A movie’s poster is often one of the biggest selling points outside of the trailer. For this reason, studios release movie posters with a less-than-true representation of what we’re about to see. This is especially true with small-budget films that they feel they can market to certain groups. Comprised here are a list of 5 really blatant attempts to get you to watch a movie that isn’t what’s on the cover.
1. Kramer vs. Kramer- This is a bitter movie about a mom (Meryl Streep) hopping town to deal with her life, leaving dad (Dustin Hoffman) with young kid. The poster makes it seem like that family movie where the stakes are too low for the themes to mean anything, but this one hits hard. When mom’s gone and dad’s bonding with the son he forgot he had, sentiment makes its way into the script’s veins. In the bitter beginning and the grueling court cases though, the poster becomes a relic of something that died a long time ago. It’s a terrific movie with terrific actors, but its charm only goes so far.
2. Happy-Go-Lucky- Indie rom-com this is not. Mike Leigh’s criminally underrated character study of a stubbornly optimistic woman (Sally Hawkins) challenged at every turn is uproarious, charming, and insightful. She does not exactly fall in love, and the guy giving her the piggy-back ride on the front is not the same guy who does it in the movie. By any means don’t let it deter you from seeing this great movie, it’s not the run-of-the-mill indie romance it’s sold as.
3. In the Bedroom- What looks to be a romantic melodrama about two couples is ultimately a family’s coping with a surprising murder. One of the people on the cover doesn’t even make it past the halfway point, but as we’ve seen with the other covers, the hint of sentimentality and romance seems to sell these movies that have no way to appeal to any target audience. A dangerous move that can put off the viewer once they see the film is different, but it can also pay off.
4. The King of Comedy- Though Martin Scorsese and De Niro are the men behind and in front of the curtains in this movie, the poster seems to offer a light, fun and easy going comedy to match the paramount of late night comedy shows. But be warned, Scorsese doesn’t do light, and we should have known better. The King of Comedy is indeed very dark, very private and very twisted, even if there are some funny parts. It’s Taxi Driver, it’s Coens, it’s Scorsese’s and it’s great.
5. The Kids Are All Right- Those going into this film thinking they are going to get a bright, cheery and trendy adult comedy are going to be disappointed. It definitely is not any Woody Allen movie either, no matter how much this cover looks like a scene from Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Though it is definitely hilarious and optimistic at times, The Kids Are All Right digs into deep crevices, serving up shockingly real and raw family drama that you can’t peal your eyes from.