In the Realms of the Unreal - The Mystery of Henry Darger
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In the Realms of the Unreal - The Mystery of Henry Darger
Award-winning short filmmaker Jessica Yu makes her feature-length debut with In the Realms of the Unreal, a documentary about outsider artist Henry Darger. Born in 1892, Darger lived in Chicago and worked as a janitor for most of his life. When he died in 1972, his landlord found his life's work: The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion (often simply referred to as The Realms). A massive, multiple-volume fantasy novel, The Realms also contains nearly 300 illustrations of collages,… More
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© Wellspring Media
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 69%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"A stylistic triumph and a sad but also romantic depiction of an artist in his purest state."
‑ Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel
‑ Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times
"The camera is too eager to swim in the artist's sea, but it might've revealed more if it had paused to let our imaginations provide the movement, as Darger's presumably did."
‑ Robert Davis, Paste Magazine
"Instead of stooping to armchair psychology, this marvelous movie trusts its fascinating subject matter to spin its own web of mystery and melancholia."
‑ Steve Schneider, Orlando Weekly
"...a fascinating sort of connect-the-dots that allows us to essentially piece together our very own personalized portrait of this most curious of artists."
‑ Lance Goldenberg, Weekly Planet (Tampa, FL)
"The best thing about In the Realms of the Unreal are the sequences in which Darger's drawings, of epic battles and pigtailed heroines, are gently animated -- the pictures brought to life with subtle, fluttering motion."
‑ Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer
"Yu's decision to bypass the literature about Darger is unfortunate, because it contains so many fascinating details about his source materials, methods, creative problems, and aesthetic development."
‑ J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader
"It was Yu's mistaken belief that experts would detract from her intimate approach that gives the film its tenuity, the lingering sense that far too little has been explored."
‑ Maria Garcia, Film Journal International
"Alternately enlightening and frustrating."
‑ Josh Bell, Las Vegas Weekly
"Fails to shed much light on this odd, reclusive man or his art."
‑ Jeffrey Bruner, Des Moines Register
"It is an engrossing introduction to the artist and his work."
‑ Eric Harrison, Houston Chronicle
"could've been riveting stuff if only its subject was half as interesting as its approach"
‑ Jay Antani, Cinema Writer
"Fascinating, if flawed."
‑ Marc Mohan, Oregonian
"Suggests only that Darger's inner life was rich but came out in simple and unfocused art. . . . What Darger needs isn't fan fiction, but insightful analysis and criticism."
‑ Brian Gibson, Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
"Walks the line between being just creepy enough to be interesting and being completely disturbing."
‑ Jeff Vice, Deseret News, Salt Lake City