Beyond the horizon

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German title Beyond the horizon
Original title What Dreams May Come
Country of production USA , New Zealand
original language English
Publishing year 1998
length 108 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Vincent Ward
script Ronald Bass
production Barnet Bain
Ronald Bas
Stephen Deutsch
Ted Field
Erica Huggins
Scott Kroopf
music Michael Kamen
camera Eduardo Serra
cut David Brenner
Maysie Hoy

Behind the Horizon (Original title: What Dreams May Come ) is a film drama from 1998. Directed by Vincent Ward , the screenplay was written by Ronald Bass based on a novel by Richard Matheson . Robin Williams played the main role . The original title is taken from the third Hamlet monologue (To be or not to be ), in which the main character considers death as a redeeming sleep for himself and, after recognizing the following, abandons his decision:

"[...] 'tis a consummation / devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep; / To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub; // For in that sleep of death what dreams may come / When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, / Must give us pause: […] "

( It is a consummation that is reverently longed for: to die ... to fall asleep ... to sleep and dream accidentally - yes, there is the catch, for the dreams that may await us in this sleep of death, when we are our mortal ones Sheath, must give us food for thought. )


The doctor Chris Nielsen met the American artist Annie Collins in Switzerland , whom he later married and with whom he was very closely connected by a rare soulmate. The couple have two children, but both son Ian and daughter Marie, both teenagers, and Chris are killed in car accidents in quick succession.

When Chris dies, he finds himself in a sky that he created with his imagination and that resembles a very colorful landscape painting by his wife Annie. Chris is accompanied by his two children in Heaven, but he is not aware of this at first because his son Ian appears as the African American Albert, who was once Chris' superior doctor and later friend. And his daughter Marie appears as the Asian Leona, a stewardess whom Chris once admired in front of his daughter on a flight. Only later does Chris find out the real identity of the people.

Meanwhile, Annie , who is still among the living, falls into depression due to the strokes of fate she has suffered , which expresses itself in Chris' colorful heavenly realm through the unusually still existing connection, through the soulmate to Chris, and which in turn affects Chris.

She makes her first suicide attempt. Another attempt by Annie to leave her life voluntarily is successful several months later, but she ends up as a suicide in the underworld, where she is condemned to be ignorant of her situation in order to experience eternity. A reunion of the two is therefore impossible. But Chris refuses to accept it and decides to find her and, if possible, save her.

On his exhausting search, Chris is accompanied by his son and his old friend and superior Albert, who appears as a wise scholar and tourist guide. What nobody thinks is possible happens. Chris finds his wife, but she doesn't recognize him. It is only through his decision to stay there with her forever and thus also to give up that salvation occurs. Both find themselves then in the colorful landscape, where the whole family is now reunited in real form.

Since everything is possible in the afterlife, what you want and imagine, the two decide to be born again in order to find each other again, to fall in love, to live life together, and then to die together at some point and then to be reunited with their children forever in heaven. The film ends with the two (reborn) children finding each other at a lake.


Cinema 12/1998 called the film “poor”.

TV Spielfilm 24/1998 praised the “grandiose” pictures, but also called the film “kitschy” in places; the online edition speaks of an “intelligent picture frenzy”.

Der Spiegel criticized the script and called the film a "devilish failed tearful oratorio".

“A visual masterpiece!” Praised Bayern 3 .

Lexicon of international film : “A film with an exceptionally brilliant color that puts the art of digital special effects at the service of a visually rich afterlife story; Both paradise and underworld are designed using important works of art. The contemporary vision of a solipsistically narrowed "baroque" paradise suffers from dramaturgical weaknesses, which even the stupendous compilation of architecture and painting cannot hide. The lack of any reflected reference to human existential experience, in which new mythologizing longings manifest themselves, is thought-provoking. "


The film won an Oscar for Best Visual Effects in 1999 and was nominated for Best Production Design.

The film won the 1999 Art Directors Guild Award , the Golden Satellite Award, and the International Monitor Award . Cuba Gooding Jr. won the Blockbuster Entertainment Award in 1999 and was nominated for the Image Award .


Production costs amounted to about 85 million US dollars . The film grossed around US $ 55.4 million in cinemas in the United States, plus around US $ 17 million in other countries. The soundtrack was originally composed and recorded by Ennio Morricone . After some editing, Michael Kamen's soundtrack was used in the film. The film opened in German cinemas on November 26, 1998.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Behind the horizon - film review at , accessed on April 10, 2020.
  2. Der Spiegel from November 23, 1998
  3. Beyond the Horizon. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used