Vanilla Sky

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Vanilla Sky Movie Poster Image
Some surface appeal, but ultimately vacant.
  • R
  • 2001
  • 136 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 3 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Character uses women.

Violence

Characters killed, tense scenes of peril.

Sex

Very explicit sexual situations and references.

Language

Very strong language.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink, get drunk.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie has very strong language and explicit sexual situations and references. One character smothers another, and a different character kills herself and is unsuccessful at killing her lover. The facial disfigurement is graphically portrayed and may be very upsetting to some viewers.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byRachel D April 9, 2008

What???

I can't believe this movie was such a hit! Again, another story which leaves you depressed, empty and disgusted. Nothing of value.
Adult Written byjumpinbini April 9, 2008
I thought that this was one of the most horrible movies that I've ever seen. Not only is it confusing, it is way too long and I got really bored in it. Bas... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byKennyMcCormick February 17, 2012

Awesome movie!

Awesome movie! Strong sex scenes and some violence. For mature people.
Teen, 13 years old Written byKirbyKon November 3, 2011

Vanilla Sky

The storyline was confusing and there was a man (Cruise) who jumps off a building and commits suicide, they get drunk, use very expilicit language, and VERY bad... Continue reading

What's the story?

VANILLA SKY is a trippy mind game movie about a rich, successful, handsome, but superficial man named David (Tom Cruise), whose life turns upside down when he meets a woman who stirs him (because she is "guileless"). But then he must pay the price for his casual negligence. A woman becomes jealous, and drives them both off an embankment. She is killed, and he is badly hurt and disfigured. The life he took for granted is shattered. At this point, a fairly conventional narrative is shattered, like David's arm and his face. It becomes impossible to say much more about it without spoiling the surprises. David tries to piece together his story and we do the same, though sometimes based on conflicting information.

Is it any good?

Vanilla Sky has a lot of surface appeal, but at its core it is as vacant as the story's main character. It tries to be a sort of Sixth Sense with sex. Like Cast Away, this is something of a vanity production. I suspect that Tom Hanks created the ultimate acting exercise for himself, based on what he feared most – being separated from his family. Cruise, who also produced this movie by purchasing the rights to the original, Spanish-language version, has done the same here. He may have chosen what he fears most – losing his looks and easy grace, losing his knack for owning the room. And, like Hanks, he selected a story that provides the opportunity for tour-de-force acting. In many scenes, Cruise's famous face is covered with a latex mask, leaving him only his body and his eyes to convey all of the character's emotions.

Cruise works hard and makes some arresting choices. Cameron Diaz turns in a terrific performance and Tilda Swinton is excellent in a brief role as an executive. But Kurt Russell seems a little lost as a therapist, and Penelope Cruz, repeating her role from the original, says her lines as though she is not really fluent in English yet.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why David feels unsatisfied at the beginning of the movie, and whether he should have made a pass at the woman his best friend brought to a party. How much of the world around us do we control? How much would you like to control? If given the choice presented to David at the end of the movie, what would you choose?

Movie details

For kids who love thrills

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