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What Dreams May Come (1998)

tomatometer

54

Average Rating: 5.6/10
Reviews Counted: 69
Fresh: 37 | Rotten: 32

An insubstantial plot overshadows the beautiful, surreal scenery.

56

Average Rating: 5.8/10
Critic Reviews: 16
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 7

An insubstantial plot overshadows the beautiful, surreal scenery.

audience

85

liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 166,397

My Rating

Movie Info

Despite everything we have experienced and all we have seen, nothing can prepare us for the wonders of what lies beyond. Academy Award Winner Robin Williams is about to take you on an amazing journey...through heaven and hell. To rediscover the meaning of life...and the wonders of love.

PG-13,

Drama, Romance, Science Fiction & Fantasy

Ron Bass

Feb 6, 2001

PolyGram Films

Watch It Now

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All Critics (87) | Top Critics (22) | Fresh (37) | Rotten (32) | DVD (15)

A visual blast.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: CNN.com
CNN.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The afterlife movie soars to new visionary heights in 'What Dreams May Come.'

January 1, 2000
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

`What Dreams May Come' is so breathtaking, so beautiful, so bold in its imagination!

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As rare and odd, and visually breathtaking, as modern filmmaking gets!

January 1, 2000
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A heaping serving of metaphysical gobbledygook wrapped in a physically striking package.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Variety | Comment (1)
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a sullen and woefully boring religious sermon...

May 12, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

Worthwhile for thoughtful teens.

December 29, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Aside from having one of the worst titles in recent film memory, "What Dreams May Come" fails by trying to be all things to all people.

May 20, 2009 Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com
ColeSmithey.com

The film lurches ... toward greatness, dazzling the viewer with a spectacular view of heaven that is not only beautiful but also profoundly moving.

July 7, 2008 Full Review Source: ESplatter
ESplatter

Has two things going for it--its spectacular, Academy Award-nominated special effects and the fact that it ends. Everything else about this ridiculous, three-hanky film sends it sharply into nightmare.

August 19, 2007 Full Review Source: Bangor Daily News (Maine) | Comments (3)
Bangor Daily News (Maine)

Visually, it's one of the great movies of its decade; dramatically, it's rather blurry and baffling.

July 23, 2007 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

This is what happens when you try to make a philosophical movie about spirituality without making anybody uncomfortable.

January 15, 2005 Full Review Source: Looking Closer | Comments (2)
Looking Closer

This ambitious afterlife romance introduces provoking themes, but Williams eventually leads the way back to familiar hackneyed ground. The grandiose art direction provides moments of wonder, but the muddled script gives them no raison d'Ítre.

August 11, 2003
AboutFilm.com

It may push just the right buttons for some, but it had the perverse effect of making me want to wear black, read some Sartre and revel in a meaningless and empty universe.

May 20, 2003
Palo Alto Weekly

Keeps poking the viewer with an Emotion stick.

March 4, 2003 Full Review Source: CinemaBlend.com
CinemaBlend.com

The set design, artistic direction, special effects and cinematography of this film are all stunning.

January 12, 2003 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

For all its fabulous imagery and occasional dab-your-eyes moments, What Dreams May Come never rises to the wonderment of its own irresistible conviction -- that love can live beyond the grave.

October 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati Enquirer

This is still a very special movie experience that must be seen on a big screen, but it isn't quite the masterpiece it could have been.

September 10, 2002 Full Review Source: Montreal Film Journal | Comment (1)
Montreal Film Journal

Starting out as an exploration of the imagination, the film ends with an eloquent statement about compassion.

March 3, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

The most important question this film asks, is how could one take Robin Williams seriously?

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews | Comments (2)
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Visually breathtaking and intellectually intriguing!

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

The film greatly suffers from a lack of any substantial plot!

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Screen It! | Comment (1)
Screen It!

Muddled and confused!

January 1, 2000 | Comments (2)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Audience Reviews for What Dreams May Come

Chris Nielsen: A whole human life is just a heartbeat here in Heaven. Then we'll all be together forever.

"After life there is more. The end is just the beginning."

I'm very conflicted on my feelings with What Dreams May Come. It's a bizarre movie, that tries to tug at the heartstrings for just about the whole runtime. As far as the heartstrings, it failed, at least with me. I loved the idea though, and the visuals are enough to make this worth a watch. Throughout the whole film, I found myself wondering if I liked what I was seeing or not. I couldn't decide, and then the end came, and I said, "That's fucking stupid." The ending threw me off a little bit, but I still can't really gather my feelings on this one. Did I like it? Did I hate it? I don't know. I guess it's one of those tweeners.†

Chris and his wife Annie lose their two children in a car crash. Four years later Chris is also killed in a car crash, as he is trying to help someone. He goes to heaven, where a spiritual guide shows him the ropes. Then Annie kills herself, and winds up in hell. In order to save his wife, Chris goes on a journey to hell in order to bring her back. The story is fascinating, but I can't help, but feel like it could have been executed so much better.

I'm also in-between on Robin Williams in this movie. His performance is far from his best, but also far from his worst. At moments, I enjoyed what he was doing, and at others, I was cringing. Cuba Gooding Jr. and Max Von Sydow are really good in their roles though and without them, I don't think I'd be in-between on this film; I probably would have hated it.

Is it worth a watch? Yes it is. It's extremely interesting and the representations of heaven and hell are astounding. The film has beautiful visuals that really make the movie. I just wish it was executed better from a writing stand point and from a directing stand point. In the end though, you can do much worse, and should at least give it a shot. Whether you like it in the end or not, the visuals more than make up for it.
June 25, 2013
blkbomb
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

A sumptuous, delicious reverie on life, death and relationships. Strong dramatic acting by Robin Williams and stunning visuals for the time. A truly beautiful and imaginative film.
June 7, 2013
cchclaw

Super Reviewer

"What Dreams May Come" truly conveys a very dreamy and colorful world through its spectacular cinematography. The story gets you involved with the protagonist, but I couldn't help but find that it got confused in its vision. Too many differing views of "paradise" made "What Dreams May Come" a conflicting movie of itself. Also, 3rd act of the movie starts to fall apart with cheesy settings, redundancy, and a boring turn in terms of storytelling. Not only that, "What Dreams May Come" tries too hard to be emotional... some may say rightfully so because of the traumatic events that occurs in this movie, but the entire package tries way too hard to accentuate the drama. Still, it was entertaining; I'm sure you won't be disappointed.
March 10, 2012
Albert Kim

Super Reviewer

    1. Chris Nielsen: It's not about understanding, it's about not giving up.
    – Submitted by Corinne L (10 months ago)
    1. Chris Nielsen: That's when I realized I'm part of the problem. Not because I remind you. But because I couldn't join you. So I left you alone. Don't give up, okay?
    – Submitted by Mati M (11 months ago)
    1. Albert: That you disappeared? You didn't, you only died.
    – Submitted by Mati M (11 months ago)
    1. Chris Nielsen: What some folks call impossible, is just stuff they haven't seen before.
    – Submitted by Mati M (11 months ago)
    1. Chris Nielsen: When I was young, I met this girl by a lake.
    – Submitted by Vicky S (21 months ago)
    1. Annie Nielsen: Sometimes when you lose, you win.
    – Submitted by KhaLeah W (2 years ago)
View all quotes (7)

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