Movie Review: Reality Bites (1994)

Starring: Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke and Ben Stiller

Directed by: Ben Stiller

An aspiring documentary filmmaker and her fellow Generation X graduates face life after college and all the joys that the real world brings from looking for work to falling in love.

Reality Bites boasts a great young cast that all went on to do amazing things within the movie industry. Ethan Hawke, Winona Ryder, Ben Stiller, Steve Zahn and Janeane Garofalo combine to produce a great ensemble performance which was directed very well by Ben Stiller who was making his feature film directorial debut and it was certainly a good platform for him to start on. The movie tried to delve into the many aspects of life for an American living in a big city having just finished college and I feel it started off on the right foot. We begin with the group of college buddies Troy (Ethan Hawke), Lelaina (Winona Ryder), Vickie (Janeane Garafalo) and Sammy(Steve Zahn) all going on their individual journeys of self discovery and living in the moment. The dynamics of the friend group was very well portrayed and the chemistry between the four actors was great. The movie started to take a turn for the worse however when it turned into the tired old format of a love triangle scenario and it played out very predictably.

Each actor offered a solid display of their skill with Janeane Garafalo and Ethan Hawke being the two standouts in terms of performance. Garafalo was great and offered a lot of comedy mixed in with her performance and Ethan Hawke was the obnoxious and arrogant Troy and he managed to really make the audience dislike him. Both my wife and I really couldn’t stand his character and that’s definitely worthy of some credit for Hawke. My biggest grievance with Reality Bites is the ending that lead character Lelaina chooses for herself. She has a choice between the self absorbed Troy or the sincere Michael (Ben Stiller) and as always tends to happen in movies and in life, the girl tends to choose the bad boy type of guy over the nice guy despite being told by Troy that he may not always be around for her. The illogical decision to choose against what may be a safe bet and a comfortable choice and go with the risky and more volatile choice just seemed dumb to me.

Overall, Reality Bites was a solid movie which unfortunately fell a little short as the ending was disappointing and it reverted from an interesting self journey movie to just another love triangle romance.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s