Writer: Kevin Coughlin, Ryan Grassby (Screenplay)
Starring: Josh Wiggins, Sophie Nelisse, Joe Cobden, Bill Paxton, Vickie Papavs, Colm Feore, Ryan Blakely
Plot: Follows Casey and Jonas, two teenagers desperate to escape their broken and abusive homes and examines the desperation of life on the run and the beauty of first love.
Tagline – The law won’t protect you
Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Bleak, but Hopeful
Story: Mean Dreams starts when teenager Casey (Nelisse) moves into a farming home with her sheriff father Wayne (Paxton), their neighbours are the Ford’s with teenager son Jonas (Wiggins) becoming friends with Casey, starting a romance, even with his father Elbert (Cobden) not wanting his son easily districted.
When Jonas tries to stand up for Casey against her abusive father, he gets put in his place, trying to get help he finds only barriers, until he takes a stand to save her as the two look to go on the run.
Thoughts on Mean Dreams
Characters – Jonas was raised to follow in his father’s footsteps on the farm, he only does this work and doesn’t get to meet anybody from town, until he meets his new neighbour. He sees her in danger, risking his own life to save her, going on the run, learning to live at last, while trying to escape the law that is after him. Casey is the abused daughter of one of the sheriffs who moved into town, he is a dirty cop living with his own regret. She sees a ray of sunshine in Jonas who could help her escape the hell she is living through. Elbert is the father of Jonas, he is known as a soft touch in town and wants his son to follow in his footsteps. Wayne is the abusive father of Casey’s, he is a dirty cop and his action led to his wife’s death.
Performances – Josh Wiggins and Sophie Nelisse are both wonderful as the teenagers from broken homes who will do everything for each other in an attempt to escape a futureless life, the two show each emotion and moment of determination to escape. Bill Paxton as the abusive father is just as disturbing as you would imagine his character to be.
Story – The story follows two teenagers who fall in love and want to escape their broken homes in search of a future together, they go on the run with stolen money which sees them need to learn how to survive of the grid. This does show us how children could be victims of abuse in Casey’s side of everything and still look normal on the outside, while Jonas is being kept away from the world to do a job he doesn’t have any interest in being apart of. We get to see how desperate the two have become to make it out of the life which doesn’t have much left for them already. This does show the bleak future, while leaving them feeling hopeful because everybody is against them even the law, which they didn’t break in the first place.
Thriller – The film does keep you on edge as you wait to see just how everything will unfold, this does give us a sense of unease at times during the film too.
Settings – The film takes us to a poorer area in America, this shows how the families have become used to the life rather than seeking something more from it.
Final Thoughts – This is a film that shows us just how difficult the life would be for the teenagers, it shows how they enjoy the escape because it will give them the freedom they couldn’t see coming.
Overall: Bleak, beautiful and hopeful.