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Reality

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

Italy, France

2012

Rated R • 1h50

Matteo Garrone

Director

Aniello Arena, Loredana Simioli, Nando Paone, Graziella Marina

Stars

Drama, Comedy

Genre

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Luciano, a fish merchant with a modest income, dreams big dreams. One day, Luciano's friends convince him to audition for a silly reality tv show, "Big Brother". The audition seems to go well, and Luciano is told that he'll be contacted if he gets the role. Yet, once he returns home, it is apparent that his identity has changed, as his potential persona starts to take over his life...

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

50

The Hollywood Reporter by

Half comedy and half drama, the film struggles to find its tone amid stock characters and leisurely plotting, with nods to Fellini and Italian neorealism that leave the taste of a big, reheated pizza. It all should be funnier; still the atmospheric local kitsch wins some smiles.
40

Time Out by Eric Hynes

This vision of contemporary Italy as a warped fairyland filled with corpulent slobs and seedy C-grade celebrities recalls the tough-love spectacle of Fellini’s "La Dolce Vita," but Reality frustratingly devolves into a far more tedious mass-media morality tale.
91

IndieWire by Eric Kohn

The reality-show aesthetic pervades the movie as well. Garrone's roaming camera style draws you into each moment with extreme close-ups and long takes that wander through each scene and get lost in it. Luciano's plight is crushing because Garrone renders it with such detail.
63

Slant Magazine by Jesse Cataldo

Matteo Garrone has a sure eye for outlandish set pieces that exhibit the expansive outlines of his ideas, but these spectacles are sporadic, and the spaces between them tend to lag.
90

The New York Times by Manohla Dargis

Reality is a story about one man’s desire to make it big on the small screen, and something of a familiar exploration of the blurring between reality and its simulations. More elliptically and more interestingly, it is also a look at an Italy engrossed with rituals and spectacle, in watching and being watched.
67

Portland Oregonian by Marc Mohan

Spoofing the pernicious effects of television, especially the so-called reality genre, doesn't require pinpoint aim, and at times Luciano seems as much a target of ridicule as the superficial, oversexed entertainment served up on the tube.
90

Village Voice by Michael Atkinson

Garrone's film grows in your head afterward, making royal hash out of a cultural paradigm we'll be loath to remember years from now—if, by then, everything hasn't become "reality."
83

The A.V. Club by Scott Tobias

His outrageous, self-destructive journey lands him in a place just as ironic as Rupert Pupkin’s in "The King Of Comedy," but it’s haunting and mysterious, too, reflecting the dream that consumes his life.

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