A couple of points:
What people seeking a "film look" to their digital images are seeking is often a chimera. What they are attempting to reproduce is the look of film once it has been digitised .
Grain (actually "graininess") is the perfect example. Much of the "grain" seen in film images viewed on screen is due to a scanner effect called "grain aliasing" (also the poor sharpening that Flickr applies when resizing images has an effect - a quick look at any of my own film images posted here at SC will reveal graininess that simply isn't in the negative or indeed in the original-sized scan)
(In the end, this is a bit of a personal bugbear rather than anything else. I'm certainly not going to persuade anyone at this point to stop thinking that these PP manoeuvres bear much relation to film, because it has become conceptually embedded in the discourse about PP.)
However, there really is a problem with the idea that a camera is "more directly recording reality".
A camera does not have privileged access to things-in-themselves. Painting or drawing don't have it either, but they don't have it less than photography.
This misapprehension is probably because a photograph looks so much like what we see, although I do wonder if it also has to do with a sort of scientism that persuades people that the more "technological" something is, the closer to "reality" it is.
But a moment's thought (well, perhaps more than a moment) about how a camera works (it doesn't matter whether film or digital), and how the human perceptual apparatus works, and how one works in conjunction with the other soon makes it obvious we're making a mistake.
We don't even have to invoke all that to recognise the nonsense:
Let's say I take a photograph of a chair, and then I make a pencil drawing of the same chair.
You look at both.
Does it make any sense at all to say that one is closer to the "real chair" than the other?
Does it make sense so say that one is a more accurate representation of what we see than the other?
(The two statements are not equivalent)
The reason why all this might matter - in a discussion about something as trivial as the whys, wherefores and aesthetics of post-processing digital snaps - is that any sort of discussion can only be weighed properly when we understand what assumptions are embedded in the discourse without being made explicit.
In your case, your belief that photographs are "closer to reality" than other forms of representation will make a difference to how you see and what you say about the aesthetics of post-processing.
And of course, in my case, my belief that all representations are more or less equivalently unrepresentative affects how I do photography.
Beautiful, just beautiful!
Now all we need to do is take the camera out of the equation, and we end up with Bertrand Russell.