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Rated R · 105 minutes · 2006

Sweet, crazy, and tinged with sadness, Michel Gondry's new feature is a wondrous concoction. The tricksy romantic narrative -- in which Gael Garcia Bernal plays a hapless, Chaplinesque mad man -- may be reminiscent of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The look, however, harks back to Gondry's music videos. This is a movie of bizarre costumes, collage landscapes, herky-jerky object animation, fake perspectives, and wild creative geography. A mental traveler, Stephane (Bernal) spends his nights dreaming himself the host of a one-man television show. In the waking life that he processes each night on his show, Stephane has returned from Mexico, where he lived with his late father, to the family apartment in Paris. Cross-cutting between Stephane's dreams and reality, reprising material in a variety of different contexts, The Science of Sleep is an extraordinarily playful movie. The mood is borderline fey. But no less than its hero, the film is too strange and even infantile to be whimsical. Stephane fantasizes adult success and suffers from unrequited love. The final fantasy of Stephane and his soul mate, Stephanie (Charlotte Gainsbourg), riding off together on a Gumby horse across a crumpled cellophane sea is less apt to warm your heart than break it.
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Director: Michel Gondry
Writer: Michel Gondry
Producer: Georges Bermann, Frederic Junqua and Michel Gondry
Cast: Gael Garcia Bernal, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Alain Chabat, Miou Miou, Aurelia Petit, Jean-Michel Bernard, Emma De Caunes, Sacha Bourdo, Pierre Vaneck and Stephane Metzger


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