Stephane (Gael Garcia Bernal of The Motorcycle Diaries) lives across the hall from Stephanie (Charlotte Gainsbourg), though for some reason he goes to elaborate lengths to have her think he lives on the other side of town. They share more than their names and location. Both are multi-lingual, not just speaking more than one language of words, but also speaking more than one layer of reality. Their shared sense of wonder and wistful whimsy is this film’s most irresistibly endearing feature.
It’s very hard to get whimsy right. It’s like a soap bubble; touch it and it disappears. But writer-director Michel Gondry’s light touch
Parents should know that this film, despite its fairy-tale quality, has some mature material, including very strong language and sexual references and situations.
Families who see this film should talk about what Stephane wanted both at work and with Stephanie and what prevented him from trying to get it. And they might want to talk about what might happen if their dreams started to become mixed up with their realities.
Families who enjoy this film will also enjoy Amelie and the brilliant Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Daydreams and night dreams have been a theme of many movies, including Dream Girl and Buster Keaton’s silent classic, Sherlock Jr.. Perhaps film’s most provocative dream sequence is the one staged by Salvadore Dali for Hitchcock’s Spellbound.