145 user 268 critic

Upstream Color (2013)

Not Rated | | Drama, Sci-Fi | 30 August 2013 (UK)
2:09 | Trailer

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A man and woman are drawn together, entangled in the life cycle of an ageless organism. Identity becomes an illusion as they struggle to assemble the loose fragments of wrecked lives.



5 wins & 34 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Thiago Martins ...
Kathy Carruth ...
Orchid Mother
Meredith Burke ...
Orchid Daughter
Andreon Watson ...
Ashton Miramontes ...
Myles McGee ...
Carolyn King ...
MRI Tech
Woman in Club
HR Manager


Kris is attacked one night, and hypnotized, using a grub with hypnotic properties, administered by a thief. She follows the thief's instructions to give him everything, even taking out loans. After the worms are extracted, she wakes up to find her life ruined. She's lost her job, her finances are destroyed. Years later, she meets Jeff whom she may have a lot in common with. Written by SnoopyStyle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Sci-Fi


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

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Release Date:

30 August 2013 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Color a contracorriente  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$50,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$28,649, 7 April 2013, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$444,098, 27 June 2013
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film that Kris is editing at the beginning of the movie is A Topiary, the film that Shane Carruth had begun production on before deciding to film Upstream Color instead. See more »


When Kris saw the worms crawling under her skin, she stabbed her leg with knife so hard but when the camera showed her leg, the knife was only about 1-2cm in her leg. See more »


Thief: I have to apologize. I was born with a disfigurement where my head is made of the same material as the sun.
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User Reviews

A lovely experience
2 June 2013 | by See all my reviews

After this movie ended, I was dumbstruck. I sat looking at the end credits, searching through what I had just watched, remembering the film vividly, and yet having it still be a blur.

Upstream Color is not a literal movie. The plot is never explained directly to the viewer, and the actions taken by the characters are unclear in reason and motivation. The most obvious things I could say about the movie are that it is filmed very well, and it has a nice musical score.

But the movie is not about literal plot. It's not about literal characters. It's about feelings and thoughts. It's a movie about broken people trying to fix themselves. There are things everybody in the movie will understand, and there are things nobody will.

It's a lot like music. When you put on music, you know the mood, and you know the melody, and you know the tempo and the harmony, and it can be a beautiful experience, even though you have no idea what the lyrics mean. And upstream color is a lovely, almost meditative movie about the lives of everyone being interconnected, and about how when people form companionship they start to become one, and yet someone else may say totally opposite things than I'm saying, and they wouldn't be wrong.

It's not a movie for people that think a film must have a literal story. It's not a movie for people who won't watch an hour and a half of meditation. It's not for people who see movies to see stories. And there is no shame in disliking this movie. But if you can appreciate an abstract story and can sit through an hour and a half of meditation, this is the movie for you.

Stanley Kubrick said in his later years: "A film is - or should be - more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what's behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later." If Stanley Kubrick were alive today, I think he would have liked this movie a lot.

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