What is Naturalistic Acting in Film

What is Naturalistic Acting in Film?

Frequently the result of improvising, naturalistic acting in film captures a natural style in which the audience senses that what is taking place within the film is real or otherwise unrehearsed. Naturalistic acting can be of use in a variety of different settings or situations. But it tends to come out through improvisation as a means of delivering a story both visually and audibly through natural performance.

Unlike the rigidness and fixed approach of unnatural acting, naturalistic acting in film represents an attempt to create a strong illusion of reality through various strategies.

Which seek to deliver a version of acting out a story without precise focus on the use of otherwise unrealistic actions that could be deemed flamboyant or otherwise theatrical in nature. 

Naturalism and Naturalistic Acting in Film

Very often referred to as naturalism. Naturalistic acting in film refers to a school of theatrical thought in which authentic drama on stage is in use as a premise for the acting of a particular story.

Naturalistic acting in film thus represents the use of realistic acting in a realistic story. Such that the demands of the actor and their character are to act in real time as stage time is equal to real time. And to have historically accurate costumes, sets, and props.

While naturalism and realism are similar, the two are not one in the same. Realism is certainly a part of naturalism, but naturalism is an advanced, more extreme or heightened form of realism.

Thus, with naturalism or naturalistic acting in film the following characteristics are evident:

  • Stage time is directly equal to real time. Three hours on stage is three hours in the film.
  • Costumes and props are set to be historically accurate. 
  • The setting might come off as bland or otherwise seemingly ordinary.
  • Action takes place in a set, single location, generally over the course of a single day.
  • Unique circumstances generally shape characters. You might even consider them victims of circumstance.
  • Most characters are working class and lower class individuals.

Subject Focus

In addition to the above characteristics of a naturalistic film, naturalistic dramas tend to focus on subjects that might otherwise be considered taboo or under-covered.

You might see a naturalistic film that focuses on things like suicide, poverty or prostitution. Any and all of these elements are frequently covered in naturalistic films.

How is Naturalistic Acting in Film Represented in Modern Filmmaking?

The Grapes of Wrath represent one of the most notable naturalistic representations in literature and in film. But there are instances in which naturalistic acting in film have representation in modern filmmaking, too. Many actors have used naturalistic acting in films.

Including Robert DeNiro and Johnny Depp. Sometimes referenced as method acting, the use of a natural approach to a role is incredibly common in modern filmmaking.

Character actors may use method acting, or naturalistic acting in film as a means of preparing for a realistic dramatic performance. In which they are expected to have a very stylized role and a dramatic, real-life style performance.

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