What Dreams May Come

What Dreams May Come

What Dreams May Come
Chris (Robin Williams) and his wife endure terrible grief after the loss of their two children. Further tragedy strikes when Chris dies in a car accident. He is transported to an afterlife paradise created from paintings composed by his wife, who can barely continue living without him. He befriends heavenly guide Albert (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and tries to enlist his help in retuning to the realm of mortals so that he may be with her and bring an end to her suffering.

Based on Richard Matheson's novel of the same name, What Dreams May Come contains several allusions to Dante's The Divine Comedy and takes its title from a Hamlet soliloquy. The film's unique aesthetic is due to it being one of only a handful of films to be shot entirely on Fuji Velvia film, known for its vivid colour saturation. This turned out to be the perfect medium to convey the special effects and art direction, which won and were nominated for Oscars respectively. The original prints were lost in a studio back lot fire and a global search is being conducted to find an alternate copy.

This was Vincent Ward's first US based production.
Best Visual Effects, Academy Awards 1999
1998113 minsUSA, New Zealand
DramaFestival & Independent
Director:
Vincent Ward ('Vigil', 'The Navigator', 'Map of the Human Heart')
Writer:
Ronald Bass
Cast:
Robin WilliamsCuba Gooding Jr.Annabella SciorraMax von SydowWerner Herzog

Streaming (3 Providers)

What Dreams May Come / Reviews

Variety

Variety

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

Full review
The Washington Post

The Washington Post

There are a number of surprises in the idiosyncratic film, and one of its pleasures is the oblique and unchronological way in which Ward peels away the layers of the story, flashing backward and forward in time and jumping between Earth and the Beyond, separating his scenes with blindingly blank, white-out screens.

Full review
The New York Times

The New York Times

What Dreams May Come, based on a novel by Richard Matheson and directed by Vincent Ward, the New Zealand filmmaker noted for his skill at creating lavish cinematic dreamscapes, represents the uncomfortable collision of two ideas about filmmaking, one commercial, the other eccentrically, ambitiously dreamy.

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San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco Chronicle

Astonishing visualizations of the afterlife are coupled with a drawn-out allegory about communication between the living and the dead that becomes something of a trial to sit through.

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Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone

How can a film look so radiant and be so hollow?

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Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert

So breathtaking, so beautiful, so bold in its imagination, that it's a surprise at the end to find it doesn't finally deliver.

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Empire Magazine

Empire Magazine

This is one of those failures that has so many near-great things that it almost gets by on guts.

Full review