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What Dreams May Come

A breathtaking, boldly imaginative film, this one's conventional, unconvincing end is a let-down in a daring, visionary movie. But this great if flawed film leads our minds to wonderful places, reveals the unknown, and offers heartbreakingly good performances.

Chris (Williams) and Annie (Sciorra) meet boating on a Swiss lake, marry, have two children, and are happy until both children die by accident. Annie breaks down; Chris nurses her with art, and the two are putting their lives together when Chris dies.((In a visually exciting landscape in the next world - a painting - he picks a flower that turns into paint. Cheery beings, Renaissance art, pre-Raphaelites, greeting cards, angel kitsch, and cherubs float on clouds. His guide there, Albert (Gooding, Jr.), later takes Chris to se hell's darker images, akin to Bosch-plus-Dali.

Heaven's in flux; its inhabitants please themselves or us. Having been bound to one identity in life, they're free to be who they want to in heaven. "Hell's people don't know they're dead,' says Albert. Or they do but don't know what's up, or won't go along. People there are guilty of despair, the greatest sin against God; they think they're beyond hope.((After her children and husband die, Annie despairs, kills herself, and goes to hell. Chris wants to find her, and feels he's her soul-mate. Albert warns, "Nothing will make her recognize you.' But he takes Chris into hell, with visuals as originality and astonishing as in heaven. The road to hell is paved with bitter faces, such as Chris's father's (Herzog).((Events in this film are singular, and end as the characters seek destiny in a unique, upside-down cathedral: its vaulted ceiling is a floor. Herzog says our century is starving for great images; this film offers some, and quiet moments of human nature, as when a character (Chow) explains her mundane identity, and another (Von Sydow) tells the rules of the game.((In imaginary universes, Williams's muscularity and mercurial wit anchor him; fantastic images seem plausible, as he guides us emotionally. Opposite him is an unhappy, touching character whose sin (despair) arose because she loved so, and was so happy, she can't live otherwise. The movie could have ended better, but despite shortcomings, it's one to treasure.
Director(s): Vincent Ward
Writer(s): Ron Bass, based on the novel by Richard Matheson
Cast: Robin Williams, Annabella Sciorra, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Max Von Sydow, Rosalind Chow, Werner
Release Date: 1998   
Keyword: Wife and husband cope with despair after children die; spiri
Target Age: 15+   Category: health
Documentary: no
Language: English   Reviewer's Name: Micah
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