The Science of Sleep (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

Review byMatthew Turner14/02/2007

Five out of Five stars
Running time: 106 mins

Beautifully directed, charmingly surreal and genuinely romantic, this is the perfect offbeat date movie and easily one of the best films of the year.

What's it all about?
Writer-director Michel Gondry's follow-up to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind stars Gael Garcia Bernal as Stephane, a would-be designer who constantly has his head in the clouds thanks to his overactive imagination. When his Mexican father dies he moves into his mother's (Miou-Miou) Parisian apartment and takes a dull office job, alongside Guy (Alain Chabat), his crude, frequently outspoken colleague.

However, things look up considerably for Stephane when he meets Stephanie (Charlotte Gainsbourg), his quirkily beautiful next-door neighbour. But will Stephane's colourful fantasy life prove a help or a hindrance when it comes to getting the girl of his dreams?

The Good
It's safe to say that The Science of Sleep is unlike anything else you'll see this year. The script is extremely good, with several laugh-out-loud funny lines and several moments that will stay with you long after you leave the cinema.

The performances are utterly charming: Bernal reveals a hitherto untapped gift for comedy, whilst also nailing the pathos of the role – Stephane's crushed expression when he spots Stephanie dancing with another man is truly heartbreaking. Gainsbourg is equally good, and there's strong support from a scene-stealing Alain Chabat and Emma (daughter of Antoine) De Caunes.

The Great
For a French man, Gondry's visual imagination seems deeply rooted in British children's television from the 1970s, whether it's the Blue Peter-inspired make-your-own approach to the effects (cotton wool clouds, cellophane water) or the wonderful stop-motion animation. This is particularly effective when Stephane's imagination starts to spill over into the real world, whether as a result of Stephanie sharing his fantasies or him beginning to lose his grip on reality.

Worth seeing?
A superbly written, charmingly acted film that's simultaneously funny, thoughtful and genuinely romantic. Highly recommended and one of the best films of the year.

Film Trailer

The Science of Sleep (15)
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Content updated: 22/09/2018 12:03

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