Five Quintessentially Hipster Films Deconstructed

Categories: Film and TV
Basil Goo via flickr
Hipster flicks deconstructed.
Trying to define "hipster film" is not really hipster. It goes against the independent subcultures that hipsters proclaim to inhabit. It's like, whatever, suit. Fuck off, what do you know? However, hipsters are everywhere, including the mainstream. America's socio-economic structure is shifting. We are evolving. Black presidents. Gay marriages. The matriarchal structure is stronger than ever--girl power, that's right.

All of this is reflected in hipster film. The following films fall into a strict paradigm. They appeal to late teens and early 20-somethings. The girls are quirky, weird, aloof, and usually not as in love with the boy as the boy is with them. In turn, the male leads are hyper-sensitive and overly emotional. They have blunt, sarcastic sidekicks. There's usually a scene at a record store or thrift shop. There could be weird camera work with an impromptu zine kind of feel. Maybe overuse of the jump cut, cut to, or voice-over. Here are prime examples:

yamipaperdreams via flickr
Ellen Page is the hipster posterchild.
5. Juno
Juno (2007) really kick-starts the hipster film motif, at least in modern times. Before Juno, contemporary hipster flicks like Garden State, Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind, or Almost Famous had female leads (Natalie Portman, Kate Winslet, and Kate Hudson) who were Manic Pixie Dream Girls, wacky, quirky characters high-on-life whose sole existence was to instill in brooding men the secrets of love and the spirit of youth. In Juno, you have a quirky female character who basically doesn't give a shit about the guy.

Ironically, however, with this liberation the woman is no longer a light spirit--on the contrary, she is darker, cynical, and more sarcastic. The aloofness and loneliness in the powerful female lead is hipster and absolutely modern. Juno did have Bleeker (Michael Cera), but their relationship was off-balanced, he liked her more. They were in a band, totally hipster. Juno debated indie music with Mark (Jason Bateman), which also reflects this movie's hipsterdom, but her DYI attitude is what is intrinsically hipster.

T Hoffarth.jpg
T Hoffarth via flickr.
Zooey Deschanel is very hipster, also.
500 Days of Summer (2009) absolutely belongs on this list. Once again, the central plot of the story revolves around a boy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who likes a girl more than the girl likes him. They fall for each other upon discovery that they both love The Smiths. How hipster is that? More importantly, Summer (Zooey Deschanel) is yet another example of this female trope, an aloof, quirky, introverted girl who basically doesn't know what she wants.

Although she has the power, she's not necessarily interested in it. Summer is in a band and her quirky hipster style lends one to think she is a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. But in fact, her character is way more complicated and confusing. She's not a good girl. This hipster movie is also replete with experimental cinematographic techniques. There's also a scene at a music store. And the male has sarcastic sidekicks who give him a hard time for his emo-ness.

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Z dawg
Z dawg

DUDE I can see garden state having the mpdg. But Almost Famous uhhh I don't think so! Kate Husdon doesn't even end up with the main character, and in the end tries to kill herself. Eternal Sunshine? Kate Winslet's character is meant to be borderline unlikable. I can sort of quote her in the movie: "a lot of guys think I'm some concept that will free them or I complete them. Really I'm just some girl looking for her own piece of mind." Boom whammy. no manic pixie dream girl there!


Really, no Wes Anderson?


Wes Anderson is amazing, but this paradigm didn't apply to films older than 4 years..Life Acquatic came out in 04'. Rushmore (98') would've also fit the mold. I'd like to call this genre of hipsterdom Magical Nihilism because of its disconnected aloofness mixed with creative film-making, but yeah, Wes would probably reign as the master of the domain... 

Jack keroac
Jack keroac

Paradigm? Last 4 years? Your speaking as if "hipsterdom" is a social paradigm that hasn't been around since the 1950's. Quintessentially speaking that's a lot of material to pull from and reference. 60 years of influence

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