Color as Metaphor in Film What Dreams May Come

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Looking at landscape art, especially when painted by one of the masters, many have undoubtedly pondered: what would it be like to live there? Shapes and attention to detail are, of course, important in a painting. However, it is color that draws the eye and inspires the heart. Oscar Wilde, an Irish poet and dramatist, spoke well of this when he noted that, “Mere color, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways. (qtd in “color”)”. Vincent Ward had a similar understanding of this impact when, in 1998, he directed the movie What Dreams May Come. Looking at this film, one can easily imagine being inside a living painting. The use of color to emphasize the emotional state of a character or event is common in films; nevertheless, Director Ward goes even farther in using color to represent the actual characters themselves. Red is the shade chosen to signify Annie and likewise, blue is used for Chris. Both of these, as will be shown, are accurate in defining these fictitious people. However, it is the profound use of purple in this film that is the true focal point. When mixing red and blue paint, one would find that, after being mixed, they cannot be separated. Likewise, this is true of the life and love these characters build and share. Purple represents the many ways in which Chris and Annie are melded, and joined. Annie is, by nature, an energetic, passionate and sometimes unstable person. Happy or sad, she extends the same amount of herself into every emotion, action and choice. Around the globe, red is “[r]ecognized as a stimulant, [and]…inherently exciting (qtd. in “Red”)”. Also, red symbolizes danger, and is used quite often to signify potentially harmful or unsa... ... middle of paper ... ... truly understand the hidden meanings and undertones, one must acknowledge the importance if these colors. Purple, in any shade, cannot exist without red and blue. That being said, purple plays the major role in representing the complexly joined life, death, and afterlife of Chris and Annie. Works Cited “Color.” Proverbia.net. n.p., 2009. Web. 6 November 2010. Smith, Kate. Sensational Color. 2010. 6 Nov. 2010 . All about the Color Blue Smith, Kate. Sensational Color. 2010. 6 Nov. 2010 . All about the Color Red Smith, Kate. Sensational Color. 2010. 6 Nov. 2010 . All about the Color Purple What Dreams May Come. dir. Vincent Ward. perf. Robin Williams, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Annabella Sciorra. DVD. Polygram Filmed Entertainment, 1998.

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