REVIEWS

The Science of Sleep is Beautifully Entertaining

by
September 29, 2006

  • US Release Date: September 29, 2006 (Limited)
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Romance
  • MPAA: Rated R (for language, some sexual content and nudity)
  • Running Time: 105 minutes
  • Directed by: Michel Gondry
  • on IMDb
  •    9.5/10
“Destruction is an obstruction for the construction.”
- Charlotte Gainsbourg as Stéphanie

I haven't left a movie theater feeling so excited and with such a big smile across my face as I did walking out of The Science of Sleep. It's a movie that succeeds entirely in creativity, uniqueness, and execution. The Science of Sleep is about Stéphane (Gael García Bernal), a very creative individual who confuses reality with his dreams. Per his mother's suggestion, Stéphane moves back into his childhood apartment in France. He takes on a job at a calendar-making firm comprised of three other amusing employees as well as meets a new neighbor by the name of Stéphanie (Charlotte Gainsbourg). He eventually starts to fall in love with Stéphanie and begins an adventure in his dreams as well as in reality. The imaginative Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) both writes and directs this unique and immensely beautiful film.

The Science of Sleep is a romantic comedy, but at the same time, the farthest from a romantic comedy that you could imagine. Gondry takes enormous risks and huge strides in creating something so exceptionally different from anything else out there, and succeeds brilliantly. The Science of Sleep manages to be delightfully comical, yet the film also dives deeply into the insights of life and, most importantly, love. The laughs came very easily from the fantastic Gael García Bernal and fused well with the heartfelt performance by Charlotte Gainsbourg. These two actors combined with great storytelling and direction from Gondry delivers a fantastically entertaining vision.

Stéphane's imagination and dreams are a visual feast. The far escape from reality that Stéphane dreams up is created using stop-motion animation and built with the oddest collection of materials and locations. It's such a unique outlook on dreams and is incredibly absorbing. The Science of Sleep is a full experience from the visuals to the comedy to the tragic relationship in which Stéphane is stuck. It's playful and lighthearted, yet there is a faint sadness to Stéphane and his inability to make the relationship work. Everyone wants Stéphane and Stéphanie to get together, and you can sense they're both on the verge, but Stéphane just keeps slipping up. This tragedy really help keeps the story moving swiftly and allows you to fall in love with Stéphane and his flaws.

Bernal and Gainsbourg are accompanied by a number of other humorous characters: the staff at the calendar-making firm, most notably sex-addicted Guy (Alain Chabat), Serge (Sacha Bourdo), and Stéphanie's rather attractive friend Zoé (Emma de Caunes). However, Gael García Bernal is the stand alone individual who really makes every comedic moment happen and turns every scene into brilliance. The Science of Sleep spans three different languages, English, French, and Spanish, and two different worlds, reality and dream, and still delivers an enjoyable and fun movie. Gondry has put together these ideas and this creativity and executed it perfectly into one of his finest creations ever.

Last Word:
The Science of Sleep is a wonderfully beautiful mix of both unique visuals and imaginative storytelling. It's playful and exciting with some hilarious comedy and heartfelt romance. Gael García Bernal delivers a charming performance that the audience will easily fall in love with and will cheer on when his flaws get the best of him. The Science of Sleep is definitively one of the most creative movies ever made. Michel Gondry is an extraordinary writer and director - the only one capable of such excellence. Bottom line, go see The Science of Sleep! This is a film where the experience of the theater is a necessity.

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