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Customer Review

216 of 232 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Stunning Masterpiece, March 26, 2005
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This review is from: Vanilla Sky (DVD)
As you can see from the customer reviews bouncing between loving and hating this movie, it is not for everyone.

The first time I saw this movie in the theater I was unable to move when it was over. I was utterly stunned. I can count on one hand the times this has happened to me over a lifetime of movie viewing.

Tom Cruise plays David Aames, a rich young man who has inherited a publishing empire from his late father. Cameron Diaz is the girlfriend he really doesn't care about, and Jason Lee plays his best (and perhaps only) friend. Aames is utterly disconnected from his own life, and seems to care little about anything. One night his friend (Lee) brings an intriguing dancer (Penelope Cruz) to his birthday party. Cruise takes up with Cruz, but then experiences a waking nightmare that destroys his life. I can't reveal more of the plot without giving it away, and I suggest you NOT read any more reviews of this film and just see it--otherwise you'll deprive yourself of one incredible movie ride.

This movie is visually spectacular. There are scenes that set off the dive klaxon deep within my brain but I couldn't figure out why until much later in the film when the plot is revealed. What is this film? Science fiction? Yes, but... A psychological thriller? Yes, but... A love story? Yes, ultimately.

It's better not to categorize Vanilla Sky, and just enjoy (or not enjoy) it. I think this movie either works on you, or it doesn't. And this is probably the most polarizing movie I have ever seen. You'll either love it or hate it.

Jason Lee and Cameron Diaz give the performances of their careers. I would have said the same of Cruise, but then he uncorked Collateral. Kurt Russell has a relatively small part as Cruise's psychologist, but he nails it perfectly.

Vanilla Sky is based on Spanish filmmaker Alejandro Amenábar's Abre Los Ojos (Open Your Eyes). I liked Vanilla Sky a lot more than Abre Los Ojos, unlike most American remakes of foreign films, because it contains additional scenes and more spectacular visuals. However, an English-only speaker like me can't really make a fair comparision because there are so many subtitles to watch in Abre Los Ojos it makes it hard to watch the actors. Penelope Cruz plays the same role in both films.

The real value of this film is that it makes you think about what (and more importantly, who) is at the core of your own life, and how will you feel about how you have lived when the clock runs out?

Vanilla Sky is a rare movie--unique in plot, and made with passion and care. I can't guarantee you'll like it, but there is no other movie more worth taking a chance on.
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Tracked by 6 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 21 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 6, 2010 10:08:22 PM PDT
R. Gawlitta says:
Great review of a complex and intriguing film.

Posted on Jan 17, 2011 12:42:33 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 17, 2011 1:03:37 PM PST
This definitely needs a revisit because my initial re-
action was "what the HE*L was that!?" We're all a little
older now so I might be better able (I'm definitely
more willing) to try it again. I really didn't get it!
STRANGE and BEWILDERING..........................

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 22, 2011 5:02:10 PM PDT
Thanks. I've probably seen it 10 times now, and I'm still apoplectic after each viewing.

Posted on Sep 3, 2011 11:25:12 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 3, 2011 11:26:08 AM PDT
Yash(Dittu) says:
Very Very True. It was an incredible movie. @Eric Great Review...

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 2, 2011 6:27:15 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 2, 2011 6:31:18 PM PDT
86 says:
Nice review. Everyone knows me as being a movie buff, and it's true, I do watch a lot of movies. But I am no expert. People are always shocked when I tell them that this is my favorite movie (among my top 5). I have never found a person that likes this movie. People recoil in disgust, I am guessing because of Tom Cruise hatred or because it's a remake and the original gets uncredited, whatever.


When I first saw this movie I was confused throughout the entire thing until the "reveal" or the climax when you find out what he has done (When they are at the top of the building). Man, it really hit me like a brick to the forehead. Man what a shocker. What is so emotional to me about this movie is the sadness I feel when you find out that he has outlived everyone he knew especially his love and he will never see them again. It was a decision that he made that he cannot remember and there is nothing he can do to change it. The funeral scene, where the tech support guy is telling him what happened after the "Splice", "You were missed David." So sad. The track they play when when you are finding all this out, "Track 4" by Sigur Ros, is so perfect for the scene. It's like I can really feel what he must be feeling. To me this is an epic love story with a beautifully tragic ending.


Posted on Jun 14, 2012 6:02:15 PM PDT
K. Stedman says:
I decided to watch Vanilla Sky tonight because of this review, and I'm glad I did. It captivated me with its cuts, its scenery, its characters, and its music. Afterward, I was shocked--shocked--to see that it only has a 40% on Rotten Tomatoes. Thanks for guiding me to it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2012 6:47:47 PM PDT
Glad you liked it!

Posted on Jul 11, 2012 9:07:55 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 11, 2012 9:08:31 AM PDT
Jon Holcombe says:

I think the problem with this movie is many people don't understand the plot. The movie is confusing, but like "2001: A Space Odyssey", the emotional arc, the cinematography, the music, the acting make it worth hanging in there. But unlike "2001", everything ties together at the end of "Vanilla Sky" and it all makes perfect sense. This is a classic "I have to watch it again movie" so you can pick up on everything you missed first time around. My son and I love this movie and laugh about how movie critics were so off the mark on this great film.

As you said, a masterpiece in every sense of the word.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 11, 2012 11:47:48 AM PDT
Thanks, Jon. I almost laughed about A. O. Scotts review of the original Girl With the Dragon Tatoo. You'd think professional critics would spot something really creative but I guess not. Eric

Posted on Feb 20, 2013 1:05:07 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 21, 2013 2:54:55 PM PST
Rick Brenner says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]
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Location: Santa Clara, California USA

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