Movies are known for their fantastical nature. However, great films often weave realistic depictions of the world into refined stories that deliver humor, thrills, or other emotions that moviegoers seek. Some films spotlight specific hobbies and professions, and several of those films stand out for their realism.
1. Best in Show (2000)
Not just a hilarious mockumentary, Best in Show faithfully portrays the madness of competitive dog shows. While much of the film revolves around exaggerated portrayals of dog breeders, trainers, owners, and dog show announcers, those who frequent dog shows know that the real deal isn’t far off.
2. Spotlight (2015)
One veteran journalist says that the characters in Spotlight “felt like people I worked with.” It is a movie dedicated to reality, as it is the true story of the Boston Globe’s uncovering of a Catholic Church pedophilia scandal. Not uplifting, but honest.
3. Office Space (1999)
OK, so you probably didn’t have a guy in your office who couldn’t muster many words besides “stapler,” but Office Space nailed the monotony of cubicle life in a depressing fashion. Hilarious fashion, but also depressing fashion.
4. Clerks (1994)
Those who have worked in a convenience store know that Clerks accurately portrays the banter, bizarre customer interactions, and repetitive work in a 7-Eleven (or local equivalent). Of course, director Kevin Smith punched the humor up—it is a movie, after all—but several aspects of Clerks will resonate with employees in that line of work.
5. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
Not that I’m a spy, but Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is one of those espionage movies that feels authentic. You can tell from the monotony that the spies endure that this is a film aiming to portray spy craft realistically.
With all due respect to Melissa McCarthy’s Spy and Johnny English, you’ll want to watch Tinker Tailor if you’re looking for a grounded spy thriller.
6. Waiting… (2005)
Servers, cooks, and bussers at casual restaurants may have mistaken Waiting… for a documentary were it not for appearances by familiar faces like Ryan Reynolds and Anna Faris. The perpetually complaining customers, European diners who don’t tip at all, and the wild mind games behind the kitchen doors were just a few of the true-to-life aspects of Waiting…
7. Short Term 12 (2013)
An underrated drama starring Brie Larson, Short Term 12 focuses on the trying life of youth counselors. One former foster care facility employee notes that the movie has “so many little details in the set design that was just spot on.”
8. Mean Girls (2004)
Teachers, hear me out. While the jungle sequence in Mean Girls might have seemed over the top to a layperson, teachers at certain schools know that the halls of a high school make the Amazon Rainforest look like a padded room.
One Mean Girls fan noted that one line sums up many public school teachers’ end-of-year weariness: “I just want to tell you that you’re all winners and that I could not be happier that this school year is ending.”
9. Whiplash (2014)
Music aficionados say that the actors in Whiplash “talk about music like musicians.” Rushing, dragging, and other terminology strewn throughout the beloved film will be music to musicians’ ears. The portrayal of band leaders as at-times pompous, demanding taskmasters is also apparently accurate.
10. Ratatouille (2007)
Yes, an animated movie can still have elements of accuracy. One experienced kitchen hand explains that Ratatouille perfectly captured the chaos of kitchen life. You know, all the way down to the rat in the hat pulling the strings. Aside from that, Ratatouille gets everything right.
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