Reality Bites 1994 PG-13 CC

Amazon Instant Video

(126) IMDb 6.6/10
Available in HD
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Ben Stiller, Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke, Janeane Garofalo and Steve Zahn star in this smart, insightful and hilarious comedy that looks at life, love and the pursuit of gainful employment. This irreverent look at the harsh realities of life after college captures the misadventures of Lelaina (Ryder), an aspiring TV production assistant, and her relationships with her sarcastic roommate, Vickie (Garofalo), friends Sammy (Zahn) and Troy (Hawke) and an ambitious video executive, Michael (Stiller). Now, in its 10th anniversary, this is truly a comedic and cultural touchstone that encapsulates an era like no other.

Starring:
Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke
Runtime:
1 hour 40 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

Reality Bites

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Reality Bites (10th Anniversary Edition)

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Romance, Comedy
Director Ben Stiller
Starring Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke
Supporting actors Janeane Garofalo, Steve Zahn, Ben Stiller, Swoosie Kurtz, Harry O'Reilly, Susan Norfleet, Joe Don Baker, Renée Zellweger, James Rothenberg, John Mahoney, Eric Morgan Stuart, Barry Del Sherman, Chelsea Lagos, Bill Bolender, Jubal Palmer, Marti Greene, John Walsh, Helen Childress
Studio Universal Studios
MPAA rating PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 24 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

This is one of the most cleverly written movies I have ever seen.
Cara N. Matson
She definitely carries this movie, and even though both guys are idiots- they are the kind of guys most women get stuck with but don't always know it.
Joecool
The pop culture references meant to appeal to Gen-Xers were grating and gratuitous.
E A Glaser

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Ellington VINE VOICE on August 29, 2008
Format: DVD
I think that `Reality Bites' has been unfairly labeled as thin and hollow. I actually feel as though the film tackles its issues with grace and delicacy, handling the subject in a way that feels complete when the credits begin to roll. The film was never meant to be a weighty message type film but more a relaxed look at real concerns of the youths of the 90's (or `Generation X'). For what it sets out to do, I think `Reality Bites' works very well. When you couple the finely crafted script with the exceptional cast and Ben Stiller's surprisingly attune direction you have a very entertaining and satisfying cinematic experience.

The film follows a group of friends after they graduate from college and struggle to decide what to do with their lives. Their lives in general are being documented by Lelaina, an aspiring filmmaker. She passes around her video camera asking her friends intimate questions and capturing their every moment on film in order to document the struggles of the average young adult. Her friends include the promiscuous Vickie (Garofalo in a sublime supporting performance), the slacker Troy and the closeted Sammy. Together they make for an interesting group, and when you add in Michael Grates, a video executive who takes a liking to Lelaina after a fender-bender causes them to meet.

The script allows the cast to really sink into the issues their breed of young adult faces in a world that is not ready to accept them despite the fact that they are finely crafted. They are over-educated and under-appreciated and cast into a world that doesn't `get' them. Each actor really grabs hold of their character and delivers a strong and passionate performance. Janeane Garofalo is wonderful as Vickie, really getting the sense of her characters fears and ambitions.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"Reality Bites" is a movie that I found (and still find) to be very close to the real life experiences people who leave the safety of college face. If you are in your late 30s or early 40s and kinda settled in your ways and job, you probably won't get this movie anymore. You are too grown up and the issues these mid-20 something kids are facing will seem trivial and nonsensical to you. Heck, even the actors, in the movie's "special features" section - especially Steve Zahn and Ethan Hawke, as well as Ben Stiller - don't really get the characters they played 16 years ago anymore. They talk about how childish their struggles in retrospect seem to have been and how bratty and ungrateful they find their characters now that they themselves have reached their mid-late 30s, early 40s and apparently figured out what life is all about: "having a career or something..." I guess that's where the true tragedy lies: no longer being able to identify with your idealistic, hopeful, driven young self of the past anymore.

This movie is about four friends who face life - Reality - right after college. Leleina's (Winon Ryder) speech at the beginning of the movie about what her generation is going to do with the damage they have inherited and a poignant "I dont know" as a response sum it up pretty well. She is the valedictorian of her college and an aspiring documentary film maker. She walks around with her camera filming her friends, asking them lots of personal and intimate questions about themselves and life in order to eventually create a documentary that will mean something. She wants to make a difference in the world and just like any hopeful college student, was imagining that she would "be somebody" after all the hard work she put in thus far.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By JC Good Time on July 23, 2007
Format: DVD
I LOVE this movie. Its definitely one of my favorite go-to movies, although I don't think it was/is a very popular one. Maybe I like it because I'm a girl, (my husband doesn't really like it, but loves Ben Stiller so I made him watch it) but I think both sexes would be entertained by it. A perfect, early 90's-era flick about the lives of young 20-somethings. I think it has a really good cast of characters and is very entertaining!
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Emcee Hamner on November 24, 2007
Format: DVD
This movie changed my life. How? The books that the character 'Troy' (Ethan Hawke) either reads or references in the movie. Sure, it's a great movie but what meant the most for me was the director's or writer's (or whoever it was) choice to use or reference the following books: Martin Heidegger's "Being and Time", Robert Pirsig's "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" and John Steinbeck's "The Winter of Our Discontent". Read those books and you will be forever changed!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 10, 2002
Format: DVD
What none of the other reviewers have expressed is the fact that this movie is so much more than just Lanie's love triangle. It's not "just another twenty-something's movie". The makers of this film lead us into the family lives of our new friends. We see why they are so confused. It also shows the audience that there are those of us out there who have college degrees and don't know what the hell to do after we take off the cap and gown. It is by far one of my all time favorites.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Frank Adamson on June 16, 2007
Format: DVD
The opening speech by Lelaina (Winona Ryder) at the beginning sets an accurate mood for the rest of the film: optimism tinged with confusion and a lack of direction. In reality, the young adults in this film depict only a small slice of their generation, those who "aren't interested in the counterculture that they [our parents] invented as if we did not see them disembowel their revolution for a pair of running shoes." I may be a few years behind the generation portrayed in the film, but I'm not entirely without empathy for the restless plight of this group of slackers. Even so, the speech is a horrible oversimplification of the generation gap of the time, and the film is more easily digested if the core group of characters is seen as only one slice of a very large generation.

There is a lot of similarity between Reality Bites and films like Garden State and Harold and Maude, sharing the same ennui and restlessness that seems insatiable and overwhelming. The striking difference, though, is Reality Bites' strong sense of friendship and community as a means of overcoming this ennui. I felt that if any of these characters were left entirely to himself, he would commit suicide, and the core group of friends is what saved them all.
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