REALITY? WHAT REALITY?
5 FILM THAT QUESTION REALITY
PUBLISHED 31 APR 2017
ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND
MICHEL GONDRY / 2004
“How happy is the blameless vestal's lot! / The world forgetting, by the world forgot / Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind! / Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd.”
If you had the ability to erase someone from your life, does the world you have created for yourself completely change? This is one of many questions posed throughout ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND. Joel (Jim Carrey) falls in love and is subsequently heartbroken by Clementine (Kate Winslet), so much so he takes the drastic steps to erase her from his memory. However, the film’s resolution suggests that we are inherently tuned to keep what we know, due to change being a daunting prospect, especially when it is definite. It infers that the reality we create for ourselves is the reality we are most accustomed to. Without it, who are we?
DUNCAN JONES / 2009
"Sam, I can only account for what happens on this base."
MOON shows us a one-man mission in space. Sam (Sam Rockwell) is alone, working for a mining company on the surface of the moon. What initially is presented as a one-dimensional reality, turns into something far more sinister. Who we thought was the original Sam, turns out to be someone (or something) else. We are subsequently taken on a journey to discover the truth behind who he is, questioning who and what is real and the film, in turn, asks the audience to decide what makes someone human.
CHRISTOPHER NOLAN / 2010
"Dreams feel real while we're in them. It's only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange."
INCEPTION follows Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his quest to find his way back to his children. Cobb and his team of heist artists not only live within their own reality, they also delve into the realities of others through their dreams. This not only causes confusion amongst the characters, but the distortion of what is real and what is not leads to tragic events. The ambiguous ending sees the audience not only question what they had just seen, it also leads to questions regarding how much they know about their own reality. INCEPTION suggests that in today’s society, our reality is not necessarily controlled by ourselves. Instead, we are shown and told what to believe.
SPIKE JONZE / 2013
"The past is just a story we tell ourselves."
Unlike the other films on this list, HER does not question a character’s personal reality. Instead, it reflects the reality we live in now. As our society becomes more infatuated with technology and the impact it can have on us, HER shows how we allow it to take over. The film shows this through the universal and untarnished emotion of love and how there is a blurring of the lines between our human and technological interactions. With this existence reflective of our own, the absurdity of falling in love with a computerised voice, no longer seems so absurd.
LENNY ABRAHAMSON / 2015
“When I was small, I only knew small things. But now I'm five, I know everything!"
Jack (Jacob Tremblay) is a five-year-old boy brought up in the confines of a single room. His "Ma” (Brie Larson) has controlled what he does and does not know, due to the fact she was abducted as a teen and forced to live the way she does. Jack and Ma’s realities are both the same but inherently different. Jack believes he is safe, normal, and special. Ma, on the other hand, is scared and knows she is in danger. ROOM illustrates how our perception of what is real is moulded by the reality you are lead to believe.
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