A frequent complaint you'll hear about movies is that they can be ruined by a lack of sympathetic characters, but really, should it be all that necessary for films to provide audiences with characters they can connect to in this way?
Can depictions of wholly unsympathetic, terrible people not be just as engrossing and fascinating - if not more so - than those of easy-to-root-for subjects who totally win the audience's hearts?
These 12 movies, all terrific films in their own right, took gambles on not only protagonists who were difficult to connect with and practically impossible to relate to, but an entire cast who were ultimately deserving of nothing beyond the most basic pity.
That the films are all fondly regarded as classics regardless speaks to the notion that when a movie is smart, thrilling, insightful or well-acted enough, it's perfectly fine if you find yourself loathing just about everyone in it...
Todd Solondz's 1998 black comedy masterpiece is a ludicrously dark plunge into the lives of child molesters, over-sensitive misfits, creepy perverts, obnoxious unfulfilled rich people, cheaters and so on.
Though some have argued that the film renders a "sympathetic" depiction of child rapist Bill Maplewood (Dylan Baker), Solondz himself argued with this description.
He said, "I always took issue with that word. I didn't like accepting that, because I could never sympathise with someone who would do that to a child...And yet, although this man may be a monster, he still has a heart that beats. That's the idea that I was exploring on Happiness, and exploration is very different from sympathy."
You can take an easy get-out by saying that his rape victim is inherently sympathetic, but considering how he's barely part of the movie, it doesn't feel substantial enough. The film's core cast is full of people who bring about their own unhappiness, and it's practically impossible to do anything but be repulsed, laugh or both.