Helen Childress

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Reality Bites Review


Very Good
Back in 1994, Reality Bites was branded by everyone from marketers to critics as a movie that encapsulated a generation - more specifically, Generation X, who were around college graduation age (including myself). And seeing as Lelaina (Winona Ryder), the movie's heroine, kicks off this trendy flick with her valedictorian graduation speech, it's no wonder so many "slackers" (as we Gen X-ers were labeled, thanks to another "iconic" film released just a few years prior) felt so spoken to by its quippy dialogue and great characters, and why everyone else tended to label Reality Bites a film symbolic of its lost generation.

The reality of Reality Bites is that it's simply too lightweight a romantic comedy to succeed at being emblematic; and, as far as I can see, it never was really meant to carry such heft. This directorial debut of then-green Ben Stiller portrays twenty-somethings floundering in dead-end jobs, nursing big dreams, or simply trying to find themselves as they enter the real world. In the least, it's a slice of life; and at its best, it's an often funny and very endearing little movie.

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Helen Childress

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