Up 270 this week

Waking Life (2001)

R  |   |  Animation, Drama, Fantasy  |  16 November 2001 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.8/10 from 46,066 users   Metascore: 82/100
Reviews: 505 user | 135 critic | 31 from Metacritic.com

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


Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

5 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Animation | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An undercover cop in a not-too-distant future becomes involved with a dangerous new drug and begins to lose his own identity as a result.

Director: Richard Linklater
Stars: Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Robert Downey Jr.
Slacker (1991)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A day in the life of Austin, Texas as the camera roams from place to place and provides a brief look at the overeducated, the social misfits, the outcasts and the oddballs.

Director: Richard Linklater
Stars: Richard Linklater, Rudy Basquez, Jean Caffeine
Tape (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Three old high school friends pass the time in a Michigan motel room dissecting the painful memories of their high school years.

Director: Richard Linklater
Stars: Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard, Uma Thurman
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A young man and woman meet on a train in Europe, and wind up spending one evening together in Vienna. Unfortunately, both know that this will probably be their only night together.

Director: Richard Linklater
Stars: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Andrea Eckert
Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A U.S. drug dealer living in Tokyo is betrayed by his best friend and killed in a drug deal. His soul, observing the repercussions of his death, seeks resurrection.

Director: Gaspar Noé
Stars: Nathaniel Brown, Paz de la Huerta, Cyril Roy
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

We meet Jesse and Celine nine years on in Greece. Almost two decades have passed since their first meeting on that train bound for Vienna.

Director: Richard Linklater
Stars: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick
Before Sunset (2004)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Nine years after Jesse and Celine first met, they encounter each other again on the French leg of Jesse's book tour.

Director: Richard Linklater
Stars: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Vernon Dobtcheff
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The adventures of incoming high school and junior high students on the last day of school, in May of 1976.

Director: Richard Linklater
Stars: Jason London, Wiley Wiggins, Matthew McConaughey
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A nameless young character goes into travels to the country, meeting some acquaintances and strangers as well, having banal conversations, dedicating his existence into daily mundane ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Linklater
Stars: Richard Linklater, James Goodwin, Dan Kratochvil
Pi (1998)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A paranoid mathematician searches for a key number that will unlock the universal patterns found in nature.

Director: Darren Aronofsky
Stars: Sean Gullette, Mark Margolis, Ben Shenkman
The Fountain (2006)
Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

As a modern-day scientist, Tommy is struggling with mortality, desperately searching for the medical breakthrough that will save the life of his cancer-stricken wife, Izzi.

Director: Darren Aronofsky
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz, Sean Patrick Thomas
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A puppeteer discovers a portal that leads literally into the head of the movie star, John Malkovich.

Director: Spike Jonze
Stars: John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener


Cast overview, first billed only:
Trevor Jack Brooks ...
Glover Gill ...
Lara Hicks ...
Ames Asbell ...
Leigh Mahoney ...
Sara Nelson ...
Jeanine Attaway ...
Erik Grostic ...
Boat Car Guy
Robert C. Solomon ...
Philosophy Professor
Eamonn Healy ...
Shape-Shifting Man
J.C. Shakespeare ...
Burning Man


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 | Add Synopsis

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

16 November 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Despertando a la vida  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$88,977 (USA) (19 October 2001)


$2,892,011 (USA) (26 April 2002)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The movie took 3 weeks to shoot and another 3 weeks to edit using Final Cut Pro. It also took 15 months to animate. See more »


Pinball Playing Man: There's only one instant, and it's right now. And it's eternity.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits are all rendered in moving, squirming letters. See more »


References Snack and Drink (2000) See more »


Mi Otra Mitad de Naranja
Performed by TOSCA
Written by Glover Gill
Courtesy of Nois Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

random beauty of the subconscious
12 December 2004 | by See all my reviews

Waking Life is probably one of the most randomly amazing works that I have seen. It's lack of a plot, random events, and constant motion give it the dreamlike feel. The ideas are all so intriguing that I don't understand how anyone can hate this movie. I can understand that it could be hard to sit through if you're tired, or if you refuse to contemplate the endless possibilities presented. I'll also admit that some people would find it very hard to watch the animation, but to me it keeps your attention. I tried to imagine what this movie would have been like if it hadn't been animated and I don't think it would have had the impact on as many people as it has if it weren't for the animation. I think that anyone who enjoys the topic of dreams would find it worthwhile. I could watch this movie over and over and still find something that I hadn't noticed before. If you don't like movies that make you think, don't watch it. But if you want a movie that gives you a lot of things to think about and allows you the freedom to interpret it in many different ways . . . check it out!

72 of 92 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Question to lucid dreamers ravikant21490
Why is this movie animated? rmontro
Top 5 Philosophical Movies neotheonealiasme
Comparing to Inception,,,,,,,,, InTheNameOfCinema
Who wrote all the dialogue? peacefrog88
Learning to lucid dream Indiana_Jones_dude-1
Discuss Waking Life (2001) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: