Lost, Vanilla Sky and the Lucid Dream

Powell1 May 25, 2010 User blog:Powell1

(Do not read if you have not seen the film Vanilla Sky and wish to do so unspoiled)

Anyone who has seen the film Vanilla Sky will be familiar with the concept of a lucid dream. Im no expert, but i believe such dreams are extremely realistic, even involving the dreamer interacting with the things around him to a level not experienced in most dreams (which in my experience are short and very confusing).

In Vanilla Sky, the main character experiences an induced lucid dream offerred by a company, allowing him to "reset" his life to a certain point and "live" his life in the way he always "dreamed" it would be (with the love of his life). To do this, he has to die and be frozen by the company. All the while, he has no recollection of being induced into the dream like state and thinks everything around him is real.

However, the dream soon turns into a nightmare, the problems from the characters past come back to haunt his dreaming mind and he learns that he cannot escape them, eventually realising that he entered the lucid dream in an attempt to rest his life according to his rules. In effect, real life bleeds over into his subconcious, dreaming mind until he is forced to "let go" and end the dream through choice by jumping off a building inside his dream, overcoming his greatest fear.

By now the parallels with lost should be very striking. "The End" showd us that following the death of all our major characters (some seen in the show, others implied to have ocurred far later, for example hurley and ben) they, possibly collectively, subconciously created a lucid dream like world in which they interacted excessivley (almost like real life) with the things around them. All the while however, it appears that their real life memories bled over into their concious, dreaming minds, to the point that they were forced to accept the truth that they had died. This process allowed them to come to terms with their past mistakes, confront them, and eventually let go.

Take jack, for example. Its clear that he was suffering, at least subconciously, from a burning desire to set things right with his father and overcome his many daddy issues. This was a recurring theme throughout lost. So, following his death, whatever was left of jack's conciousness/mind/awareness/aferlife (however you choose to interpret it) created the circumstances allowing him to confront those issues in death. Jack, in this alternate, dream like reality, was now a father, and strove to prove himself as a father, a passion obviously influenced by his unresolved issues with his own father. he seemingly had the chance to change things. Eventually, he was made aware of the real state of reality, was able to let go of these shortcomings and join his father in death. The same can be said of locke, and particularly ben. Ben's subconcious mind created circumstances whereby he never had issues with his father, where they left the island so that ben could never have killed his father on the island. Eventually he will have to let go and come to terms with those issues, realise that "what's done is done" and move on into the light like the other characters at the end of the last episode.

The final scene of vanilla sky is the main character jumping off a skyscraper. I think this was hinted at when, for example, locke was thrown out of a high building by his father, and when the man in black was pushed off the cliff. Locke being treated so by his father lead to his unresolved, damaging issues, necessitating the need for reflection in death, before he could "let go" and be at peace.

Lost, in these ways, re-affirms the power of the mind, self reflection and self awareness. It also highlights an enduring tragedy about our lives. We all have regrets, wish we could go back and change things, but all have to accept that what's done is done, let go, and move on. Vanilla sky, in very similar ways, promotes this view of life (ironically, through death) and has always been a favourite film of mine on this basis. Because of the way lost ended, for me at least, it was worth watching because of these themes.

--Powell1 21:26, May 25, 2010 (UTC)

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