Life, Death, & What Dreams May Come

1439 words - 6 pages

Unconditional love can be described as a pure affection bereft of circumstance. It is a true positive regard of others that bares no judgment. In a sense, unconditional love has no boundaries. In the film What Dreams May Come, the boundary between life and death fades and a family’s bond is tested. Tragedy by tragedy, unconditional love and guilt play major roles in the defiance of the laws of death. Chris Nielsen, the main character of the film, travels to the depths of the afterlife to find his beloved wife Annie and restore his family. In an epic journey that questions the very fabric of reality and faith, the Nielson family overcomes all odds and is reunited in the end. Throughout the film, unconditional love is represented in the Nielson’s love for their children, despite their faults; furthermore, this is continually shown with each death that claims a loved one from the family. This film is realistic in that unconditional love is seen beyond the screen and in our own lives.
Children are the manifestation of their parents’ love and trust, but also their faults and struggles. Amongst many of the things Chris and Annie share their love for are their two children: Marie and Ian. Marie is most like Annie in the fact that she is stubborn and often pessimistic. When her dog is put down, she feels a tremendous guilt and decides that happy endings do not exist. She explains to her father during a chess match that dreams are not real. If they were, her miniature diorama is her dream of where she would go when she dies. This is an important scene in the film because it introduces the opposition to the idea that an afterlife exists. Ian is similar to Chris because he strives to do his best, but is defeated when he can’t compare to his father. His low self-esteem comes from the guilt he has for not living up to his fathers’ expectations. Many of today’s youth feel an obligation to achieve success in order to make their parents proud. However, Chris explains to his son that he loves him no matter the circumstance, and that he must make decisions for himself. Though both of their children have their own issues at heart, Chris and Annie love them without question, as all parents should.
The Nielson’s genuine compassion for their young makes it exceptionally difficult to lose Marie and Ian later on. When both children are killed in a car accident on the way to school, the chain of misfortune begins to claim the family. Annie, who had the nanny bring the kids to school that morning due to a work commitment, blamed herself for the loss of her children. When the lives of children are taken too soon, it is as if they are cheated of having a chance at life, and the parents are punished for no reason. Upon realizing this, Annie is institutionalized for depression and suicidal tendencies. The film clearly shows Annie’s devastation by her appearance. Her long, brown hair is now chopped short and she smokes cigarettes. This physical deterioration coincides with...

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