What Dreams May Come (1998)

Genres - Fantasy, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Fantasy  |   Release Date - Oct 2, 1998 (USA)  |   Run Time - 113 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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The Vincent Ward-directed What Dreams May Come had the misfortune of arriving just as public tolerance for Robin Williams in sentimental roles was waning dramatically. Though the much-seen Patch Adams was still to come,Dreams doubtlessly suffered from the rejection of those already burned by Fathers' Day, Jack, and their ilk -- which is too bad. Though the film treads the dangerous line between spirituality and kitsch, its deeply imaginative vision of the afterlife is both memorable -- especially the production design -- and moving. In many ways, it's a triumph of low expectations. Williams, Sciorra, and Gooding all turn in affecting performances. Similarly, screenwriter Ronald Bass may seem like the wrong person to tame the New Age qualities of Richard Matheson's story but, like the work of Krystof Kieslowski (if not quite in the same league) and the film The Sixth Sense, Ward proves that bad metaphysics can be converted into highly effective metaphors. Though not without its excesses, any film that can get away with scenes of a despondent Williams wandering paradise with his beloved pooch demonstrates an admirable ability to succeed on its own unique terms. Look fast for Werner Herzog as one of Hell's lost souls.