What Dreams May Come

As this fantasy film journeys into the unknown, audiences experience a wide range of emotions enhanced by the tragic/redeeming storylines and amazing visual effects. Based on the 1978 novel of the same name by Richard Matheson, What Dreams My Come (the title comes from a line in Hamlet’s “To be, or not to be” soliloquy) is an emotional ride starring Robin Williams as a pediatrician named Chris and Annabella Sciorra as an artist named Annie that can touch willing audiences at the heart…if they can follow the story and let go of traditional structure and occasionally logic.

This film requires concentration and attention while becoming a deeply personal experience as high concepts of the afterlife take center stage. The Oscar® winning visual effects definitely makes you want to paint…or at least attempt it. With no real source (e.g. Bible) or template, filmmakers have large creative license with the visuals, which are appealing, but this surreal story lacks any sense of high stakes or even drama. Flashbacks cannot bolster the characters’ lacking background, so basic desire to be together provides the main motivation here.

The Oscar® nominated art direction enhances the creative and thought provoking concepts  (e.g. What’s true in our minds is true, whether some people know it or not.) presented in the film (e.g. philosophy, etc.), which is directed by Vincent Ward (Map of the Human Heart).

Cuba Gooding Jr. also stars as Albert Lewis, a familiar friend from Chris’ past.  Max von Sydow (Minority Report) stars as The Tracker. “You’ll hear a lot of smart stuff around here.It’s usually right. Don’t let it screw you up,” he says. Josh Paddock and Jessica Brooks Grant play Chris and Annie’s children Ian and Marie. Rosalind Chao (Leona) and Werner Herzog also have small, but memorable roles.

Michael Kamen provides a great musical score that equals the visual effects. He replaced Ennio Morricone and also contributed his song “Beside You” to this film.

Check out home video versions with the alternative ending. Recommended with a few reservations (**1/2) and rated PG-13 for thematic elements involving death, some disturbing images and language.

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