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Inception: Dream or Reality?

Movies are often so unrealistic they can only occur in dreams. However this summer, a movie not only dreamlike, but about dreams within dreams, grossed $60 million by its first weekend and is still the most discussed movie of the summer: Inception.

“A confusing yet mind-blowing movie,” as described by Blair Scott ’11, Inception is a film about the inability to differentiate dreams from reality, also suggesting that dreams are a representation of our deepest thoughts and feelings.

Many who watched Inception were amazed by the astounding visual effects of cities folding up like sheets of paper and of characters floating in the air as if in zero gravity. But most of all, viewers were intrigued by the concept of dreams as our second world, our other reality, and our own inability to discern what reality is.

Some believe the entire movie is a dream, although it seems like reality, posing the question: is our perception of reality only a dream? But what really happens in the end?

Has Cobb, the main character played by Leonardo DiCaprio, awakened, or is he still dreaming as he runs towards his children, the talisman still spinning on the table top as the screen blacks out?

Michael Caine, who plays Cobb’s father-in-law, offered his interpretation of the ending in relation to his role in the movie; the spinning top “drops at the end, that’s when I come back on. If I’m there it’s real, because I’m never in the dream. I’m the guy who invented the dream,” explained Caine.

Critics have complained that there are too many confusing and unexplained mysteries. Discovery News declared, “Cobb is an international fugitive being sought on murder charges for the death of his wife. But this doesn’t make any sense as she commited suicide by jumping out of a window and forensic detectives can easily tell the difference between a suicide jumper and one who was pushed, therefore there’s no way Cobb would or could ever have been charged for murder.”

These critics can challenge it as they wish, but the reality remains that Inception has proved a national phenomena, encouraging audiences to question the meaning of their own lives, and has initiated widespread, meaningful debate.