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What Dreams May Come

One source for the power of film is the ability to create a world for the viewer, draw the viewer into that world, and so give the viewer an experience he or she would not otherwise have. This ability is on display with any good movie, whether the world the viewer is drawn into is realistic and so reminiscent of the real world or created completely out of whole cloth by the filmmaker so that it is a world unlike anything the viewer has ever seen. The latter is the case with What Dreams May Come, the recent film starring Robin Williams and directed by Vincent Ward. This film shows how special effects can be used to create a world that otherwise exists only in the imagination, make it seem very real, and do so in a way that makes the scene reflect the inner life, turmoil, and aspirations of the main character.

There is always a danger in using so many special effects in a film, for the effects can take over so that the human characters are lost as the viewer marvels at how well the effects crew have created the illusion of reality. There is no doubt that a great deal of the interest the viewer feels in What Dreams May Come derives from the power of the effects, but the story tries to create human characters of interest and to make the story of the love of one man for his wife and so to give the film a dimension beyond the effects, though the filmmakers are not entirely successful in this endeavor.

The key metaphor in this film is art as a healing force, and this becomes not only a major point in the plot in the beginning but a visual element through the special effects for the rest of the film. Chris and Annie are the married couple at the center of the film. They start out to have a happy life, but it is blighted when their children are killed. Art becomes a form of therapy Chris uses to help bring Annie through the difficult times she faces after the deaths of her children. When Chris is killed in an accident, he is tra...

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What Dreams May Come. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 13:57, March 19, 2019, from