Waking LifeClosed Captioning
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From the director of Slacker and Dazed and Confused comes one of the most imaginative animated features ever made. This funny, ingenious film explores the fascinating question: "Are we sleep-walking through our waking state or wake- walking through our dreams"? Join Wiley Wiggins as he searches for answers to lifes most important questions in a world that may or may not be reality.
Movie Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes
- Reviews Counted: 141
- Fresh: 113
- Rotten: 28
- Average Rating: 7.4/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Fresh: This inventive animated film, which takes Linklater back to his roots in Austin and Slacker, represents a summation of all the philosophical concerns that have defined him as spokesperson for Gen-X.
Fresh: Exhilarating, transporting, funny and haunting -- and at times maddeningly heady or narcotically logy -- Waking Life doesn't compare to any other movie experience I've ever had.
Fresh: If there was ever a film that made ontological exploration fun, this is it.
Rotten: Adds up to little more than a series of disconnected impressions, but it holds interest despite an almost nonexistent narrative, and that's something.
A mind-bender in it's own right
Sure, the rotoscoping makes parts of the film nauseating at times but it was a novel idea in the early 2000's. This film retains cult following due to its search into the power of dream and the meaning of life. The film becomes a mirror by the end upon which the viewer may find their own reflected answer to what the combined vignettes communicate. Under-appreciated but still personal, the film can be as uncomfortably probing as a person trapped in a lucid dream out of their control. It's rich with references to the Texas community where it was filmed and (vague spoiler alert for Linklater fans) even sports a strange scene between two characters from separate Linklater films in dialogue. My advice: don't think of the film as escapist entertainment as much as an open forum discussion on how dreams function and the meaning of human life.
A journey inside dreams...
Waking Life, Richard Linklater's study of dreams and ideas, is one of those once in a lifetime films that you will feel privileged to see. The film is, in some ways, a spiritual successor to Linklater's first film, Slacker; our unnamed protagonist (played by Wiley Wiggins) floats around several different conversations while trying to figure out why he can't seem to get out of his dream. The people he finds are all passionate about their wildly different subjects; A college professor puts a positive spin on existentialism; Jesse and Celine of Before Sunrise fame continue their conversation about reincarnation and death; and my personal favorite, Timothy "Speed" Levitch waxes poetically about the ongoing wow of living in New York.
That in and of itself would make an interesting and intriguing film, but that's only half of it; Linklater and his animation partner Bob Sabiston shot and edited the film on consumer level cameras, then hired several artists to rotoscope (or "paint") over the footage. The result overcomes gimmickry and actually elevates the film. Each conversation has a different art style and tone, guaranteeing that even if you dislike a character, the art surrounding them will still keep you involved; and even if you don't like the art style, there's another person and style coming right down the corner.
Waking Life is not a movie everyone is going to love, but it is absolutely a movie that everyone should see. Don't miss out on this extraordinary head tripping experience.
This is probably the last film that ever made me say: WOW!!! There is no linear storyline so do not strain yourself looking for one. It is film about the exchange of thoughts and ideas. What is its ultimate meaning is multi-interpretational which art should be. There are two scenes which I feel do not belong but otherwise it is a beautiful afermation of the human mind. The rotoscoping style of animation is stunning at times but should not fool anyone that this is an "animated" film. This should really be seen on a big screen but the compelling thoughts expressed are not diminished. It will bore a great majority when they realize it nothing but people talking. Anyone who has seen and enjoyed My Dinner With Andre will have no problem becoming acclimated to this world. Yes, I wish there was a bit more structure to the film but this is a very minor complaint. I prefer not to have everything tied up in a nice neat bow. I like exiting the theater being haunted by the unanswered questions. The brain is a organ that requires exercise just as any other in the human body and should not be neglected.