Tuesday, 12 August 2014

What dreams may come (4½ Stars)

This is the first of a few films that I'll be re-watching to commemorate Robin Williams' death. "What dreams may come" is an obvious first choice, since it deals with the death and afterlife of a character that he plays.

Chris Nielsen (Robin Williams) meets Annie Collins (Annabella Sciorra) while on vacation in Switzerland. It's love at first sight. They marry within weeks. After this the film fast-forwards to a time when they have two children. The children die in a road accident. Four years later Chris is also killed in an accident. This is where the film begins.

After a few days of lingering on Earth, watching his wife and the others he has left behind, Chris finds himself in an afterlife which is based on his own imagination. He lives in the beautiful scenery of a picture that his wife has painted. The afterlife is a mosaic of connected areas that each dead person has created for himself. He can either stay in his own area or visit others. A former acquaintance, Albert, acts as his guide through the new world.

A few weeks later Albert informs Chris that Annie has died, but he can't see her because she has committed suicide, and all who commit suicide go to Hell. Albert refuses to accept this. He travels into the depths of Hell to find his wife.

This is a very beautiful film, both the imagery and the romantic elements. At its core it's a love story. Love is stronger than death. The theological aspects of the film are interesting. Heaven is whatever you want it to be. That's a slushy notion which very few religions or philosophies would accept unconditionally, but in the context of the film it doesn't matter. While watching the film I made notes of quotes that I found relevant, mostly words spoken by Albert, the spirit guide. Any of these quotes could be used as the introduction to a lengthy philosophical discussions

"Thought is real. Physical is the illusion".

"It's not all fire and pain. The real Hell is your life gone wrong".

"What's true in our minds is true, whether other people know it or not".

"You can see the dead in your dreams if you want to".

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