Reality Bites


Reality Bites

Critics 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.



Total Count: 56


Audience Score

User Ratings: 53,107
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Movie Info

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


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 (56) | Top Critics (17) | Fresh (37) | Rotten (19)

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

    Aug 2, 2019 | Full Review…

    Noel Murray

    AV Club
    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.

    Feb 14, 2018 | Full Review…

    David Ansen

    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.

    Aug 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.

    Mar 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.

    Mar 27, 2013 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Among the movie's strengths are the performances, especially that of Ryder, who comes across as bright, beautiful and more delicate than ever before.

    Mar 27, 2013 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Reality Bites

  • Jul 10, 2012
    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 W Super Reviewer
  • Jun 23, 2012
    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 S Super Reviewer
  • May 06, 2012
    Ben Stiller was the correct choice as filmmaker for this farewell to generation x storyline. Reality Bites is relevant and engaging on most fronts. Ethan Hawke and Winona Ryder are fun to watch. You tend to see their connection from the beginning, but like all the standard genre clichés, they come together by the end. Funny and interesting script. There is a lot on offer here and for fans of the generation this is one film worthy of a revisit. 30/08/2019
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • Apr 29, 2012
    Reality Bites is a '90s dark comedy cult classic film from director Ben Stiller. The story surrounds an aspiring documentarian who follows her friends who struggle to find their way in post-college life. The film has a strong cast that includes Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke, Janeane Garofalo, and Ben Stiller. Ryder and Stiller give especially compelling performances and have a good onscreen chemistry. However, the film tries too hard at times to be culturally relevant; addressing everything from the Gap to AIDS. Still, it has a compelling story with some edgy comedic satire. Reality Bites is a fun and entertaining film that provides an interesting take on the youth culture of the '90s.
    Dann M Super Reviewer

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