Movie Reviews (such as they are)

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Science of Sleep

Having not seen Michel Gondry's earlier film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind when the wife went to see it because I was otherwise engaged at the tattooist, I had very little real idea of what to expect of his work. Sure, I'd seen a few music videos and some clips of his films, but The Science of Sleep was to be my first full-blown Gondry experience.

It is not easy to explain in simple terms what the film is about, although ultimately it is a love story. Or an "is it or isn't it love?" story. When Stéphane moves into an apartment next door to Stéphanie, they soon realize they share a love of the fantastic. And while his view of the world is somewhat askew, he feels he is able to share with her.

What follows is a mish-mash of reality and dreams, and at times it is not obvious which is which. But this matters not, of course, for it is all part of the fun, and you either buy into it and enjoy, or you don't and feel like you're being taken for a mug, I guess. One minute Stéphane might be presenting his own imaginary TV show (in his head or in his room?), the next all seems like a normal day at his office... until he suddenly grows enormous hands. You see what I'm saying?

The lead characters, played by Gael Garcia Bernal and Charlotte Gainsbourg, are both very appealing, though he more so than her, while the peripheral roles are also great fun. Stéphane's work colleagues are just so painfully awful, you have to feel for him!

And the toys and animation are wonderful, really. Next time I'm in New York I wanna buy some of Lauri Faggioni's stuff, for sure.

I'm glad this wasn't totally what I was expecting. But it was a huge amount of silly fun, with a big dose of cuteness thrown in for good measure. The DVD extras were good, too, for those of you who like such things. I give The Science of Sleep 73 points out of 100.

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