Reality Bites (1993) - Rotten Tomatoes

Reality Bites1993

Reality Bites (1993)



Critic Consensus: Reality Bites may be too slick to fulfill its promise as a profound statement on Generation X, but an appealing ensemble and romantic sizzle make for an entertaining dive into the ennui of youth.

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Movie Info

Four recent graduates discover how difficult it is to find a decent job and true love after college.

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Winona Ryder
as Lelaina Pierce
Ethan Hawke
as Troy Dyer
Ben Stiller
as Michael Grates
Janeane Garofalo
as Vickie Miner
Steve Zahn
as Sammy Gray
Swoosie Kurtz
as Charlane McGregor
Joe Don Baker
as Tom Pierce
John Mahoney
as Grant Gubler
Harry O'Reilly
as Wes McGregor
Susan Norfleet
as Helen Anne Pierce
Barry Sherman
as Grant's Producer
Chelsea Lagos
as Troy Grouie
Bill Bolender
as Truck Driver
Jubal Palmer
as 1st Player
Marti Greene
as 2nd Player
John Walsh
as 3rd Player
David Pirner
as Phineas
Anne Meara
as Louise
Kevin Pollak
as Stand-Up Comic
Amy Stiller
as Psychic Phone Partner
Jeff Kahn
as Stage Manager
Karen Duffy
as Actress `Elaina'
Evan Dando
as Actor `Roy'
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Critic Reviews for Reality Bites

All Critics (59) | Top Critics (21)

A lot has changed between the generations, but Reality Bites asks a question that anyone, of any age, will find familiar: what happens when the life you were promised isn't the life you got?

August 2, 2019

In a picture full of painful moments, it's hard to decide on the lowest point.

August 2, 2019 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Written with verve and played with grace, Reality Bites is too smart to pass itself off as a definitive statement, but it gets the details delightfully right.

February 14, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Ryder and Hawke bring crucial authenticity to their roles with effortless appeal. You'll find yourself wanting more of these characters than the movie gives you.

August 28, 2013 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

However conventional Reality Bites resolves to be, it is always engaging. Best of all, Ryder has her greatest role since Heathers, once again proving herself a seriously funny young actress.

March 27, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

It's a good example of an anti-establishment comedy crippled by a seeming desire to infatuate the establishment itself. What Reality Bites needs most is a good bite. From reality.

March 27, 2013 | Rating: 2.5/4

Audience Reviews for Reality Bites

A movie I have seen several times over the years, including when it first came out at the cinema. While it's not perfect, and not an absolute favourite, I do enjoy it. Particularly Winona Ryder and Janeane Garofolo. Vicky, in particular was a very good character. I love her look and quirky personality. I do find Ethan Hawke's Troy an absolute twat, and that has only increased over the years. I can't believe he's the supposed hot guy you are meant to feel for. A womanising, chain smoking slacker. Mmm. Does it for me. Ben Stiller's character is a bit too yuppie to really cheer on, but he's preferable to Troy. Quite nostalgic 90's viewing and some good music on the soundtrack including Juliana Hatfield.

Nicki Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

Troy Dyer: You can't navigate me. I may do mean things, and I may hurt you, and I may run away without your permission, and you may hate me forever, and I know that scares the living shit outta you 'cause you know I'm the only real thing you got.  "A Comedy About Love In The 90's" I didn't really know what I was getting myself into with Reality Bites, plot wise. I just saw that it was comedy directed by Ben Stiller, that had an excellent cast including: Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke and Steve Zahn; and that was enough for me. I can't sit here and say that Reality Bites is as important a film as it seems everybody involved thought it was. Basically, it's a lot like Linklater's Suburbia. It's all about a quartet of friends getting out of college and realizing that the world may not actually be their oyster. The real world isn't the walk in the park they thought it would be. No, they will have to deal with people that are hard to work with. They will have to put up with shit, just so they can pay the rent. And they'll have to do it all by themselves. As a character in the movie says, "The world doesn't owe you any favors." I'm sure Stiller would love to think that this film is anything more than a romantic comedy, but at the heart, that's all it is. But don't be too bummed that your film didn't quite make it the extra mile you wanted it to, because you still have a highly enjoyable and pretty well made Romantic Dramedy.  Four friends are now out of college and living together. One works at the GAP, one works as a helping hand on a tv show, one is gay, and one is a genius, that is too smart to actually make a difference in the world. There's a lot of dialogue about their concerns on life, on what to do, and on who to love or how to love. The best part of this movie happens to be Ethan Hawke as Troy. This might possibly be the best performance I've ever seen from Hawke. He isn't one of my favorite actors out there, but I think he is a highly underrated actor. His character is one of the love interests of Winona Ryder's character. They've been friends for years, and could always talk to each other, but under the surface, there is something more between them. Overall, there's really nothing wrong with Reality Bites, except that maybe was trying to be more than it really is. But what it is, is good enough. 

Melvin White
Melvin White

Super Reviewer


Not having seen this when it first came out and not having really lived through the early '90s, I still find this movie remarkably dated. Perhaps it's the grunge costumes or "The Real World"-esque yuppie ennui. There is some moving dialogue though: Troy: Besides, everyone dies all by himself. Michael: If you really believe that, who are you looking for out here?

Alice Shen
Alice Shen

Super Reviewer

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