Movie Summary of "What Dreams May Come"

by Doug Vintage

"What Dreams May Come" is a 1998 drama based on the 1978 novel by Richard Matheson. The movie stars Robin Williams, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Annabella Sciorra, and it was directed by Vincent Ward. The story follows a pair of soul mates through heaven and hell after they lose their children in a car accident.

Soul Mates Torn Apart

Chris Nielsen (Williams) is a doctor who meets an artist named Annie Collins (Sciorra) while vacationing in Italy. After a short time with one anther, they soon realize that fate brought them together. They quickly fall in love, get married, have two children, and begin living the perfect life. Then both their children die in a car accident. Collins-Nielsen is unable to cope with the loss and begins to lose faith in her marriage with Nielsen.

Journey to Heaven

While driving to meet his wife, Nielsen is involved in a car crash that takes his life. His soul remains on Earth, unable to move on. He visits Collins-Nielsen regularly, although she cannot see or hear him. He eventually decides to move on and enter heaven, where he is met by Albert Lewis (Cuba Gooding Jr.), a personal tour guide. Lewis shows Nielsen the many wonders of heaven, and they eventually encounter Nielsen's daughter Marie.

Journey to Hell

Unable to cope with the loss of her husband and children, Collins-Nielsen commits suicide. Nielsen is relieved to hear that her suffering is over, but he discovers that her soul is being sent to hell. Accompanied by Lewis, he embarks on a mission to rescue her soul from the depths of hell. Along the way, Lewis reveals himself to be Nielsen's son, Ian. The two find Collins-Nielsen's soul in a demonic version of their family home.

Conclusion (Spoilers)

Collins-Nielsen is unable to understand where she is or where she came from. She does not remember Nielsen, her children, or the actions that resulted in her death. Nielsen is eventually able to convince her to come to terms with her fate, and the entire family is reunited in heaven. The two soul mates then decide to return to Earth and start over. Nielsen and Collins-Nielsen are both reborn, and they meet one another as children in a new life.

About the Author

Doug Vintage has been a writer since 2008 and holds a bachelor's degree in computer science. His professional writing experience includes the research and creation of internal technology articles for several law firms including WilmerHale, Crowell & Moring and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.