What is ‘magical realism’? Do films such as ‘Eternal Sunshine of A Spotless Mind’, which are more Sci-Fi than Fantasy, count as ‘magical realism’?

1.05K views
0

What is ‘magical realism’? Do films such as ‘Eternal Sunshine of A Spotless Mind’, which are more Sci-Fi than Fantasy, count as ‘magical realism’?

In: Culture

It’s all semantics really, but likely because in Eternal Sunshine the world itself remains normal as it would seem to us, today. They simply add one element like being able to erase memories.

[removed]

I understand it as a genre where the environment and situations are similar to real life but there is one small element of fantasy. A great example, maybe not 100% accurate, would be the final scene of the movie Birdman.

Eternal Sunshine has the memory changing machine as it’s primary plot device. This is more akin to a focused sci-fi concept. Sci-fi and magical realism aren’t exclusive but I think the idea of a memory altering machine is just grounded enough to avoid that. An example of “sci-fi” machinery that is in a magical realism story would be The Lobster.

Magical realism is presenting a “real world” with the tone of a fable and increasingly fantastical elements that are intentionally left fantastical. (Edit: The Green Mile. Perfect example!) Examples would be Donnie Darko, Joe Vs The Volcano, Swiss Army Man, or Pan’s Labyrinth. The movie Us is probably considered magical realism by some people.

I’d argue personally that the John Wick movies could even be classified as magical realism in their own kind of way.

It’s definitely a fuzzy term that overlaps with other terms and genres, and it does get abused to defend bad movies. Think of it as a tone rather than a hard and fast genre.