Release Date: September 22nd, 2006 by Warner Independent Pictures.
The Cast: Gael García Bernal, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Alain Chabat, Miou-Miou, Pierre Vaneck, Emma de Caunes, Aurélia Petit, Sacha Bourdo, Stéphane Metzger, Decourt Moyen, Inigo Lezzi, Jean-Michel Bernard, Yvette Petit, Eric Mariotto, Bertrand Delpierre.
Directed by Michel Gondry.
In French, Spanish and English with subtitles.
BASIC PREMISE: Stéphane (Bernal) falls in love with his neighbor, Stéphanie (Gainsbourg), while having trouble distinguishing between dreams and reality.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: The Science of Sleep wildly combines the genres of drama, absurd comedy and romance while being consistently refreshing and surprising. Gael García Bernal gives a terrific performance as Stéphane, a young man who moves to Paris and lands a mundane job at a firm that makes calendars. He flirts with his neighbor, Stéphanie, a slightly older woman who doesn’t show much romantic interest toward him, yet he continues to be persistent about being with her. He also shows some interest in her best friend, Zoé (Caunes). It’s hilarious to watch him as he drifts in and out of his crazy dreams and, in many cases, confusing his experiences in dreams from those in reality. The cheap-looking special effects in the dream sequence look appropriately bizarre. Fortunately, the plot doesn’t lose any momentum in the second and third acts, which manages to be full of inventive surprises, such as a time machine that goes back and forth one-second at a time. Just like in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, writer/director Michel Gondry does a great job of weaving an unpredictable plot with mind-boggling, wildly imaginative scenes that stick to your memory. You’ll certainly be in a dreamlike state after watching this refreshingly original, outrageously hilarious mind-trip.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Some of the scenes with Stéphane and Stéphanie feel quite moving, especially given their eventual romantic chemistry. In many ways, implicit and explicit, the overall message is that true love is often a surreal, magical, wildly metaphysical experience which may seem confusing and difficult to notice at first, but it comes into full bloom once you follow your heart—and perhaps close your eyes if that helps.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None, as long as you suspend your disbelief.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0
IN A NUTSHELL: Outrageously hilarious, wildly imaginative and unforgettable. One of the most original films of the year.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)
The "S" Menu