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By Merle Bertrand | January 27, 2001

It’s good to have dreams. However, one should probably think things through a little more carefully than does Valerie (Sybil Kempson) before acting on those dreams. An aspiring actress in a small Vermont town, she’s just landed the lead role in a local play. To her surprise, neither her fiancee Carl (Andrew Hernon) nor her roommate and sister Wendy (Wendy Lawrence) seem particularly thrilled about this. Carl wants to start house hunting. Wendy wants Val to focus on her upcoming wedding and take more teaching hours at the local grade school so she can help out more financially.
Their dissatisfaction is nothing compared to their shock when Val meets small time TV star Kent Black (Louis Puopolo), who is sitting in on a rehearsal…and agrees to move to New York to be in a play he’s writing and directing.
Off she goes, as naive and innocent as they come, ready to pursue her dream in the heart of the big cold city. Needless to say, things don’t quite work out as she planned…unless that plan included wearing a ridiculous cowgirl outfit and selling Chick-‘n-Chips on the sidewalk. If, as the old saying goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, then Val is about to find out just how strong she can get.
This is a true do-it-yourself project from director Debra Eisenstadt, who also wrote, produced, edited and shot this DV feature. This is apparent at times, although it really doesn’t affect the film all that much, since the somewhat bland “Daydream Believer” often resembles a documentary about Valerie’s trials and tribulations, anyway. Most of the performances are solid, if a bit over the top. While this is also true to a lesser extent with Kempson, her infectious enthusiasm as Val largely overcomes it.
It is a little difficult to swallow that someone could really be as naive and gullible as Val is in this day and age. Small town innocence only stretches so far, after all. Fortunately, Eisenstadt does an excellent job bringing the story of an ambitious young woman setting out to fulfill a dream full circle. As she winds up finding a life she could never have imagined, we get to observe this unlikely but entertaining journey every step of the way.

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