I will start this review by saying that this was, by far, the WEIRDEST FILM I HAVE EVER SEEN. It was even weirder than Labyrinth, where David Bowie’s strange dancing and that hair- people, you know what I’m talking about- makes your head spin, and not necessarily in a good way*. This film is acted by actors but I’ve classed it as ‘animated’ because they are animated/drawn over the top, which makes for a very strange visual experience. It has no named characters and is about a guy stuck in an awful dream where he can’t wake up and just has to spend his whole time listening to crazy nuts waffling on about dreams and reality. Actually, that makes it sound like this film has an actual plot. Warning: it doesn’t.
Is it a feminist film? No. This film is a feminist film in the same way I am a cat: I.E., it’s not, but it has some characteristics of feminism (in the same way I have lovely hair and often pester people for food- LIKE A CAT- but I am, in fact, not one. Although you might have guessed that already.) The main character is a guy who is admittedly rather physically androgynous, but let’s face it, people, he’s a guy. The one thing I have to note about feminism here is that I found the women’s monologues and conversations infinitely more interesting than the men’s in general, and that isn’t even to do with me having a very bad and contagious case of feminism**, it’s because it’s just true. Although I’m kind of wondering who decided what female and male deep thinkers look like respectively, because they seem to have come up with this: male deep thinkers are basically gnarly, aged people but female deep thinkers are all young and gorgeous with red hair that twirls around enough to make you dizzy.
Is it disturbing? On the disturbing-ness front, this film has had some pretty bad reviews, but it’s all so dreamlike and surreal that it’s actually not really disturbing, just maybe a little… eerie. Two guys talk about gun safety and then shoot each other, a guy with very bad sunburn (well, either that or he’s the devil) (I think he’s the devil) talks about torturing people in hell, but it’s all animated so not really scary. Oh, and a guy sets himself on fire- fun! One reviewer chose to call this a ‘self-immolation’, which is obviously really stupid because no-one I know would know what that meant. (Actually, probably everyone I know over the age of twenty-five would know what that meant. But I am not. The younger generation- so uneducated, right?)
And… does it pass the Bechdel test? Yes, and pretty damn well, actually. Yay for Waking Life!
One more note to make: I really, truly hope this review hasn’t put you off this film, because I think it’s definitely worth a watch, if only for the scene in the supermarket with the “If you’re going to microwave that burrito” moment. To be honest, I don’t know you, but you’ll probably hate this film. But you should watch it anyway, because- you never know- you might like it!
*May I just mention that I used to adore Labyrinth. For literally months (well, maybe weeks) I watched it at least four times a day. Of course, everyone knows that previously being obsessed with a film/book/whatever gives you the best excuse EVER to make snarky comments about it. See The Princess Bride, The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit etc.
**Can I just point out that feminism is obviously not a disease and one should never be flippant about such things. God forbid.