Most people can relate to shyness–who hasn't felt shy from time to time? And shy people make good movie characters because they have a built-in dramatic arc–they start as shy and reserved and end up coming out of their shells and finding themselves. It's fun to watch, whether you're shy or not. So lean up against the nearest wall and try to make yourself as invisible as you can, here are six shy characters who eventually learned to shine.
Harold, "Girl Shy"
Silent comedian Harold Lloyd specialized in playing shy, quiet characters. And in "Girl Shy," Lloyd's shyness is so obvious it's right there in the title. That's not even his worst problem: Harold is so shy that he can't even speak to a woman without breaking into a ridiculous stutter. He eventually conquers his stutter and engages in a madcap chase in order to stop a wedding between "The Girl" and some jerk – see? There's hope for shy guys.
The art of dance may seem like an odd career choice, but life is funny sometimes. Terry isn't particularly happy, though: In fact, she's rescued from a suicide attempt by Calvero, an old entertainer played by Charlie Chaplin. It's not a one-sided rescue, though: Even as he saves Terry and allows her to regain her self-esteem, she does the same for him. She gets to "shine," literally, in the "Limelight" of the title.
Rocky Balboa, "Rocky"
Rocky Balboa might not be many people's first thought when the word "shy" comes up, but it fits. He's a quiet, reserved, blue-collar kind of guy. And as everybody knows, he comes out of his shell in a big way, becoming a heavy hitter in the world of boxing, and gets the girl. A true triumph for shy, borderline-retarded people everywhere.
Allen Ginsberg, "Howl"
Here's a movie that showcases a real-life shy character who learned to shine: Poet Allen Ginsberg. The movie shows that not all instances of shining are without controversy – Ginsberg's poem "Howl" set the literary world on fire, and infuriated as many people as it inspired. Contrary to his incendiary reputation, though, Ginsberg is a quiet and reserved kind of guy. He learned to shine on the page, and he hasn't stopped since.
Andy Stitzer, "The 40-Year-Old Virgin"
Unless you're Quasimodo or The Phantom of the Opera, it's likely that you're pretty shy if you make it to 40 years old without ever doing the deed. That's the case with Steve Carrell's Andy Stitzer, who has to conquer sexual anxiety, questionable advice from friends, and a thatch of chest hair in addition to shyness before he makes it with hot grandma Catherine Keener.
As with "Howl," sometimes the word "shine" is relative. The horror film Carrie is about a sh high school outcast who eventually uses her telekinetic powers to murder everyone at the senior prom. But before that, she got to dance with the most popular boy in school! Congratulations, Carrie, for giving us all something to aspire to.