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Mean Dreams

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Canada · 2016
Rated R · 1h 48m
Director Nathan Morlando
Starring Sophie Nélisse, Josh Wiggins, Colm Feore, Bill Paxton
Genre Drama, Thriller

Mean Dreams follows Casey and Jonas, two teenagers desperate to escape their broken and abusive homes. When they meet and fall for each other, the two must go on the run from the girl's corrupt father, who is also the sheriff of the town of their small town.

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What are critics saying?


Screen International by Allan Hunter

Director Nathan Morlando makes a concerted effort to inject dynamism and emotion into the telling of Mean Dreams, but fights a losing battle against the cliched writing and some risible plotting.


The New York Times by Andy Webster

Nathan Morlando’s Mean Dreams may use a time-honored premise — young lovers on the lam (see: “Badlands”) — but it does so with such quiet, gently appealing assurance that it makes the template seem fresh again.


The Globe and Mail (Toronto) by Brad Wheeler

Spiritual questions and thoughts on the importance of flesh-and-blood relationships are raised, but the strength of the you-can-run-but-you-can’t-hide drama is the dewy charisma of the two young co-stars.


The Hollywood Reporter by David Rooney

As the stakes are heightened, the filmmakers too often short-change dramatic verisimilitude with movie-ish cliché, implausible plotting and cumbersome dialogue.


IndieWire by Eric Kohn

The pervasive elegance makes up for a largely derivate plot. We’ve seen variations on this story before, and Mean Dreams doesn’t do much to shake up expectations — until, that is, a violent finale that punctuates the characters’ psychological development.


Variety by Guy Lodge

The join-the-bullet-holes nature of Mean Dreams' storytelling would be less of a problem if the characterization were a little more textured, but for all the picturesque anguish on display, the febrile messiness of actual human life is little in evidence.


Village Voice by Luke Y. Thompson

For better or for worse, Paxton's performance will be the focus of viewers’ attention, so it is decidedly to the good that he doesn't just deliver. He gives a sort of master class on why we've loved him: Paxton was amazing in the role of regular guys, and equally compelling as the subversion of same.


Chicago Sun-Times by Richard Roeper

While the plot often travels familiar paths and even the impressive camerawork is evocative of other films, Mean Dreams has a few story tricks up its sleeve — and it has Bill Paxton, playing one of the most odious characters he ever played, and doing it with absolute mastery.


Movie Nation by Roger Moore

Paxton makes a marvelous menace. The picture’s biggest failing is losing sight of him for the middle acts, and its second biggest failing is giving the equally valuable Colm Feore too little to do.

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