (some metaphoric, some unexpected, some both) as to outcome along the way. She finally chooses, and the movie ends as it must. Although some things about the movie do not quite ring true (they could not, at least, have happened in rural America during the same time period), it is a good period piece. Someone suggested it is not a subtle movie but neither the sex nor the violence, both are present, are played strongly. By American standards the movie is subtle. Nothing is blown up in a ball of fire. Most of the blood is just from a nosebleed. There are no gimmicks. The movie rides on the photography, the acting and the story, just like any movie should.
And how are those features? The photography is superb. The acting is flawless. The story is good, certainly good enough to make a worthwhile vehicle for the visuals and for the acting.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful, romantic, must-see film 4 Nov 2001
By Kristen - Published on Amazon.com
The story is old, and has been told before, but this time is told in a beautiful and refreshing way. Eva (played beautifully by Samantha Morton) is a young woman torn between the distant cousin she has loved since childhood, Joseph Lees (a wonderfully romantic performance by Rupert Graves), and the affection and responsibility she feels for Harry, who has wooed her for years with a love bordering on obsession.
When she finally chooses to follow her heart with Joseph, Harry's obsession turns self-destructive and emotionally twisted, thus bringing out the responsibility Eva feels for him. The film grows slightly dark at this point, but never loses sight of the romantic side - the light at the end of the tunnel.
The cinematography is wonderful and strikingly real, and the actors are all at their best - particularly Lee Ross, who as Harry carries off the vulnerability, obsession, and slight madness with astonishing skill. But by far the most interesting part of the movie is the end, which leaves the viewer to make up their own mind as to how the story ends.
This film grabs you from the very beginning and never lets you go.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful film! 5 Feb 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
This movie is great. At some point in a relationship everyone has to make the decision - do I love this person? This film explores that question in depth. If you have ever truly loved someone and yet the relationship was impossible - this is a movie for you. This is a dramatic movie with real characters that make the movie seem very real.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sentimental and Romantic 13 Jun 2000
By "flickjunkie" - Published on Amazon.com
Every so often I like to rummage through the minor titles with and see if I can find a sleeper with a no star cast. `Dreaming of Joseph Lees' was a pleasant find. It is a coming of age romance/drama about a young woman in rural 1950's England and her two loves. Though the story has a few flaws, it is done with great sensitivity and it will tug at your heart strings.
Eva (Samantha Morton) works in a sawmill and is being pursued relentlessly by Harry, a love sick puppy, whose aggressive bravado belies a deep rooted insecurity. Eva carries a smoldering ember for her distant and much older cousin Joseph (Rupert Graves) whom she hasn't seen since she was a child. Joseph went off to Italy to become a geologist and lost a leg in an explosion at the site. Harry persists in his wooing of Eva and eventually, she succumbs to his charms. After they move in together, Eva sees Joseph at a family wedding and the ember rekindles to a full blown bonfire. Joseph returns her affections and Harry becomes Eva's dilemma. As Harry realizes he's lost her, he has an emotional breakdown and Eva's guilt brings her back to him. But Joseph won't give up and he implores her to leave Harry and come with him to Italy. So Eva has a decision to make, love or duty.
The film has a lot going for it. Samantha Morton was wonderful as the emerging Eva. She played the part with the tentativeness and tittering of a young girl, but the sensitivity and tenderness of a young woman. Eric Styles, in his first feature did a nice job with the photography, making it very soft and romantic throughout. The love scenes were very well done, more loving than sexual. Everything was done very tastefully. There was no violence, nudity or profanity. The props and costumes were true to the period. Styles needed a little better pacing, often drawing scenes out beyond what was necessary to convey the message. This sometimes made the story drag.
The story itself has a few flaws. It was primarily a character study and as such it lacked character development. Eva tells her father that she doesn't want to end up like her mother, but never elaborates. Harry tells Eva that he doesn't want to end up like his father, but likewise never explains it. We know almost nothing about Eva's early relationship with Joseph that spawned her crush. A little bit of background would have helped our understanding of the characters immensely.
Also, Eva decides to move in with Harry after seeing him for two weeks. Her father puts up only whimpering resistance and the townspeople all wink and nod. No scandal, no gossip. This is not very plausible for rural 1950's England. Also, to think that Eva would return to Harry after he cheated on her and after her affection had been returned by her one true love is really a stretch.
Lee Ross as Harry was sometimes very good and sometimes too melodramatic. He was overly obsequious with Eva and gave his character very little subtlety. However he did a very good job of portraying Harry's torment once things went sour.
I enjoyed this film and rated it a 7/10. It was a little overly schmaltzy, but charming. If you like a sentimental romance you'll probably enjoy it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A moving and wonderful film, beautiful acting 5 Jun 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Eva's love for her second cousin Joseph Lees, resides deep within her. Her psyche reverts to daydreams of his uncertain present life in all her quiet moments. Meanwhile, Eva is enticed by her own unmistakable desire for a persistant young man named Harry. Eva makes hasty decisions and allows herself to begin a relationship with Harry. She settles for an imperfect attachment, and then when circumstances reacquaint her with the object of her dreams, she's forced to not only see her choice is not at all simple, but also to realize why her too hurried and mistaken decision to move in with Harry was unwise. Samantha Morten embodies Eva perfecly. Her mental grappling with facing the error of her choices is shown in her raw anguish. She is the spirit of heartwrenching desperation, then later uncertain conviction. I have yet to watch this film and not feel deep pain as Eva struggles to gain composure, when realizing she's just said goodbye to her dreams and must face her reality. It's a beautiful story that tells what a danger naivete' can be. Somehow it even encompasses those moments when happiness is destroyed just by opening the wrong door. I personally applaud Samantha Morten, she's a tremendous actress.
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