User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 180 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 35 out of 180

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  1. Sep 18, 2014
    10
    For a movie that is 13 years old now and is buried in the past, this is truly a great movie for those that like this kind of film. It really isn't meant for everyone and I can understand where the displeasure from critics and users alike. However, if you like science fiction thrillers, romance thrillers or mind-bending movies, this movie is for you. It's similar to the likes of Jacobs Ladder to put it in perspective. I'd at least say watch it through once and see what you think. Personally, I think critics were too harsh on this film and that follow the users score more since the users seem to actually understand this film more. I loved this movie and I hope if you watch it that you will too! Expand
  2. Dec 4, 2013
    6
    Vanilla Sky is, fundamentally, a movie about lucid dreaming. And there is something about it that only lucid dreamers will recognize. Sadly, it's a bit downhill from there. While Vanilla Sky is a solid effort, it's unfortunately short of genius. The very project is a bit curious. Is Cameron Crowe, the permanent teenager responsible for perfectly good yet light-as-a-feather comedies like Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous, up to the challenge of remaking a Spanish psychodrama? Crowe goes through the motions, and from time to time he proves that he can handle heavier material, but Vanilla Sky is too murky to be much more than a holiday distraction far from the cult classic that the original Abre los Ojos (Open Your Eyes) has become. However... Cameron Crowe's DVD commentary track is one of the best I've heard. While he's overly proud of the middling achievement, he's honest about the tepid reaction from test audiences, and he does provide a little extra context for the various interpretations of the movie. (Also of note, this is the first commentary I've heard with a musical score: someone (Crowe's wife, Nancy Wilson) playing acoustic guitar. Crowe also phones up his stars during the recording... bizarre.) Unfortunately, none of this can make Penélope Cruz a good actress. An interview with songwriter Paul McCartney, two featurettes, and assorted trailers round out the disc. Vanilla Sky has moments of brilliance and bears a certain style, but the movie is neither simple enough for sheer popcorn-thriller fun nor complex enough for true psychodrama buffs. It lies somewhere in a middle ground, and anyone that tells you different... needs to open his eyes. Expand
  3. Sep 23, 2013
    7
    There is some psychological pressure along the movie, but the story do not seem natural and honestly it is a bit boring in the middle and the ending from my point of view is the thing called deus ex machina, it does not look logical. Overall a decent movie.
  4. Jun 10, 2013
    8
    This review contains spoilers. 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.
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  5. Nov 25, 2012
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click expand 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. Expand
  6. Apr 13, 2012
    9
    You either understand this film or you don't.....and that alone would base the difference between a positive or negative review. This film is indeed a glorious mess........that's what it intends to be and yet, in the final few moments of the film, it bunches up into something that somehow works. In the end, the story hits you in the gut and calls into question every character that you've grown accustomed to throughout the duration, and it asks you to let it all go. So devastating but so courageous and raw. Performances all around are top-notch, including Diaz, who does some of her best work here. Expand
  7. 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 is amazing and the suspense is real. An amazing achievement by Crowe.
  8. Jan 22, 2011
    10
    A well put together and interesting movie. Honestly, it is insane that it has such a low critic score. If you like movies that keep you guessing like Fight Club or Eternal Sunshine, then you will enjoy this movie. It's confusing because it's meant to be and it triumphs in being entertaining until the end reveal. And on a second viewing, everything makes sense and is one cohesive picture. As others point out, there are many Fantasy vs. Reality films out there, many with more shocking "twists", but Vanilla Sky is a gripping movie in it's own right and me and my friends definitely enjoyed watching it even now, a decade after it's original release. Expand
  9. Sep 10, 2010
    10
    Wow. A 45% from critics?

    This just shows how little credence you should pay to professional opinions on works of art. This movie floored me and stuck with me for years. To come here and see it scored below dreck like Doctor Dolittle and Zombie Strippers is an absolute insult.

    If you're a fan of high concept science fiction and have at least a triple digit IQ, you owe it to yourself to
    watch this movie and come to your own conclusions. Criminally underrated. Expand
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. 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.
  2. If Crowe's eyes are open, he seems to have directed most of Vanilla Sky with his mind wide shut.
  3. 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?