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Last updated: July 2023
What is Vanilla Sky about?
For those who want a quick answer—Vanilla Sky is pretty straightforward. Everything that Tech Support says in the final scene is true. Tom Cruise is having a lucid dream. He did die (sort of) and was saved by Life Extension. He didn’t kill Sofia. He does have a choice of waking up or continuing the dream. And David chooses to wake up about 150 years in the future.
What’s less straightforward is this: how much of what we saw was from real life and how much was the lucid dream? Of course, even if the ending is straightforward, that doesn’t mean Vanilla Sky is without depth, themes, or deeper meanings. Through visuals like the empty streets of Times Square and the vivid glow of the heavens that frame David, the film has a lot to say about self-esteem, perception, therapy, and the relationship between mind and body. As well as technology and mortality.
Movie Guide table of contents
- David Aames – Tom Cruise
- Julie Gianni – Cameron Diaz
- Brian Shelby – Jason Lee
- Sofía Serrano – Penélope Cruz
- Thomas Tipp – Timothy Spall
- Dr. Curtis McCabe – Kurt Russell
- Edmund Ventura (Tech Support) – Noah Taylor
- Rebecca Dearborn – Tilda Swinton
- Aaron (the guard) – Michael Shannon
- Steven Spielberg – himself
- Based on – Abre Los Ojos (Open Your Eyes)
- Written by – Cameron Crowe
- Directed by – Cameron Crow
Why is the movie called Vanilla Sky?
Vanilla Sky is a remake of the 1997 Spanish film Abre los ojos, or Open Your Eyes, made by Alejandro Amenábar, also starring Penelope Cruz as Sofia. The plot is almost verbatim. Handsome guy. Crazy ex. Sofia. Car crash. Disfigurement. Prosthetic mask. In jail and talking to a psychiatrist. Mystery. Thrills. Murder. Life Extension revelation. Jumps to wake up. It’s all there.
So why change the title from Open Your Eyes to Vanilla Sky?
The original title is a generic term for waking up or coming to your senses or facing reality. If a friend was being catfished, you might say to them, “Open your eyes. That person isn’t real!” Or, “I thought I could become a famous juggler. But I’ve opened my eyes to the fact that I don’t actually like juggling.”
It’s a fitting title, because in both movies, the hero, David/César, chooses to close his eyes to the real world in order to escape the negative emotions that plague him after the car accident. Only to reach a point where he’d rather open his eyes than continue to live in the lovely state of denial that L.E created for him.
Vanilla Sky accomplishes a similar goal in a less direct, more poetic way. At his birthday party, David shows Sofia the painting The Seine at Argenteuil, by Claude Monet. “That is the real thing. His paintbrush painted the vanilla sky.” At the very end of the movie, when David is at the version of Life Extension in his mind, Rebecca Dearborn shows him the presentation about what Life Extension offers. Pay attention to the words that have to do with painting.
Narrator: Portrait of a modern human life. American. Male. Birth and death. Imagine that you are suffering from a terminal illness. You’d like to be cryonized but you’d rather be resurrected to continue your own life as you know it now. L.E. offers you the answer. Upon resurrection, you will continue in an ageless state, preserved but living in th represent with a future of your choosing. Your death will be wiped from your memory. Your life will continue as a realistic work of art, painted by you, minute to minute, and you’ll live it with the romantic abandon of a summer day, with the feeling of a great movie, or a pop song you always loved, with no memory of how it all occurred, save for the knowledge that everything simply improved. And in any instance of discontent, you’ll be visited by technical support. It’s all just around the corner. The day after tomorrow. Another chapter begins seamlessly. A living dream. Life Extension’s promise to you. Life, part two.
This is why Cameron Crowe went with the title Vanilla Sky. Because it captures the larger idea of the cinematic denial that David has escaped into. It represents the idealization. That summer day. That great movie. That pop song that we wish our lives could be. Monet’s painting is at once beautiful and artificial. It’s the same for dreams. These amazing things can happen but they still aren’t real, no matter how much they might seem like it.
The new title extends beyond David, to the viewer, as the movie takes on philosophical questions about the way in which we use media and entertainment as a means of escapism.
Paul McCartney’s song
Paul wrote the song “Vanilla Sky” specifically for the film. Cameron Crowe approached McCartney, showed him about half an hour of the film, then Paul went to work. So even though they share a title, the song probably doesn’t provide a window into the title or movie in the way one may think, hope, or expect. You can watch the interview Paul did with ET in 2002.
The themes and meaning of Vanilla Sky
Reality vs dream
Vanilla Sky opens with a bit of a joke. David drives around New York City, right into the heart of Times Square, with zero traffic. He’s alone in one of the most popular, populated places in the entire world. Being able to easily get around NYC is a dream come true. Except David isn’t thrilled. He’s terrified. What happened to the people? They should be there. Even if that means traffic and annoyances. It’s what should be.
That gets at the central tension between dreams and real life. As amazing as a dream can be, it always has that degree of artificiality to it. You can’t shake the fake. Nor can you escape your subconscious and the things that plague you. Which is why a dream can easily glitch into a nightmare. That’s how Sofia becomes Julianna. David’s subconscious, even after 150 years, hasn’t fully processed what happened with Julie and how it impacted any chance he had with Sofia. He carries this guilt, shame, and blame that causes his lucid dream to literally put him in prison. Peace is only found “out there”, in the world, through hard work. That’s how you repair yourself.
Entertainment and escapism
Art is a subtle throughline throughout Vanilla Sky. Diegetically, it’s there in the references to famous works, like The Seine at Argenteuil, or Joni Mitchell, or the Jules and Jim poster on David’s bedroom wall, the quick look at Sabrina on the TV in the opening scene, the talk show interview about Benny the Dog, the Bob Dylan album cover. Non-diegetically, we have the barrage of pop music that Crowe fills the score with. From “Everything In Its Right Place” by Radiohead to “Last Goodbye” by Jeff Buckley to Paul McCartney’s “Vanilla Sky”.
It isn’t until the end that we get more about the relevance and importance of this theme. Specifically, the way in which Life Extension sells people on the opportunity to make their life into entertainment. McCabe makes the joke about it being cryo-tainment.
All of this adds up to a commentary on the increasing use of technology and entertainment as means of escapism. In some ways, Vanilla Sky is the same movie as The Matrix, as both explore the allure of escape into technology and artificiality in order to avoid the ugly aspects of life. In The Matrix, that’s the post-war world in which intelligent machines bested humanity, with the remnants of humanity living in a very bleak, underground city. In different ways, both films ask questions about the pros and cons of each world. It comes back to the texture of the dream state versus that of real life. It never quite feels right. Even when it’s seemingly perfect, like David’s life could have been.
This was already a topic in the late 90s and early 00s. Now, in the 2020s, with the rise of social media and the interconnectivity the Internet offers, those films seem prescient. Not only can you use movies and music to escape, you can supplement it with online tribes that will gladly engage on the topic 24 hours a day. In 2022, the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published a paper called “Escapism and Excessive Online Behaviors: A Three-Wave Longitudinal Study in Finland during the COVID-19 Pandemic” that looked into a link between “excessive online behaviors” and if escapism links to other excessive behaviors and how this highlights “ a need to focus prevention efforts on healthy coping methods”
In an interview with Vulture that came out in 2020, during the COVID-19 Pandemic, Crowe said: “It feels like we’re right on the cusp of being able to do some of that stuff now, for better or worse. Everybody living in their own virtual reality — in some ways, it’s just a half-step away from what’s in the movie. It’s odd. The ripple effect of that movie is really interesting.”
We like to think that a life like a movie or a song would be better than what we deal with. But what if the movie is Schindler’s List? What if the song is Johnny Cash’s version of “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails? From that same Vulture interview, Crowe: …the idea that pop culture can be so ingrained in what your vision of the perfect relationship, or the perfect life, or the perfect Bob Dylan song playing at the perfect time can change your life choices, change who you are.
Obviously, entertainment isn’t inherently a bad thing. People have wonderful, healthy, empowering relationships with movies, novels, poetry, art, TV, music, etc. It’s just that, as with most things, there’s a line between healthy and unhealthy. A line that can completely vanish in the wake of trauma.
Trauma, self-esteem, and perception
There’s that famous saying that the eyes are the window to the soul. Typically, we think of that as looking into the eyes of someone else and perceiving their emotions and thoughts. Whether there’s worry, joy, boredom, anticipation, passion, fear, etc. But there’s something about applying that phrase to our own eyes. You know, the things through which we perceive the world around us.
If our soul is in a good place, how does that affect how we perceive the world around us? Likewise, if our soul is in a bad place, doesn’t that change everything? Two different people, looking at the same object, can see very different things, all because of what’s going on inside of them. What we’ve experienced, what we’re feeling, all of its shapes our perception.
David before the accident is confident, care-free, charming, and quick to laugh. He has money. He has power. He has an easy, breezy, happy life. Sure, there’s pressure from the board about his father’s company. But the Seven Dwarfs, as he calls them, are minor inconveniences. He doesn’t seem to have many close friends, aside from best friend Brian. But that’s okay. Because everyone treats him well. So his self-esteem is through the roof.
Then the accident happens. The car crash. Once Julie drives off that bridge, nothing is ever the same. David found validation and pride in his looks. Now those are gone. One of his eyes is messed up. Partially closed. Because his soul’s in anguish, he now sees the world differently, and behaves differently. It’s no longer the wonderful place it was before. David isolates himself, disconnects from people. When he does interact, he’s rude, bitter, and awkward.
This establishes a paradox between the inner and outer worlds, akin to the age-old question of what came first, the chicken or the egg. If his outer appearance were perfect again, would he be happy again? Or is his outer world a mess because he’s been unable to process his trauma?
It ends up being a bit of both. The damage to his appearance causes a doom spiral that ultimately leads him to Life Extension. But even in the lucid dream, after the splice, when he has all of his looks back, when the outer world has seemingly returned to the great place it once was—he can’t find happiness. What Julie did to him continues to manifest. Which leads to his inability to accept dream Sofia and the murder that puts him in dream jail, talking to a dream psychologist. It’s all a manifestation of his continued inner turmoil.
In short, we could all probably use a little bit of therapy in our lives.
The ending of Vanilla Sky explained
David and McCabe go to the headquarters of Life Extension, escorted by a police officer. There, they encounter Rebecca Dearborn. She reminds David that he is a client of Life Extension and chose the Lucid Dream package. Overwhelmed by this revelation, David escapes from the office and cries out for tech support. Edmund Ventura, aka Tech Support, appears, introducing himself as someone from “Oasis Project, formerly Life Extension—L.E.”.
On a journey to the skyscraper’s roof, Tech Support explains that he and David first met 150 years ago. Then refreshes David’s memory on what happened.
Tech Support: That night, after Sofia left you and you fell asleep on the pavement, that was the moment you chose for the splice… The end of your real life and the beginning of L.E.’s Lucid Dream. A splice of many, many years, which passed while you were frozen and dreaming. From the moment you woke up on that street, nothing was real in a traditional sense. Your Lucid Dream is monitored by Life Extension and a panel of experts who are following your every thought, even at this moment. …
We erased what really happened from your memory. Replaced by a better life. Under these beautiful, Monet-like skies. A better life, because you had Sofia. You sculpted your Lucid Dream out of the iconography of your youth. An album cover that once moved you. A movie you saw once late at night that showed you what a father could be like. Or what love could be like. This was a kind woman. An individual. More than your equal. You barely knew her in your real life, but in your Lucid Dream, she was your savior.
David then asks what happened in his real life. What did Life Extension erase?
Tech Support: The Morning after the Nightclub, you woke up on that street, hungover and alone. You got up, and you walked away. You never saw Sofia again. You battled your board, the Seven Dwarfs, for control of the company. In the end, it was Thomas Tipp, your father’s friend, the man whose job you saved, who wrenched the company back into your control. You longed for Sofia. You shut yourself away from months. You were alone. You couldn’t stand the pain anymore, the headaches. You could barely function.
At this point, we see a quick montage of David as he discovers Life Extensions, signs a contract, then takes enough pills to end his life.
Tech Support: And on a day in late December, you gave yourself to us. You’re now in a suspended state. Your friend Brian Shelby threw a three-day memorial in your old home. He was a true friend. You were missed, David. [We see Sofia show up to the funeral, look overwhelmed, then leave]. It was Sofia who never fully recovered. It was she who somehow knew you best. And like you, she never forgot that one night where true love seemed possible. Consequences, David. It’s the little things.
To which David responds: The little things. There’s nothing bigger, is there?
This leads to David having a choice. Because of his unsettled subconscious, the lucid dream became a nightmare. But Tech Support states the glitch has been fixed. He can return to the dream world. Return to Sofia. To a fixed face. Everything. Or. He can wake up. 150 years in the future. With dwindling finances. But the technology to fix his face and bring him back to full health, just like Benny the Dog.
Ultimately, David decides to wake up, jumping off the building, despite his fear of heights, as a demonstration of his conviction to return. His childhood flashes in his mind. Then, a woman’s voice says, “Relax, David, open your eyes.” And we see his eye open.
In the 2020 interview with Vulture, Cameron Crowe confirmed that not everything Tech Support said is true.
Crowe: The clues are all there, and some of the stuff that’s “explained” toward the end is not fully — Noah Tayor is not fully a responsible “host” at that point. Not everything he says can be trusted. It’s a fun game to play with the movie and I’m glad that people have come back to it.
The Wikipedia page for Vanilla Sky has an Interpretations section that mentions five different possible endings. The source it has for these is the Vulture interview that only links to the Wikipedia page. Maybe something was there previously?
The 5 interpretations are:
- “Tech Support” is telling the truth
- The entire film is a dream
- The events after the crash are a dream Aames has while comatose
- The entire film is the plot of the book that Brian is writing
- The entire film after the crash is a hallucination caused by drugs administered during Aames’s reconstructive surgery
Points 3 and 5 feel very similar and very silly and anti-climactic.
Crowe himself said that he really likes the idea that everything is from Brian’s book. Quote: “I’m probably saying too much, but sometimes I watch it and I think, This is all his novel.” That definitely adds an entirely different layer to Vanilla Sky. But it does beg the question if the movie does enough to earn such a reading? Or at least validate it as a possibility aside from Brian saying he’s working on a novel. It would be like if Matthew Reeves came out and said The Batman was actually a metaphor for World War II. That’s a nice idea. But does anything in The Batman justify reading it that way aside from Reeves saying it?
That’s something that writers often encounter early on. They’ll write something, have a loved one read it, then say something like, “Did you pick up that the red sweater represented her childhood trauma because her grandma always had tomato juice in the refrigerator?” The answer is always: no. Why? Because how could anyone connect those two things?
That’s why Crowe seems to be saying it’s more of a personal reading of Vanilla Sky rather than him saying it was what he intended. There’s a big difference there.
That leaves, then, interpretations 1 and 2. Tech Support could be telling the truth. But it all feels a bit too neat. Especially with David defeating the board and Sofia continuing to long for him. Even without Crowe’s hints, Tech Support’s story has the same faux-quality of the Lucid Dream’s sky. It’s too perfect. Given that the entire movie has leaned into the idea that we should question the nature of David’s reality, it makes sense that we shouldn’t take everything Tech Support says as truth. He could just be giving David a happier version of events as part of the Lucid Dream package. Or he’s been slightly “corrupted” by being part of David’s subconscious for so long and thus prone to tell David some things that David wants to hear.
So that leaves interpretation 2. That it’s all a dream.
It was all a dream
“But couldn’t it also not be a dream?” No. That was semi-plausible up until the point McCabe can’t remember the name of his daughters. He’s clearly a mental construct of David’s Lucid Dream. If the whole thing was an elaborate ruse by the Seven Dwarfs to take control of the company, then, narratively speaking, they would be the main villains and incredibly underdeveloped. Normally, a story wouldn’t completely disregard the primary antagonists like that. But you don’t develop them if all they ever were was a red herring. Also, all the other characters just appear on the rooftop, out of nowhere. Either that’s because David has totally lost his mind or…Lucid Dream. That, and David waking up as the final shot.
If it was theory two, that David has just been in a coma, then 150 years wouldn’t have passed. Which means Sofia’s still alive and he would still have a chance with her. He’d only have dreamed of the failed date at the club and the fallout. If that was the case, then you would expect to see that as the ultimate twist. He would wake up, look around, and expect it to be 150 years in the future, just like Tech Support said, only for it to have been a month, or a year. You either end there with all that that implies or continue on for another 20 or 30 minutes and see how David behaves now that he’s home. Imagine if Wizard of Oz just ended with Dorothy clicking her heels but we never saw her back in Kansas or got the line, “There’s no place like home.” You could forgo it, but it’s weird. And lacking.
That leaves the dream. Crowe had mentioned there being clues. One that stands out would be the registration sticker on David’s Mustang. Not in the first dream where Times Square is empty. In the “real world” when he’s “awake”. The registration date reads 02/30/01. February 30th doesn’t exist. February has 28 days unless it’s Leap Year, then it’s 29. So the only way he could have a registration sticker with the date of 02/30 is if it’s a joke, which would be a stupid thing to have on such a nice car, or it’s not “real”. It’s one of those things a storyteller adds specifically as a hint to the viewer. And we have Crowe confirming he did just that.
Other clues? It’s Sofia who first says “Open your eyes” at the very beginning. Why would we hear her voice that early if David hadn’t met her yet? Also, preceding that, we have aerial shots of the camera drifting over New York City, almost as if flying. Adding to the sense of flying, we hear the wind, as if it’s rushing past us. What’s commonly associated with lucid dreaming? Flying. It would be one thing to just have the camera giving us establishing shots of New York City. That’s a very common film practice. But to have the sound of the wind? That’s not common. It implies we’re in the perspective of someone who is flying.
Also, if everything prior to the splice point had been real, it wouldn’t make sense for us to see David talking to McCabe before that. We know that in real life David never murdered Sofia. Which means that in real life, David would have never been talking with McCabe. All of those early, pre-splice scenes are in the context of David’s conversation with McCabe. Which means, naturally, that they’re the memories he has while in Life Extension’s Lucid Dream. That makes them unreliable.
Remember, Life Extension said that customers will have “no memory of how it all occurred, save for the knowledge that everything simply…improved.”
What we see of David’s life in the “real” portion of the film is ridiculously perfect. The banter. How much everyone loves him. His success. It’s to the point where everyone seems kind of crazy. To the point where it’s out of a Hallmark movie. Could those scenes, those memories, have been “slightly improved”? Were David and Brian friends? Sure. Did he and Sofia hit it off? Yes. But was the dialogue verbatim what happened in real life? We’re seeing David’s memory processed through the Lucid Dream’s romanticizing, so that everything had the feeling of a “great movie” or a “pop song”. Even the car crash could be ripped from the movie Jules and Jim rather than something that actually happened.
Based on all of this, you have to wonder if we ever actually met the real David or the real Sofia or the real Brian, Julie, etc. Everyone could be a heightened version of themselves, either made perfect by the Lucid Dream or made into a monster by the glitch.
So what was the point?
Ultimately, Vanilla Sky is a coming of age story. Despite being 33 years old, David still acts like an adolescent. He is pretty naive about the world. Takes without thought. Mistreats Brian, Julie, and even Sofia. He’s irresponsible at work. He is not a very serious person. The car crash is the consequence of his actions. If he had been a better friend to Brian, does Brian tell Julie what David said? If he had been more upfront with Julie, does she go crazy or move on? If he had turned down getting in the car that morning because he knew he was starting something with Sofia, would he have been okay? Probably.
His time with the mask and the nightmare is essentially his Christmas Carol period of seeing the ghosts of his past, present, and future. By experiencing everything he experiences, he reaches a new level of self-knowledge and acceptance. The immature thing to do would be to stay in the dream. That would be the act of someone still in denial and acting out of fear. But because David’s matured, he understands that the ups and downs of reality are better than a hollow dream, no matter how good the dream is.
This extends to the earlier point about the relationships people form with entertainment and other forms of media. As fun as it is to achieve something in a video game, that can’t replace real life. As satisfying as it is to build an audience on TikTok or Instagram, that can’t replace real loved ones. As great as a great movie can be, is it better than the happiest moments of your life? As long as we maintain a healthy relationship with the things that make us happy, that’s awesome. But the moment we start escaping into them because we’re scared—that’s a glitch. And it can send us spiraling.
When David wakes up, it’s to a whole new world, with limited resources. That’s terrifying. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to be bad. The same applies to real life. That’s why David, in his final conversation with dream Sofia, says, “Do you remember what you told me once? That every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around.”
With that in mind, it doesn’t necessarily matter what was real in David’s past. All that’s important is to know he went on a journey from being scared and running from reality to confident, appreciative, and ready to do the hard work. It’s the story of someone confronting their heartache, working through it, and arriving at some sort of catharsis. When David finally understands, he asks Tech Support, “And I chose this scenario, didn’t I?” Tech Support responds with, “Yes, to face your last remaining fear of heights.”
Vanilla Sky supports the concept that to heal and move forward we need time, introspection, and self-confrontation. It’s not always pretty. It’s not always fun. But it’s the way through the sh*ttiness. If you avoid these things, then you waste time. Everything can’t always be sweet. You need the sour, too. It’s the only way we learn and grow. Vanilla Sky reminds us to do our best to be honest with ourselves.
Important motifs in Vanilla Sky
The Vanilla Sky
It’s been mentioned throughout the article, but the Vanilla Sky of the Lucid Dream is a callback to the sky in Monet’s painting The Seine at Argenteuil. The Lucid Dream embodies the way in which art becomes a means of escape and the tension of art being beautiful but also a representation of life rather than life itself. You can admire the sky in The Seine at Argenteuil but it can’t replace the real sky. Just like Dream Sofia,while wonderful, can’t replace having a relationship with an actual person. Art can’t be life. It can add to someone’s life. But it can’t replace the real things.
The Jules and Jim poster
Jules and Jim is a classic film major movie. Part of the French New Wave revolution of the 50s and 60s, it’s this dreamy story of two friends, Jules and Jim, and the woman, Catherine, that they’re both in love with. She marries Jules and time passes. Jim visits and begins a romance with Catherine, one that Jules agrees to because it turns out Catherine kind of hates him and Jules believes this is the only way he can keep her in his life. Eventually, Jim leaves, goes back to his old girlfriend, and prepares to marry her. Catherine wants Jim, he wants nothing to do with her, she threatens him with a gun, he escapes. Later, all three hang out. Everything seems fine. Until Catherine asks Jim to get into her car. She then drives them off—this may sound familiar—a bridge. Neither survives and it’s up to Brian—er, Jules—to scatter their ashes.
If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the foundation of the first portion of Vanilla Sky. The same way Cameron Crowe incorporated the Bob Dylan cover and the Monet sky, he has the plot of Vanilla Sky literally recreate Jules and Jim. The poster in David’s bedroom is a very important clue that eventually gains context when we learn about Life Extension and what goes into creating the Lucid Dream.
Empty Times Square
On the one hand, the scene in an empty Times Square doesn’t need to mean anything more than just being a great visual. On the other hand, it does serve as a nice contrast to the very end of the film.
Compare the Times Square scene to the final conversation on the rooftop of Life Extension headquarters. In the former, Cruise is on the ground, completely alone. Even though his life seems perfect, it’s empty. By the end, he’s high up on a roof and has with him some very important people—Sofia, Brian, McCabe, and Tech Support. Those are to him what the Tin Man, Scarecrow, Lion, and Glinda were to Dorothy in Wizard of Oz. These manifestations of heart, intelligence, courage, and guidance.
You can argue that the roof is symbolic of the perspective David has gained over the course of the film, a visual contrast to the confusion and loneliness he felt at the beginning.
Questions & answers about Vanilla Sky
Was it Sofia or Julie that David smothered?
Even though he thinks it was Julie, David sees the mole that he knew Sofia had. Which is why he thinks he killed Sofia. There’s a scene earlier in the movie where he makes a big deal about that mole. That’s there specifically to set up the later “reveal”.
Was Julie actually Sofia? Did Sofia ever exist?
There’s a whole argument to be made that no one in the dream ever existed in David’s life and his real life was completely different from whatever we see in the dream. But if we accept some of the facts that the movie gave us in the first 30 minutes, then Julie and Sofia really were separate people.
Why did David think Julie was Sofia or that Sofia was Julie?
The simple answer is it was just the glitch causing the dream to become a nightmare. That’s it.
The deeper, thematic answer is that it’s a byproduct of David’s subconscious and relates to a guilt he feels about what happened with Sofia and Julie. If he hadn’t gotten into the car with the one, then he could have had a life with the other. He “chose” Julie. So her becoming Sofia in the dream is just a hyperbolic embodiment of David’s guilt and remorse. That momentary choice had a profound ripple effect on his life and ultimately led to the “death” of him and Sofia.
Is Vanilla Sky like Inception?
Somewhat! Cobb and David go on similar journeys of working through their baggage in dream worlds. Both have glitches. David’s is a best more conceptual but takes the form of Julie becoming Sofia. While in Inception, Cobb’s guilt over his wife’s death manifests as his wife invading the various dreams Cobb’s in and sabotaging whatever mission he’s on. Both movies end with escaping the dream and returning to real life, having found a sense of closure.
Is it Sophia or Sofia?
Now it’s your turn
Have more unanswered questions about Vanilla Sky? Are there themes or motifs we missed? Is there more to explain about the ending? Please post your questions and thoughts in the comments section! We’ll do our best to address every one of them. If we like what you have to say, you could become part of our movie guide!