It's not the heights that bothers me, it's the impact that really terrifies me
~ David about his fear of heights

David Aames is the main protagonist in the science fiction film Vanilla Sky. He is played by Tom Cruise.


David Aames was the son of a super rich billionaire businessman, who treated his son like a spoiled brat, taking him to work and indulging him in luxurious presents. David also believed he was entitled to everything he wanted as a kid, his father was incredibly lax about David's past times and David used to skateboard down the hall.

Mr. Aames died of an illness and then David inevitably became chairman, two colleagues in his childhood were talking about how David "would inherit everything."

However the Seven Dwarves did not like David at all, believing him to be stupid and plotted to oust him from the company. David had a good friend in Thomas Tipp (Timothy Spall) a lifelong friend of his father's.


Over time, David matured from a spoiled brat into a considerate man, and he learned about respect and responsibility. He stopped flouting authority and took on some himself. However he could still be incredibly immature with his best friend Brian and his "fuck buddy" Julie Gianni.

One day at work David commented how the Seven Dwarves still viewed him like he was seven years old. The next day was his birthday. David threw a huge bash at his place and invited half the city of New York.

David messed around showing off his wealth and constructed a hologram of James Brown. However, he took a turn for lust when he saw a girl named Sofia, and she was a friend of Brian's. David introduced himself to Sofia and took her upstairs to hit it with her. However, when David went to put his presents away, he met Julianna, who was naked except for a bedcloth, and she seduced him and made out while saying she was much better than anyone else and how Sofia was a wimp. Then David ran away from her, spooked out, and he met Sofia again downstairs, and he said how Julianna was freaking him out. Sofia noticed, to David's horror, that Julianna was in fact watching them right behind them, so Sofia said Julianna was "the saddest girl to ever hold a martini."

In the morning, Sofia took David back to her flat, and they had the night together. The day after, David left for work, and found Julianna waiting for him in her car. She ordered him to get in and said he was cheating on her. After saying how "when you sleep with someone your body makes you a promise to be with them or not" and then saying "do you believe in God?" Julianna deliberately smashed her car off a high bridge, killing herself, and breaking David's jaw and cheek badly, scarring him for life.

David recovered and because of his wealth he received incredible surgery. They reconstructed his damaged face but is was lop sided and incredibly scarred. They recommended he wear a latex mask which immensely disappointed David, who proclaimed it to be a waste of time when he believed they were talking about laser surgery or something better.

David went into a deep depression, and he signed on for lucid dreaming, finally dying of an overdose of pills he took. His body was took into Life Extension, an organization for lucid dreaming, and David found himself frozen in a tank living a lucid dream.

David's Dream

Originally, his dream started out very good, with him still living a good life, without Julianna, and he was making out with Sofia all the time. He alternated between work and sex. He was also good friends with Brian and all his normal troubles never existed.

However, blips began appearing, where Julianna would appear as Sofia. He also alternated between having a damaged face and a fixed face. David gradually went insane, and he went to a nightclub with Brian and Sofia, all fine and well, and then he left the nightclub with a broken face. He collapsed on the street and passed out, with Julianna wakening him, but she turned into Sofia.

As time went by, he thought Julianna was Sofia and beat her up. He went to the police and they said Julianna died a long time ago. An angry Brian punched David and he said Sofia had been beaten by David. One time at a bar, David meets a mysterious man, who he believes is stalking him, and so David, having had enough of all this, demands the chattering crowd just "Shut the fuck up!" To his horror, the crowd obeys him. The mysterious man then proclaims David is God in this world and the man is there to remind David of his power. Scared, David flees.

Later, Julianna broke into his flat. However, it was Sofia. They made out and during the love making David thought Sofia was Julianna, so he strangled her to death with his pillows, then noticed she was Sofia, and had a breakdown.

David was arrested for killing Sofia. He found his face was broken again and he was in a latex mask. He was put in jail and assigned to Dr Curtis McCabe. The doctor puts him through more sessions to cope with reality, and proclaims this is reality. However, in an interview with Life Extension, David sees that it is all his subconscious. He rips his mask off, startling everyone, and runs out screaming "IT'S ALL A BLOODY NIGHTMARE!" David then finds the same man from the bar in an elevator, asking him to confront his acrophobia, his fear of heights. David realizes the mysterious man is his support from Life Extension, the one who initialized the lucid dream. The man says that a hundred and fifty years have passed. David also has to face his fears such as a dead Sofia and a distant Brian and his doctor, McCabe. David realizes all these are his dream and that Julianna's appearances were glitches in the lucid dream. He jumps off the tower to his apparent death, but awakens in reality, a hundred and fifty years after he overdosed from drugs. However, he finds everyone he knew is now dead, and that his financial shares won't last long now.


David was a spoiled brat as a kid but he matured more as an adult. He also developed responsibility. Also David was a very good businessman, and was seemingly one step ahead of his enemies, such as the Seven Dwarves, he knew they thought him stupid. He valued his only friends, such as Brian and Thomas Tipp, before Tipp went back to London. Tipp also supported him through his recovery.


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