Dan in Real Life Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 152 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Advice columnist Dan Burns is an expert on relationships, but struggles to succeed as a brother a song and a single parent. (Touchstone Pictures)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 34
  2. Negative: 1 out of 34
  1. Dan in Real Life fires on so many circuits that at times it's actually shocking how good it is.
  2. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    A smart, sweet, and thoroughly disarming ensemble comedy that isn't afraid to wear its humanism on its sleeve.
  3. 75
    If the film has a flaw, and I'm afraid it does, it's the Sondre Lerche songs on the soundtrack. They are too foregrounded and literal, either commenting on the action or expounding on associated topics. In such a laid-back movie, they're in our face.
  4. Almost reflexively, the filmmakers skirt Dan's messier conflicts. But it is the moments when they don't dance around the awkward issue of a brother falling for his brother's girl that Dan is the most poignant.
  5. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    A small but sweetly formed comedy of romantic misfortune that can’t quite keep Hollywood at bay.
  6. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    There's a great movie to be had in the notion of a busybody whose advice keeps blowing up in his face, but Dan in Real Life merely sets it up and walks away.
  7. I could see people enjoying Dan in Real Life, I guess -- the scenery is nice and the people are pretty and the songs are cute little emotion substitutes. But Dan? Buddy? It's not all about you.

See all 34 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 51 out of 86
  2. Negative: 28 out of 86
  1. Dec 15, 2013
    "You are a murderer of love!" This is a simple story that comes at you from a lot of angles which is uncoincidentally... real life. I felt so connected with Dan's frustrations. Such an easy movie to watch over and over again. Expand
  2. Nov 15, 2012
    The title explains why this is so good. It's about real life, and its fantastically wonderful and genuine.
  3. Apr 4, 2013
    Dan in Real Life follows Dan Burns, an advice columnist who is also a widower in his own real life, and he gets himself into a very real dilemma.
    Steve Carell puts in another winning performance playing a not so comedic man that we are used to seeing as Dan, who is raising his three daughters after his wife has died.
    He is going with his daughters for an annual get together with his family at his mum and dads house. After growing apart from his daughters for various reasons, mainly playing the typical dad, he goes alone one morning for newspapers but we find him in a library, where in walks Marie (Juliette Binoche), a beautiful woman who Dan ends up spending the day with and getting to know each other very well, until Marie reveals that she is in a relationship, much to Dan's disappointment.
    He returns home to tell his family about this mysterious girl, only to find out that the man she is dating is none other than his brother, Mitch (Dane Cook).
    As the tensions starts to build with the two estranged lovers, various situations arise that are quite hard for Dan to bear, but this is all in all a very heartfelt and humorous film that doesn't disappoint.
    The story is very much about Dan and his troubles with being a single dad, contrary to certain critic reviews, this is very much done on purpose, to show the difficulties but possibly selfish remedies that Dan or many others in his position may do to solve what they perceive to be a difficult situation.
    The wider cast includes Alison Pill, John Mahoney and Dianne Wiest. This cast brings a sense of family security to the film, always being there for someone to rely on or for a shoulder to cry on, the closeness and chemistry shines through in a particular scene when Dan's mum and dad are trying to talk candidly with him when everyone invades which sets up quite a funny few minutes.
    Steve Carell proves that he can have a very different and very powerful presence on screen aside from comedy as he did in Little Miss Sunshine, his delivery is superb and definitely the standout of the film.
    Perhaps a little slow at only small points, this does add up to a very real, clean but dramatic film that is enjoyable for all ages, dealing with the difficulties of parenthood and family alike.

See all 86 User Reviews