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Waking Life (2001)

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


4,161 ( 3)
5 wins & 20 nominations. See more awards »



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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
Robert C. Solomon ...
Eamonn Healy ...
Shape-Shifting Man
J.C. Shakespeare ...


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 »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

16 November 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Despertando a la vida  »

Filming Locations:



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


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Some of the names of candy bars in a store toward the film's end were changed in animation. Hershey's bars become "Hercules", Mentos are now "Memos", and Junior Mints were changed to "Junior Pants". See more »


Man on TV: A single ego is an absurdly narrow vantage from which to view this experience. And where most consider their individual relationship to the universe, I contemplate relationships of my various selves to one another.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Features Saturday Night Live (1975) See more »


Lastima Grande
Performed by TOSCA
Written by Glover Gill
Courtesy of Nois Records
See more »

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User Reviews

25 October 2002 | by See all my reviews

Waking Life is an amazing, visual, and completely original work of art from filmmaker Richard Linklater. It is not only one of the very best films to be released in 2001, but also one of the most thought provoking films I've ever seen. Watching it is an amazing experience in itself. Its visual style is stunning. Digital animation is put over live action actors in a style that every scene is like some kind of a post-modern painting that you would see in an art gallery. The story follows a young man by the name of Wiley Wiggins and his encounters with many interesting people. He listens to their thoughts and theories, but doesn't really understand why. He is in an on-going lucid dream that takes him to odd, but fascinating encounters with people and places. I absolutely loved this film. It is one of those rare films that takes you away from your seat and into a world that you are placed right in the middle of and when it ends, the only thing you can say is, `Wow!'

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