Lou is the story of a tough-talking, independent ISTP whose pure survival skills kick into high gear after her neighbor’s daughter is kidnapped by her psychotic father and dragged out into the woods.

Personality Type: ISTP

Lou, the protagonist, is a perfect picture of an independent, tough-taking, street-smart ISTP who happens to showcase the ability her type has to plan for the future accordingly. The film goes out of its way to establish her as a detached rule-breaker, who hunts out of season and then has the balls to tell the cops she “hit” the deer and drive off with it in the back of her truck. ISTPs have trouble connecting to other people’s emotions, and this becomes a problem again and again in her interactions with her neighbor, Hannah. She is more than capable of looking after her, and trying to rescue her little girl from the clutches of her father (even if it means killing people in the process), but is not so great at a bedside manner. At one point, after Hannah peels off her socks to reveal a nasty bloody spot on her foot from so much walking, Lou comments that she should have spoke up earlier, but when Hannah asks if the medicine she is getting out of the first-aid kit is for her, Lou replies, “Nope.” This is stereotypical of her, and shows how bad she is with people, contrasted with how good she is at rational thinking and finding life hacks (such as figuring out how to light a fire without any dry matches). Yet as the story progresses, we find out Lou cares more than she lets on, in a tough-girl kind of way. ISTPs, especially ones with aggressive Enneagram types, push people away who create emotional dependencies, since they want to be independent and left to do their own thing. They gravitate toward being hands-on, which Lou showcases not only in her hunting and tracking skills, but her risk-taking and willingness to beat up people for a greater cause. As we find out later, she has a special set of skills the CIA used which came in handy as a “spy.”

The biggest reveal, which showcases how much she has used the ISTP’s planning abilities, comes midway through the film when we find out Lou is the kidnapped girl’s granddaughter, and that she manipulated the situation so that Hannah would move onto her island, so she could keep an eye on her. She knew the incident involving her son’s death was probably faked, and she wanted to make sure they would be all right. And when they’re not, she uses her fists and tracking skills to right the wrong, and winds up being emotionally detached enough to realize that her son is a menace and he needs to die. She’s also smart enough to fake her own death, but even though she insists she doesn’t care that much, she does. She’s still looking out for them, from a distance. And she asked them to look after her dog.

The other characters are far less interesting than Lou, but her son is another SP with similar skills to his mother, who harbors a grudge against her for allowing him to be taken while she was undercover. Which highlights another aspect of Lou’s emotional detachment—she reasons that there was nothing she could do, and that it would have blown her cover to go after him—not realizing in the process the emotional impact it would have on him. This is very similar to a scene in the Indiana Jones series, where Indy leaves his girlfriend tied up in an enemy camp, because to do otherwise would “let them know I am here.” Indy never thinks that this might upset her, since it’s simply a logical conclusion. ISTPs find it hard to wrap their head around people who take their rational judgments “personally.” For them, a logical conclusion is just that—logic. Being hysterical about something helps nobody in the long term (Sherlock also depicts this tendency, when he bluntly informs John that caring about a dead person is not going to fix the problem; how he cares about the dead is to find out who murdered them and make them pay). But it also shows her progression into developing her concern for others, in that she started out the movie intending to commit suicide, and abdicating all responsibility for her role in her granddaughter’s life, and by the end, she is still watching over them from a distance. She progressed from leaving them her money but not an explanation (and had no thoughts for how traumatizing it might be for Hannah to find her with her head blown off) to actually taking an interest in watching her granddaughter grow up, even if she can’t be a part of her life (the CIA are still looking for her). It’s neat to see an ISTP grow in this way, even though she is still gruff and withdrawn.

Enneagram: 8w9 sp/sx

Lou is an obvious 8w9 from the very beginning. She is tough as nails and not afraid of anyone. The sheriff catches her with a poached deer in her truck, and she lies right to his face and drives off, completely unconcerned about the law. 8s love to push boundaries and assert themselves; they simply state things how they want them to be and expect others to go along with them. And for the most part, other people are so surprised at this wall of aggressive confidence, most of the time the 8 gets their way. Her ability to make fast decisions from the gut came in handy both in her undercover work, and in how effectively she tackles challenges, even if her ‘bedside manner’ leaves something to be desired. She is extremely blunt and gruff, and yet she also shows the 8 tendency to look after those weaker than herself (which is, technically, everybody). She doesn’t want to take Hannah with her into the woods, but still looks after her (though she warns her, if she slows Lou down, “I will leave you behind” – and she means it!). When it becomes risky for her dog, she sends him home (and tells him he damn well better do as she says! – and he does). She enters a cabin full of strangers to bluff and see what they know, and winds up killing them all when they attack her, without remorse. 8 “hit men” in movies are very good at this sense of compartmentalization and “no offense, but you need to die” thinking. And that’s what the film implies, without tacitly saying it, that she was—an assassin or a hit woman.

The 9 wing is rather obvious in her unique combination of assertive energy (the 8 comes from the assertive triad, meaning “get on board or get out of my way”) and withdrawn energy (the withdrawn triad, made up of 4, 5, and 9, withdraws from others to solve their own problems). Much of her detachment from her family is a result from the 8’s unwillingness to be vulnerable (that gets you hurt) and the 9 tendency to vanish into the background (which is why she is so good at ‘hiding’). But she also softens up a bit toward Hannah as time goes by, showing her 9 wing’s attachment strategy of being willing to meet people halfway.

Her 8ness is shown in sharp contrast with her daughter in law being a 6—Hannah when her daughter goes missing wants to call the police. This is a default for 6s, to turn to “an authority” in a crisis, and assume they are trained to deal with it, but the 8 knows that if you want something done, you can’t wait for cops to screw around, you have to handle it for yourself—by being assertive! If you want something done, do it yourself and quickly! It’s the ideal combination, a 6 who strategizes and is cautious and the 8 who pushes through her fear to make things happen. There’s also an interesting contrast between 6 and 8 in how Lou cannot understand why Hannah didn’t leave her abusive marriage sooner. Hannah was too afraid.

Self-preservation dominants are always very independent; they know taking care of themselves is their job and so they prioritize it. Lou shows this in how skillfully she takes care of her problems, in how she manages to fly under the radar (tapping into her 5 line and being secretive and distrustful of outsiders), and in how easily she prioritizes basic needs. She saves up her money (“it’s a lot,” the bank teller says ruefully when she goes to withdraw it all; and Lou looks at her and growls, “I know, I put it there!”) and leaves it to her daughter in law and granddaughter, along with enough deer meat to feed her dog for a long time. That’s taking care of priorities. Social is very unlikely for her, because she lives such a reclusive lifestyle, and the way she latches intensely onto her family (even from a distance) suggests the intensity of the sexual instinct. Social is “everyone,” self-preservation is “me,” and sexual is “mine!” Hence, sp/sx.