I watched a movie with a couple of charaters and I couldn't really relate to any of them, except for one, because I felt such people with this type of personality can't exist; they are just too perfect to be real and I think they came across as pretentious.

There was just one character who acted like a normal human being with flaws in character. Can I say something like this about him?

Unlike the other characters in the movie, John really hits home.

I searched it online and I just found things, Ideas, and remarks used with this idiom.

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    When something hits home it has personal meaning or special applicability or relevance to the speaker. "That bit about the dangers of ambition really hit home" said Macbeth.
    – TimR
    Mar 17, 2018 at 16:03
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    I think that sentence makes sense, though it’s pretty vague. You would be better off mentioning which aspect of the character resonates with you.
    – Ry-
    Mar 18, 2018 at 0:25
  • @Ryan That he uses some cursewords and wants his revenge, unlike other characters who are like heros sparing their enemies, speaking all classy, never getting angry you get the idea.+1 for all. Thank you.
    – Yuri
    Mar 19, 2018 at 15:08

3 Answers 3


It would be more idiomatic to use the expression rings true, which means "seems to be believable or authentic," and is often used in the context of fictional characters or plots:

Unlike the other characters in the movie, John really rings true.

The metaphor behind this expression is from the distant past when coins were minted from real gold. A real gold coin would make a resonant ringing sound when tapped with a hammer, but a coin degraded with base metal would make an ugly clunking noise (and to ring false is an opposite idiom that is also in common use).

You generally would not say that a person "hits home." However, you are correct that this expression is used for ideas, which could include ideas like the screenwriter's creation of the character or the actor's portrayal of him. So if you really wanted to use "hits home," you might say something like this:

Unlike the other characters in the movie, the way John was written [or acted] really hits home.

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    "Hits home" and "rings true" mean different things, though. "Rings true" implies authenticity, while "hits home" implies an authenticity that evokes some kind of emotional response -- something that is moving because it is true.
    – Andrew
    Mar 17, 2018 at 17:36
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    @Andrew "Hits home" doesn't really imply authenticity--it's entirely possible for manipulative propaganda to hit home. Mar 18, 2018 at 0:20
  • @chrylis Maybe "authenticity" isn't the right word. What I mean is that something which "hits home" feels true to someone, even if it is not objectively true. Perhaps verisimilitude is better?
    – Andrew
    Mar 18, 2018 at 21:29

Hits home means that it had personal significance -- that it somehow reminded you of a similar situation/event in your personal life, and evoked both the memory and emotions involved.

Typically this is some kind of loss or hardship, like for an example the loss of a pet -- you could have loss a hamster, the character could have loss guinea pig. You might say something like "The loss of his pet guinea pig really hit home, and just made me burst out in tears".

It doesn't have to be sad, it can be funny or happy or embarrassing, it just has to put you back into that moment of your life.

Now, for the actual phrase you want to use: rings true, was realistic, wasn't a cardboard cut out, or was believable.


I don't think the expression to hit home is going to work there quite well if what you're trying to say is that the character of John looks believable to you. When something hits home for you, it basically means that you can relate to it. It might make sense if what you're trying to say is that you can identify with John or you see something in the movie that reminds you of your own life. Otherwise, this expression just doesn't quite fit the situation described in your sentence. But I might be mistaken.

Why not instead consider using something as simple as an adjective such as convincing which, in the most basic terms, just means believable:

Unlike the other characters in the movie, only the character of John looks convincing enough.

Unlike the other characters in the movie, only the character of John looks believable.

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