‘Open Your Eyes’ made in 1997 was later remade in Hollywood as ‘Vanilla Sky’ with Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz but the Spanish original is better, even though they are almost identical.
How do we know the difference between dream and reality? How do we know when we are asleep? Aren’t we able to realize we were dreaming only after we woke up? Aren’t we just like Cesar whose dream changed into a nightmare before he realized that he was dreaming? The movie starts with a dream within a dream. We sometimes have this feeling that we have woken up and then realize later that we were still dreaming. It’s very uncanny. Cesar hears a female voice telling him to open his eyes. He leaves the house only to see the whole city of Madrid empty and abandoned. He then wakes up again and his lover Nuria is in his bed. We also find out that it was her voice that we heard at the very beginning.
Cesar soon gets to know Sophia and falls in love with her. He is a notorious womanizer and it’s hard to say if he really feels love for her or just an attraction that he usually feels for every new girl. Especially that when he leaves her house in the morning, he gets easily convinced by Nuria to go to her place. On their way there she crashes her car, trying to kill them both. He survives, but his face is disfigured. One evening he gets drunk and wakes up lying on the street and Sophia shows up out of nowhere to help him out and tells him that she loves him. We found out later that was the moment when he started dreaming his life.
Everything that happens after is just his imagination that slowly gets out of control and turns out against him. Sophia and Nuria start to blend into one person. He is trying to figure it out and finally gets to know the truth. He is asleep, hibernated, waiting for times when medicine develops enough to reconstruct his face. And that moment has come so all he has to do is to commit suicide in his dream, to finally wake up. When he does so, his whole life flashes before his eyes. We learn from the film that everything that happens to us is just happening in our head and that we can control things by controlling our mind. So we do have an impact on our life, once we start consciously deciding what we do and do not want, instead of living on an autopilot.
At the very end of the movie we hear a female voice again, telling Cesar to open his eyes. This time it sounds like Sophia’s voice but we know she is long dead. Or maybe he just fell asleep in her apartment the night he fell in love with her, had a nightmare and she is waking him up?