We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

Had Alice known in advance what inspiration her magical experience in Wonderland would provide filmmakers William Arntz, Betsy Chasse, and Mark Vicente, she not only wouldn’t have opted to jump down that oh-so-symbolic rabbit hole—she also would have sealed the damn thing up with industrial-grade cement and hunted down the entire cottontailed populace. Composed mainly of interviews with a host of wide-eyed deep thinkers who find various ways to say, “Reality isn’t what you see, maaan—it’s what you don’t see,” Arntz, Chasse, and Vicente’s feature-length documentary/mystical journey What the #$*! Do We Know!? attempts—duh—to break down our built-in assumptions of what constitutes the real world. Deaf actress Marlee Matlin (who won both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for her role in Children of a Lesser God) puts a human face to the crackpots’ ramblings in the film’s intercut narrative segments as Amanda, a divorced and frustrated photographer whose inability to take a second chance at happiness has left her trapped in an unfulfilling life of routine. Once she stumbles into the nonsense-filled world of infinite possibilities, however, Amanda learns that life is, uh, what you make of it. It’s a surprisingly small-minded conclusion to a movie that starts out so big-picture: as a head-scratching, computer-animated exploration of quantum mechanics introduced, appropriately enough, with the Big Bang. But what are physics without a little meta-? And so Arntz & Co. introduce us to concepts such as remembering the future, the subatomic “movement of consciousness,” and a 35,000-year-old “master teacher” named Ramtha (who’s channeled, it should be pointed out, by a woman who seems much too young for him). Sure, the argument that you can improve your day-to-day existence through making the right choices is a sound one, and the movie is visually inventive in a cosmic chill-out-room kinda way. But c’mon: If there are an unlimited number of ways you could be spending your afternoon, is seeing What the #$*! Do We Know!? really the best option?—Matthew Borlik