First Time Watching: Inception

Before you say anything, I just want to let you know that this was not intentional. I did not intentionally watch a Leonardo DiCaprio movie for the first time, two weeks in a row. In fact, I was shocked he was in Inception. Didn’t expect to see him at all.

DiCaprio? With all that hair? How on earth did he get there?

10 points if you got the polka dot shorts reference.

If he pops up in the movie I watch next week, I’m buying a lottery ticket.

When Inception came out, I had no idea what it was about. All I knew was that my friends would see something, or take the contents of a conversation, and refer to it as, “Inception!!!”

Does anyone else remember that phase, or am I the only one who experienced it?

After this happened about 147 times, I caught on that “Inception” probably referred to something that was happening inside of something else.

It’s weird what we take away from movies, isn’t it? I watched this movie and never in a million years, would I think to start saying, “Inception!!!” in the real world.

Same with the movie, Groundhog Day. People say “It’s like Groundhog Day” all the time whenever they’re referring to something that happens over and over again.

And I just have to ask, are you all puppets?

Never mind.


I went into this movie expecting to be thoroughly confused. Sure enough, I was.

You know how back in the day you would go to Blockbuster, pick out a movie on VHS, and go home, only to find that whoever had the movie before you, hadn’t rewound all the way to the beginning?

If you pressed play, you’d be right in the middle of the movie.

That was a really roundabout (and unnecessary) way of me to say, it felt like Inception started in the middle and forced the viewer to catch up. It wasn’t until I was about 40 minutes in, that I started to piece everything together and understand what was happening.

By the end, I felt like I knew what was going on. After reading the “plot” section on Wikipedia, I can tell you that I picked up on about 85% of the stuff in the movie.

Don’t expect me to retell it. Oh no. C’est impossible.

Look at that, I’m speaking French.

I’m noticing a (scary?) trend developing whenever I finish watching a movie for the first time. I immediately put myself in the seat of a high school student and think about whether or not I’d be able to write an in-class essay about the movie right then and there.

I don’t know if this means I’m traumatized, or if I’m just resorting to what I know.

With this movie, I don’t know if I’d be able to write about it right away. There was a lot to digest and retelling the whole thing feels like a giant hassle.

So, here is my very abbreviated synopsis.


Inception is about a guy named Cobb (no relation to Corn) and his pal Arthur (no relation to the aardvark), who specialize in stealing information from others by infiltrating their subconscious via a shared dream.

A guy named Saito is a wealthy businessman. He has a competitor. That competitor has a son. Saito tasks Cobb and Arthur with planting an idea into that son’s subconscious, so when his dad dies, the son dissolves the business. Thus, Saito will no longer have competition.

To do this, they must achieve “inception” which is a dream within a dream. Naturally, they assemble a team to help them, and proceed to create a multi-layered dream that can be confusing for the viewer to follow, yet second-nature for the characters involved.

Oh yeah, Cobb is played by Leonardo DiCaprio. His wife jumped off a ledge to her death and made it look like Cobb did it, so he can’t go home to his kids. It’s complicated. Something about 50 years in “limbo”. It’s a whole thing. I won’t talk your ear off.

But, anyway, Cobb’s subconscious interrupts the “Create-A-Dream” thing they got going on because he can’t let his wife, Mal, go.

Eventually, they complete their tasks and the authorities no longer want to arrest Cobb. He goes home to his kids. The end.

I think that sums up the movie rather well, don’t you?

I don’t have much to say about it, but I’ll talk about the things that stood out.

The Titanic Reference

Very early in the movie, there is a scene where Mal and Cobb are on a boat and Mal asks him something along the lines of, “If I jump, would I survive?”

I honestly thought they put this scene in the movie just for me. Surely, they would’ve known that I just saw Titanic last week, so the whole “jumping off a boat” thing would be fresh in my mind.

I was fully expecting Cobb to say, “If you jump, I jump”, but no. They couldn’t have any fun. Instead, he told her that she might survive if she jumped at the right angle.

Uh, since when is she trying out for the Olympic diving team? Just recycle the Titanic line!

Needless to say, I was disappointed. However, I was proud of myself for making this connection. I have no idea if it was intentional, but I am choosing to believe that it was.

Also, the movie began with Cobb (Leo) washing up on a shore.

Ding Dong, Hello! Was that another reference to Titanic?

Do all Leonardo DiCaprio movies have him in the water and/or talking women off a ledge? Kinda like how Newman from Seinfeld is Newman in everything else he appears in?

I feel like I’m onto something here.

I am killing it with these references today, too.

The French Song

That two-word sentence I wrote in French, earlier, makes it look like I was foreshadowing this part of my post, but I wasn’t. Perhaps my subconscious was, though.

Anyway, the song I’m referring to is called, “Non, Je ne regret rien” by Edith Piaf. It means, “No, I do not regret anything.”

It played multiples times during the movie, particularly when the characters were to receive their “kick” and wake up from a dream.

That song was in a TV commercial many years ago. I can’t remember what it was for, but the song always drove me nuts.

So, when I heard it in this movie, I felt like I was under siege. I just can’t take it anymore.

Commercials have a way of ruining songs for me.

Anyway, that’s all I have to say about that.

The Ending

The movie ends when Cobb returns home and his kids finally turn around to acknowledge him, while they’re playing outside. Throughout the movie, they never turn around because he only sees them in a dream.

Before going out to them, he puts in motion a spinning top on the table.

The spinning top is a totem. All the dreamers have one. It’s what they look to, to see if they’re dreaming, or if they’ve gone back to reality.

Wait….snap back to reality…oh, there goes gravity.

Is that why Arthur lost gravity in the second dream? Because the kick happened too soon and they were supposed to go back to reality?


I’m losing myself, I tell ya.

Anyway, the spinning top would never stop if Mal was in a dream.

The movie ends and the spinning top is still spinning, though there was a slight wobble in it. I took that slight wobble as confirmation that it would stop and he was back to reality. It appears other people think he might still be in a dream.

I don’t believe that at all.

It turns out the whole meaning behind the ending is that Cobb doesn’t care which realm he’s in anymore because he went off to play with his kids, instead of waiting to see if it stopped spinning.

How wholesome.

Anyway, back to my Eminem discovery. Has anyone ever made that connection before?

Other Thoughts

Elliot Page was really good in this movie.

I had two things constantly running through my head for the duration of the film.

The first one was the song, “I Dreamed a Dream”, specifically, the version performed by Susan Boyle on Britain’s Got Talent. I kept telling myself that the name of the song was an example of inception.

The second thing was, the episode of Honey, I Shrunk The Kids where Nick couldn’t fall asleep or else the sandman would get him and his family and they’d die. So, his sister entered the dream world and caused a kerfuffle. I don’t remember how it ended, but I’m sure it was a happy ending.

Let me know if you remember that episode. It was a bit haunting at the time.

I don’t think I really like movies where the plot is centred around what happens when we fall asleep. I’m not entirely sure why.

They said the word “dream” so many times, it felt like they were playing into a drinking game.

The characters’ mission didn’t excite me. This cast of criminals went through all this trouble just so a businessman no longer had a competitor? That felt a bit weak. I didn’t really care if they succeeded or not.

I feel like the idea of infiltrating someone’s subconscious and sharing dreams was interesting, but was wasted on something that wasn’t relatable.

I found myself thinking of all the directions the movie could’ve gone in had they not gone the “corporate espionage” route.

Then again, what do I know? None of my movies have ever made million of dollars.


I think I’m indifferent to Inception.

I didn’t hate it. I didn’t love it. I understood most of it, but was also confused for a good chunk of the time. It had great performances.

For me, it comes back to the plot.

You can leave in the whole story with Cobb and Mal – fine.

The, “go plant an idea in this guy’s subconscious, so he doesn’t take over his dad’s company when he dies, thus giving me one less competitor” thing was boring to me.

I would’ve liked to see the characters use their powers to fulfull a different purpose.

That’s all.

Have you seen Inception? What did you like/dislike about it?

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11 Responses to First Time Watching: Inception

  1. I saw it, but can’t remember my thoughts on it…might have to rewatch.

    What’s your next movie?!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sabrina B says:

    Ah I love Inception! I actually saw in in theatres when it came out and seen it several times since, although it always bugged me a bit when people said INCEPTION for things because they almost always used it wrong. But I love it, I love sci fi and playing with time. Christopher Nolan has a bit of a thing for playing with time (like in Tenet, which I just watched and didnt think was as good as Inception, and Dunkirk, which was excellent).

    I think Arthur lost gravity because the driving in the car so close to the kick caused his dream to destabilize, but don’t quote me on that one.

    Maybe the corporate espionage/businessy stuff is not for you? I feel like it mostly worked for me because of the context, like it felt like the final mission and even though in itself it wasnt a grand mission, it ended up meaning more?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Ok so I’m not the only one who lived through people yelling Inception at everything. As I said in the post, I would’ve never imagined that would be a thing after watching the movie. The characters weren’t yelling Inception! randomly. Trends are weird.

      Random: I thought Christopher Nolan was like a really old actor, but he’s neither of those things? Maybe I have him confused. Also, Leo is only 46??

      Ah yes, I think you’re right about Arthur and the loss of gravity. Wikipedia said the same thing.

      I kind of wanted the final mission to have higher stakes. Like if they were all going to risked ending up in limbo, then at least make it for something worth while? Maybe I’m just severely downplaying the whole thing and am failing to see the bigger picture.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sabrina B says:

        Definitely not just you! It was everywhere!

        Maybe you were thinking of Christopher Walken? That is definitely an old actor while Chris Nolan is a director. Leo is indeed only 46, but he has been around a longggg time. He has been acting since he was really young.

        That makes sense, I get what you’re saying! For me I felt like this is a job that’s generally always high stakes, and the reason this mission in particular was on a different level was because of Cobbs personal issues and the scale of it?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul says:

        Walken is probably who I was thinking of.

        I see your point. At times, I was wondering if the story with Cobb and his wife was actually the main story of the movie and the mission was secondary.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sabrina B says:

        I feel like it is in a way, like it’s the heart of the story because it’s reason Cobb is the way he is!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I have watched this movie 3 times and still don’t know what’s going on. Kinda like being in 2020. I was there but confused as hell LOL

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Rebecca says:

    Inception came out when I was in high school, and it was all the rage back in the day. The number of classmates (even teachers) yelling, “Inception!” or “you just got (insert-noun-here)-ception!” was enough to get me drunk (although I didn’t drink back in high school, but if it were to happen today…). 😉 Inception is actually one of my favorite films, as I do love the cinematography (sleek, polished, and brooding) and its non-sequential formatting makes you think and “feel smart” as you deduce how the characters got from one scene to the other. You do make a good point about the “implanting the idea” plot for the rival business’s son as being weak, but I think the fun of it is mainly in the action sequences and editing to make it all look dreamlike. I haven’t watched Inception in a long time, and now that you’ve published this post, I think I’ll go watch it again (woop, looks like you “planted the idea” in my head!). 😉


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