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Waking Life
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Reviews & Ratings for
Waking Life More at IMDbPro »

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265 out of 347 people found the following review useful:

How could anyone not enjoy this movie?

10/10
Author: Alana Davis (superfragglerock@hotmail.com) from Florida
2 December 2004

Okay, i haven't read any comments yet, but a lot of the "one line summaries" sound negative. I just finished watching this film, and registered an account with IMDb solely to speak of this film. These are the types of movies that we should be expecting from filmmakers today. Aren't we all tired of the blockbuster bullshit by now? True, it's not a "typical movie" and yes...it is a cartoon. But, the style is completely unique and entirely necessary for the story. If it were simply caught on film and released in that same manor, it would not have had the monstrous effect that it had, and it would not have come across in a way that would retain the interest of this generation's ADD youth (which SHOULD be it's primary demographic...they are the ones who can still change this world, and create the paradigm shift that is necessary) This movie is the fiber of all life, it IS that collective unconscious from which we all draw our own, personal beings. It explains the philosophies of years gone by and minutes gone by in a way that anyone could understand them. While I know that some closed minded people are going to be scared and confused by all of this necessary information, if only one mind is opened because of it, I know that Richard Linklater would be greatly pleased.

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169 out of 195 people found the following review useful:

Score one for the dreamers

9/10
Author: guido anselmi from Notre Dame, IN
27 January 2003

Waking Life is among a handful of films (Woyzeck, Magnolia, The Passion of Anna) that really frustrate me, because as much as I love them I can't necessarily recommend them to everyone. There are certain films for which one needs to be on a certain wavelength to enjoy, no matter how cultured or intelligent. This film is best for those who have sat around thinking about the big questions in life for long periods of time, dying for someone to talk to about them. I guess Waking Life isn't about those questions so much as it's about the people who are asking them, the wonderers, the thinkers, and especially the dreamers. For those who can appreciate it, it's a cleansing experience, one of a purity and beauty that has no equal in the films I've been fortunate enough to see.

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170 out of 215 people found the following review useful:

A film for passionate thinkers.

10/10
Author: Spamlet from NYC
19 March 2003

This is one of the most thought provoking films I've ever seen. It's also visually stunning and perfectly acted: every single one of these people seem to be just giving their own opinions as if you were overhearing/having a meaningful conversation with them.

We can chalk this up to the genius of Linklater who over the years has shown not only the pretentiously humorous coffee house crowd cliches but also the searching, often deeply insightful side of our generation that the media overlooked when we were dubbed slackers. In films he has written: "Slacker" and "Before Sunrise" and in his films of stage plays Bogosian's brilliant, Chekhovian "SubUrbia" and the faintly melodramatic "Tape", Linklater has always been fascinated with the question of what we should doing with our lives. Our responsibility is to contribute something lasting and meaningful to our society. But what exactly is that? Where and when should I do it? Who with? How do I know if I've really found it? Why is it so important again, anyway?

I saw this movie for the first time late last night and 5 minutes before it started I had fallen asleep and was hoping I'd be able to make it all the way through the film. From the first frame I was riveted and completely awake and remained so even after it was over; contemplating all the myriad viewpoints the film had thrown at me.

This movie is so exciting and bursting with ideas that I'm going to buy the DVD as soon as I possibly can and watch it over and over trying to absorb it all.

See this film. It will remind you of how thrilling it is to be an active thinking, feeling member of the human race.

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99 out of 123 people found the following review useful:

Linklater brings us deeper.....

Author: garvey802000
18 August 2004

I recently viewed Waking Life By Richard Linklater and found it to be a truly unique viewing experience. The film deals with the idea of lucid dreams and the nature of our existence and many other philosophical questions. What struck me about the film was the way in which the superb animation was layered over the film. What this achieves is indeed a sense of a dreamlike viewing experience.Everyone has those dreams where they have a great sense of having gone somewhere and done something wonderful when they wake up. It may be difficult to remember details of your surroundings or what exactly you did but you know you were somewhere doing something. The jumpy nature and fluid characteristics of the animation really help to create that very same feeling while viewing the film.

I cannot stress the creative genius of Richard Linklater enough. He appears himself at the end of the movie and brings some closure to the main protagonists' dilemma of being trapped in this dream state. The film highlights the idea of how intertwined our dream lives and our Waking lives are. Memories that we once thought to be real often turn out to dreams and vice versa. Fans of philosophical debate and chat will be in heaven here however those who find themselves easily bored by such discussions may be skipping some scenes.

Finally, Waking Life is another chapter in the pioneering film-making of Richard Linklater. He has given us such gems like Before Sunrise and Dazed and Confused. He has achieved in bringing film back to its essentials.. performance and script.

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101 out of 133 people found the following review useful:

Wonderful

Author: Nick Dets from US
25 October 2002

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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98 out of 130 people found the following review useful:

Waking Life: philosophical therapy.

Author: Edg Duveyoung (kolangandedg@yahoo.com) from Detroit, Michigan
7 November 2001

This film, if seen by someone who has DEEPLY considered the mysteries of life, will thoroughly delight. If you don't have a spiritual bone in your body, avoid. It has its flaws, but only in retrospect or through the eyes of another will they be found--and then forgiven if you have even an ounce of heart or a particle of transcendence.

It gets beneath one's radar and past one's filters.

For instance, it hits you perceptually with constantly varying animation styles, and after some time, you adjust to this so much that when you leave the theater, THE WORLD IS ANIMATED--a poetic way of saying that your connection to the proposition that all things are real is loosen WONDERFULLY!

And then, it hits you intellectually by parading a dozen+ viewpoints of persons who would not necessarily disagree with one another, but show the vast importance to us of the personal way we manifest our philosophical axioms and how much that depends on our individual interests-not all of us are psychologically constructed to be philosophers, but all of us can be analyzed to have a philosophical set of suppositions. Waking Life challenges these suppositions by merely presenting to you, in dramatic form, persons who vividly present their `takes' on the concepts and how they are impacted by them...especially emotionally.

Ultimately, this is not a movie, and it shouldn't be viewed as such; instead, one should approach it as therapy. See it, be with it, relax, and GROW. Every time you see it again, the concepts saturate your nervous system with reinforcing patterns that will later "echo" in your dynamics in synergistic ways. A seed gets planted and with repeated viewings the seed gets watered.

Go to this event. See it from a seat that's within the first ten rows of the theater; immerse yourself. Let go. All you have to lose (loosen) is identification with a reflection of the real you.

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88 out of 118 people found the following review useful:

Fantastic Work of Film Art

10/10
Author: Carolyn (StellaLuna11) from Philly, PA
19 August 2002

Waking Life has broken new ground surrounding the idea of animation. Filming people, then having artists with different styles "animate" the recorded scenes was brilliant. The visuals are constantly changing, providing an aurora of sights that you can not take your eyes off of. Trippy? Yes, Burnt Out? No- This movie can not only be appreciated for the wild images, but for the story-line as well... On second thought-story-line might not be the right word. The actual "plot" of this movie can be seen as an hour and a half of the most interesting philosophy course one can find. The characters and conversations are deep, fascinating, and thought-provoking. You must see this movie more than once because it is almost impossible to absorb what you see and be able to fully appreciate the genius of the script. I've seen it about 5 times and there are still some scenes I have yet to fully grasp. Sit back and treat your eyes and mind to the most stimulating film of the year.

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78 out of 101 people found the following review useful:

random beauty of the subconscious

Author: la_jane16
12 December 2004

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!

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57 out of 78 people found the following review useful:

A mind expanding experience.

10/10
Author: oddi-3 from Helsinki, Finland
23 January 2003

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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148 out of 262 people found the following review useful:

pretentious garbage

1/10
Author: Jeff-197 from Illinois
15 December 2001

Let me begin by saying that reviewing this movie puts you into a damned if you do, damned if you don't scenario. If you think it sucked, well, you're just too stupid to understand it, or you don't have the attention span. "Why don't you just go see Monster's Inc.", they'll rebut. So you are forced to say that you like it. I'd be willing to bet that at least 50% of those saying it is great (with no specificity) are just trying to avoid looking like they can't understand it.

Now, onto my review. I wonder if the people who call Linklater brilliant think that he somehow wrote all these theories? That he is some metaphysical genius that invented all these positions? I would hope not, as he obviously didn't. Which leaves me to ask, "What did he do that deserves my praise?" The guy went to a university with a tape recorder, got some real-audio of some Psychology 101 and Philosohpy 101 lectures, and paid some animators to draw someone saying them.

The theories discussed are not advanced. They are fairly common and easy enough to follow. Even the boy admits, "they sound familiar, like I'd heard them somewhere". They don't get more complex. They don't refute each other. They don't build. They don't reach a conclusion. They are just strewn together, willy-nilly. If you're going to make a film exploring all of these issues, at least do me the favor of taking a position on them... give me some insight, some enlightenment. To just present them without organization or taking a position just seems to translate to me as: "See how much I know??" Like a discussion with someone after their first philosophy class, when they recite theory to you, without questioning, challenging, or even favoring any of it.

I feel that the use of the plot being that the boy was dreaming (or dead) was to hide the fact that Linklater DIDN'T have any profound point to make. Only in a dream could he get away with an incomprehensible, poorly organized blob of discussion on a topic. Had this movie been set in the real, waking world, he would have had to go somewhere with this... to make a point or take a position. But as it was he could just let it be slop.

See this movie only if you'd like to pretend you and your friends are intellectuals for a night. Then log onto imdb.com and write about how profound and moving it was, but don't, whatever you do, say why. Just saying that it was deep and explored reality and the mind will suffice.

Did this movie make for a stimulating evening? It could. But don't think that this movie is intellectually superior to another just because it uses big words and discusses metaphysics. You can analyze pop movies and try to pull meaning from it, too. And at least the pop movies mask it in the DETAILS OF A STORY instead of just purely PRESENTING YOU WITH RAW THEORY. Is Moby Dick just about a whale? Is Star Wars just about rescuing a princess? No. These tales explore quite a bit of human dynamics and philosophy, but at least they have the sense of ART to present it in a masked way.

This is not an art film. It isn't even a film. It's an intro class lecture with pictures.

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