Magical realism in films has become a way to present something new to the audience. Cinema has always been a magical medium and this is another way to bring the magic to the screen. Magical realism in movies is not a loud, over-the-top special effects extravaganza. It's subtle. When you watch a movie with magical realism, you're aware that what you're seeing couldn't possibly be real, but the differences are meant to be accepted and are not explained. The characters live in a world just like ours, with a hint of magic in it. These are some of the best movies that capture the essence of magical realism.
An actor who used to play the role of a superhero has now turned to theater. He keeps hearing the birdman and ultimately gives in and becomes the superhero, flying over the Big Apple. Even when it ends, we're not sure whether he has powers or was hallucinating. This Oscar-winning motion picture is one of the best portrayals of magical realism.
This movie was another commercial hit that had elements of magical realism. Pi Patel is a boy who is stranded at sea with a tiger, an orangutan, a zebra and a hyena. In his struggle to survive, he comes across a carnivorous island and befriends the tiger. When questioned by insurance agents at the end, he re-tells the story with human survivors, but there's no way to find out which version is true.
A brother and sister duo is transported into a black-and-white television show and have to now pretend to be the son and daughter on the show. A wholesome, yet orthodox town, the two have a visible effect on the world, with colors pouring into the drab world. While it was not a box office hit, it has now gained a cult following.
This Woody Allen film is filled with nostalgia and modernist influences has time travel that isn't meant to be science-fiction. A man visiting Paris goes back in time to 1920s every day at midnight, where he meets legendary artists and writers like Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Ernest Hemingway and Scott F. Fitzgerald.
Magical realism isn't limited to, well, magic. The world of Scott Pilgrim is one overlapping video games, with extra lives and his enemies from the League of Evil Exes exploding into coins when killed. None of this is questioned by the other characters and everything else goes on as usual in modern Toronto. This movie is a must-watch for its visual story-telling alone.
Which of these movies have you watched? Did you feel their magical effect? Let us know in the comments below.