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The Science of Sleep

3.9 out of 5 stars 128 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The Science of Sleep, a playful romantic fantasy set inside the topsy-turvy brain of Stephane Miroux (Gael Garcia Bernal) an eccentric young man whose dreams constantly invade his waking life. Stephane pines for next-door neighbor, Stephanie (Charlotte Gainsbourg), but she becomes confused by his childishness and shaky connection to reality. Unable to find the secret to Stephanie's heart while awake, Stephane searches for the answer in his dreams.

The French magician and director Georges Méliès was arguably the first master of special effects, filling the silent movie houses of the early 20th century with camera trickery that stunned and delighted audiences. A century later, Michel Gondry works very much in the spirit of his artistic predecessor and countryman, creating films and music videos that feel just as hand-crafted and visually fantastical. The Science of Sleep concerns the flirtations and misunderstandings of Stéphane (Gael García Bernal, Babel), an aspiring visual artist, and Stéphanie (Charlotte Gainsbourg, 21 Grams), his Parisian neighbor who creates whimsical sculptures from cotton balls and felt. As Stéphane toils in a caustic office for a company that makes calendars, he retreats into his dreams and finds them increasingly hard to distinguish from reality, and vice-versa. The Science of Sleep is a trilingual film, with dialogue spoken in French, English, and Spanish by characters who are very much global citizens, crossing boundaries of consciousness as easily as they cross boundaries of culture. Gondry decorates his love story with deliberately low-tech special effects, including cellophane made to look like bath water and a subconscious television studio constructed largely of corrugated cardboard. This is filmmaking with all the seams and stitches exposed, an appreciation for the patent falseness of films that nonetheless transport and enchant us. It's dreamy. --Ryan Boudinot

Special Features

  • Commentary by writer-director Michel Gondry, Gael Garcia Bernal, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Sacha Bourdo
  • The Making of The Science of Sleep
  • Featurette on Lauri Faggioni, creator of Animals and Accessories
  • Linda Serbu "Rescue Me" music video
  • Adopt Some Love: a Linda Serbu film
  • Theatrical trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Gael García Bernal, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Miou-Miou, Alain Chabat, Pierre Vaneck
  • Directors: Michel Gondry
  • Writers: Michel Gondry
  • Producers: Inigo Lezzi, Michel Gondry, Frédéric Junqua, Georges Bermann
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Full Screen, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: February 6, 2007
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000M4RG7E
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,508 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Science of Sleep" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Every person has vivid dreams -- so vivid that when they wake, it's hard to tell what's real and what was just in your dream.

And Michel Gondry, the genius behind "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," is just the director to tackle a movie about those dreams. Peppered with some of the weirdest scenes imaginable, Gondry guides this bizarre, sublime little movie to heights that most directors couldn't even dream of. (Pun intended)

Stéphane Miroux (Gael García Bernal) is a creative young dreamer from Mexico, who is lured back to Paris to live with his widowed mother. Unfortunately, the job she gets him is dull and creativity-free -- making calendars. The only upside is Stephanie (Charlotte Gainsbourg), a young woman who has moved into the same building.

Though he is initially attracted to her roommate, he soon finds that it is Stephanie he likes. Their involvement starts off well, but soon Stéphane has bungled things. He becomes increasingly wrapped up in his bizarre dreams, which are encroaching on his view of "reality." Will reality or dreams triumph, and will Stéphane be won over by love?

With a movie like "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" under his belt, it must be hard for Gondry to try to surpass himself. And while "Science of Sleep" is another exploration of the mind, it's a radically different kind of movie -- visual, quirky, and with a bittersweet edge. It has some disjointed moments, and it's not nearly as accessable, but the overall effect is like one long dream.

In a way, this movie is about escaping reality, into the labyrinth of your mind -- it might make you feel better for awhile, but ultimately it won't solve your problems, or improve your life.
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The Science of Sleep isn't an easy movie. Not at first, at least. I begins a bit self-consciously and then creeps up on you, drawing you into the strange, unsettling worlds of the subconscious and then playing tricks with the viewer about the sometimes subtle differences between dreams and reality. I found myself in strangely familiar terrain, thinking back to my first love and the sadness, joy, wonder, insecurity, and, finally, pain over what was never meant to be. The moments of private craziness and creativity. The magic of that emotional bond on young hearts. Flipping back and forth between the mainly realistic and the sensationalistically bizarre, The Science of Sleep is a meditation on the human mind and heart.

I loved Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It's probably my favorite movie. The Science of Sleep causes the same emotions to well up inside me; it's a similar, but unique meditation on the familiar theme of who we are, why we love, and the strange magic of human relationships.
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Format: DVD
I quite liked "La Science des Rêves." Its whimsy, acting, and design are all worthy of admiration. Particularly enjoyable is director Michel Gondry's various delightful and low-tech sets and special effects. At its best moments, the movie resembles the work of a prodigiously talented film student; it has that mix of unbridled creativity, innocence, and yes, even an endearing pretentiousness.

And yet as soon as the film was over, I felt disappointed. It seemed to me that perhaps TOO much thought went into the movie's design, leaving the story somwehat malnourished. As the film is mostly in the form of a dream, this may seem like a nonsensical criticism, so let me amend my criticism; Stephane (played by the gifted Gael García Bernal) comes across as eccentric, perhaps even mentally ill. Fine, fine. But in the end, he also convinces us that he is infantile, and perhaps even irredeemably creepy and less interesting than we thought.

Roll credits and cue disappointment. Let me reiterate though, this is a refreshingly irrational film, and quite fascinating on its own terms.
4 Comments 27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Recently I saw The Science of Sleep (2006), written and directed by Michel Gondry, and enjoyed this film more so because of Gondry's imaginative and quirky directing than anything else. The acting, especially Gael Garcia Bernal as Stephane, was good, but Gondry's style surpassed all of my expectations (which were high, considering I loved Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind).

Gondry meticulously and flawlessly used common objects strangely placed to construct a bizarre story of love and growing up. He is unlike any director in his creative and child-like way of making innate objects come alive - this is particularly apparent from the props used in Stephane's dreams. For example, Stephane's dreams come alive for the viewer as we watch him on his very own TV Program, "Stephane TV," in his own dreamlike production studio lined with egg crates. It becomes difficult to distinguish the difference between Stephane's fantasies, or dreams, and his own reality - in one dream, he and Stephanie, his love interest, are dressed like kittens, and in another, he has huge hands (made out of paper mache) in an otherwise normal setting in which he tries to capture his coworkers. Stephane escapes his troubled reality by entering his dream world in which anything-and everything- is possible.

I think that the viewer's difficulty to discern whether or not Stephane is experiencing real life or dreaming was intended by Gondry, because Stephane is having the same difficulty as us; we are right there with him as he adventures into the unknown world of dreams. He is portrayed as childlike throughout the entire film as his vivid imagination seen in his dreams accompanies him into real life.
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