Dead 3 Years and No One Notices? The Real Woman Behind The Story On “Being Mary Jane”

December 15, 2011  |  

Last night “Being Mary Jane” revolved around the idea of loneliness based on a fictional character who was dead for three years before anyone realized. Two years ago, we wrote an article based on the real woman who was the source of this plot: Joyce Vincent. The story is below.

Joyce Vincent was 41 years old when she was found dead in her UK home, but she was 38 when she died. For three years, from 2003-2006, her body lay surrounded by Christmas gifts she was planning to wrap; the television still on.

How does this happen? Especially to a woman who was social, who two-years prior had a high-powered job at Ernst and Young, who had rubbed elbows with celebrities, and who wanted to get married? That’s what documentary filmmaker Carol Morley set to find out. But her new film, “Dreams of a Life,” is about more than just Joyce Vincent, a young, beautiful London woman whose parents were from the Caribbean and who no one seemed to miss when she was gone. It’s about life, death, and loneliness.

To promote the film, the studio, Hide & Seek, created a companion website called Dreams of Your Life to engage visitors to examine their own isolation with questions like, “Could something like that ever happen to me?” “Do you have friends?” “If you died, how long would it take for someone to find you?”

The questions are eerily introspective.“Our aim was to make something that would give people a chance to think about the people in their lives and think about whether or not there were any changes that they wanted to make about their degree of connectedness,” Hide & Seek’s Margaret Robertson said.

As for Joyce Vincent, her memory will live on in Morley’s film which debuted at the BFI London Film Festival in October and was shortlisted for best documentary there. You can also read more about her story here.

The film will be available for general release in March. Watch this clip and tell us what you think? Honestly, the way the trailer stuck with me, I don’t think I’d ever be able to get this movie out of my head.

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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