Vanilla Sky (2001)

Vanilla Sky is a psychological science fiction thriller that was released in 2001. It is a remake of a Spanish film titled Open Your Eyes (1997) and was directed, written, and co-produced by Cameron Crowe. Other producers credited include Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner. It stars Tom Cruise, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Kurt Russell, Jason Lee, and more.

Vanilla Sky was released to mixed reviews. Some critics stand it was one of the best films of all time while others found it puzzling and unorganized. It won 4 awards, was nominated for an Oscar and holds a 42% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. However, the audience rating is much higher at 72%. Danny Graydon from BBC touted the film as, “a tremendously vivid work which rewards patience and attention with a wonderful and exhilarating resonance.”

In Vanilla Sky, David Aames (Tom Cruise) is an arrogant and vain owner of a large publishing company left to him by his parents. The film begins with Aames in prison and telling a court-appointed psychologist, Dr. Curtis McCabe (Kurt Russell), the story of his life. Through different flashbacks, we start to learn about the trials and tribulations of Aames’ life living like a playboy in Manhattan. Aames soon meets Sofia Serrano (Penélope Cruz) and falls deeply in love with her, vowing to give up his womanizing ways. All of this in spite of the fact that Serrano is Brian Shelby’s (Jason Lee) girlfriend, who happens to be Aames’ best friend.

Unbeknownst to Aames, his current and very jealous lover Julie Gianni (Cameron Diaz) is following him and Serrano. After a night spent in Serrano’s apartment, Aames goes to leave and is offered a ride by Gianni who catches him outside. It doesn’t take long before she reveals how jealous she is of Serrano and decides to intentionally crash the car to kill them both. While Gianni dies, Aames is left alive and terribly disfigured, causing him to wear a prosthetic mask around most other people.

Thankfully, advancements in surgery and the love of Serrano eventually bring Aames back around. His face is reconstructed to look like it was before and he and Serrano are living a perfect, happy life together. Everything seems to be going great until Aames begins to experience strange oddities and incidents. The eerie events cause Aames to start questioning his reality and even his very existence. Is the world he lives in actually real or is it somehow all just a dream?

Vanilla Sky is a wild ride of a film that will leave you many questions before you ever start to get any answers. It is well thought out and written and will leave you with some thought-provoking surprises at the end.