Metascore
45

Mixed or average reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 33
  2. Negative: 9 out of 33
  1. 78
    It's a film that you can take home and chew over later, both abrasive in its loudness and reflective in its fleeting, feminine moments of silence. Well done.
  2. 50
    Like an over-packed three-scoop cone -- it melts into a mess while we're still slurping away.
  3. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    38
    May not emerge as the biggest disaster of the holiday movie season, if only because we haven't yet seen all the other year-end films. But it is a huge high-energy misfire, bringing Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz, and Cameron Crowe to earth with a thud.
  4. I admire Cameron Crowe for daring to write and direct a movie as strange as Vanilla Sky. I lament the casting of Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz in the leads.
  5. It reeks of unearned profundity, but I found it entertaining.
  6. 75
    This is the kind of movie you don't want to analyze until you've seen it two times. Now that I've seen it twice, I think I understand it, or maybe not. Certainly it's entertaining as it rolls along.
  7. 63
    Crowe's chilliest movie. In part this is by design. Like "Open Your Eyes," to which Crowe is mostly faithful, Vanilla Sky is a head trip that merges thriller, romance and science-fiction elements while playing with our notions of dreams and reality.
  8. Resembles a fast-and-flashy variation on "The Sixth Sense," with touches of "The Matrix" as a bonus.
  9. If Crowe's eyes are open, he seems to have directed most of Vanilla Sky with his mind wide shut.
  10. Reviewed by: Gareth Von Kallenbach
    40
    My suggestion is to avoid this film and instead rent Open Your Eyes (Abre Los Ojos) the film upon which Vanilla Sky was based.
  11. 50
    Crowe, for his part, is decency itself, but unlike Amenábar he's a pop romantic with no stomach or aptitude for noir.
  12. Though Vanilla Sky is smoothly and professionally done, even audiences who haven't seen the original will sense there is something off in the translation.
  13. 75
    An involving, sweetly touching love story, buoyed by Crowe's natural, poetic dialogue and his knack for writing characters (especially women) who feel like real people instead of plot devices.
  14. Crowe renders David's dream (and its accompanying nightmare) so literal we can't help but leave the theater feeling as though we've been lectured to, told how to feel and what to think. And for an audience, that's a bit of a nightmare.
  15. The title doesn't hint at the unsavory mess the film actually is.
  16. Probably the most garishly masochistic star turn since Mel Gibson's "The Man Without a Face." It could also be the most baroque chick flick ever made, the freakazoid spawn of "An Affair to Remember" and "The Matrix."
  17. Has moments that are eerily beautiful and genuinely moving -- and some that are surprisingly vulgar.
  18. Visually dazzling but ultimately dizzying ride, a trippy suspenser that gets tripped up on its own deja vu voodoo.
  19. 58
    Lost in this beguiling labyrinth, Vanilla Sky is more fascinating as a bit of evidence than as a movie -- and ultimately less pleasing than most audiences will want.
  20. 70
    Crowe's tantalizing film sticks with you.
  21. 20
    Who would have thought that Cameron Crowe had a movie as bad as Vanilla Sky in him? It's a punishing picture, a betrayal of everything that Crowe has proved he knows how to do right.
  22. The film's aim -- to dazzle and inspire -- is sapped by Cruise's vein-popping, running-the-marathon performance.
  23. A mostly fascinating, often frustrating, boldly uncommercial Hollywood version of a boldly uncommercial art film. It's very atypical of the previous work of both director and star, and it's as personal a film, I suspect, as Cruise will ever make.
  24. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    30
    It's no wonder that Crowe can't generate any real feeling. The narrative is alien to him on every level. The ear-grating dialogue is a good indication that he didn't know what he was doing; he's usually pitch-perfect.
  25. Highly entertaining, erotic science-fiction thriller that takes Mr. Crowe into Steven Spielberg territory.
  26. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    20
    Every ambitious picturemaker should be allowed one wild misfire at no lasting cost to his reputation. Crowe (Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous) can now put this aside and go back to making good films.
  27. 40
    Crowe preserves the original film's plot twists and turns, but his version lumbers when it should be whipping along, daring you to keep up. The wall-to-wall pop music soundtrack eventually becomes oppressive, and Cruise's oily smile doesn't really constitute a characterization.
  28. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    63
    What works in a quirky foreign film can look silly with expansive Hollywood treatment. Crowe is smart enough to know this, so it's baffling he chose Vanilla over richer cinematic tastes.
  29. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    70
    The picture has vitality, a fine cast and excellent craft
  30. For better or worse, Vanilla Sky is a genuine, albeit jejune, statement of star consciousness -- blustery with self-awe and feverish with cataclysmic self-doubt.
  31. Its tone is unquenchably pretentious, and its scale is overblown.
  32. For all the filmmakers' efforts, this project is something of an artistic albatross. It's a conundrum that doesn't get answered until a sort of help-the-audience Cliffs Notes final scene, in which we learn Everything. But by then, more than a few of us may be wondering, was it all really worth the trouble?
  33. Overblown and idiotic, this new "erotic thriller" is neither erotic nor thrilling; it's long, boring and self-indulgent.
User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 182 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 76 out of 99
  2. Negative: 18 out of 99
  1. Aug 8, 2011
    10
    I disagree with many 'reviewers' and feel that this version is a much more polished movie than the original spanish movie. The soundtrack isI disagree with many 'reviewers' and feel that this version is a much more polished movie than the original spanish movie. The soundtrack is amazing and the suspense is real. An amazing achievement by Crowe. Full Review »
  2. Jun 10, 2013
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. I feel that blending genres is a very tough, but interesting, way of portraying a story. You take the different aspects and you don’t have to necessarily have equal amounts of each, but you do need to try to manage the quality for each. If one part is mediocre, why even have it? Vanilla Sky was a blend of a number of genres including drama, romance, psychological thriller, science-fiction, and a bit of mystery. Vanilla Sky may have had all of this, but I will proudly say that I loved each and every unique aspect.
    Vanilla Sky begins with the wealthy and sadly narcissistic, David Aames (Tom Cruise) waking up in his bed and going about his average morning with that smug grin he has. He drives from his house on his way to work and to his surprise; the streets of New York City are empty. Once he reaches the uninhabited Madison Square Garden, he begins to run in panic from his car. After running a good distance through the streets, he screams up into the sky and he wakes up from the nightmare. This scene may have little to do with the overall story, but I think it was an important sequence to show you what you’re in for. I will tell you now, Vanilla Sky is confusing. The story chronicles the wide and deranged psyche of a man who goes insane, so it’s going to challenge your mind as well. But this scene tells you up front that reality and dreamscape will be jumbled together in this film and you’re going to have to figure it out. I make this connection because the movie begins with him in the dream, so you really don’t know that it’s a dream until he wakes up. Then throughout the rest of the movie you are tossed in and out of consciousness without warning, but it all adds to the experience.
    Another thing that adds to the experience is the stylistic choices in this movie. I have seen some pretty stylistic movies in my life but man, this one had some style. The cinematography, the set pieces, the props, and the things people did were all so cool. Cameron Crowe did a fantastic job directing it too. I am a fan of Crowe, I liked Say Anything, loved Jerry Maguire, didn’t care much for Almost Famous, but he’s still a fantastic director and it shows in this one. There is a scene where Tom Cruise is in the lobby of L.E. screaming for tech support and the camera is spinning around him as he is standing in this empty room with his reflections surrounding him and this is one instance where the directing is very impressive. It really adds something and so does the soundtrack. This movie had such a collective soundtrack and every song fit so perfectly to the scene it was in. I’ll talk about the same scene I did before and say that the choice of “Good Vibrations” to be in that scene was awesome.
    There are many interpretations of Vanilla Sky and they all are interesting, but everyone has their own opinion. The twist in this movie is that everything that happened after David fell asleep on the sidewalk was a dream that he was having in cryogenic sleep. He had killed himself after the car accident when he found a place called Life Extensions or L.E. where he could sleep contently forever with the perfect life. For a while, he does live a perfect life, he gets his face repaired and Sofia back and it’s all good (he doesn’t know he is sleeping at this time). But as we all know, we can’t sleep for too long or else the dream can turn into a nightmare and when David begins to suspect something, that’s when it does. I think this is a really cool concept and I really enjoy it in this movie. This mixture of subjects has never been done before and I don’t think it ever will be again. Then the ending has multiple interpretations too. I believe that he chose to live a normal life and he decided to wake himself up from sleep and the end of the movie is him waking up from that sleep which happened to be 150 years. The moral of this story is that you can’t run from your problems forever. David says that he wants to live a normal life and doesn’t want to dream anymore meaning that he wants to take in the world for what it is and not live the perfect life he had always wanted because his problems even caught him there. The present is 150 years later so he can start over and take on the world without his handicaps like his father’s inheritance. They even bring that up; his finances won’t last long in this time.
    Vanilla Sky did get mixed reviews from critics, but in the end, I do not agree with any of them. I think that Vanilla Sky may have a few flaws, but it is still an entertaining and intellectually rewarding movie that actually contains some beauty. It has a good message and there are a few others I didn't even mention. The stylistic choices were cool and the acting and directing were great. Vanilla Sky is a massive blend of many genres that come together to make a thought provoking and entertaining film that actually works.
    Full Review »
  3. Nov 25, 2012
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. I have no idea what the plot is...which characters or scenes are actually happening and which are an 'altered reality'...no idea of whether (SPOILER ALERT...) the Cruise character is alive, dead or in some suspended state...in general, no idea of what's happening at all. Still, for some reason, I really like this movie. Full Review »