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Recomend me movies where the main character discovers true reality
August 30, 2013 8:04 PM   Subscribe

I want more movies where the main character is living in a fake, controlled, contrived, world, and later discovers/breaks free into the true reality. Good examples are: Trueman show, Matrix, Metropia, 1984, soylent green etc. Thanks a lot!
posted by crawltopslow to Media & Arts (50 answers total) 49 users marked this as a favorite
 
The Island
posted by homodachi at 8:07 PM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


They Live!
posted by oulipian at 8:08 PM on August 30, 2013 [10 favorites]


Dark City
posted by Wulfhere at 8:10 PM on August 30, 2013 [7 favorites]


Damn, Wulfhere beat me. How about some short fiction?
posted by ropeladder at 8:12 PM on August 30, 2013


Blade Runner and A Scanner Darkly
posted by zippy at 8:18 PM on August 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


TvTropes: Masquerade, further broken down into The Unmasqued World and Broken Masquerade.
posted by ceribus peribus at 8:23 PM on August 30, 2013


Planet of the Apes?
Total Recall?
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:24 PM on August 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
posted by effluvia at 8:24 PM on August 30, 2013


Logan's Run would qualify, I think.
posted by crayon at 8:25 PM on August 30, 2013 [5 favorites]


Not cinema but the go-to novel for this sort of thing would be Philip K. Dick's Time Out Of Joint from 1959 -- .highly recommended
posted by Rash at 8:31 PM on August 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


All seem good so far! Oblivion can be added to the list also I think.
posted by crawltopslow at 8:31 PM on August 30, 2013


John Dies at the End and Vanilla Sky.

The mindfuck genre may be of interest.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 8:34 PM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Brazil (sort of) ;)

THC 1138

Brave New World
posted by dottiechang at 8:34 PM on August 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Adjustment Bureau.
posted by mochapickle at 8:44 PM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jacob's Ladder.
posted by bonehead at 8:46 PM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


If we're listing books, Jack Chalker wrote a trilogy about this called "The Wonderland Gambit":

The Cybernetic Walrus
The March Hare Network
The Hot-Wired Dodo
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:47 PM on August 30, 2013


The Thirteenth Floor

Source Code

Moon
posted by gudrun at 8:48 PM on August 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


Also, "Wolfen".
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:49 PM on August 30, 2013


Videodrome
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:50 PM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Others (although it's self-contrived)
The Village
posted by mochapickle at 8:58 PM on August 30, 2013


The whole Twilight Zone movie is like that.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:00 PM on August 30, 2013


Oh, eXistenZ. Man, was that terrible...
posted by mochapickle at 9:03 PM on August 30, 2013


PKD's work is full of this, and after he had his 1974 experience, he came to believe that the entire world was what he called The Black Iron Prison.

If you want to go back a long, long way, you can read about gnostic Christians who believed that the world was an illusion created by a malevolent being called the demiurge.
posted by empath at 9:08 PM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Futurological Congress by Stanislaw Lem
posted by lathrop at 9:09 PM on August 30, 2013


Vanilla Sky.
posted by Decani at 9:12 PM on August 30, 2013


...or its better original, Abre Los Ojos
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:13 PM on August 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Being John Malkovich
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:21 PM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


The 13th Floor.
posted by Justinian at 9:25 PM on August 30, 2013


Many of the examples mentioned above are based on Philip K Dick stories, btw. These following are not...

Siesta (1987) Dir Mary Lambert starring Ellen Barkin, Gabriel Byrne, Isabella Rossalini, Martin Sheen, Jodie Foster, etc. etc.

Memento (2000) Dir Christopher Nolan, starring Guy Pierce, Carrie-Anne Moss (Matrix) and AWESOMELY, Joey Pants.

The Freshman starring Marlon Brando, Mathew Broderick. Not at all Sci Fi, but mentioned for the plot twist and the camp musical number at the end:)

The 13th Floor (already mentioned, but repeating because I hear the novel is better.)

Christopher Nolan's Inception was about this perspective.

I think 2001: A Space Odyssey typifies it, if you go with the interpretation that HAL is the monolith, who is generating reality a/k/a everything on the screen, the monolith is the ratio of a movie screen, and iPhones resemble the monolith... OK, I'll stop now.

Run, Lola, Run (1998) Dir Tim TyKwer who also helped direct the massively underrated....

...Cloud fucking Atlas (tm) (2012) - Twyker directed this along with the co-directors of The Matrix, the Wachowski Siblings. I think it's currently still available OnDemand. You'll be lucky to see it.

And the upcoming Wnter's Tale will do this reality shifty thing, if written and produced correctly. Certainly the novel was FANTASTIC.

I could go on for hours, but I'll stop here....

Tron (1982, starring Kurt Russel, aka The Dude from...)

The Big Lebowski (90's)

After Hours (80's, starring Griffin Dunne who starred with Madonna in...)

Who's That Girl (80's)

Solaris (made twice, latest in the 2000's with Clooney)

Harry Potter movies

The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe

And I'll pop back if I can think of more comedies, since fantasy and scifi are roundly covered throughout the thread...
posted by jbenben at 9:26 PM on August 30, 2013


TV series: Life On Mars (US) (BBC original)
posted by obloquy at 9:26 PM on August 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


The Sixth Sense.
posted by mefireader at 9:30 PM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


The beginning of the fifth season of "Eureka," if TV counts.

Which I'm actually watching for the first time right now. Glitch in the Matrix?
posted by wintersweet at 9:30 PM on August 30, 2013


Pleasantville
posted by SLC Mom at 9:31 PM on August 30, 2013


Being There
posted by maggieb at 9:32 PM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


(Tim TYKWER for Run, Lola, Run and Cloud Atlas. Geez)
posted by jbenben at 9:32 PM on August 30, 2013


I too was going to sugest Moon (SO MUCH!) , Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, and some others mentioned upthread (THX 1138, 2001: A Space Odyssey, 6th Sense...).

Memento for sure.
Aeon Flux
The Cabin in the Woods
The Fountain may interest you.
Coraline, if you like animated.
The Fall - this is more fantasy and is reality versus story telling or imaged reality.
Pan's Labyrinth - this may lean a little more toward fantasy than true coming-to-reality.
Big Fish - Theme leans more toward the story telling reality versus true reality, but the core story is the struggle of the son having a hard time believing his father's stories and wondering what the reality is in them.
The Prestige and The Illusionist play with reality since they are based on magic/fooling the audience.

Can you tell I watch a lot of movies and these types of movies...
posted by Crystalinne at 9:40 PM on August 30, 2013


The Giver
posted by easy, lucky, free at 9:57 PM on August 30, 2013


Equilibrium, which also has strong action/thriller elements.
posted by jdgreen at 10:12 PM on August 30, 2013


Not a comedy, but an animated children's movie, Rise of the Guardians (2012.)

The whole movie is about reality and belief, and there is a STRONG connection back to the adult films 2001: A Space Odyssey and Moon, since there is a "man in the moon" character that is unseen, but is the hidden hand guiding the characters.

The guardian Santa Claus is voiced by Alec Baldwin, which makes me wonder if....

Beetle Juice (80's) might also fit the bill?
posted by jbenben at 10:21 PM on August 30, 2013


World on a Wire
posted by RobotHero at 10:33 PM on August 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Angel Heart
posted by Occula at 10:54 PM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


O Lucky Man
posted by philip-random at 12:00 AM on August 31, 2013


Zardoz!
posted by h00py at 1:29 AM on August 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Moon
posted by miyabo at 6:29 AM on August 31, 2013


Shutter Island
posted by Specklet at 6:40 AM on August 31, 2013


Never Let Me Go - the book and the movie.
posted by trampoliningisfun at 7:33 AM on August 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mulholland Drive

Planet of the Apes

Shutter Island
posted by St. Peepsburg at 8:02 AM on August 31, 2013


Hot Fuzz
posted by zippy at 9:15 AM on August 31, 2013


Surprised nobody's mentioned City Of Ember yet. Same ideas expressed a little differently in an earlier YA novel, the out-of-print This Time Of Darkness by Helen Hoover. Also subterranean, THX-1138 was mentioned upthread; and none of these should even be discussed until you've read EM Forster's prescient The Machine Stops from 1909, which I couldn't locate at Project Gutenberg but you can find here (go on, it's a short-story, just thirty pages).
posted by Rash at 9:29 AM on August 31, 2013


(Tim TYKWER for Run, Lola, Run and Cloud Atlas. Geez)

I think you mean Tom Tykwer.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:27 PM on September 1, 2013


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