If you read any given book on astrology or numerology or whateverology, you’ll note a little tiny pattern when it comes to discussions of personality types associated with whatever little random trait: broad/vague flattery. Any given Sun Sign is, of course, friendly and loving and concerned with important things and so on and so forth. Sixes are artistic and generous, fours are practical and sincere.
Sure they are.
Anyway, a much more subtle version of this is the “personality test”. Answer a long list of questions and you’ll get a somewhat more accurate list of flattering statements. At the one end of the spectrum you have the “Which New Kid On The Block Are You?” kind of test (Joe, thanks!) and at the other you have the Myers-Briggs and Enneagram tests. Sure, it’s nice to read that you are a thoughtful individual but beyond the joy that comes with flattery from a fairly objective source (it’s a test!), there’s no real payoff.
While these things call themselves “interactive movies”, they’re more of movies punctuated by personality tests and there are multiple endings depending on the prejudices you display while answering the questions.
There are two of them (sadly, there are not three… not that I know of, anyway) and they’re both really, really cool. There’s Tender Loving Care and Point of View. The first one, TLC, brings you to a house where John Hurt (seriously!) explains to you that something awful happened here many years ago. A husband and wife are exceptionally distant from each other and a therapist moves into the house with a new and interesting form of therapy. You watch a scene and then John Hurt asks you to answer some questions. Some of the questions have to deal with the movie… like, what do you think the motivation of this character was, what did someone really mean when they asked a particular question, that sort of thing. Other questions are straight up personality test questions. You’re also given access to stuff like notes and diaries (different answers give you different things written on them). As the movie goes on, certain scenes are shown, other scenes are withheld, until you get to one of the different possible endings that was tailored to the prejudices that you displayed as you answered the questions. (Who is the bad guy? Who is the victim? Who is the good guy? All of these questions are answered to your satisfaction.) They even put together a profile for you at the end! The real reward, however, is finding out what happened to everybody involved.
The second movie, Point of View, is a bit more polished and surprising (after I watched my particular ending, I looked up the other endings and almost didn’t recognize them because I had thought that the other options would go one way when, really, the available endings were of a different nature entirely). This is a story about a model/actress who quit her lucrative career to become a cleaning lady. As the story progresses, we find out why she quit, why she’s willing to get back into the game, and what she needs to do to overcome the trust issues that are holding her back.
Again, you are given movie scenes and then asked questions about your responses to them. Was this character showing concern or were they just being nosy? Was that character giving good advice or making a veiled threat? There are, of course, regular personality test questions as well. Different answers give you different endings (and, of course, a personality profile all your own).
I haven’t found anything close to this when it comes to entertainment. Half personality test, half movie. It’s a lot of fun and, more than that, a lot of fun to see how your friends and loved ones answer the questions (and to see the things that are written just for them).
So that’s my recommendation for you this week.