Linklater, in a god-like position (well, he is the director...) states the claim that lucid dreaming could be 'tastes' of the afterlife. A little hint of what is waiting. Is this his personal opinion or is he 'playing the role of God' considering his position in the making of the film? Again, we get wrapped into this dream. The dream is confusing, the film is all over the place - jumping from fiction to what could be fact. But this merely makes the film more involving. You are not watching mainstream cinema - this is film as art.
Animation for Adults
The artistic style that is used in 'Waking Life' preceeds 'A Scanner Darkly', whereby Linklater shows varying uses and different styles of animation-on-top-of-live-action - apparently called 'rotascoping'. This gives him an opportunity to experiment and find out the scope of such a style. I would personally assume that this entire film was merely taking advantage of the medium and exploring it - the fact that he could release it and make money off of it shows a more business-savvy element to Linklater. Though it does suit the theme - dreams, lucid dreams and an attempt at visually a subject that - as any lucid dreamer knows - is hard to pin down.
How do you show the fluidity of movement between rooms - a fluidity that, in a dream remains normal, but when you think back you can't understand how such a movement could happen.
I shall close this brief overview here. This is an experiment. Using fascinating themes and discussion topics to keep you interested, but ultimately an experiement. The maxim "Sanity is a madness put to good uses; waking life is a dream controlled." is where the title comes from and it is Linklaters masterful direction that makes the viewer stick with it. Its interesting reading synopsis' for the film, as I feel this narrative is merely what binds everything together. It is, as Roger Ebert described the film "a cold shower of bracing, clarifying ideas" - but ideas without a character you root for or a narrative you expect an ending from. That is a unique type of film to enjoy and I am unsure whether I did enjoy it. But maybe that is merely my dreamlike confusion upon finishing the film...