Cloud Atlas: Does a Movie with Reincarnation Succeed?

I was intrigued by the previews for Cloud Atlas, which seemed to promise a story of reincarnation, but I heard mixed things when it came out.

I rented it recently and I am really glad that I did. I absolutely loved it. Just the weaving of the stories alone was masterful. Take it from a trained novelist, that is not easy to do!

The same actors played different embodiments of the same soul and there was variety in those experiences as well as some behaviors that were prevalent in all that person’s incarnations. For example, I liked that Tom Hank’s characters tended to be selfish and greedy, but that was something he was able to overcome in one of his lives!

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It was so grand yet also about the little moments and choices in our lives and how they create our future. Most of all it showed the power of love in every age. Past, present, and future there are themes that make us human, but love most of all.

I highly recommend it.

It’s done by the same people as The Matrix, but I liked Cloud Atlas better myself.

I thought it might be confusing with all the different people and times and plots, but it wasn’t at all. I didn’t understand how it came together at first, but I just watched and let it be and eventually I saw what it built to.

I think this is the best kind of storytelling, which illuminates truths about the human condition and also brings us characters to care about.

(Also, I had no idea from the preview that it has such actors as Hugo Weaving, Hugh Grant, and Susan Sarandon along with Tom Hanks and Halle Berry) I know there’s been some criticism on having actors play races other than their own, but it was a necessity to the story: the same people are born in different times and places. And an Asian actress plays a woman who is worshiped as a Goddess for hundreds of years into the future, so it seems to me like the racial aspect is not so bad. But that’s just my perspective.

It will certainly intrigue you. I hope that you’ll rent it and let me know what you think!

About Ambaa

Ambaa is an American woman of European ancestry who is also a practicing Hindu. She is fascinated with questions of philosophy, culture, and the meaning of life. Join her in the journey to explore how a non-Indian convert to Hinduism experiences her religion.

  • Agni Ashwin

    I saw it. It was pretty good. I was hoping The Wachowskis (the writers/producers) would include the story of someone who was of one religion in one lifetime and of another religion in another; say, someone who was a Catholic nun, then in another life, was a Buddhist scientist.

    • Ambaa

      Oh, that would be interesting! I may have to write such a story myself!

  • A reader

    I haven’t seen the film, but I’m nearly finished reading the book. It’s very good, it’s more like a collection of short stories than a novel, with lots of different styles of writing. I am a bit confused, but maybe things will be clearer at there end. There are clues as to which character is which, but it’s very subtle. Pick up a copy if you can.

    • Ambaa

      Oooo, I haven’t read it! I really should. Thanks :)

    • Ambaa

      I definitely will! It sounds like an amazing and unique way to structure a book.

  • Edward Boyce

    I read the book and then saw the movie, and enjoyed both of them. One interesting part was the shift in tone. The book had space for more philosophical musing, while the movie had superb action sequences and changed one plot line to have an uplifting Hollywood ending.

    • Ambaa

      I love philosophical musing! I definitely need to add the book to my to-read list (and be careful because there is an unrelated book of the same name!)