In the Realms of the Unreal - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

In the Realms of the Unreal Reviews

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½ June 15, 2010
Definitely intriguing. It hits certain nerves of mine pertaining to creativity and its purposes in a persons life. I'm not sure if too much insight is read into the subject, or not enough. Worth checking out.
Super Reviewer
June 4, 2010
A story so bizarre that you'd consider it wildly creative fiction were it not completely true. Jessica Yu documents the incredible secret life of Henry Darger, a janitor who's imaginative works of art and literature were discovered after his death in 1973. Fascinating stuff!
May 20, 2010
So painstakingly well done; Darger would dig.
May 2, 2010
A very interesting subject is given a substandard treatment in this dull and overlong doc that relies heavily on animated paintings. As with the incredibly awful Dear Zachary, everything that's said must be accompanied by a related image. That's lazy film making for lazy viewers. Needlessly narrated by one of today's worst young actresses, Dakota Fanning. I'd like to see a better film maker tackle this story.
May 1, 2010
"Nobody knew, that hidden in a room lived the greatest self-taught artist of the 20th century"
½ March 26, 2010
Poor guy; he was so lonely. As an only child I can relate to the way Darger had to create his own universe, personalities in two-dimensional drawings, the journals kept to make meaning.
February 22, 2010
Fascinating Documentary. Reawakens the true meaning of art and the passion one man had for it behind closed doors. Involving a novel over 15,000 pages long, dozens of drawings and his inner struggle of faith and childhood experiences demonstrated by his characters.

This man (Henry Darger), was truly living in the realms of the unreal for most of his life. It makes you wonder what kind of artist you are and how far will you go to express yourself through art. I highly recommend this film for fellow writers and artists.
Super Reviewer
½ February 15, 2010
Not terribly enjoyable for me.
February 2, 2010
An absolutely brilliant documentary about outsider artist Henry Darger.
½ December 3, 2009
The biography of a bizarre reclusive genious who lived a quite life of immaculate innocence.
½ November 10, 2009
It focuses on a fascinating subject but uses so many cliche PBS documentary techniques that it distracted from the point. It was also comical the way they set up the different view points such as the mispronunciation of his name, they did something similar several times and each time it was just ridiculous. The animated segments were also funny because of the voices that don't sound like people in a regular voice but a character voice, mixed with the strange dialog. The book reminds me of In Search of Lost Time. Its a book that lots of people know about and few have read. (I admit I have read neither so far) They are both absurdly long, they both are books about the authors mind and memory changing the events of the past. Both authors were obsessive recluses and they both explored a view of sexuality that was ignored at the time. Darger's view which was that of the mentally handicapped is a view that still isn't explored much.
October 27, 2009
tho true in style to its enigmatic subject, this doc on one of folk art's great legends is a bit slow, and not immediately engaging. earnest, thorough, and more accessible than the books on darger.
October 14, 2009
The subject matter is really interesting, but this documentary really just didn't grab me like I thought it would.

It is worth watching though, so I recommend giving it a shot.
Super Reviewer
October 10, 2009
Henry Darger was a reclusive retired janitor who lived quietly in Chicago. Upon his death, his landlady discovered a side to him that no one suspected. He wrote several journals, detailing his life story, and a novel that takes up 15,000 pages, describing a surreal battle between good and evil, led by seven mythical sisters. He also painted several large murals, illustrating his tale. Strange fellow, indeed. This documentary tries to convey some of the grandeur of his life's work. A little dry for this viewer's taste, and the sheer volume of the work makes it difficult to assess the artistic value. Some of the images are quite bizarre, indicating an unfamiliarity with female anatomy. A mildly interesting look at the work of one who epitomizes outsider art.
September 3, 2009
Henry Darger's Outsider Art is groovy indeed, but somehow I got bogged down in this documentary (even at 80 minutes) but that could be, you know, MY problem.
½ August 28, 2009
The subject is endlessly interesting, but I did not care for the presentation of this documentary. I felt that the animation especially detracted from the beauty of the static images which Darger actually created.

He may have been the most important "outsider artist", and this is really not a very impressive introduction to his work.
½ August 26, 2009
Excellent documentary tells the extraordinary story of outsider artist Henry Darger using imaginative animation to bring his art and writing to life. A fascinating and in-depth character study, but it also manages to retain the strange mystery that makes Darger and his work so intriguing.
½ August 1, 2009
and i thought i was crazy
July 28, 2009
one of the best documentaries i've ever seen
June 29, 2009
Ever wonder what would it be like to live in near total isolation? This doc explores the life of Henry Darger, a reclusive introvert who finds his own world in one he can not relate to. With only 2 photos of him, this film paints such a vivid picture of who he was. This is one of the best I've seen!
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