After watching Inception, I felt like the people talking about how deep and meaninful it was were victims of The Emperor's New Clothes. The reason I didn't buy into Inception is b/c, for me, their dream within a dream was just a movie within a movie. Inception didn't feel like something that exists in reality, unless you stretch and extrapolate the ideas to the point of pontificating. Cloud Atlas, on the other hand, transcends being just a movie- it's an allegory about life in a language I couldn't quite grasp, but I'm not insecure about not getting stuff, so I had fun trying. If you have hangups about looking dumb for not understanding something you won't last a half hour. You have to put aside your ego to watch this, don't overthink it too much, and like an epiphany, at one point whatever meaning is waiting for you to discover will precipitate.