Magical Realism Movies: A liberty for Dreamers

Magical Realism

Storytelling is an enchanting process of reminding the things which we perhaps already know but often forget. Providing a new perspective attracts the audience progressively. Moreover, when it is accommodated with magical elements; indeed, it works effectively. The concept strengthens the faith that 'anything is possible in this world. So, the technique of depicting the real world as having an undercurrent of magic is acknowledged as "Magical Realism." 

The paradoxical term magical realism is a literary genre and introduced as a reaction to realism. The term finds its roots in Latin American literature in the 1940s. One of the famous personalities that popularized the term is Gabriel García Márquez with his novel, 100 Years of Solitude, was an immediate success. The story has a fluidity of time as a component of magical components. Some of the other key developers of this genre in literature are Toni Morrison's Beloved, Tea Obrent's The Tiger's Wife, Isabel Allende's The House of Spirits, and many more. These works present a world grounded in the real world, but fantastical elements are considered normal in this world. 

Since, the modification of novels into movies is in trend and being welcomed by the viewers. Hence, magical realism has also made its way into the world of movie. The device has been significantly visible around the late 1980s and early 1990s in movie. The tradition is still tracing back to its Latin American roots with movies such as Alfonso Arau's Like Water for Chocolate, based on the novel by Laura Esquivel. 

Some components differentiate the genre from any other genre. Every magical realism work is unique with its content and follows specific feature; which are realistic setting, magical elements, limited information, critique, and unique plot structure. In other words, magical realism consists of an environment that is familiar to the viewers with fantastic elements. The use of magical elements with limited information works to reinforce it as a part of everyday life. Usually, writers use the technique to offer an implicit critique of society, most notably politics and the elite. And the unique plot structure is what differentiates it from any typical narrative arc. Most of the time, the audience would not know when the plot will advance or when the conflict will occur. Hence, it is a magical experience. 

To rejoice in the union of magic and reality, here is a list of magical realism movies.

Death Note (2017)

Death Note

Death Note is an American magical thriller movie loosely adapted from a Japanese manga of the same name created by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata. The movie follows the story of an American High school student named Light Turner. He finds a mysterious magical notebook known as the "Death Note." The notebook has the power to kill anyone whose name is written on its pages. Moreover, it brings many unexpected twists and turns a much larger and broader audience would admire that.

Life of Pie (2012)

Life Of Pie

Life of Pie is an adaptation of Yann Martel's 2001 novel of the same name. It is a story of a boy named Pi Patel, who gets shipwrecked on a voyage from India to Canada. And he is left on a lifeboat accompanied by an adult Bengal tiger for 227 days. On a deeper level, the story excitingly depicts the idea of belief. The viewers are aware that Pi openly practices three separate religions and has an odd but compelling view of belief in God. The appearance of magical realism in the movie is through the disagreement between the fictional —real world and the —another world is when Pi talked to Richard Parker. A talking tiger is a magical feature while having a conversation with a talking tiger is a magical event.

Midnight's Children (2012)

Midnight's Children

The movie is based on Salman Rushdie's novel Midnight's Children. The adaptation has maintained the aesthetic sensibilities—and political implications—of the literary original. Salman Rushdie has used magical realism as a powerful tool to deconstruct the reality left by the colonizers. The fusion of fantasy and fiction in Indian background is displayed through the protagonist, Saleem, and all of the midnight's children born at midnight on Aug. 15, 1947. The characters have magical powers such as powers of smell and telepathy. This offers the viewers an insight into the psychological and mental states of the people in the post-colonial era. Rushdie fuses and juxtaposes the realistic and the fantastic, attempting to understand and analyze the layered and complex reality of the socio-political life of the Indian sub-continent.

Amélie (2001)


Amélie, also known for its more extended title, The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain, is a French movie and a time-honored favorite of International Cinema. It is a story of an innocent and naive girl in Paris with her sense of justice. She chooses to help those around her and, along the way, discovers love. Moreover, this simple plot embraces elements of the fantastic and surreal within its narrative. Amélie's vibrant imagination makes everything possible by bringing clouds to life to spurring conversations with lamps and paintings. Jean-Pierre Jeunet, director of the movie, uses magical realism to assist the audience with a better understanding of Amélie's mind and become genuinely absorbed in the world as she sees it.

The Green Mile (1999)

The Green Mile

The Green Mile is an American fantasy drama movie written and directed by Frank Darabont to adapt to Stephen King's 1996 novel of the same name. Its plot is about the real-life story of George Stinney, the youngest person executed in the 20th century US. The movie includes surrealistic elements and Magical Realism. The untangling line between Surrealism and Magical Realism comes to the audience, and some scenes stifle them. The movie serves as a tool to better understand reality and cultivate the psychiatric traits of the whole bunch of prisoners.

However, the most significant thing to recognize about magical realism is that it shows us the creative ways to understand better the very world we live in. Sometimes we need movies like this to help shift our perspectives. As these stories continue to be told, possibly they would make our world feel just a little more magical. The world seems to be hard for dreamers, but magical realism movies would let them dream.