The Science of Sleep is a film that I have always loved and continue to love with every re-watch. It is a spectacular film that raises questions and emotions in a wonderfully weird way.


The story follows Stephane (Gael Garcia Bernal) a young creative who often gets his dreams and reality mixed up. After the death of his father he is forced to move to Paris where his mother has found him a job. Here he finds himself filled with confusion as his emotions over his father, his mother and her magician boyfriend and the girl next door intermingle with language schizophrenia, a tedious job and the need to be creative.

As the film moves on and focuses more the romantic side, with the girl Stephanie (Charlotte Gainsbourg) playing on his mind more and more, it becomes ever more complex with an ending sequence which really messes with the audiences mind as to which parts where real and which where dreams.


This mixture of the two worlds is what makes the film work so well, it is quirky in all the right ways, easing you into the self-made dream world where everything is made of toilet rolls and carboard. The world of dreams at first seems harmless and fun. Stephane’s struggles with his job being represented by giant hands make sense and are obviously a dream. But as the film continues the lines becomes more and more blurred… objects from the dreamworld start to appear in reality and the dreamworld itself becomes more realistic.

There is a moment where Stephane writes a letter in the dreamworld that he actually posts in reality and this is the point where the entire balance shifts. Up until this point the worlds have been separate but all of sudden they are mingled and only get more and more so as the film jumps through time and continues to complicate things.


It is a wonderful piece of cinema that looks fantastic, in wonderfully performed, cleverly written and also has a deeply interesting love story that doesn’t follow a standard convention. By the end of the film you feel sorry for Stephane but also hopeful and realise that the film’s message is a lot broader than it might seem.


Science of Sleep is a film that with its kooky style, odd characters and strange way of telling a story is perhaps not for everyone. But to me personally it is one the most important films I’ve seen and continues to impress me every time.