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Waking Life Reviews

Page 1 of 233
Sam B

Super Reviewer

September 9, 2013
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.
Alice S

Super Reviewer

July 19, 2008
A fuck for all senses.
Graham J

Super Reviewer

October 27, 2011
Basically an animated sequel to Linklater's debut (Slacker). Very impressive.
cosmo313
cosmo313

Super Reviewer

August 3, 2006
Boy, now this is a polarizing film. I wouldn't blame or argue with someone if they were to dismiss this film as boring, pretentious, intellectual bullshit. In many ways, that is true. I realize this is not a film for everyone, but I think everyone should still see it anyway. It is good to exercise the brain and participate in or experience philosophical discussions, which is pretty much what this whole film is: a 100 minute plot free series of (not necessarily connected) discussions about various aspects of life, philosophy, and film.

I like the animation technique of rotoscoping or filming things live action then drawing over it with wild colors. Linklater later used this same technique for A Scanner Darkly. The result of doing things this way is very surreal, trippy, and dream like, the appropriateness of which I don't think will go over too many peoples' heads.

I dug this film quite a lot, and found much to like, but I will be honest and say that I didn't quite grasp everything. Some of it went over my head, and I did get a little restless watching this, but overall, I respect it, especially since it reminded me of the fact that I (though not recently) love sitting down and having conversations like the ones presented here.

This is a very unique film with wonderful moments, a lot to chew on, a gorgeous look, and some excellent tunes. Do give this one a chance. Even if you end up hating it, you'll be doing yourself a favor, even if you don't realize it.
Mark W

Super Reviewer

December 6, 2010
Richard Linklater has always been an interesting director. He has ranged from his debut independant hit "Slacker" to romantic drama "Before Sunrise", through anti-corporate polemic "Fast Food Nation" and cult sci-fi "A Scanner Darkly". He is effortless in his range and always involving and probably none more so than this unsung gem.
The story simply consists of a man who walks through life as if in a dream. He talks to a variety of people about the meaning of life and our perceptions of it, striving for answers as to his direction.
With "Waking Life" Linklater explores the bigger questions in life. It has many insightful philosophical ramblings and monologues on the nature of our existence, the purpose of our being and the difference between our dream state and waking life and wether dreams can be controlled and how much they have to tell us. Using an animation technique called 'rotoscoping'- which he later used to equally excellent effect in "A Scanner Darkly" - Linklater has crafted a highly innovative and wonderfully surreal piece of work. Discussing essays by paranoid science fiction writer and philospher Philip K. Dick to 'Lucid Dreaming' and posing deeply involving existential questions without ever answering them fully, teasing us to question ourselves and become part of the protaganists dreamlike journey.
A very intriguing and visually inventive film that has been sadly overlooked by many. An existential treat.
Dan S

Super Reviewer

October 21, 2007
An insanely dull exercise in philosophical mumbo-jumbo that doesn't go anywhere in it's 100 minute life span. While the animation itself is ambitious and definitely something new - it's basically just there to attempt to distract the viewer from the fact that this movie is a complete bore. Instead of approaching this subject from a Lynchian perspective, Linklater decides to amass his film with frustratingly underdeveloped characters who use a lot of big words but don't possess any sort of dimension other than their professor-esque thoughts. Linklater has done far better in the past (see - "Before Sunrise"), this film was just an utter mess and one that I will never want to revisit again.
366weirdmovies
366weirdmovies

Super Reviewer

January 13, 2010
A young man has a series of dreams, animated in various styles, from which he cannot awake; he gradually comes to realize that he is dreaming and asks the characters he meets how he can awaken. An interesting experiment featuring great animation, but there are problems in that there is no sense of threat or urgency to the protagonist's plight, and many of the talkier sequences seem more like philosophical excerpts from the director's personal journal than depictions of dreams.
MeetMeinMontauk
MeetMeinMontauk

Super Reviewer

May 24, 2009
Watched it for a philosophy class, of all things. Still found its lessons interesting. Love Linklater.
flixsterman
flixsterman

Super Reviewer

January 6, 2009
Very academic, like 97 minutes of animated college philosophy (but without all the homework).
Jennifer X

Super Reviewer

April 5, 2009
If I were on drugs, I would think this was amazing. It attempts to answer everything and comes up short with nothing. But if you're high nothing really matters anyway. You're already half-baked.
puffchunk
puffchunk

Super Reviewer

September 24, 2007
Some neat ideas, but a lot of the time I found myself thinking "boy I wish they'd shut up." Kinda makes you feel like you're in high school again, where all your "intellectual" friends were trying real hard to use big words.
Michael G

Super Reviewer

May 17, 2007
Waking Life has the potential to drive you utterly and completely insane if you let it. (I nearly shut it off in the first fifteen minutes.) It hot farts pretentiousness on more than one occasion but stimulates in other instances. The animation styles are very interesting, but I have to ask myself if I would've liked it as much had I not been under the influence. It's basically What the Bleep Do We Know: The Animated Movie.
Bannan i

Super Reviewer

April 11, 2007
My friends have been telling me forever to watch it...and so I bought it on March Break. Finally, today during a break from classes I brought it over to a friend's and we all watched it.

Now, I can understand why some would find this pretentious...because it can be. But, it's really neat actually hearing so many theories about how 'real' reality is and how 'real' our dreams can be and vice-versa. I'm sure that the question of whether we are wake-walking in our dreams or sleep-walking in our wakeful state has plagued our minds for many, many times...and this film goes out there and discusses various ways of how that can or cannot be true.

I'll be honest, I tend to be a bit biased when it comes to IFC films...cause they generally surpass all my expectations. Yet, I really believe that this was a great film. Maybe this was also because it was a time when I was craving that philosophical outlook on life. It's been so damned scientic and psychological lately what with the animals and such.

Richard Linklater is a genius this movie was as funny as it was insighftul and unique to watch. This type of animation always gets me, A Scanner Darkly was good too but it addressed a different matter and the animation was slightly different.

Since, this talks about dreams and how hyperbolized they can be there are scenes that blatantly show us and make our minds comprehend...'it's a dream' or this is 'reality'. And what I loved about it is that how spontaneous it is...little things.

Like a painting, you have to look everywhere there's always something new to discover. And you know what? I think this is definitely a movie you can watch over and over again and then you'll uncover more of it as a whole.

Recommended to anyone who is interested in philosophy of any kind, and are fascinated by the human mind practically.
Rico Z

Super Reviewer

July 3, 2006
Trippy movie. You have to be in a philosophical mood to watch this. The themes and social issues that this movie bring up are really hard-to follow if you're watching this movie just to be entertained. You have to se this movie if you're in the mood for thinking. The animation technique (rotoscoping) is something that adds to a really ordinary plot and makes the movie that much more interesting and captivating. I doubt if this movie weren't animated the way it is, it would not have captivated me for as long as the movie was. Trippy, trippy! NOTE: "Trippy" does NOT mean "bad."
Emily A

Super Reviewer

June 5, 2006
This was like Slacker but rotoscoped. It's a moving work of art and I love the way sometimes what people are saying manifests itself beside them in the frame or in the speaker. While the nature of this film is kind of fragmented, it seems to flow somehow.
Joey S

Super Reviewer

January 11, 2013
An absolutely one-of-a-kind movie, Waking Life is completely and utterly original, thought-provoking, and exciting. The movie is made up of a series of vignettes that are all a part of the main character's unending dream, and almost all of which discuss deep, philosophical ideas. In addition to this, the movie is painstakingly animated, and although there are one or two scenes that don't look all that great, the visuals in the rest of the movie make up for it by being very interesting and unique. Waking Life is a deep, unusual, and intelligent movie, and one that will likely never have much to be compared to, which makes it all the more enjoyable to watch.
John B

Super Reviewer

December 24, 2012
Linklater explores a new medium by animating his actors to have their thoughts and moods flow around them. Generally effective but it didn't exactly catch on.
PantaOz
PantaOz

Super Reviewer

March 28, 2012
Very impressive animated film, written and directed by Richard Linklater will give you a good ride for the money, especially using the grey cells! The entire film was shot using digital video and then a team of artists (probably using Ptotoshop) drew stylized lines and colours over each frame and everyone loved the style but for me that was the only annoying part with the floating effect through the entire movie! The rest was a real enjoyment... endless monologues and dialogues focusing on the nature of dreams, consciousness, and existentialism. If you're a person who loves philosophy this is a must! By the way, the title is a reference to philosopher George Santayana's maxim: "Sanity is a madness put to good uses; waking life is a dream controlled."

I have to warn you that this won't be the best film of the year, nor is it likely to be one that you'll buy and watch often... but if you're a person who thinks that movies are something more than pure entertainment this is something that you should be seeing! You'll be taken on a journey with a young man in a persistent dream-like state that eventually progresses to lucidity... you'll be observing and enjoying philosophical discussions of issues such as reality, free will, the relationship of the subject with others, and the meaning of life... but the topics like existentialism, situationist politics, posthumanity, the film theory of André Bazin, and lucid dreaming itself won't be left untouched either.

But, what happens when our main character feels trapped by his perpetual dream, broken up only by unending false awakenings? Find out!
lesleyanorton
lesleyanorton

Super Reviewer

May 8, 2010
Twenty minutes in and I hit the "off" button. Intellectual showoffery.
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