The Science of Sleep

Rated 3.0

In the latest bittersweet, heart-shaped confection from director Michel Gondry, an aspiring artist (Gael García Bernal) embarks on a halting affair and a few haphazard DIY art projects with his apartment-house neighbor (Charlotte Gainsbourg), in spite and because of how tricky it is for them to communicate. Part of the challenge is that the young man prefers to live in a fantasy world, here rendered as an animated wonderland of miniature cardboard cities and hand-sewn stuffed animals. Working this time from his own script instead of from one by Charlie Kaufman, Gondry’s still self-involved but less self-serious—and also less plotty, freer for better and worse to drift along his streams of consciousness. At least the reveries of his stop-motion escapism, though inevitably grating, resist the tyranny of lifeless CGI. It’s Bernal, though, who provides the many mad-funny little moments of truth this movie needs; he deserves better than its cravenly ambiguous ending, its way of seeming hyper-articulate without saying much.