Reality Bites (1994)



Filed under : drama, i love the 90s

(Note: Every now and then, I enjoy watching films from the 90s. So, I’ve decided to start this new series “I Love the 90s” to highlight some of the films during that era. Enjoy!)

From time to time, I get kind of nostalgic about certain time periods in history. And, I can honestly say without hesitation – the 90s is one of those time periods.

I guess the types of films I enjoy from this era are both thrillers (like this one) and generation type of films. And, let me tell you - this movie is definitely a generation piece.

From the very beginning of the film, I could see the them of the movie. It’s about life. And, the unexpected.

(Note: For those who have seen the film, you’ll know what I’m talking about. I’m mainly referring to the speech in the opening scene).

For some of us (like the main character, Lelaina played by Winona Ryder), we have life planned all out for us. And, when our plans don’t exactly turn out the way we planned them – we get frustrated and don’t understand how things could have gone wrong.

But, the question is – did things really go wrong? Or, was the outcome just a result of the unexpected and what we call life? That is the true question.

In a nutshell, this is truly a generational movie at heart. Though it seems to target a certain generation (mainly Generation X), I think it can be most relatable to other generations.

It basically makes a statement about what happens after college, what is the next step? For most, it’s to go out into the real world, get a job, and pay bills just like everyone else.

But, is that really the type of life we all want? What ever happened to our hopes and dreams? And, that leads us to the title of the film “Reality Bites.”

As Lelaina found out by going out into the real world, there’s a difference between how she planned things to be and how they really were. She found out the hard way the real truth about the world.

Though, she still had her aspirations to be a documentary filmmaker – she still had to put money on the table and pay the bills. And, that was the reality of the situation.

Even in her personal relationships, Lelaina soon found her planning was not what she had expected. In the end, it was life and her feelings that steered her where she turned up to be. But, it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing as she was happy.

And, isn’t that what counts – being happy? Sure, we may have to do things we may not necessarily enjoy (like work a job to pay the bills). But, in the end if we can still find that balance, find a way to still persevere and work towards our dreams (even if it’s on the side) – that’s what matters. We can find meaning again in life, we can find purpose.

Without purpose, we lose our sense of direction – we lose our path. But, having purpose keeps us alive. Having purpose keeps us looking forward to the next day. And, that is really the theme of the movie – finding our purpose but at the same time dealing with the realities of life.

I especially enjoyed Janeane Garofalo’s performance (who played Vicki as Lelaina’s roommate), she was a real riot! Some of my favorite quotes from her in the movie include:

“Evian is naive spelled backwards?”

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“I was conceived on an acid trip.”

And, my personal favorite:

“I’ve gotta go to a jean folding seminar.” (Loved the references to her job at the Gap, very entertaining!)

Overall, it was a real treat to see this movie again. Quite honestly, it’s been awhile since I’ve seen this one – I’m glad I did.

If you’re in the mood for a 90s type of film with a focus as a generation piece, I do recommend this one.

Film Gurl’s 15 Minute Rule: PASS

(Note: For those who have seen the movie, I really enjoyed seeing the references to the brands of that era as well as the television shows and tv commercials. It definitely felt like a blast from the past!)

Happy movie watching!

p.s. Feel free to leave comments on any post either here and/or my Facebook Page. Comments are always welcome, thanks for reading!

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6 Responses to “Reality Bites (1994)”

  1. ahhh the 90s were also a great movie decade (as well as older decades). Reality Bites is so good and, as you pointedout, very relatable. we all saw ourselves in winona’s character at least at one point in our lives. winona has a knack for choosing roles like that. ethan hawke was also good in this movie, as was steve zahn. very good coming of age flick (and i normally hate the term “coming of age,” but i think it fits here :) . i look forward to reading the rest of your series!
    Candice Frederick recently posted..DVD Review- Fair GameMy ComLuv Profile

    • filmgurl says:

      Oh yes, I agree – Winona’s character is someone we can all relate to at one point in our lives. I guess, it’s the theme that we can all relate to – the search for one’s identity and purpose in life. I think it’s great to see characters such as Steve Zahn and Ben Stiller in these older films. I thought it was kind of neat that both characters were not as silly as some of the roles they play now (and in the past). I’m definitely looking forward to continuing with this series, thanks for your input and for stopping by! :)

  2. ruth says:

    Hi filmgurl, this is a great idea to highlight films from a certain decade. I’m a 90s girl myself and watched a ton of movies then. I remember really liking Ethan Hawke a lot, probably after Dead Poets Society. Love Steve Zahn too, he’s one of those actors I wish would get more leading roles.

    Btw, I’ve added you to my blogroll :)
    ruth recently posted..GUEST POST- Rufus Sewell is the Compelling &amp Dapper Detective Aurelio ZenMy ComLuv Profile

    • filmgurl says:

      Thanks, glad you like it and good to hear your a 90s gal too! I really like the 90s types of movies – some of them had more meaning and were in more depth than what we see today. Also, the 90s type thrillers were really intriguing and interesting to me as well. It’s hard to find these types of films nowadays. Thanks for stopping by! :)

      p.s. Thanks for adding me to your blogroll. You’ve got a neat blog too, I added you as well under movie blogs I read! :)

  3. Kelly Whyte says:

    One of my favorite movies of all time. Your review totally reminded me of how many great lines are in this movie. This movie and “Heathers” are my favorite Winona movies. :)

    • filmgurl says:

      Ah, yes – Heathers is a good pick too! These types of films are so hard to come by nowadays. Glad you enjoyed the review, nice to hear from you, it’s been awhile! :)

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