(Talking movies, differently #5)
‘If you’re happy in a dream, Ammu, does it count?’ Estha asked.
‘Does what count?’
‘The happiness- does it count?’
She knew exactly what he meant.
Because the truth is, that only what counts counts.
If you eat a fish in the dream, does it count? Does it mean you’ve eaten fish?
The cheerful man without footprints- did he count?
~ God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
A promise well-kept could mean a kind of heaven, and a whirlpool of nothingness can stand for a kind of hell. What amazes me about What Dreams May Come is that it doesn’t use symbolism to convey hardships in love; rather it uses the medium of imagination to explore a beautiful relationship between Annie and Chris, a kind of love that stays beyond what constitutes a kind of reality.
What Dreams May Come is personal because this movie gives you the space to imagine, explore, feel, believe, and sense the beauty of love through dreams, reality, and the power of exploring an imagination. For a person like me who doesn’t believe in reincarnation, this movie seamlessly blended against my beliefs and warmed my heart up with the faith Annie and Chris put in their love.
Love is magical, oh sure there are a lot of poems that vouch for that but how many of them truly end up making the audience really feel that… like magic? What Dreams May Come with its fantasy and fiction not only transcends us into a different world altogether but in that transcendence make us feel the beauty of togetherness cherished in love, in a kind of love where distance, any kind of distance means nothing.
Where Annie submits herself to depression and into believing that one is indeed, essentially, alone in his/her time in the world, Chris chooses to believe otherwise and pulls her out of the darkness by never giving up on her, even beyond life. These contrasting but dynamic characteristics of both the characters also conveys a very strong view of the world, to give up on one’s dreams or to meaningfully hold on to them and make them happen. They say that romanticism is crippled, that it hasn’t done anything for the society, that it brings no change, and one always remains oblivious to its significance in one’s life. And maybe so it seemed for Annie. But Chris believed otherwise and it was his attitude and love for Annie that never made him give up on her. Romanticism brings revolutions, changes and even transformations but it does not put up a show. You have to seek romanticism, it works only on how you perceive the life you live. And that’s why, as the title suggests, you never know What Dreams May Come…true.
I remember the former years of my graduation, we were always told that ‘the medium is the message.’ And I guess so it is for What Dreams May Come. The extension of a morose reality to a dreamland, where all the imaginations breathe for real (or so it seems) and all the dreams once dreamt in reality really do touch the surface of existence but beyond life! And where some dreams exalt in heaven, others ooze out darkness as nightmares in hell. The most likeable thing about this movie becomes its way of portraying love and togetherness, the dimensions of dreams, reality and imaginations chosen to convey that all boundaries are conventions and beyond them the unimaginable is indeed possible.