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.
Finbar McBride From 'The Station Agent'Photo: Miramax
The Station Agent, directed by Tom McCarthy, is a 2003 comedy-drama starring Peter Dinklage as a lonely man named Fin. After a tragedy caused Fin to retire, he spends his days in the isolation of an old abandoned train depot. There he meets his neighbors: a hot dog vendor named Joe, and an artist named Olivia who is facing her own tragedies.
Though the three characters have very different personalities, Fin starts to come out of his shell and slowly develops friendships with both Olivia and Joe. Though Fin may be about as reclusive as it gets, the film goes a long way in revealing that being an introvert is not what makes a person socially awkward; even the most socially stagnant introverts enjoy the company of those who understand them. While each of the characters has chosen to mount their own unique escape from society, they end up bonding on a deeper level than any of them thought possible.Are they a real introvert?
Seymour From 'Ghost World'Photo: United Artists
Seymour, Steve Buscemi's character in Ghost World, has more or less detached himself from the world. When two high school girls respond to an advertisement he put in the personals section, it's initially just as a prank. One of the girls, named Enid, finds to her horror that she actually begins to like Seymour and even offers to help try and find him a girlfriend. Over the course of the film, it's revealed Seymour's strengths are everything he sees as his weaknesses.
He's withdrawn from social connections and therefore develops an extra ordinary personality that doesn't quite fit in anywhere. He assumes this is what really keeps him from ever making a connection with someone, but he desires intimacy and has to learn to accept himself before expecting anyone else to.Are they a real introvert?
Barry Egan From 'Punch Drunk Love'
In Punch Drunk Love, Adam Sandler tackles one of his first "serious" roles as Barry Egan. Barry is a lonely business owner who is constantly harassed by his seven sisters. While his sisters are attempting to pull him out of his introverted shell, they end up demonstrating how such attempts can make introverts feel even more uncomfortable as they are unable to be themselves, especially since Barry also appears to have social anxiety.
In the beginning of the film, Barry resorts to an illicit hotline to fulfill his desires, but he soon finds the girl of his dreams and is faced with the task of figuring out how to navigate romance on his own terms. While the movie isn't your standard Hollywood rom-com, it's a realistic look at how much courage it takes for those with social anxiety to make themselves vulnerable enough to enter into a relationship.Are they a real introvert?
- Photo: Columbia Pictures
Though an introverted movie character may be memorable, that doesn't necessarily make the character a role model for other introverts to aspire to. In Martin Scorsese's disturbing yet fascinating film Taxi Driver, Robert De Niro portrays a character named Travis Bickle. Travis is a veteran in New York City who suffers from insomnia and decides to become a taxi driver. As he constantly looks out on a corrupt and bankrupt city, he slowly begins to detach himself from other people and from reality as well.
As Travis's alienation grows, so does his psychosis and he begins to construct wayward plots, which he believes to be for the good of humanity. Though a fascinating look at the post-Vietnam era, Travis demonstrates that when introversion met with mental instability crosses the line into alienation, a person can lose touch with what's real and tumble downhill into destructive behavior.Are they a real introvert?