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

Director:

Richard Linklater
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4,935 ( 204)
5 wins & 20 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 March 2002 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

Despertando a la vida See more »

Filming Locations:

Texas, USA See more »

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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

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During the lecture by the monkey, a clip from Akira Kurosawa's Dreams (1990) is shown of a man running awkwardly down a hill. See more »

Quotes

Man with the Long Hair: They say that dreams are only real as long as they last. Couldn't you say the same thing about life?
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Animated Movies for Adults (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Ballade 4
Performed by TOSCA
Written by Glover Gill
Courtesy of Nois Records
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User Reviews

 
A mind expanding experience.
23 January 2003 | by oddi-3See all my reviews

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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