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What Dreams May Come

What Dreams May Come title card

Year - 1998
Studio - Polygram Filmed Entertainment
Stars - Robin Williams, Cuba Gooding Jr., Annabella Sciorra, Max Von Sydow
Director - Vincent Ward
Writing Credits - Ron Bass(screenplay), Richard Matheson (novel)
Music - Michael Kamen


Pediatrician Chris Nielsen (Robin Williams) and his artist wife, Annie (Annabella Sciorra) have a loving marriage, with their two children, Marie (Jessica Brooks Grant) and Ian (Josh Paddock). But their lives are shattered when both children are killed in a car accident. Annie is so emotionally devastated that she is institutionalized.

Then Chris, himself, is killed by a car when he tries to offer medical aid at the scene of a multiple car accident in a tunnel.

His soul wanders around on Earth, observing and trying to communicate with Annie, guided by another spirit, Albert Lewis (Cuba Gooding, Jr.), who, in life, had been his admired physician mentor. Then he moves on to Heaven, realized as one of Annie's landscape paintings, come to life. As he explores the magnificent environment, a large flowing tree appears, indicating that his wife is still trying to communicate to him through her painting.

What Dreams May Come poster

Another guide appears to Chris, Leona (Rosalind Chao), a beautiful Asian woman. She confides that she appears that way, because her father once remarked on the beauty of a certain Asian air hostess, and Chris realizes that she is actually his daughter, Jessica.

Albert returns with terrible news for Chris - the despondent Annie has killed herself. He cannot expect to see her, because those who commit suicide go to Hell. Chris demands to be able to go to her and Albert relents, saying that they will find a "Tracker." The Tracker (Max von Sydow) leads them through horrific visions and landscapes of lost souls, in their search for Annie. En route, Albert reveals to Chris that he is his son, and the Tracker confesses that he, himself, is actually Albert.

Finding a dilapidated facsimile of his home in the bowels of Hell, Chris enters and finds a mournful Annie, who does not recognize him. She tells him to leave, but he persists and she ultimately understands. They are returned to the paradise world of her living painting, reunited with Maria and Ian. But, as Annie needs to atone for her suicide, they will be both be reborn as different people on Earth and find each other again.

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Blanc comes in different shades - What Dreams May Come is a very dark shade of blanc.

What Dreams May Come was co-produced by Stephen Simon, who changed his name from Stephen Deutsch. He previously produced Somewhere in Time, also from a Richard Matheson novel.