American GI Harry Walden (Martin Balsam) emerged from a harrowing experience in WWII to find himself living an outwardly-happy but inwardly-empty and tedious existence in the post-war U.S. He is an eye doctor, successful in his work, but unfulfilled spiritually and emotionally. He and his wife Rita (Joanne Woodward) have a boring existence, with their biggest issue being what kind of wallpaper to choose when they redecorate their apartment. They are dysfunctional, materialistic, and utterly lost. Rita is neurotic and unhappy, especially after her mother (Sylvia Sidney) dies. They decide to visit France and go to the battlefield where Harry once spent a night in the company of three dead German soldiers. The trip is intended to reawaken their deadened humanity. Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams is a challenging, slow and thoughtful depiction of the corroding effects of a materialistic lifestyle. ~ Michael Betzold, Rovi
This film, like a lot of 70s cinema, really broke a lot of barriers in American cinema. This is a character-driven film held together dramaticaly by Joanne Woodward's bravura performance. It mixes realism with memory and fantasy to tell the story of a bored upper-crust matron having an emotional meltdown. It's greatly influenced by Ingmar Bergman (with one of his films playing in the background during a heart attack scene.) If you love this era of movies, Joanne Woodward or quirky realism, give his oldie but goodie a try.