The Science of Sleep, a playful romantic fantasy set inside the topsy-turvy brain of Stephane Miroux (Gael Garcia Bernal) an eccentric young man whose dreams constantly invade his waking life. Stephane pines for next-door ... more »neighbor, Stephanie (Charlotte Gainsbourg), but she becomes confused by his childishness and shaky connection to reality. Unable to find the secret to Stephanie's heart while awake, Stephane searches for the answer in his dreams.« less
Daniel A. (Daniel) from EUGENE, OR Reviewed on 2/8/2010...
This was amazing, with a fresh visual style. I only wish I could dream like this.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 10/21/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Every person has vivid dreams -- so vivid that when they wake, it's hard to tell what's real and what was just in your dream.
And Michel Gondry, the genius behind "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," is just the director to tackle a movie about those dreams. Peppered with some of the weirdest scenes imaginable, Gondry guides this bizarre, sublime little movie to heights that most directors couldn't even dream of. (Pun intended)
Stéphane Miroux (Gael García Bernal) is a creative young dreamer from Mexico, who is lured back to Paris to live with his widowed mother. Unfortunately, the job she gets him is dull and creativity-free -- making calendars. The only upside is Stephanie (Charlotte Gainsbourg), a young woman who has moved into the same building.
Though he is initially attracted to her roommate, he soon finds that it is Stephanie he likes. Their involvement starts off well, but soon Stéphane has bungled things. He becomes increasingly wrapped up in his bizarre dreams, which are encroaching on his view of "reality." Will reality or dreams triumph, and will Stéphane be won over by love?
With a movie like "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" under his belt, it must be hard for Gondry to try to surpass himself. And while "Science of Sleep" is another exploration of the mind, it's a radically different kind of movie -- visual, quirky, and with a bittersweet edge. It has some disjointed moments, and it's not nearly as accessable, but the overall effect is like one long dream.
In a way, this movie is about escaping reality, into the labyrinth of your mind -- it might make you feel better for awhile, but ultimately it won't solve your problems, or improve your life. And to find love, you have to face the pain of reality. By the finale, some measure of peace is attained -- but still its meaning is utterly ambiguous. The viewer can decide what happens.
For the visuals, Gondry falls back on his music-video past. His music videos for the White Stripes, Bjork and Chemical Brothers were all wonderfully strange, and this movie is full of kittycat suits, enormous hands, and other magical items that seem plucked from a child's whimsical daydream. Even the mundane surroundings are colourful and striking.
Bernal plays a difficult character -- let's face it, Stéphane is rather strange, with a child's wonder and selfishness. But through glimpses into Stéphane's mind, Gondry creates sympathy for his awkwardness and creativity, and his yearning for love. The scenes where Stéphane and Stephanie (similar names for similar people) make things together has a curiously innocent intimacy.
Whimsical and almost hallucinogenic, "The Science of Sleep" is one of the most unique and compelling movies of the last year. It's not as accessable as his prior films, but it has its own bizarre charm."
Life is like a dream. Literally.
Maine Writer | Maine, USA | 10/14/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Science of Sleep isn't an easy movie. Not at first, at least. I begins a bit self-consciously and then creeps up on you, drawing you into the strange, unsettling worlds of the subconscious and then playing tricks with the viewer about the sometimes subtle differences between dreams and reality. I found myself in strangely familiar terrain, thinking back to my first love and the sadness, joy, wonder, insecurity, and, finally, pain over what was never meant to be. The moments of private craziness and creativity. The magic of that emotional bond on young hearts. Flipping back and forth between the mainly realistic and the sensationalistically bizarre, The Science of Sleep is a meditation on the human mind and heart.
I loved Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It's probably my favorite movie. The Science of Sleep causes the same emotions to well up inside me; it's a similar, but unique meditation on the familiar theme of who we are, why we love, and the strange magic of human relationships."
"The brain is the most complex thing in the universe! And it
Bart King | Portland, Oregon | 03/14/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I quite liked "La Science des Rêves." Its whimsy, acting, and design are all worthy of admiration. Particularly enjoyable is director Michel Gondry's various delightful and low-tech sets and special effects. At its best moments, the movie resembles the work of a prodigiously talented film student; it has that mix of unbridled creativity, innocence, and yes, even an endearing pretentiousness.
And yet as soon as the film was over, I felt disappointed. It seemed to me that perhaps TOO much thought went into the movie's design, leaving the story somwehat malnourished. As the film is mostly in the form of a dream, this may seem like a nonsensical criticism, so let me amend my criticism; Stephane (played by the gifted Gael García Bernal) comes across as eccentric, perhaps even mentally ill. Fine, fine. But in the end, he also convinces us that he is infantile, and perhaps even irredeemably creepy and less interesting than we thought.
Roll credits and cue disappointment. Let me reiterate though, this is a refreshingly irrational film, and quite fascinating on its own terms."
A gem but, perhaps not for everyone
R. Still | Birmingham, Al | 10/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie completely captured my imagination and took me back to a place of youth and innocence, first love and not knowing the "right" move. I've read the other mostly positive reviews and agree wholeheartedly. Those who are less impressed are perhaps into a different type of movie. Since I don't require "perfection" in a movie or much else, I'm rarely disappointed. Movies are for me primarily an escape, a journey, an entertainment - and this movie is pure enchantment. If you fall under its spell you are probably still in touch with that innocence you once had. I loved the elementary-school sets - full of egg-crates and paper tubes. I hope most viewers agree that the world has a big star in Gael Garcia Bernal - barely 30 and a major talent. He seems to more easily slip into this not-quite-mature role than his other heavier ones - giving me the impression that this character is closer to the real Bernal. And I thought Charlotte Gainsborough was the exact "sane" character that Bernals' flighty one needed. The ending alone gave me some discomfort - being slightly indefinite to me. Try it, you'll likely like it!"
Quirky and Imaginative; Not for Everyone
Raina Roswell | New York | 03/18/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Recently I saw The Science of Sleep (2006), written and directed by Michel Gondry, and enjoyed this film more so because of Gondry's imaginative and quirky directing than anything else. The acting, especially Gael Garcia Bernal as Stephane, was good, but Gondry's style surpassed all of my expectations (which were high, considering I loved Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind).
Gondry meticulously and flawlessly used common objects strangely placed to construct a bizarre story of love and growing up. He is unlike any director in his creative and child-like way of making innate objects come alive - this is particularly apparent from the props used in Stephane's dreams. For example, Stephane's dreams come alive for the viewer as we watch him on his very own TV Program, "Stephane TV," in his own dreamlike production studio lined with egg crates. It becomes difficult to distinguish the difference between Stephane's fantasies, or dreams, and his own reality - in one dream, he and Stephanie, his love interest, are dressed like kittens, and in another, he has huge hands (made out of paper mache) in an otherwise normal setting in which he tries to capture his coworkers. Stephane escapes his troubled reality by entering his dream world in which anything-and everything- is possible.
I think that the viewer's difficulty to discern whether or not Stephane is experiencing real life or dreaming was intended by Gondry, because Stephane is having the same difficulty as us; we are right there with him as he adventures into the unknown world of dreams. He is portrayed as childlike throughout the entire film as his vivid imagination seen in his dreams accompanies him into real life. He is obsessed with creating things for "Stephane TV," and this hobby adds to the confusion of what is real and what isn't. He says "Distraction is an obstruction to the construction," and it's like his dreams are distracting him from his life and making it easier for him to continue distorting his own reality.
This movie was surreal and made me think a lot about how our dreams are our way of clinging to the imagination we had as children. As we grow older we experience life and discover the bitter reality of routines-we accept things instead of question them because we know better. We are not as inclined to explore the details of mundane objects because we only see them as mundane. Stephane uses his imagination to make these everyday objects-such as a stuffed horse on which he rides in one of his dreams-part of his fantasy world. And thus, we are thrown into his fantasy and forced to question in our minds the reality of the situation. It is perfect because Stephane has moved back into his childhood bedroom after his father dies and it is like he is travelling back into his childhood but experiencing it as an adult.
The soundtrack to this film was very fitting - it is dreamlike - the music is reminiscent of a mobile you would hang over a crib to lure a baby to sleep. It really helped the viewer to get into and ready for "Stephane TV." This movie was good because it allowed me to embrace - and construct - my own visions of fantasy and reality. In dreams, these visions co-exist. In most of our adult lives, we know the difference. We almost take ourselves too seriously. Stephane, however, was able to really thrive in his dreamworld, so much that his illusions and perceptions of reality were thrown off. This usually had a negative effect on his relationships with other people because they wrote him off as a childlike dreamer. Stephanie understood him and therefore got whisked away in his imagination.
The Science of Sleep is not for everyone. Likely, many viewers will become confused and frustrated as they try to understand Stephane's dreams and make sense of the film's shifting illusions into fantasy and reality. I really enjoyed this film because it was definitely original - Gondry is truly one that "thinks outside the box," and he is able to pull it off through his obsession with details - these very details are the ones that cloud our judgment of reality in the film. The Science of Sleep was carefully planned and well executed. I was glad to have seen it, and I've thought about how my dreams reflect and coincide with my reality every day since."