Movie Reviews

10 Movies With Unlikable Characters You Can't Help But Love, According To Reddit

With Better Call Saul and Barry returning to TV, unlikable characters are again in the spotlight. Like in television, in cinema, some characters are written to be antiheroes, a bold move from instantly likable personas. They aren’t the most sympathetic protagonists on the big screen, but they’re loved despite – or because of – that.

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People simply can’t help but love and root for them, no matter their flaws. From Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino to Al Pacino as the iconic Michael Corleone, Redditors have weighed in and shared their thoughts on the best-flawed characters that Hollywood can offer.

One of the best antiheroes of the 1990s, Tyler Durden is a character impossible not to enjoy on the screen. In Fight Club, Durden is simply a projection of the Narrator’s mind, but with the same level of importance in the narrative. As the catalyst of every trouble the Narrator (Edward Norton) gets himself into, he’s the personification of toxic masculinity ideals, traits that make him an unlikable character.

Nonetheless, Brad Pitt’s charismatic performance turns Durden into an enjoyable cinematic experience. One Redditor says that what makes him likable is the fact that the “audience wishes they were him”. Another Redditor thinks that’s due to him “looking like” Brad Pitt, which adds to the well-written character.

American Psycho has become a film enjoyed across generations. With many memorable quotes, the Oliver Stone movie surrounds Christian Bale as he delivers a performance of a lifetime as Patrick Bateman. Self-centered, vain, and with little regard for human life, Bateman is quintessential of unlikability.

Yet, one of the best fictional serial killers of the 2000s is also a likable character for bad_arts. Another Redditor agrees, saying that’s probably due to the fact that Bale’s portrayal is “so entertaining”.

In As Good as It Gets, Jack Nicholson plays an arrogant, unfiltered author who cares only about himself at first. One Redditor thinks Nicholson “nails the idea” of being an unlikable character that the audience can’t help but appreciate.

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As the film develops, Melvin Udall learns a couple of lessons from his gay neighbor and the only waitress that tolerates him. Because Udall is a cranky but human protagonist, this romantic comedy is quite an unconventional and enjoyable movie.

In Nightcrawler, Jake Gyllenhaal plays a sadistic, does-what-it-takes con man. Louis Bloom challenges the lines of common decency in the name of his job while holding back a troubled personality. This mix of aspects makes this character unlikable but enthralling throughout the narrative. One Redditor mentions Boom as an example of unlikable-but-lovable characters, and another Redditor says they’ll add this movie to their “list” because of the protagonist.

One of the movies that best capture the city of New York, Uncut Gems focuses on Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler), a gems dealer addicted to gambling, which ultimately leads to his downfall. One Redditor states that Ratner is a “self-absorbed” character, but thanks to Sandler’s performance, one can’t help but root for him “as he digs himself deeper”. Another Redditor agrees, saying this movie is a “great example” of having an unlikable character that is appreciated in the story, nonetheless.

Old Saint Nick is on this list, but this one isn’t jolly. A modern Christmas classic, Bad Santa explores the story of two friends as they set up a scheme to rob stores on Christmas. Billy Bob Thornton plays Willie Soke, a miserable, cranky man who dresses up as Santa.

Eventually, Soke shows his soft spot when he meets a particular child, making this movie unexpectedly wholesome. One Redditor highlights Thornton’s portrayal in this film, with another Redditor saying the character is a “great” example of a lovable antihero.

GoodFellas is high on the list of Martin Scorsese’s best movies, and it remains a timeless mobster film. Based on a true-crime story, it’s easy to see why the characters are naturally unlikable, but the audience still sticks to them throughout the narrative.

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Ray Liotta, Robert DeNiro, and Joe Pesci play the main characters, who are not “good people”, according to one Redditor. The user also compares GoodFellas to Scarface, saying that the audiences can’t help but admire the protagonists in these films, even though they’re morally problematic people.

Michael Corleone doesn’t start as an unlikable character, but, throughout his narrative arc, he becomes despicable and impossible-not-to-love. The credit for that goes not only to Al Pacino’s natural charisma, which pours into his brilliant performance but also for the way Michael is written.

Because the viewer has found him relatable in The Godfather, it’s hard to stop loving him later on, no matter his flaws. One Redditor adds him to the list of unlikable characters, and another Redditor agrees, saying Michael is “compelling”.

In Ace In The Hole, Kirk Douglas plays Charles Tatum, an opportunistic reporter who encounters his biggest con: The chance to interrupt the rescue effort in a mine shaft, so he’s considered a hero. While the plan is morally wrong, Tatum remains a charming character during the entire narrative.

One Redditor describes Douglas as “amazing” in the unlikable but charismatic role, while another Redditor points out that the movie is a “fantastic satire about journalism”.

In Gran Torino, Walt Kowalski is designed as an unlikable character, but audiences can’t help but enjoy him, or as one Redditor puts it, viewers “hate” that they “like” him. As a grumpy Korean War veteran, Kowalski doesn’t get along with his relatives or neighbors.

Despite his prejudice, however, he finds himself protecting a Korean family, which illustrates the complex nature of the character, played by Clint Eastwood masterfully.

NEXT: Clint Eastwood’s 10 Coolest Movie Roles Of His Career

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