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From 'Lost in Translation' to 'The Grand Budapest Hotel', here are 11 movies (and one bonus series!) that’ll have you feeling like you’re lost in a dream.

| By Erin Elizabeth | Journal

11 Movies That Feel Like Dreams

From 'Lost in Translation' to 'The Grand Budapest Hotel', here are 11 movies (and one bonus series!) that’ll have you feeling like you’re lost in a dream.

We’ve all done it.

Woken up from a dream so profound we’ve hazily typed a bunch of keywords or phrases into our notes app, convinced our morning selves will be able to decipher the message revealed to us in our altered state of consciousness. Alas, morning arrives, and the sentence “meaning of life is in the golden pillow of neighbour’s shoe” means nothing. In the immortal words of Cilla Black; "Surprise, surprise."

Sometimes, it’s best to leave it to the professionals. Directors like Wes Anderson, Sofia Coppola, and Michel Gondry, have all mastered the art of creating dreamlike films that blur the line between reality and fantasy. From Lost in Translation to Grand Budapest Hotel, here are 11 movies (and one bonus series!) that’ll have you feeling like you’re lost in a dream.

1. Lost in Translation

Where can I watch it? Apple TV+

Featuring the most mysterious whisper in film history, Sofia Coppola’s enchanting comedic romance starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson has earned a cult-like following for good reason. Set in Tokyo, Bob Harris (Bill Murray) meets a bored Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) in their hotel bar, and they form an unexpected and unconventional bond. In Coppola’s signature style, the film explores both the strength and fragility of human connection.

2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Where can I watch it? Apple TV+

From the flawless mind of Michel Gondry, this iconic 2004 film caused widespread heartbreak upon its release – and likely a rapid increase in blue and orange hair dye sales. Joel (played by Jim Carey) seeks to have the memories of his ex-girlfriend Clementine (Kate Winslet) erased so he doesn’t have to endure the heartbreak of losing her. Poignant and profound, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind leaves us to ponder, is it better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all?

3. Mulholland Drive

Where can I watch it? Binge

Los Angeles without smog or traffic sounds like a dream, and in David Lynch’s iconic 2001 surrealist thriller, Mulholland Drive, it is. Rita (Laura Elena Harring) wanders the streets of Los Angeles in an amnesic daze post-car crash, only to end up in the apartment of young Hollywood hopeful, Betty (Naomi Watts). As they unite to solve the mystery of Rita’s identity, the film features just as many twists and turns as the renowned stretch of road it’s named after, with reality and fantasy merging lanes for one screeching reveal.

4. Black Swan

Where can I watch it? Disney+

Forget everything you think you know about the world of professional ballet, because Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan will pirouette it on its head. Horror and mystery meet in this Academy Award-winning film that follows a ballerina’s descent into madness as she becomes obsessed with keeping her role as the White Swan, Princess Odette. Natalie Portman gives a spectacular and convincing performance as Nina, delivering a series of gasp-worthy twists that will keep you on your toes – or should we say, on pointe.

5. Garden State

Where can I watch it? Stan

Natalie Portman strikes again in this comedic romance backed by a Grammy-award-winning soundtrack that defined a generation. Directed by and starring Zach Braff, the story is based on Braff’s own experiences, opening with struggling actor Andrew Largeman waking up from a tumultuous dream to the news of his mother’s death. Upon returning home to New Jersey to grieve with his family, he meets and falls in love with Sam, a pathological liar who introduces him to “the song that will change his life.” Little do they both know; it will actually be her that does.

6. La La Land

Where can I watch it? Stan

In one of Hollywood’s greatest powerhouse pairings, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone play Sebastian and Mia, lovers on a mission to make their dreams come true in LA. What ensues is a vibrant, colourful, and whimsical musical journey that provides a heavy dose of escapism and romance – but beneath the singing and dancing lies a solemn lesson about ambition, reality, and the cost of success.

7. The Wizard of Oz

Where can I watch it? Binge

A classic in every sense of the word, with a yellow-bricked road that leads a young girl named Dorothy Gale (the inimitable Judy Garland) on a fantastical journey after being swept

away from her home in Kansas to the magical land of Oz. Based on L. Frank Baum's popular 1900 children’s book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, it has taught countless generations about the power of imagination, the magic transporting ability of sparkly ruby slippers, and the versatility of the phrase, “Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

8. Moonrise Kingdom

Where can I watch it? Binge

Wes Anderson’s cinematic aesthetic is unlike any other – his distinctive use of colour, symmetry, costume, and set design has earned him widespread adoration and spawned countless trends. 2012’s Moonrise Kingdom made school camp look chic, inspiring the boy/girl scout trend to extend from fashion to interiors and everything in between. Set in1965 on an island off New England, the film follows twelve-year-olds Sam and Suzy as they fall in love and attempt to run away into the eye of a storm.

9. The Grand Budapest Hotel

Where can I watch it? Disney+

Another Wes Anderson classic, The Grand Budapest Hotel balances darkness, quirk, and comedy to great effect. A story within a story within a story, follows four different timelines beginning in 1932 across a 17-actor ensemble cast starring Ralph Fiennes, Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray and more. With Anderson’s cinematic style spectacularly on show, he weaves a tale of murder, fortune-hunting, and fascism together with humour and charm.

10. Inception

Where can I watch it? Binge

14 years before Oppenheimer, director Christopher Nolan explored “the idea of people sharing a dream space that gives you the ability to access somebody's unconscious mind” in Inception. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Elliot Page, the film takes place in interconnected dream worlds, with spinning tops, dice and chess pieces distinguishing one dream from another.

11. Dream Scenario

Where can I watch it? Apple TV+

Nicholas Cage’s latest role isn’t what you’d expect from the action aficionado, but his performance as biology professor Paul Matthews in this new film by Norwegian director Kristoffer Borgli is brilliant. Exploring the ups and downs of fast-found fame, Paul is catapulted to stardom after millions of strangers start seeing him in their dreams. With no control over the dreams or how he behaves in them, his life starts to take a turn in a nightmarish direction.

12. Severance

Where can I watch it? Apple TV+

Bonus round! Though a show and not a film, we couldn’t leave this Emmy-winning sci-fi psychological thriller of a series off the list. Season 1 is centred around Lumon Industries, a Biotech corporation that separates the memories of their employees based on when they’re on and off the clock via a procedure dubbed “Severance.” Once they’re at work, they have no memory of their outside lives. Sound familiar? Look out – maybe you’ve been severed yourself.

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