Inception Speech

'Inception' Ending in Graduation Speech

InceptionInceptionLeft one very big question hanging, and five years later fans are still talking about it. And so is Christopher Nolan. While giving a commencement speech at Princeton University, the director touched upon the much-debated final sequence of his dream-world epic. Read the Christopher Nolan Inception ending comments after the jump. (Spoilers for Inception follow, obviously.)

I’ll be frank: If you’re hoping for a simple “yes, the top falls over” or “no, the top doesn’t fall over, ” all of this Christopher Nolan Inception ending talk is going to disappoint you. But if you’d like some Inception-flavored life advice from the director of Inception himself, you’re in the right place.

Nolan addressed the class of 2015 with some thoughts on reality versus dreams.

In the great tradition of these speeches, generally someone says something along the lines of ‘Chase your dreams, ’ but I don’t want to tell you that because I don’t believe that. I want you to chase your reality.

I feel that over time, we started to view reality as the poor cousin to our dreams, in a sense. […] I want to make the case to you that our dreams, our virtual realities, these abstractions that we enjoy and surround ourselves with — they are subsets of reality.

He continued, drawing upon his own reality-versus-dreams movie Inception:

The way the end of that film worked, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character Cobb — he was off with his kids, he was in his own subjective reality. He didn’t really care anymore, and that makes a statement: perhaps, all levels of reality are valid. The camera moves over the spinning top just before it appears to be wobbling, it was cut to black.

I skip out of the back of the theater before people catch me, and there’s a very, very strong reaction from the audience: usually a bit of a groan. The point is, objectively, it matters to the audience in absolute terms: even though when I’m watching, it’s fiction, a sort of virtual reality. But the question of whether that’s a dream or whether it’s real is the question I’ve been asked most about any of the films I’ve made. It matters to people because that’s the point about reality. Reality matters.

In essence, Nolan seems to be saying that your subjective reality is what’s important, not endless obsessing over dreams. To that end, he encouraged the graduates to apply their newly acquired talents to improving the world. “It’s very important that people are really affected by what you do, ” he said.

While Nolan continued to dance around the Inception totem question, he did settle an ongoing argument about another one of his films: yes, Batman went to Princeton. But, Nolan continued, to the delight of the newly minted Princeton alums, “He didn’t graduate. So as of tomorrow, you are all already better than Batman.”

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