The Science Of Sleep
Probably the only film where you could say Gael Garcia Bernal sleepwalks through his role without dissing the performance.
Gondry's on similar turf to Eternal Sunshine here, going for an all-out assault on dream logic, framing a romance (of sorts) between arty neighbours Bernal and Charlotte Gainsbourg around Bernal's lifelong inability to distinguish dreams from reality. A subtle playfulness lets the film get away with an elevated level of whimsy here, with stop motion animation used to great effect to play out the REM moments.
A Mexican who's moved to Paris to be with his mother after his father's death, Bernal gets stuck in an office where they make calendars. There the rituals of dealing with boredom soon match the dreams he stages from the cardboard-filled TV studio in his mind. The dialogue skips freely between English, French and a little Spanish to great effect, really giving a sense of lives lived on an international level.
Great music throughout (including a cute rewriting of the Velvets' After Hours), fluid direction and a story that justifies the extended dream logic - this is a confident, charming, modern fromage-free romance that manages to be both cute and occasionally moving. Funny too - Bernal's inventions like the One Second Time Machine or the 3D Glasses For Real Life really come in handy.