Joanne Woodward and Stewart Stern, who had written the screenplay for her 1968 triumph Rachel, Rachel, re-teamed for Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams. Stern once again provided Woodward with a vehicle that demonstrated her remarkable ability as an actress. Woodward dominates the film, playing her big scenes full out but also using her intelligence and humor to lighten the film when it approaches dramatic overkill. Woodward's breakdown on the escalator of a London subway is remarkable, but so is her earlier, quieter scene when lunching with her mother (during which she sums up the disconnectedness she feels with life by asking, "Are we just two women who go to lunch once a week and complain about lemon?"), as well as her shocked reaction to her mother's sudden death. Sylvia Sidney is also quite good as her mother, and Martin Balsam's understated performance meshes very nicely with Woodward's. Although the film sometimes drags, Gilbert Cates handles the opening nightmare sequence expertly, and has nice moments throughout, but he is not able to overcome the tendency toward soap opera in Stern's script, nor its unsubtle psychology. These flaws ultimately damage the movie; rather than it becoming a truly insightful character study, it emerges as a well-made star vehicle.
by Craig Butler review