Open Your Eyes was directed by Alejandro Amenabar and stars Eduardo Noriega as Cesar and Penelope Cruz as Sofia. It was remade as Vanilla Sky by Cameron Crowe with Tom Cruise.
We are introduced into the world of Cesar from the very first moment of the film Open Your Eyes. With the screen black, an alarm clock goes off repeating the phrase ‘Open Your Eyes’ and the camera shows us Cesar’s point of view as he wakes up and shuts the alarm off. Before ever hearing or seeing the character we are connected to him on a deep level. For all intents and purposes we are Cesar and we’ll be trying to figure out what is going on step by step with him throughout the movie.
Cesar is a young man who sleeps with a lot of women and doesn’t like to be seen with the same one twice, thinking that it will ruin his reputation. He doesn’t have to work much because his parent’s were rich and they died when he was younger, leaving him with a lot of money and without much guidance. The woman that Cesar wakes up next to in the opening scene seems to be an ordinary fling for the playboy, but turns out to be something different altogether. At his birthday party she shows up uninvited and tries to seduce him, but Cesar has another girl on his mind. Sofia, a woman that showed up with Cesar’s best friend, has caught his eye and they hit it off immediately. Cesar even explains (in voice over that is more than it seems) that he may actually be feeling love as the two spend the night together without having sex.
As Cesar leaves Sofia’s house the next morning the uninvited guest shows up again and convinces him to take a ride with her. In a desperate act of a mentally sick woman, she drives her car off of the rode, killing herself and scarring Cesar’s face terribly.
You may think that I am giving away too much, but that is just the beginning of a film that challenges your notions of reality and fantasy and asks which you would prefer. There is never a moment when we are sure if what we see is a dream or reality. At one point Cesar even explains to a psychiatrist that he likes sitting on the floor because “It’s the only thing that seems real.”
Looking back on the film is like trying to decipher my own dreams. Not just ordinary dreams, but the ones that stay with you after you wake up. The ones that make you feel sad, angry, or completely confused even after you realize that it was ‘only a dream’. Then there are daydreams about the perfect life and the way you want things to turn out. Can everything turn out the way you want? Cesar wants it to and at one point it seems to be turning around for him. We all go through times like that. Times that make us love life and never want to sleep because our reality is so much better than our dreams. But one day we wake up and find that our face isn’t the same as it was yesterday and the people we love don’t look or act the same as they did when we fell in love with them.
Movies that stay with you for days don’t come around very often. But, Open Your Eyes continually comes to my mind. Kind of like a powerful dream.