Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Mar 28, 2013
    The movie’s a funny, dark, increasingly razor-sharp inquiry into the metaphysics of modern fame — how the dream of “being seen” and thus validated on some primal level can completely unhinge the average schmo.
  2. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Mar 10, 2013
    The reality-show aesthetic pervades the movie as well. Garrone's roaming camera style draws you into each moment with extreme close-ups and long takes that wander through each scene and get lost in it. Luciano's plight is crushing because Garrone renders it with such detail.
  3. Reviewed by: Robert Abele
    Mar 21, 2013
    Garrone achieves something uniquely colorful, disturbing and trenchant about self-perception in an increasingly fishbowl-like society.
  4. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Mar 14, 2013
    Reality is a story about one man’s desire to make it big on the small screen, and something of a familiar exploration of the blurring between reality and its simulations. More elliptically and more interestingly, it is also a look at an Italy engrossed with rituals and spectacle, in watching and being watched.
  5. Reviewed by: Michael Atkinson
    Mar 12, 2013
    Garrone's film grows in your head afterward, making royal hash out of a cultural paradigm we'll be loath to remember years from now—if, by then, everything hasn't become "reality."
  6. Reviewed by: Bill Stamets
    Apr 25, 2013
    The first-rate Italian comedy Reality — which fakes Pope Benedict appearing in St. Peter’s Square — likens consecration to elevating an “everyman” to pop celebrity.
  7. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Mar 22, 2013
    Coming on the heels of the Taviani brothers’ quasi-documentary “Caesar Must Die,” about the staging of “Julius Caesar” in a maximum-security lockup, Reality gives credence to the notion that Italian prisons are hotbeds of acting talent.
  8. Reviewed by: Eric D. Snider
    Mar 18, 2013
    With a jaunty musical score by Alexandre Desplat and a pleasant visual style aided by Marco Onorato’s colorful cinematography, Garrone delivers a story that’s part fairy tale, part religious allegory and part scathing indictment.
  9. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Mar 13, 2013
    His outrageous, self-destructive journey lands him in a place just as ironic as Rupert Pupkin’s in "The King Of Comedy," but it’s haunting and mysterious, too, reflecting the dream that consumes his life.
  10. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Mar 18, 2013
    While Reality is a mixed bag of satire, allegory and melodrama, it’s a rich mixture that an American remake would likely never pull off. This is a movie that will reward multiple viewings, from a filmmaker of tremendous technical ability, humor and heart.
  11. Reviewed by: Tom Dawson
    Mar 15, 2013
    The film belongs to Arena, outstanding as a man growing ever more delusional in his quest to acquire celebrity status.
  12. Reviewed by: Farran Smith Nehme
    Mar 14, 2013
    The bright palette of Reality is an obvious way to underline the hero’s unraveling, but it looks good, and it works.
  13. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Mar 8, 2013
    Spoofing the pernicious effects of television, especially the so-called reality genre, doesn't require pinpoint aim, and at times Luciano seems as much a target of ridicule as the superficial, oversexed entertainment served up on the tube.
  14. Reviewed by: Jesse Cataldo
    Mar 11, 2013
    Matteo Garrone has a sure eye for outlandish set pieces that exhibit the expansive outlines of his ideas, but these spectacles are sporadic, and the spaces between them tend to lag.
  15. The New Yorker
    Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Mar 20, 2013
    In short, there are moments, in this very uneven film with its lamination of the ancient and the monstrously new, when the spirit of Fellini hovers overhead like a naughty angel. [25 March 2013, p.109]
  16. Reviewed by: Simon Crook
    Mar 18, 2013
    As a satire on the seduction by media and our infatuation with celebrity, it's hardly "The Truman Show," but Garrone’s Gomorrah follow-up is wry and witty. Plenty of fun.
  17. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Mar 14, 2013
    There is enough here — including the gifted Arena’s barely believable backstory — to keep your head spinning.
  18. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Mar 8, 2013
    It's a likable film played with gusto and heart — though fundamentally a little sentimental and predictable.
  19. Reviewed by: Deborah Young
    Mar 8, 2013
    Half comedy and half drama, the film struggles to find its tone amid stock characters and leisurely plotting, with nods to Fellini and Italian neorealism that leave the taste of a big, reheated pizza. It all should be funnier; still the atmospheric local kitsch wins some smiles.
  20. Reviewed by: Kevin Jagernauth
    Mar 15, 2013
    While it's great to look at, Reality is an empty shell. A feature length examination on the artifice of reality programming, Garrone's film itself is superficial and lacking the same depth of artistry and ideas he finds absent on TV.
  21. Reviewed by: Eric Hynes
    Mar 12, 2013
    This vision of contemporary Italy as a warped fairyland filled with corpulent slobs and seedy C-grade celebrities recalls the tough-love spectacle of Fellini’s "La Dolce Vita," but Reality frustratingly devolves into a far more tedious mass-media morality tale.

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