Reviewed by: W.J. Kimble
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…
It is a sad reality, in the church of God today, that men and women alike still feel condemned and unworthy even though they have accepted Christ as their Savior. Paul says this ought not to be. For whom Christ has forgiven there is peace and joy, not condemnation. Many have not allowed God’s Word to transform their minds and renew their spirits. They believe that He has forgiven them; but they hold fast to their self-condemning thoughts and ways. They feel unworthy, unacceptable, guilty and full of shame.
“What Dreams May Come” addresses this issue (in-directly). Annie Nielsen (Annabella Sciorra, “Cop Land”) is living in Hell because she refuses to accept the reality that life is full of hope and love. She has created a hell from which no one can deliver her. She has convinced herself that life isn’t worth living and that her destiny is to live eternally bereft of peace, joy and contentment.
Annie’s nightmare begins after the death of her children, Ian (Josh Paddock) and Marie (Jessica Brooks). Devastated, Annie loses sight of the joys that life can bring; even her husband, Chris (Robin Williams), who has tried everything he can to help her find fulfillment and happiness, fails. Annie’s pain is too great and she remains lost in her own little world of sorrow and grief. To add to her grief, Chris dies in an awful accident; and Annie, who can no longer endure the pain, commits suicide.
Chris, confused and somewhat dismayed, discovers that his children are in Heaven and his beloved Annie is in Hell. Grief-stricken and determined that love conquers all, Chris seeks the aid of a tracker (Max von Sydow, “Jesus” in “The Greatest Story Ever Told”, “The Seventh Seal”, “Flash Gordon”), who has the ability to help Chris descend into the depths of Hell and finds his long-lost wife. Together they trek through the foreboding abyss where they find Annie frightened, alone, and living in a world of her own making. Chris, convinced that they are meant to live together forever, tenderly and lovingly wins her back and together they rekindle the love they once had.
“What Dreams May Come” sadly propagates the New Age concept that we create our Heaven and our Hell. If, in this life, we paint a tapestry that is dark and dreary, then it will come to be. If we believe that life is sweet and precious, it will be so. We are the painters and we design the outcome. While psychologically this is correct, spiritually speaking, this is an erroneous and terribly deceitful concept. We can do all we can to ensure our place in Heaven, but unless we accept Christ as our Savior, all is in vain. There is no other way! You can be good, honest and live a wholesome life; yet, Hell awaits you unless you repent and receive Christ as your Savior. Furthermore, Christ said, “I go to prepare a place for you…” He is the master builder, not we. While we can choose our destiny, He (alone) is the creator of Heaven and of Hell.
Since, “New Agers” believe in reincarnation, “What Dreams May Come” disseminates this philosophy with great gusto. It unashamedly discusses it throughout the movie. The truth is: there are no second chances. Either you accept Christ as your Savior now, in this lifetime, or find yourself in Hell! There are no other options!
As much as we like the idea of Chris coming to his wife’s rescue and saving her from this awful dilemma, we must realize that it is entirely impossible. The Scripture teaches that those in Heaven cannot go to those who are in Hell. In Luke 16:26 it says, “And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence” (KJV).
“What Dreams May Come” has profanity spoken at the most inappropriate times. There is some brief nudity as well. In one scene, Annie dives into the lake without any clothes on and we see just a brief glimpse of part of her bare bottom. Also, a young girl draws a stream of urine flowing from the genitals (of a classical painting) of a naked man.
While, the story line is hard to follow at times, you can sort out the discrepancies and enjoy the movie. Cuba Gooding Jr. (“Jerry Maguire”), does a splendid job portraying an angel/spirit guide. By the way, there are no such things as spirit guides. Angels are God’s messengers and they are sent to help us; but spirit guides, as the new-agers teach it, are not sent from God. Talk to your pastor about this, if you are confused.
My friends, if you (like Annie) have done something that you feel is unforgivable, remember, Christ knows what you’ve done; and yet, He stands ready to forgive you and enables you to forgive yourself, too! If you haven’t asked Christ to forgive you, won’t you do so now? If you have, won’t you let Christ complete His work in you? You deserve His peace, love and forgiveness. John said, “And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.” I John 1:4 (KJV). Read the Scriptures. Let those words renew your mind and set you free!
Year of Release—1998