Review: Dream Scenario – Overnight fame

Directed by Kristoffer Borgli
Starring Nicolas Cage, Julianne Nicholson, Michael Cera


The issue with going viral, particularly when you’re an introvert who doesn’t want the attention, is explored in this amusingly biting satire. Tackling very modern topics these days, but relating them to the universal experience we have of dreaming, Dream Scenario can be very funny and it can be very emotional, as it’s led by the very funny and very emotional Nicolas Cage.

He plays Paul Matthews, and even his name is mild-mannered. He’s a friendly biology professor who seems to have an extraordinarily ordinary life with his family. But fame suddenly barges its way into his life when he becomes the subject of people’s dreams, starting with his family, then his students, and then complete strangers all around the world. They recall dreaming about this exact man in a wide range of scenarios that Paul cannot control. He humbly takes on his unexplainable viral fame, even working with a PR firm run by Trent (Michael Cera), though he wants it to get his biology book published rather than do commercials.

But as the dreams turn into nightmares, Paul finds himself becoming hated rather than admired, despite having zero control over the situation, especially as it strains on his marriage. This is a clever way to satirise the way people find themselves going viral, whether they like it or not, as well as the vitriolic and downright inhuman way people treat him in an online setting.

Cage does so well in a comedy-drama film like this because he’s been so good in both comedies and dramas before. He’s allowed himself to turn into a humble everyman, making himself as nondescript as possible, and as friendly as he seems, there’s still a sense of that Cage-like ferocity within him as he tries (and mostly fails) to navigate his way through his weird new life.

Just like the film itself, Cage can be so damn funny as much as he can be so damn dramatic. There’s plenty of jokes and heartfelt moments that will surely resonate in your minds (perhaps they might make it into your dreams). After making the similarly satirical Sick of Myself earlier this year, writer-director Kristoffer Borgli has made an even greater satire that has a special focus on its relatable main character.