Irony Within Films

Irony definitions:

  1. the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.
  2. a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often wryly amusing as a result.
  3. a literary technique, originally used in Greek tragedy, by which the full significance of a character’s words or actions is clear to the audience or reader although unknown to the character.
  4. Irony in speaking is a matter of saying one thing and meaning something else.

I feel that my film is ironic for a few reasons; the message and concept of my film is quite serious, however, I think I have carried this out in quite a comical and humorous way. Also, in some scenes in my film, you see my model covered in totally ridiculous make-up, but yet her movement and facial actions remain fairly professional and serious. It is like the audience knows something that she doesn’t (how she looks!).

Examples of irony in films:

The Hunger Games


In the first movie Katniss kisses Peeta to play up the romance for the Capital audience, but we as the audience know she feels at most conflicted towards him. The dramatic irony also plays into the larger narrative irony of the story in which the denizens of the Capital care about a love story that the audience knows is just a ploy by Katniss/her handlers while ignoring the horror of the fact that children are being sacrificed for their amusement and to maintain social control. This also plays into the meta-irony which is that many of the film’s viewers seem to also care more about the love triangle than the horror of the society depicted.

Mean Girls


Cady Heron (Lindsey Lohan) originally pretends to the Plastics, that she wants to be friends with them (as planned with Janice), but the Plastics do not know this. Also, Cady gives weight-gain bars to the mean girl Regina, pretending they’re low calorie, causing Regina to gain weight and lose prestige.

Monsters Inc.


Monster’s Inc. is a corporation run by monsters, the local trade being the scaring of children (“We scare because we care!”), their emotions a source of fuel. Of course, there’s obvious irony in the fact that monsters are scared of children in the story (used heavily throughout). Also, the fact that the business is run by monsters, considered reckless, violent creatures of the imagination, and actually being organized enough to have created a civilized system and government is irony in its own right.

Finding Nemo


Finding Nemo executes its irony in its characterization. There’s the unfunny clownfish, the carnivorous shark support group, and to some extent, the pelican being friends with the fish.



The irony in the Brad Bird directed Ratatouille is evident. Rats, considered the vilest and most disgusting of all animals, in a kitchen, where they are the most despised and unwelcome. Make that restaurant one in Paris, the food capital of the world, and well…that’s a bit self-explanatory. The message of this film is, “Anyone can cook,” which, underlying, is: “Anyone can be a great artist.” That artist is found in the rat, the thing you’d least expect to become a chef. Therein, Pixar executes its message through irony, combining story tact and profundity all at once.

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