When I get into a conversation with people about what ‘indie’ means, 9 times out of 10 (real statistics) we will disagree about what indie actually encompasses. We might disagree about the aesthetic, we might disagree about the music, or maybe the actors casting. But one thing that I find we usually agree on, is the way indie movies construct conversations. It’s usually how I can figure out if a movie is indie without resorting to IMDb. Have you heard these conversations? They’re ridiculous. They sound like normal exchanges but amped up to via erm, “quirk.” What does that mean? People have started calling it mumble-core. It is defined in the online dictionary as “a genre of low budget movie using nonprofessionals to depict mundane post-college or early adult existence.” So in practice, mumblecore is just indie for the 25 and under crowd. But you know what? I think you can take the name mumblecore for its face value.
Many indie movies, be it the works of Woody Allen or Wes Anderson, create conversations about everyday things and emphasize the ridiculously frank nature of the dialogue. Their characters are conduits for exercises in subjects spoken about with complete sincerity and frankness. That is what defines indie movies, and sets them apart.