Movie Notes: The Science Of Sleep
= 3 stars
Starring Gael Garcia Bernal, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Alain Chabat
Directed by Michel Gondry
Shy Stephane (Gael Gacia Bernal) enlivens his boring life with creative dreams. His relationship with neighbor Stephanie (Charlotte Gainsbourg) is both enriched and threatened by Stephane’s nocturnal imaginings.
- Michel Gondry, former video director, definitely has a brilliant imagination and inventive use of film techniques. Some notable images are a cardboard car reflecting Stephane’s emotional insecurity, a machine that turns time backward by a few seconds, and Stephane throwing posters on a wall by means of running the film backward. Simple technically, but fairly brilliant in their employment.
- There’s a natural, effortless feel by the actors and especially the playful romance that develops between Stephane and Stephanie.
- Since much of the inventive action occurs in Stephane’s dream world, the plot of the real world is rather mundane and at times dull. The film feels a bit long.
- My one complaint about Gondry is inventive visual concepts can only go so far. He really needs a solid skeleton to hang everything on.
A decent rental, but your reaction to the words “French romantic comedy” should be a guide toward your interest. I didn’t find much funny or romantic about where the head-trip eventually drifted. As for Gondry, whom I find inventive, I much preferred Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind and even the middling Human Nature. Give those a shot first.