What is slice of life? It is a storytelling genre defined by the tone, scope, and subject matter it chooses to focus on. In this post, we will be breaking down and defining the Slice of life genre, taking a look at the differences between high and low concept stories, and offering examples of the best films that the genre has to offer.

What is Slice of Life

First, let’s define Slice of life

Slice of life could be considered a genre or a sub-genre. Regardless of the distinction, there are a number of commonalities that all these stories have in common. Let’s get into what they are, and if there are any other genres that need explaining, you can always refer to our ultimate guide to movie genres.

SLICE OF LIFE DEFINITION

What is Slice of life?

Slice of life is a genre explored in film, television, and literary works centering around normal people and the real drama that arises from everyday life. Slice of life films and television shows sometimes overlap with the comedy and/or coming-of-age genres. It is also a dominant genre in Japanese Anime.

Slice of Life Characteristics:

  • Film, television, and literary genre
  • Low-key, simple stories
  • Character-driven

What Does Slice of Life Mean

High Concept vs. Low Concept

Films are frequently divided into two categories: high concept or low concept. High concept films tend to dominate the highest-grossing movies of all time. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with low concept films and they can find plenty of financial success as well, while often exceeding when it comes to critical reception. These are often character studies or melodramas that are commonly bestowed with awards and critical praise.

Both high and low concept projects have their places in the media landscape. Slice of life stories, by design, fall into the low-concept camp. 

They tend to be smaller, more personal stories with far lower stakes than the average blockbuster. Outside of live-action and literary works, the genre has proven massively popular amongst Japanese anime audiences.

Slice of life in anime

Now that we have our basic understanding of these stories, let’s take a look at a few examples.

Slice of Life Movie Meaning

Examples of Slice of Life Movies

Some of the best Slice of life movies wind up being awards show darlings. Manchester by the Sea and Lady Bird are two great examples that were both nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

There is a lot to learn from the Manchester by the Sea screenplay. Manchester by the Sea leans more into the dramatic aspect of the genre while Lady Bird injects more comedy. The latter film is also a great example of the crossover with the coming-of-age genre.

Why Lady Bird feels so real  •  Slice of life genre meaning

Richard Linklater is one filmmaker who has worked extensively in the Slice of life genre throughout his career. A perfect example would be his seminal classic Dazed and Confused. Linklater's film is also proof that comedies can also work in this genre. 

Excitement in mundanity  •  Slice of life writing examples

Films that fall under the Slice of life genre tend to have a similar vibe or feeling but can cover a wide range of subject matters, such as those exemplified by the likes of Smoke, The Florida Project, The Wrestler, and Short Cuts.

UP NEXT

The Ultimate Guide to Movie Genres

Now that you have a solid understanding of this genre, it might be the perfect time to round out your knowledge of other movie genres. Our ultimate guide to movie genres covers every single genre and sub-genre in existence. Learn about more than 90+ film genres, coming up next.

Up Next: Genre Guide →
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