Watch Waking Life

"Dreams. What are they? An escape from reality or reality itself?"

Waking Life is a 2001 American animated film from director Richard Linklater. The film follows an unnamed young man (Dazed and Confused's Wiley Wiggins) as he explores the world of his own dreams, a place he now seems unable to escape. The movie, like many of the dreams in a night, does not have a clearly defined plot and storyline. Instead, the audience travels along with the protagonist as he tries to make sense of his situation, encountering unusual people, bizarre situations, and listening in on philosophical discussions about everything from the nature of evolution, free will, dreams, to the worldviews of historical figures. It's a film about ideas wrapped up in revolutionary eye-candy special effects.

The film was shot with a digital camera, but then animators used computers to painstakingly trace over the outlines of what was filmed in an updated version of the rotoscope technique used by animator Ralph (Fritz the Cat, American Pop) Bakshi in the 1970s. The result is a film that exists somewhere between cartoon and live-action movie. It's like a painting, where every frame looks like something you might see hanging in an art gallery.

Waking Life is closely tied to several of Linklater's other works. The film was shot around Austin, Texas and bares a close resemblance to Linklater's breezy, seemingly stream-of-consciousness first film Slacker. There's a brief scene featuring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delphy reprising their characters from Linklater's 1995 film Before Sunrise. The director himself appears as a pinball player fascinated with author Philip K.Dick, the author behind Linklater's similarly-animated 2006 film, A Scanner Darkly. This film appeals to fans of Linklater's other films, viewers who appreciate animated films with adult (in the true grown-up sense of the word) themes, and those who just love Art house cinema.

R
| 2001 | 1 hr 39 min | 7.8/10 | 82/100
Cast
Trevor Jack Brooks, Lorelei Linklater, Wiley Wiggins, Glover Gill
Studio
Fox Searchlight
Director
Richard Linklater
Language
English
Ad
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Also starring Lorelei Linklater

Watch Waking Life Trailer

Trailer|1:57
Theatrical Trailer|1:58

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