•  Search  •  Press  •  Contact Us  •  Employment Opportunities  • 
Canadian Film Institute
See. Learn. Share.
Home > Festivals & Events > Beautiful Dreamers
Beautiful Dreamers
dir. John Kent Harrison
Canada, 1990, 105 minutes

Auditorium, 395 Wellington St., Saturday, May 10, 2008, 7:00 pm
Based on historical events, Beautiful Dreamers tells the inspiring story of a meeting between a rational scientific mind and a visionary poetic genius. Set during the repressive Victorian 1880s in London, Ontario, the film chronicles the efforts of Dr. Maurice Bucke (Colm Feore) to develop more humane methods for the treatment and care of the mentally ill. Bucke, frustrated with the current state of affairs, crosses paths and develops an enduring friendship with an unlikely man, famed American poet Walt Whitman (Rip Torn). In the words of one critic, Torn’s Whitman is a “fierce and fearless renegade of considerable charm and humor who gazes out from behind a pile of whiskers with a flinty acuity softened by a deeper kindness.” Whitman’s charm, compassion and exuberance for life soon spreads throughout the cast of characters, including Dr. Bucke’s wife, Jessie (Wendel Meldrum), leaving no one unaffected. As the title suggests, Beautiful Dreamers is a wonderful film, responding to the demands of reality with the power of dreams. A very special screening with a reception, silent auction, and poetry reading.