Waking Life (2001) - Rotten Tomatoes

Waking Life (2001)



Critic Consensus: The talky, animated Waking Life is a unique, cerebral experience.

Movie Info

A boy has a dream that he can float, but unless he holds on, he will drift away into the sky. Even when he is grown up, this idea recurs. After a strange accident, he walks through what may be a dream, flowing in and out of scenarios and encountering various characters. People he meets discuss science, philosophy and the life of dreaming and waking, and the protagonist gradually becomes alarmed that he cannot awake from this confusing dream.more
Rating: R (for language and some violent images)
Genre: Drama, Animation, Art House & International, Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By: Richard Linklater
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 7, 2002
Box Office: $2.1M
Fox Searchlight - Official Site

News & Interviews for Waking Life

Critic Reviews for Waking Life

All Critics (148) | Top Critics (37)

This inventive animated film, which takes Linklater back to his roots in Austin and Slacker, represents a summation of all the philosophical concerns that have defined him as spokesperson for Gen-X.

Full Review… | October 31, 2006
Top Critic

The endless philosophising is a bit sophomoric and more jokes would help, but this is one of a kind that grows more absorbing the longer it runs.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

For a movie heralded as the cutting edge of visual innovation, Waking Life is disappointingly dull in every other respect.

Full Review… | November 6, 2002
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

a commercial ripoff designed to confuse art-house patrons

Full Review… | February 13, 2011
Old School Reviews

Love-it-or-hate-it film best for older teens.

Full Review… | December 29, 2010
Common Sense Media

A far-out-man poetry slam, art exhibit and imaginative philosophical discourse all at once drifts gently down a stream of consciousness until merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, "Waking Life" is but a dream. Who says existential fiction must be dreary?

Full Review… | November 22, 2010

Audience Reviews for Waking Life


As with "Slacker", some of the pieces will likely feel more underwhelming depending on the viewer, but as a compilation of concepts and emotions all tied together through the common theme of dreams, "Waking Life" is a much more enjoyable and mature film than "Slacker" in both content and form, an existential rollercoaster that encapsulates all of Linklater's work up until that point (almost literally), while almost daring himself to top it. With this film, though, Linklater's genius as a thinker finally seems to escape its shackles, just as "Before Sunrise" unleashed him as a storyteller who works beyond limitations.

Sam Barnett
Sam Barnett

Super Reviewer

A fuck for all senses.

Alice Shen

Super Reviewer

Basically an animated sequel to Linklater's debut (Slacker). Very impressive.

Graham Jones
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer

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