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Reality Bites - 25th Anniversary
by Karen Pecota

The TriBeCa Film Festival enjoys celebrations of days gone by as they bring back iconic films of the past to showcase. This year the Film Reality Bites celebrates its 25th Anniversary. Reality Bites was Ben Stiller's directorial debut twenty-five years ago collaborating with screenwriter Helen Childress. The film may have been written for and about Generation X, but it has proven to be a timeless classic. The Anniversary debut screened to a full-house theatre venue along with one of the most enjoyable Q & A sessions I've witnessed at a film festival with director Ben Stiller, screenwriter Helen Childress, actors Ethan Hawke, Winona Ryder and Janeane Garofalo, producer Michael Shamberg and executive producer Stacey Sher.

It was truly a celebration and reunion for those involved. The conversation about the making of the film was delightfully entertaining with much kudos given to Winona Ryder by Ethan Hawke and the others for her investment of passion, time and energy to make this storyline transpire for the silver screen more than twenty-five years ago. Each communicated their gratefulness for her vision as well as feeling honored to be among a film deemed as an iconic classic.


A product of 90s young adulthood, Lelaina Pierce (Winona Ryder), along with best friends, Vickie (Janeane Garofalo), Troy (Ethan Hawke) and Sammy (Steve Zahn) struggle with finding their way in the real world after college. Lelaina wants to be a filmmaker and begins by using her circle of friends as her main subjects. She feels she is really on to something documenting their life-phase of uncertainty and fears. Troy, Vickie and Sammy poo-poo her talent but support the endeavor because they are friends.

To save money the four become roommates which makes Lelaina's filmmaking job convenient but her filming isn't always welcomed by the band of friends when she invades their privacy by accident. Lelaina and Troy have had an on-and-off romance for years that quickly becomes complicated when Michael (Ben Stiller) enters LeLaina's life as a suitor. Michael wants LeLaina in his life and shows her kindness but has alterer motives which Troy picks up on right away. Yep, it's jerk time for Troy out of jealousy, of course and Lelaina's right in the middle of a love triangle. Michael promises LeLaina a budding film career but she must decide at what cost.