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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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Popularity
4,701 ( 349)
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:

Acordar para a 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

The shot of the building immediately before the Julie Delpy/Ethan Hawke scene is actually a portion of the opening shot from the remake of Psycho (1998). See more »

Quotes

Pinball Playing Man: And that's what time is. That's what all of history is, this kind of continuous, you know, daydream or distraction. And so I read that, and I was like, 'Well, that's weird.' And then that night, I had a dream, and there was this guy in the dream who was supposed to be a psychic. But I was skeptical. I was like, 'He's not really a psychic' I was just thinking to myself. And then suddenly, I start floating, like levitating up to the ceiling. And as I almost go through the roof, I'm like, 'OK, Mr....
[...]
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Crazy Credits

Because almost none of the characters are named, a clip from their appearance is shown during the credits. See more »

Connections

Edited into Final Cut: Ladies and Gentlemen (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Gill 2 Second Movement
Performed by TOSCA
Written by Glover Gill
Courtesy of Nois Records
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User Reviews

 
Fantastic Work of Film Art
19 August 2002 | by StellaLuna11See all my reviews

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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