7.8/10
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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.

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5 wins & 20 nominations. See more awards »

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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
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Trevor Jack Brooks ... Young Boy Playing Paper Game
... Young Girl Playing Paper Game
... Main Character
Glover Gill ... Accordion Player
Lara Hicks ... Violin Player
Ames Asbell ... Viola Player
Leigh Mahoney ... Viola Player
Sara Nelson ... Cello Player
Jeanine Attaway ... Piano Player
Erik Grostic ... Bass Player
... Boat Car Guy
Robert C. Solomon ... Philosophy Professor
... Herself
Eamonn Healy ... Shape-Shifting Man
J.C. Shakespeare ... Burning Man
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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 »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 March 2002 (Australia)  »

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 pinball machine in the last scene is a Bally Fireball from 1971. In the film, the brand name "Bally" has been changed to "Rally", and while the name "Fireball" appears in some shots, in others it is changed to something else. The game is also shown in the film with 5 digit score displays while the real game has 4 digit displays. The Player 2 and Player 3 scores are both shown with a score of 11111, which means the player is playing a 3 or 4 player game all by himself and has a very unlikely score, or the machine in the dream is broken. Also, any real pinball machine with 5-digit scoring would have the rightmost digit fixed at "0". See more »

Quotes

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.
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in One Minutes (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

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

 
very good, creative, expansion of Slackers
27 February 2003 | by See all my reviews

It is rare for a director to return to a film and improve it but Linklater does it here. Taking the general form of Slackers, he adds a metaphysical story line and coats it with extraordinary eye candy.

The rotoscoping really provides an acid trip experience of constantly shifting planes with backgrounds going one way and characters going the other.

The string quartet tango score also is an excellent use of music to reinforce the exotic aspects of the production.

The monologues are thought provoking and compelling. The story line examining dream/death connection is novel. Score points for originality of story, art direction and narrative line. Some quite funny parts (e.g. boat car, bar shoot out, etc.), some creepy parts (e.g. jailbird rant, second boat man meeting, etc.).

I have seen this several times and enjoyed it every time. Farily rare is the movie that can really stand up to multiple viewings. This is one.

Very refreshing. See it.


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