In the Realms of the Unreal
In the Realms of the Unreal (2005)

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.… More

Directed By:
Rated: Unrated
Running Time:
Release Date: June 21, 2005
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Rotten Tomatoes™
Critic Score
69%
Flixster
User Score
78%


Critic Score: 69% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: A fascinating treatment on the life of a reclusive man.

Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel

A stylistic triumph and a sad but also romantic depiction of an artist in his purest state.

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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times

Haunting.

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Robert Davis
Paste Magazine

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.

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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer

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.

J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader

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.

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Maria Garcia
Film Journal International

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.

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Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle

It is an engrossing introduction to the artist and his work.

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Jay Antani
Cinema Writer

could've been riveting stuff if only its subject was half as interesting as its approach

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Marc Mohan
Oregonian

Fascinating, if flawed.

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More reviews for In the Realms of the Unreal

Flixster Audience Score: 78% Flixster User Reviews
Greg S
Documentary on Henry Darger, the reclusive Chicago janitor who secretly wrote a slightly insane 15,000 page novel about a child slave rebellion mixing the Civil… More
Walter M.
[font=Century Gothic]"In the Realms of the Unreal" is a documentary about Henry Darger, a retired janitor and loner in Chicago. When he died at the… More
Randy Tippy
A story so bizarre that you'd consider it wildly creative fiction were it not completely true. Jessica Yu documents the incredible secret life of Henry… More
John Ballantine
Not terribly enjoyable for me.
Mark Abell
Henry Darger was a reclusive retired janitor who lived quietly in Chicago. Upon his death, his landlady discovered a side to him that no one suspected. He wrote… More
Alec Barniskis
While a lot of academic talking heads analyzing Darger's work might have yielded some interesting discussion . . . his writing and paintings stand in place… More