Friday, June 26, 2009

The glimmer of hope

My scriptwriting course brought me this little gem last week, and I thought you might find it interesting.

The beginning of Act Three (in most successful films) is commonly described as a "glimmer of hope." It follows on swiftly from the end of Act Two's "couldn't get any worse." The glimmer shows the audience that the protagonist is beginning to finally see how he or she can solve the "problem."

So our teacher asked us to find the glimmer of hope in the screenplay of "Thelma and Louise."

Much to my surprise it's this snippet of dialogue:





Now...even after all the years since "Thelma & Louise" first came out, I am still astonished that a film which ends with a suicide can be heralded as such a feel-good movie. How did the writer and director manage to do that? Well...it looks like the answer to this question lies in the writing of the script. When Thelma says that she couldn't go back..that she COULDN'T LIVE...the audience are given the tiniest of clues leading to the story's climax. Thelma and Louise will, in fact, NOT live.

So the 25 of us students in that class last week immediately typed away at the poor teacher...."But how can you call THAT a glimmer of hope? Suicide is never hopeful." Ah..but you see...in the world of this film...a fictional world....a dream really...the ending IS full of hope and beauty. The magnificent thing here is that the the writer and director can convey that feeling, through their art, to a global audience in a commercially successful film.

Don't you just love that?

3 comments:

trashalou said...

I am so torn by this film. When it first came out I wanted to cheer like all the women I had heard about in cinemas around the world but it left me feeling a little flat.

Is it a buddy movie a la the norm just with women slotted into the lead roles? Is it a courageous political move by the writers, producer and director? I cannot figure it out and so I remain divided by this movie

Mary said...

I'm with trashalou - I was left a little flat by the ending.

Not that i need a happy happy ending either - but perhaps not THAT ending.

I love the idea of "couldn't get any worse" !!!!

Tinniegirl said...

I actually loved the ending and love the way you have broken it down and explored it. Your course sounds fascinating.