Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Science of Sleep: A Review

MB and I watched "The Science of Sleep" last night. It took a bit of convincing, because Middlebrow is usually in favor, believe it or not, of a more lowbrow kind of entertainment. I'm not sure how I convinced him, perhaps with my love for Gael Garcia Bernal, but he agreed.
Now, first I just have to say that visually the movie was stunning and really interesting, perhaps one of the more aesthetically interesting I've seen. And parts of it were very funny. I'm thinking especially of the scenes where Stephane has huge hands. And when he's driving the cardboard car.
But, overall, I can't say I loved it. I didn't dislike it. But mostly I have to say I was confused. I realize that Stephane, the main character, was also confused. And it wasn't just that I was confused about what was dream and what was reality, but that I was never quite sure of the narrative. Does he like Stephanie, and does she like him? That seems like a really important base for the movie, but it's never quite clear.
My critique of this movie reminded me of a criticism of one of my professors (Omar Castaneda) on a story I wrote in an undergraduate workshop. He said, "These people are boring, but if you write about them in a boring way to convey they are boring, then you are boring the reader." Actually, I don't think they were boring, but I probably was writing about them in a boring way.
In any case, this is my point about the confusion. Stephane is confused, but if he's presented in a confusing way then the viewer is confused. I think the narrative could have been more "transparent" and by that I mean that we could see that Stephane was confused, but perhaps we could have been a little less confused than him. I think this would have increased my sympathy for him as a character. As it was, MB thought he was mentally ill. I thought maybe he just had a sleep disorder. But he was mean to Stephanie, and I was never sure what their relationship was. Was he a mean friend or a mean lover? It does matter.
In any case, I did like many things about it. But as a "story" it was not satisfying. I, too, am not enamored of the inconclusive ending.


Lisa B. said...

I liked this film, though I think you have a fair point to make about the confusion. Here is what I said about it when I saw it: "This movie might have been too winsome and whimsical, but I have to tell you, I really didn't care. I saw it with three people, the historian among them, who didn't love it as much as I did, and usually that will really take some of the shine off of the movie-going experience for me. Not very much, though, not this time. Something about this really just got to me--made me viscerally experience, again, what it felt like to be in love and know it wasn't going to last. The beauty of the imagery made this film a big romantic experience. I loved it. So! Much!" I loved the ending especially--its melancholy and imagination equally divided.

susansinclair said...

Um. I got Superbad from Netflex and I'm really looking forward to watching it.

Jesus, people--it's the end of the semester and you're watching Serious Film?? I need a beer and some chips & dip and something stoopid. :? Clearly you are much smarter than me. Am.

ErinAlice said...

Hey. I am just looking forward to being able to watch anything. The last couple weeks have been a, well you know!!! Happy Birthday, I am sorry. I was busy all day and then I had class. On your birthday. I mean come on people. I am going to call you tomorrow. Kisses and hugs.

lis said...

I didn't like the movie at all. I thought Stephane was completely unsympathetic and whiny. I liked the animated stuffed horse, but that's about it. Oh and the joke about someone wiping their dirty sanchez on the door. that was funny. but the rest actually made me cringe.