5 Films That Influenced The Hipster Esthetic

They’ve been around for some time, and their influence is felt in just about everything: music, architecture, interior design, fashion. It’s easy to recognize a stereotypical hipster, since their style is very unique: leather boots, large mustaches (for men), denim shirts, pastel hair, and thick-rimmed glasses. They live in neighborhoods that are the “cool” spots in town, with small minimalistic restaurants and coffee shops that offer a variety of organic coffee beans and vegan options. Their furniture is mostly old wood and vintage appliances. The music they like hides from the mainstream world, and the more unrecognizable, the better. These are all clichés, I know, but there’s some truth to them. 

It’s hard to imagine a time before being hipster was as popular and appealing as it is today. But if you want to really see it in all it’s glory, you just need to look at hipster films. There are certain movies that have become almost synonymous with this subculture, whether they like it or not. Here is my selection of the best films that have helped construct this particular visual style.

1. Anything by Wes Anderson

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Vintage stuff? Check. Pastel colors? Check. Quirky clothes? Check. I could keep going, but what’s the point? We’ll never know where hipsters would be without the guidance of Wes Anderson, the brilliant filmmaker behind gems such as The Grand Budapest Hotel, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. The Texan producer, director, and screenwriter has created such a unique visual style that his influence can be felt in just about every other film in this list. The great thing about him, unlike many other filmmakers, is that he combines style with substance to create funny yet heartbreaking films that stay with you long after the credits. What’s not to love?


2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind by Michel Gondry

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Clementine, Joel’s quirky but tough ex girlfriend, has become a hipster icon, with her colorful clothes and ever changing dyed hair. Michel Gondry’s masterpiece deals with memories and heartbreak. It dares to ask whether having loved and lost is better than never to have loved at all. Joel realizes what the correct answer to that question is as he’s having Clementine erased from his memory. The film is a beautiful study of relationships gone wrong. Clementine’s outfits and bright tresses have been imitated since it first came out.

3. Juno by Jason Reitman

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This extremely quotable film about a teenage girl dealing with an unwanted pregnancy has some of the greatest comebacks and one-liners of twenty-first century cinema, such as: “I’m not crying. I’m allergic to fine home furnishing.” The film’s characters are charming, genuine people, unafraid to speak their minds. The movie has an intense color palette, filled with reds and yellows, reminiscent of Wes Anderson’s films. Plus, the soundtrack’s awesome, filled with classic rock songs and lesser known gems that fit perfectly into the story.

4. 500 Days of Summer by Marc Webb

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Cardigans, architecture, The Smiths, dates at Ikea, vinyl record stores, and foreign film projections. Yes, 500 Days of Summer is as hipster as they come. The story of a romantic who falls for a woman who refuses to believe in real love left many people unsatisfied due its choice of a more realistic outcome. But the film is a very interesting study on our ideas of what love is, how much we idealize it, and our tendency to forget about the ugly parts. It’s a visually stunning film that gave us a much needed fresh take on the romantic comedy. Team Summer!

5. Her by Spike Jonze

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A science fiction film filled with state-of-the-art devices still manages to look like all its decoration came straight from an antique shop. I could make the argument that Her’s vintage esthetic directly influenced several interior designers that went on to furnish and decorate just about every young, hip, creative company that started right after the movie’s release in 2013. It’s a beautiful film that talks about our constant need for love and our complex relationship with technology. Yet this is done through a sobering perspective that avoids being judgmental.

If you enjoyed this list, try out our essential film buff movie list and our selection of movies that have no happy endings.

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Taste of Cinema
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