What Dreams May Come (film)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

What Dreams May Come is a 1998 dramatic film, starring Robin Williams, Cuba Gooding, Jr., and Annabella Sciorra. The movie is based on the 1978 novel by Richard Matheson, and was directed by Vincent Ward. The title is taken from a line in Hamlet's To be, or not to be soliloquy.

Plot

While vacationing in Italy, Dr. Christopher "Chris" Nielsen (Robin Williams) accidentally meets artist Annie Collins (Annabella Sciorra), with whom he has an instant connection. They marry and have two children: Ian (Josh Paddock) and Marie (Jessica Brooks Grant). Their idyllic life comes to an end when the children die in a car crash, and while things are at first very difficult with Annie mentally breaking down and the risk of divorce hanging over their heads, they manage to pull through.

However, on the anniversary of the day they decided not to divorce, Chris is involved in a car accident that kills him. Initially confused as to why nobody can interact with him, Chris lingers on Earth, watching Annie cope with the loss and attempting to communicate with her, until he understands how this harms her, and he decides to move on.

Chris awakens in Heaven (where everything is controlled and produced by his mind), where a man (Cuba Gooding Jr.) whom Chris recognizes as Albert, his friend and mentor from his medical residency, is there to guide him. As Albert walks Chris through his new abilities, both are surprised when a Blue Jacaranda tree appears unbidden in Chris's personal section of Heaven, matching a tree in a new painting of Annie's, indicating that the couple are a rare case of soul mates. During his tour he also encounters an Asian woman with a nametag reading "Leona", whom he recognizes as his daughter Marie, living in a section shaped like a diorama she loved. The two share a tearful reunion.

Meanwhile, on Earth, Annie is unable to cope with the loss of her husband and commits suicide. Chris, who is initially relieved that her suffering is over, quickly turns to anger when he learns that those who commit suicide are sent to Hell, as it is their nature to create "anti-fantasy" worlds based on their pain. He is adamant that he will rescue Annie from Hell, despite Albert's insistence that no one has ever succeeded in doing so. Albert agrees to find Chris a "tracker" (who takes the form of Sigmund Freud) to help find Annie's soul.

Journeying to Hell, Chris finds himself recalling memories of his son. Remembering how he'd called him the one man he'd want at his side to brave hell with, Chris realizes Albert is Ian: the boy explains that he chose to appear as Albert because he was the only person Chris would ever listen to. Before they part ways, Ian bids Chris to remember how he saved his marriage during the aftermath of the car crash, when Annie's grief led her to be institutionalized, and to their near divorce.

After traversing a field full of the faces of the damned, they come upon a hellish replica of his and Annie's house. The tracker, who reveals himself as the real Albert, warns Chris that if he stays with Annie for more than a few minutes, he may become permanently trapped too, and that all that may be done is allow them a proper goodbye. He also explains to Chris that his loved ones have appeared as other people so that he would allow them to guide him.

Chris enters the house to find Annie unable to remember anything, even that she committed suicide. After he is unable to make her remember, he chooses to join Annie forever in Hell. However, remembering the words he says as he accepts the sacrifice as the same ones he'd given her when she'd been institutionalized, Annie comes to, and Chris awakes with Annie in Heaven once more.

Chris and Annie are reunited with their children (who take on their own appearances once again), and while the four are happy to see each other again, Chris suggests being reborn, so that he and Annie can experience the only thing they won't be able to replicate in Heaven: life. The film ends with Chris and Annie meeting again as young children.

Cast




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "What Dreams May Come (film)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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