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Waking Life (2001)

A man shuffles through a dream meeting various people and discussing the meanings and purposes of the universe.

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5 wins & 20 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Trevor Jack Brooks ...
Young Boy Playing Paper Game
...
...
Glover Gill ...
Lara Hicks ...
Violin Player
Ames Asbell ...
Viola Player
Leigh Mahoney ...
Viola Player
Sara Nelson ...
Cello Player
Jeanine Attaway ...
Piano Player
Erik Grostic ...
Bass Player
Bill Wise ...
Robert C. Solomon ...
...
Eamonn Healy ...
Shape-Shifting Man
J.C. Shakespeare ...
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Storyline

Dreams. What are they? An escape from reality or reality itself? Waking Life follows the dream(s) of one man and his attempt to find and discern the absolute difference between waking life and the dreamworld. While trying to figure out a way to wake up, he runs into many people on his way; some of which offer one sentence asides on life, others delving deeply into existential questions and life's mysteries. We become the main character. It becomes our dream and our questions being asked and answered. Can we control our dreams? What are they telling us about life? About death? About ourselves and where we come from and where we are going? The film does not answer all these for us. Instead, it inspires us to ask the questions and find the answers ourselves. Written by Jeff Mellinger <jmell@uclink4.berkeley.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some violent images | See all certifications »

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 November 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Despertando a la vida  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$88,977, 21 October 2001, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,892,011, 28 April 2002
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The final scene took Bob Sabiston 3 weeks to complete. One of the reasons for this is that all of the trees and plants were individual objects. See more »

Quotes

Quiet Woman at Restaurant: When it was over, all I could think about was how this entire notion of oneself, what we are, is just this logical structure, a place to momentarily house all the abstractions. It was a time to become conscious, to give form and coherence to the mystery, and I had been a part of that. It was a gift. Life was raging all around me and every moment was magical. I loved all the people, dealing with all the contradictory impulses - that's what I loved the most, connecting with the people. Looking ...
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Crazy Credits

Because almost none of the characters are named, a clip from their appearance is shown during the credits. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Midnight Screenings: The Emoji Movie (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

La Cosa Pequeña
Performed by TOSCA
Written by Glover Gill
Courtesy of Nois Records
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User Reviews

 
A mind expanding experience.
23 January 2003 | by See all my reviews

I greatly enjoyed Waking Life, I was most impressed by the animation and the philosophical dialog that just kept hanging on the characters' every word. This movie is not for everyone, at least not for those who like their films 'light'. The fact is that Waking Life consists mostly of the main character discussing philosophical topics with various colorful characters. At some point it was difficult to remain concentrated to everything the characters say, for they were rambling quite discoursively, making the audience feel like they're attending a lecture. But the animation makes up for that, because the film has so much visual content that one could also watch it with out the dialog, just being immersed in the art.

I'm not an expert in philosophy, I've just taken one beginners class, although i am interested in the topic. In reply to complaints condemning the film pretentious or complaining that it's philosophical ideas are old or overused. I'd say that Waking Life, rather than trying to reinvent philosophical theories, tries to present these ideas in the form of a film the same way as Jostein Gaarder's book 'Sophie's World'. It could in that way function as a sort of 'window' into the world of philosophy, a first touch. I'd hesitate calling it a beginners guide to philosophy as the language is demanding, especially for non natives. But on my part, I feel having expanded my horizons, by experiencing Waking Life. This movie can be enjoyed on many levels, and also a whole spectrum of interpretations can be drawn from it, watch it and see what it makes you feel.


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