Thursday, December 12, 2019

10 Best INFP Movies

There are several elements that define an INFP movie. Their characters, or the movie itself, is often sweet, thoughtful, spiritual, selfless, and deep, telling some sort of love story at its core in the midst of some internal or external conflict. INFP stands for Introvert, Intuitive, Feeling, and Perceiving, some of the traits that make these characters and their movies what they are. Below, I have compiled a list of the 10 best that I have encountered.

10. Garden State (2004)
While I'm not really a fan of Zach Braff, he did stumble upon a hit in his writer/director debut, Garden State. It tells the story of Andrew "Large" Largeman, a struggling actor in LA who travels back to his hometown in New Jersey for the funeral of his crippled mother. He was essentially the cause of her crippling, but the medications his doctor father has had him on forced him to float through life as an unfeeling zombie. As he mingles with his old high school friends, he meets the eclectic charms of Sam (Natalie Portman), who is adjusting well to life despite her own damages.

Large comes to terms with his father, with his mother's death, and with the landslide of feelings that he is experiencing for the first time since he was a child. Those feelings include falling in love with Sam and her endearing family as he struggles through the reality of returning to his empty life in LA. Garden State is about tying up loose ends, falling in love for the first time, and learning how to feel for the first time all the emotions that tear at our souls on a daily basis. It's funny, heartfelt, and quirky, riddled with a solid indie rock soundtrack. If Zach Braff were actually more like the character he created in Large, I would appreciate him all the more.

9. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is the best book to movie adaptation I've seen. It should be, considering that novel author Stephen Chbosky was chosen to direct the movie. And boy, did he get it right on so many levels. Perks tells the story of Charlie, who is writing to an unknown friend the travails of his lonely existence. Through his sister's mix tapes from her abusive boyfriend, he's discovered the soul-changing music of The Smiths, Smashing Pumpkins, and Fleetwood Mac for the first time.

A loner, Charlie soon meets upperclassmen Sam and her brother Patrick, who bring out the "infinite" feeling in him he never knew could exist. The story tackles issues of child abuse, homosexuality, love, and sadness, all wrapped into one complicated outing. One of the first books I fell in love with, Perks brought all the above elements to the screen in a highly-emotive fashion. It's a coming-of-age story, one in which the character of Charlie displays some highly-INFP characteristics on his way to finding out who he truly is as a person.

8. Vanilla Sky (2001)
Vanilla Sky is a love story in the guise of a psychological thriller. There's certainly a lot to unpack here, but Vanilla Sky tells the story of magazine CEO David Aames and how his life came crumbling down after a fateful accident. He meets Sofia (Penelope Cruz) at a party and falls head over heels in love with her. But, he's been courting Julie Gianni (Cameron Diaz) in a fruitless relationship. Julie takes David's new love interest to heart and attempts to kill both of them in a kamikaze car accident, leaving her dead and David disfigured. David finds that there is a lot more going on under the surface as he lives out a lucid dream, trying to reconnect with the society that has forsaken him.

I'm not a Tom Cruise fan in the least bit, but this movie is a great one, and he's actually great in it. Vanilla Sky is actually a remake of the Spanish film Abre Los Ojos (Open Your Eyes), in which Penelope Cruz stars as well as the same character. Vanilla Sky is an unforgettable flick, one that deserves more than one viewing due to its complexity, and its quality. There are several psychological INFP films out there like Vanilla Sky, such as Stay, The Jacket, The Butterfly Effect, and Wicker Park. I'll be highlighting that one later in the list.

7. Seven Pounds (2008)
Of all the movies I've cried in, I've devoted the most tears to this one. It's an unassuming movie, and I went into the experience of watching it blind. Will Smith has been known to put out some tearjerkers in his day, but there are none quite so heavy as Seven Pounds. The title refers to the seven pounds of flesh that Ben Thomas (Smith) feels that he must pay back due to the lives he has accidentally taken. While looking at his phone when driving, Ben takes the life of his wife and six other drivers around him. He now lives his life to atone for the grievous error he has made, giving back the life he has taken away.

If this doesn't scream INFP, I don't know what does. INFPs have a strong sense of justice and principle, which is just the sort of mindset that Ben takes when engaging on his quest of penance. Just watching the trailer makes me tear up. I've only been able to endure Seven Pounds once due to its remarkable heaviness, and of all the movies I've cried in, only this one and Les Miserables have made me sob. Seven Pounds will demand a toll of you, but if you are a true INFP, you will appreciate it and remember it for all your life.

6. High Fidelity (2000)
Much like myself, Rob Gordon likes to compile lists. Except his go beyond the world of music and movies and apply directly to his life. He's a man-child to be sure, but one that is funny and endearing, a record store owner on the outs with his girlfriend, Laura. He comes up with a list of his top 5 girlfriends of all-time, and he arranges his extensive record collection in autobiographical order.

Jack Black provides the slapstick sidekick every one needs, hilarious in his meltdowns and in his day to day life selling vinyl records for Rob. Joan Cusack and Lisa Bonet play interesting supporting characters as Rob grapples with the reality of growing older and losing the affections of Laura. Only a tragedy brings them back together in a scene reminiscent of Say Anything. The guys of Championship Vinyl are surely music snobs, but ones who have endearing qualities that grow on you in their own way. Though, Rob's top 10 and top 5 lists are the most entertaining elements of the film.

5. Say Anything (1989)
I have a theory that Say Anything, High Fidelity, and Gross Pointe Blank are all connected. They're all Cusack films basically portraying the same character (but not really) at three different times in his life. I'll have a later blog post about that very thing, but for now, we focus on the ultra INFP Say Anything. John Cusack plays Lloyd Dobler, a quirky, fast-talking, lovable soul who falls head over heels in love with high school valedictorian Diane Court. It's your classic two different worlds/wrong side of the tracks love story set to the tune of Peter Gabriel.

Lloyd is not much of an I (introvert), but he's the sort of extrovert people want to be around, the friend you can depend on, whether listening to your romantic woes or holding onto your keys so you don't drive home drunk. Lloyd is an odd pairing with Diane, but after spending enough time with him, she can't help but fall in love, even if her crooked father is attempting to pull her away for himself. Say Anything is one that stays with you.

4. Amelie (2001)
I fell for Amelie the first time I saw it back in 2004. It's a French-speaking delight from the brilliant mind of writer/director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, scored by the brilliant mind of world-class musician Yann Tiersen. The film features Audrey Tautou as Amelie Poulain, a lonely, whimsical girl who gets her personal kicks out of making people's lives better, though often discarding her own. She brings childhood nostalgia to strangers, serves up justice to evil-doers, and watches contrived news reels of her own dwindling life as she makes everyone else happy but herself. She's essentially the cutest, most adorable superhero the world has ever seen.

Amelie is tons of fun, a French film that put Audrey Tautou and Yann Tiersen on the map. The musician scored the entire movie, a virtuoso dabbling in pianos and accordions, violins and whistles to give Amelie her own set of whimsical little theme songs. Amelie enjoys skipping rocks and cracking the outer layer of creme brulee for herself, but when it comes to making a lasting love connection with her would-be beau, Nino Quincampoix, she retreats into her shell - right up until she doesn't anymore.

3. Wicker Park (2004)
Like Vaniila Sky, Wicker Park dabbles in the psychological sphere as it jumps all over the timeline of lovers Matthew (Josh Harnett) and Lisa (Diane Krueger). It's a remake of the French film L'Appartement (The Apartment) starring Vincent Cassel and Monica Bellucci. In Wicker Park, Matthew's lover Lisa has mysteriously disappeared after he asks her to move in with him. Little do either of them know, Alex (Rose Byrne) has fallen in love with Matthew and is willing to do anything to keep him for herself.

Wicker Park is a much better movie than the trailer suggests. I was pleasantly surprised when I ventured out to the theater in 2004, jamming to its indie rock soundtrack all the way there. The psychological romance is a sub-genre up there with some of my favorites, ushering in such films as Vanilla Sky, The Jacket, The Butterfly Effect, and The Lazarus Project.

2. Bright Star (2009)
Bright Star probably best falls into the category of the Jane Austen adaptations, but don't let that fool you. It's based on the life of John Keats, a posthumously famous poet who fell in love with his neighbor, Fanny Brawne, at the end of his consumption-ridden life. This is the best piece of Regency-era cinema I have seen, complete with a dwindling view of the magic that was the work of famous INFP John Keats.

Keats gave up his medical training in order to become a poet. When Keats' first collection of poems is poorly-reviewed, he catches the attention of Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish), who rents a home just next to the one he is renting with his friend, Charles Armitage Brown. Keats and Brawne fall deeply in love, but in Regency England, a young man cannot marry a young woman if he cannot support her financially, no matter how much he loves her. Bright Star is a tragedy and a triumph in one, proving only that more people should be in tune with the works and the story of John Keats.

1. Charlie Countryman (2013)
Charlie Countryman was an accidental find on Netflix one weekend afternoon. Shia LaBeouf is excellent in the title character, a young man who has just lost his mother to a debilitating illness. When her spirit appears to him, she tells him to travel to Bucharest, which is the capital city of Romania. The fateful flight over leads him to Gabi Ibanescu, a pensive violinist who's just lost her father, and who has some extra baggage that Charlie volunteers to take on with her, as he's fallen in love at first sight.

The most beautiful thing about Charlie Countryman is all the chases and beatings that Charlie is willing endure for Gabi. He's not concerned with himself in the least, and when he is confronted by the spirit of his mother again, she tells him that she meant for him to travel to Budapest, not Bucharest. Despite what fate had in mind, Charlie has set his sights on Gabi, all her troubles, and he knows he's come to the right place to deliver her from all the stifling ropes that bind.

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