When it comes to introverts in movies, there are a wide range of characters who represent the good, the misunderstood, and the mildly terrifying. Some of the best introverts in movies use their natural reclusiveness to shape their narratives, but not all introverted characters are created equally. While some retreat into daydreams and express themselves creatively, others become trapped in the darker or more painful interior landscapes where they spend most of their time.
The best movie introverts leave the biggest impressions, even though they likely wouldn't enjoy all the attention. They capture what it is like to be an introvert and allow their introverted audience to relate, for better or for worse, to their reserved nature.
- Photo: Universal Pictures
Judd Apatow's classic comedy The 40-Year-Old Virgin stars Steve Carell as Andy, a grown man who has long since given up on ever losing his virginity. He's settled into an internalized existence of collecting comics and superhero figures, but he is forced to bust out of his shell when his friends decide to devise a plot to help him achieve his dream. Andy meets a woman named Trish who he actually starts to develop feelings for, and he learns taking social risks can be worth it for the right person.
Though he is pretty reserved and a bit of an oddball, Andy is very likable.Are they a real introvert?
Theodore Twombly From 'Her'Photo: Warner Bros.
In Her, directed by Spike Jonze, a lonely writer named Theodore, played by Joaquin Phoenix, finds himself as one-half of an unlikely romance. Theodore is in the final stages of a divorce and unexpectedly becomes drawn to "Samantha," a voice on his phone, who is, in essence, a futuristic AI. Samantha's personality has been tailored to fit Theodore, and he ultimately has to come to terms with the fact that although he's finally found the perfect partner, she doesn't actually exist.
The film is a fascinating look at love in the modern age. Though a story about a guy falling in love with his phone may sound like fiction, Theodore has many of the same habits as those of us who rely on our phone for entertainment, communication, and connection. Plus, cyber dating is a relatively common practice with technology that's made it easier than ever to get to know a person - and perhaps even fall in love with them - without ever physically meeting.
Theodore and Samantha's relationship might be an introvert's dream, but the film reveals why it is necessary for even the most recluse introverts to experience human contact.Are they a real introvert?
Amélie Poulain From 'Amélie'Photo: Miramax
Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, this 2001 comedy-drama gem is not only a surrealist masterpiece but also a magical look into the world of an introverted young French girl named Amélie. Amélie grows up in her own imaginary world because her parents believe she has a heart problem and must be isolated from other people. As an adult, she spends much of her time alone when she's not working as a waitress in a small Parisian cafe.
When Amélie is forced to confront her own loneliness in order to bring happiness to another person, she decides to commit her life to spreading joy to others. One of the film's biggest strengths is in showing the audience how some introverts find joy in things that are easy to miss if you're not paying close enough attention. Amélie goes a long way in demonstrating just how much joy there is to be found in the world.Are they a real introvert?
- Photo: 20th Century Fox
Office Space's Milton is an introvert legend. A self-conscious, quiet guy, he spends most of the movie fearing both change and sticking up for himself. Even when he does speak for himself, he asks very little of his colleagues. All Milton wants is for people to quit moving his desk and taking his stapler. Milton's co-workers, however, treat him as a joke, taking advantage of his introverted nature to tease and taunt him.
When Milton finds his inner strength, the office ends up in flames and he travels to the Caribbean. Being an introvert doesn't mean you are weak, but even introverts need to come out of their shells every once in awhile, or else they may end up committing a major atrocity.Are they a real introvert?