People like romance films and horror films; it's proven in the box offices. With articles like Power of Films and 'House' to top 'Dredd,' 'End of Watch,' Eastwood's 'Curve' audiences state their feelings on movies like What Dreams May Come and House at the End of the Street. If one was to proceed in watching the films mentioned one would understand the way films can affect emotions.
The reality of art versus the illusion of the physical brings this other worldly romance story to life. The major metaphor used in What Dreams May Come is the comparison of artistic view against what we believe is reality. Each character enhanced this interpretation; however, to truly understand the film in a way beyond just what is shown the viewer must compare the movie to an artist or an artist’s piece of work that seems to greatly influence this film.
This movie resembles the late Van Gogh’s artistic masterpiece starry night. When viewed as a hole, both the movie and art are complete thoughts, however; when dissected the details may cause the audience to become confused and distorted. Van Gogh’s work was not to be interpreted for its detail; it was supposed to be admired for the excessive detail, but not interpreted for it. His work implied messages that could only truly be viewed and understood from a point that was separated and detached, much like the movie What Dreams May Come. In Van Gogh’s Starry Night the strokes of the stars give this impression or life and energy, they almost seem to move even though the small town bellow seems so still. Now one tends to wonder why he painted the stars so large and so contrasted against the mountains peak, but when you compare this construction to the film one may start to see that the stars are almost like protection from the dark. They cast a brilliant glow over the city illuminating everything but the depths of the mountain in this case hell. I made these connections because in the movie there are several scenes after Christopher dies where his heaven reflects the ideas of his wife’s paintings. The ways they depict her paintings are with the small individual strokes of Van Gogh. Each stroke emitted a light that sheltered Christopher in what made him comfortable, while in the corners of his heaven were shadows that represented the incomplete canvases his wife had left.
Annie the lead woman played by Annabella Sciorra, and Christopher’s wife, lost her mind when she lost her children, but she was saved by her husband’s strength. When he died she fell from behind the shield of Christopher’s starry lights and landed with in the shadows of hell after committing suicide. Her colors and interpretations for her world were devoid of all color, representing a void of hopelessness and life. While Christopher played by Robin Williams lived in a world of color and energy created by his wife, he could not enjoy any of it because he was missing his soul mate. They were tortured souls in two totally different places for two completely different reasons. Christopher was stuck in the physical thought, so much so that when he finally found his previously deceased son and daughter he did not recognize them for they had hidden themselves in past memories. While Annie was in despair over the absence of her loved ones, she felt a void where they once had been and lost her mind knowing that something was missing from her. The comparison of art in the physical sense and emotional sense was dynamic when Christopher went on his journey into the depths of hell to find his wife.
Hell was not interpreted through flame nor heat, the confinement of hell was not cramped spaces that resembled a prison; rather it was vast and open, it was dark and colorless. The people there were confined to that space not because they had no choice, rather they could not get over the wrongs they had done in their lives. They created and painted their own prisons. The reality of our own artistic license versus the lie of what we are told is possible is ever prevalent here.
The dark ominous grace behind the solidity of hell contrasted against heaven is obvious when Christopher finally found and retrieved his wife. Their heaven was complete the shadows were gone and the missing pieces were filled in. The artistic approach to this movie turned this film from a simple movie to a poetic masterpiece that was filled with juxtaposition opinions and metaphorical/ symbolic analogies that could keep the mind diving deep within the realm of possibility. The music was soft, it was classic with a newer age feel that connected with the audience. The sounds were natural to provide the physical mortal touch, and seemed other worldly when intentions were surreal.
The heightened fantasy in the movie contradicts what is defined as romance. The tug and pull of emotion combined with what is believed to be on the other side of death keeps the audience connected by their heart strings. The way the story was written takes the audience on an emotional rollercoaster of the purest form of depression with the death of the children and Christopher to the purest form of elation when Christopher and Annie are together again.
What Dreams May Come fits the genre of romance while introducing fantasy. The film offered the wonders of possibility, held the mystery of what could happen next, and still kept the guessable factor of the two main characters ending up together. The sounds and music made me feel as if it was not a film that was touched by computer but rather a documentary of the life hereafter. For this reason I rate this movie 4 stars, I recommend this movie to anyone who wishes to view a movie that will make you sit and question the possibility of what the human mind and heart is capable of. I suggest this movie to anyone who believes in the idea of soul mates. I definitely suggest this movie to anyone who doesn’t for this movie if viewed in the way one would dive into the depths of art will be forced to wonder about the truth of possibility.