I don’t give ratings like this to amateur scripts (or any scripts these days) very often. But I’m giving one today!

Amateur Friday Submission Process: To submit your script for an Amateur Review, send in a PDF of your script, a PDF of the first ten pages of your script, your title, genre, logline, and finally, why I should read your script. Use my submission address please: Carsonreeves3@gmail.com. Your script and “first ten” will be posted. If you’re nervous about the effects of a bad review, feel free to use an alias name and/or title. It’s a good idea to resubmit every couple of weeks so your submission stays near the top.

Genre: Drama
Premise: (from writer) A young Jewish woman in occupied France escapes the Nazis by changing places with a shop owner. But as her love grows for the other woman’s husband and child, so does her guilt.
About: This is…. Amateur Week SMACKDOWN – 5 scripts, all of which have been pre-vetted by the SRF (Scriptshadow Reader Faithful), vie for the Top Prize, an official endorsement from whoever the guy is who runs this site. Good luck to all!
Writer: Michael Whatling
Details: 111 pages – NOTE: This is a NEW DRAFT from the one originally posted on Amateur Offerings, with notes incorporated from those who read it.

blankNatalie Portman for one of these two hot female roles?

Amateur Week Smackdown is coming to an end. Going into today, Tuesday’s entry, Ship Of The Dead, is the clear leader. It didn’t quite garner a “worth the read,” since its second half didn’t live up to its first. But it was the most marketable script, and the easiest to tweak, should someone want to buy it and turn it into a movie.

With that said, I’d been saving Patisserie for last because this one had gotten the best reception from all of you guys. Word on the street was that even a French A-list actress requested the script for a read. So if all else failed, I had a feeling Patisserie would save us from a trip to The Burning Fire Pit Of Forgotten Screenplays. Let us engage our Google Translation apps, jump on the Chunnel train, and dip our heinies in a little croissant butter. Time…..FOR SOME PATISSERIE!

It’s 1941. France is occupied by Germany. This means that every French town is infested with Nazi soldiers. Soldiers who are amping up their search for Jews. This is where our story begins. A group of Jews have been rounded up and marched through the streets of a small town, chained together, for everyone to see and understand who’s in control.  These Nazis want the townsfolk to know that with the flick of a wrist, they could be heading to a concentration camp near you.

Emilie is one of these Jews. She’s stuck on the line. But when a fortunate trip by one of the older men occurs, it provides her with an opportunity to escape. So she darts over to a nearby Patisserie and scurries inside, all while an owner of the shop, the beautiful and innocent Mireille, is too stunned to say or do anything about it.

When the Germans realize they’ve lost the girl, they start freaking out. Realizing that they can’t show up to the camp one girl short, they grab Mireille, who somewhat resembles Emilie, clobber her unconscious, and go on their merry way, numbers intact.

When Mireille’s husband, Andre, comes home, he finds former Jewish prisoner Emile hiding in his shop, which he’s a little more than confused by. But Andre’s a nice guy, so he gives Emile some food and lets her play with his 2 year old son while he waits for Mireille to come home. Of course, Mireille doesn’t come home. Not that day, not the next day, and not the next.

Andre’s confused at first, then angry, and then obsessed about his wife’s disappearance. Unfortunately, nobody will talk to him about what happened that day. Nobody wants to piss the German soldiers off. So they tell him to shut up and stop making trouble. Eventually, Andre comes to grips with the reality that his wife isn’t coming back. And slowly, almost by default, Elise assumes that wife/mother role in the family, even taking Mireille’s official identity.

It doesn’t take long for the Nazi soldiers to get suspicious, particularly a snide little rat named Egger, who takes a liking to both Elise and Andre’s baked goods. He notices that Andre and Elise don’t look right together, and lingers at the shop after his nightly shifts, asking questions that neither of them can easily answer. We get the feeling that sooner or later, this is all going to blow up. The question is, on which side will the casualties lie? And will Andre ever see his real wife again?

About midway through Patisserie I let out a big sigh, pushed my computer away, and took a drink of water. This is a longstanding cue for Miss Scriptshadow to look at me and say, “Good or bad?” I needed to think about that question. It wasn’t a simple answer. I finally offered a reserved, “Good.” Then I paused. “But boring good.”

I wasn’t aware what I meant by that at first. I mean, I don’t think there’s any question that Patisserie is the best-written script of the week. The writer transports you to a place and time via a mastery of prose and atmosphere that leaves most writers in the dust. Good writers seem to have this ability, where you’re not even aware you’re reading a script while you’re reading it. It all flows so naturally. It all feels so real.

But still, even though I was enjoying Patisserie, there was nothing jumping out at me. It was all very understated. “Boring good” might actually be a harsh assessment. But it was definitely the kind of good that’s hard to get excited about. So yeah, I wanted to finish the thing, but I didn’t NEED to finish the thing. And that’s an essential difference between a good script and a great one.

Well, not so fast, Carson. As I entered phase 2 of the script read, something happened. Every five pages, the script got better than the previous five pages. And I’ll tell you when I realized I had something special – it was the scene where Egger (huge spoiler) lets Andre and Emilie know he knows their secret, so they kill him. It was just a really tense well developed scene with tension and suspense and dramatic irony and surprise. Whatling had done a great job with all the previous Egger visits setting this moment up, and the result was this victorious feeling for finally taking down one of the bad guys, mixed with horror as we feared the repercussions of the act. From that point on, I was president of the Patisserie Fan Club.

But there’s nothing that could’ve prepared me for the climax. Now I’m going to get into some major spoilers here so I recommend you read the script before continuing. But here’s why I was so revved up about this. I always say that if you REALLY want to give us a character to remember, give them an impossible choice. Give them a choice where there is no right answer, and where the stakes for the choice are sky high. And if possible, place that choice during the climax.

When we’re looking at Mireille screaming at Andre in the middle of the street, to please tell the German officers that she’s his wife, I mean… I had to do the “Readjust.” The “Readjust” is when you sit straight up, make sure you’re totally comfortable, then go back to reading. Bad scripts never get the Readjust. I remain slouched back the whole time during a bad script.

But even WITH that piece of advice I so often preach, I couldn’t believe what Whatling did with that final chapter. A German officer brings Mireille over to Andre and says she’s claiming that Andre is her husband, and that Ellie is a Jew. With Ellie standing next to Andre, the soldier demands that he tell him which one of these women is his real wife. I honestly had no idea what he was going to say. It was one of the most tension-filled climaxes I’ve ever read. It was that good. And it’s that scene that pushed this up to an impressive for me.

And you know what else made this an impressive? It’s another thing I always preach. You want your main characters to be the kind of characters that actors would die to play. Make them Academy Award worthy characters. I’m not kidding with what I’m about to say. If this script gets into the right director’s hands? If the right people are making it?  I could see it garnering TWO Academy awards, one for the lead (Emile), and one for supporting (Mireille). Female actresses just don’t get the opportunity to play characters like this very often.

But there’s a lot more to celebrate here. I love how the entire movie is built on one of the most dependable screenwriting tools there is – dramatic irony. We and Emilie know what Andre does not – that his wife was taken by the Germans. And it was Emile’s fault! This provides an undercurrent of tension and suspense throughout the entire script, as we’re wondering when this information is finally going to be disclosed to Andre, and how.

And Egger – what a brilliant villain. One way I know I’m dealing with a good writer is when the villain isn’t an over-the-top evil asshole. Egger was a coward. A conniving slimy two-face who smiles and pretends he’s your best buddy, all while stealing from you. These are the villains that really stick with audiences – the ones we truly want to see go down. And boy were we happy when Egger went down.

Besides the slow first half, I really only have one complaint. (spoiler) I don’t think Emilie should give herself up in the end. When Andre tells the officers that Emilie is his wife, and he’s walking away with Mireille pleading to him on her hands and knees, I think that’s the end of your movie. It doesn’t get any more powerful than that moment. And to end on that…holy shit would that have everyone talking as they leave the theater – creating the kind of word-of-mouth that only much bigger movies with much bigger budgets and marketing campaigns can achieve. Something about Emile going back to give herself up felt like an extra ending to me.

That’s my one suggestion. But this isn’t a script that needs a lot of suggestions. It’s freaking that good!

Script link: Patisserie

[ ] what the hell did I just read?
[ ] wasn’t for me
[ ] worth the read
[x] impressive
[ ] genius

AMATEUR SMACKDOWN WEEK WINNER: Patisserie!!!

What I learned: There’s something about a villain who smiles while he steals from you that always gets audiences. A person who charges in and demands you give him money or he’ll shoot you in the face is boring. If that same person pals around with you for half an hour, then gently implies that for protection, you might want to fork over 30% of your paycheck? We will always hate that character more than the Obvious Guy. That’s why Egger was so genius here. He WAS that character.

Why this script SHOULD be purchased: Look, there’s no question this is a tough sell. However, there’s always going to be a market for World War 2 films. You should have no problem attaching two well-known actresses to this script, which should get you financing, which should get the film made. This ain’t going to be a The Purge return on investment. But it could be one of those “little engines that could” that battles for Academy votes come the end of the year.

  • ThomasBrownen

    A HUGE congrats to Michael! I thought this looked like it had some potential when it was first posted, and the author seemed to know what he was talking about in the comments, so I’m glad this script got the attention it deserves. Congrats again!!

  • romer6

    Wow! Congratulations to you, Michael! I knew there was something here from the first ten pages alone! And Carson let it clear that they are not even the best part of the script! I wish you all the success you can achieve. And deservedly so. I couldn´t read all of it yet, but I surely will. :)

  • ximan

    “This ain’t going to be a The Purge return on investment. But it could be one of those “little engines that could” that battles for Academy votes come the end of the year.”
    ^^^^Exactly! And if Harvey Weinstein produces it, it actually could get an ROI like The Purge. Also, yes to ANYTHING with Natalie Portman in it.

  • IgorWasTaken

    First, congrats to Michael Whatling.

    Second, this is like Christmas Morning for Carson – He loves this script so much, he posts his review before 5AM PT.

    Third.

    Carson – Please remember this script and your review, the part about the first half of the script being “boring good”. For you, as you read it, it clearly didn’t contain certain things that scripts “must” have. But, that was OK because the script was working.

    And ultimately, this script with the “boring good” first half garners an “Impressive”.

    How can that be?

    And so, going forward, if you review a script and are poised to say, “This writer made a mistake because he/she didn’t do A, B, C in the first 10/20/52 pages” – recall that this script, “Patisserie”, somehow was “Impressive” despite its lack of A, B, C in the first 10/20/52 pages. And so, it must be something than just that lack of A, B, C. Please try to dig deeper and figure out what the real the problem is.

    • Kay Bryen

      Interesting point. But Carson says he felt he didn’t NEED to finish it, so I suspect that if he was a Hollywood reader he might not have gone back to the script after that drink of water. That’s why those ‘ABC’ are crucial for us amateurs: to pass this “trial by water”. I wish Michael all the best, especially since I have a sweet tooth for Ms Portman.

      • IgorWasTaken

        I am not dismissing the value of A, B, C.

        But sometimes a script is knocked for lacking one or more of those elements… But even if those elements are added, the script still won’t be good because it ain’t just that.

        Like being set up on a blind date who’s perfect on paper, but the date just doesn’t work. Or, like looking at a used car and saying “No.” The seller asks why, you say, “It’s blue, but I want a red car.” So he paints it red, but you still don’t want it because… whatever.

        IOW – OK, fine. This or that script isn’t a good script. The writer is told that it’s missing A and B. But if adding A and B won’t make it a good script, the writer’s just been sent on a fool’s errand.

        I’m saying: If you read a script and it’s lacking A, B, and/or C, it’s too tempting to say that that very lacking is the problem, when that may well not be the problem.

        Just as we writers are urged not to jump for the obvious answer to a character’s problem, as readers we should not jump for the obvious answer to why a script is not working. Sure, ultimately the obvious answer may be the right one; but we should at least consider that it’s not.

    • TruckDweller

      For what it’s worth, I picked this up and read over 30 pages. I put it down to do an errand but I didn’t pick it up again. Now part of that is probably that I read the earlier draft and I’ll be fixing that this evening. But the other part was I didn’t feel a great investment to keep reading. Now, unless you have killer reviews, great contacts or awards under your belt, an amateur doesn’t get to have that luxury. Lucky for “Patisserie”, it now comes with great reviews.

      When I read the correct draft this evening, I’ll be paying specific attention to why I wasn’t drawn in, without relying on formulaic answers of what page what needs to happen. I do this for you, Igor, because I love your response.

    • JayRaz

      Hey Igor,

      Might you be interested in reading a comedy script I’ve just finished? I think you write comedies too?

      • IgorWasTaken

        For now, I’ll read Act I. You can e-mail me using my full name here.

        And then at yahoo.

        • JayRaz

          Sent it to you last night. Please let me know if you got it. Thx.

      • IgorWasTaken

        And for now, only send me Act I.

  • Malibo Jackk

    Haven’t read the screenplay — probably don’t know what I’m talking about.
    But it seems that your suggestion that it end with him — walking away from his wife
    — would be the polar opposite of the ending for A Tale of Two Cities, one of literature’s
    greatest endings.
    That begs the question — what is the polar opposite of great?
    (What would Dickens do?)

  • Evan Porter

    This makes me so excited – I knew this script had the goods when I read it like three years ago on Triggerstreet. It’s a shame it’s taken so long for it to get noticed.

    Awesome job, Michael. Congrats – hope something amazing comes out of this for you.

    • carsonreeves1

      Yes, I’m supporting people quickly adding links to their scripts at the end of their comments. Feel free to do as Evan is doing. We’ll see if it works out. :)

    • MayfieldLake

      It worked. I fell for it. I was intrigued and before I knew it had your script open and was reading.

      • http://www.twitter.com/esporter Evan Porter

        That’s awesome! Would love to hear your thoughts.

        • MayfieldLake

          I’ll try to read some more when I have time and get back to you, although I can’t make any promises :)

  • ArabyChic

    It’s the ending that makes or breaks a script/movie. A blah ending lowers everything that came before it, no matter how good. And a great ending makes almost anything forgivable, because looking back you can see how it was all leading to this one perfect moment.

  • moponda

    Emilie, Emile, Elise, Ellie, are french name that difficult to get right for americans? Congrats to the writer. I wonder who’s the A list french actress who asked to read this script. i could easily see natalie portman (Emilie) and marion cotillard (Mireille) in this one.

    • wlubake

      Portman and Kiera Knightly have already portrayed dopplegangers in the Phantom Menace. They’d be a good pair.

    • Citizen M

      I would have one actress playing both roles. They’re never on screen together except very briefly, so it wouldn’t be difficult. As a meatier role it would attract the better actresses, and of course saves on salaries.

  • AJ

    Patisserie is only the 2nd amateur script that I have been able to read to completion (Fortune Cookie being the other). The writing was great in this and I think that helped to get us through that first half of the script where more could have been going on (and based on what Michael replied during the amateur week with his script, the next draft will have more occurring in that half).

    The prose along with the dramatic irony of wanting to know when/how Andre would find out that information about his wife, is what got me through the first half of this. I knew that nothing special was happening (with the exception of setting up the villain for a perfect payoff), but I always had in the back of my head the thought that Michael’s writing is so good, his voice is so strong, that this big reveal was all going to be worth it if I kept reading. This made it very easy to impress me with the plot points of the second half, which I definitely was.

    I also agree with the ending that Carson suggests. When I read this I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had read too long. I just felt like I read more of that tale than I wanted to, and it left me feeling unsatisfied in a bad way. With the suggested ending in the review, I can stop reading and feel unsatisfied in a great way! (I stole those last couple lines from my girlfriend).
    Best of Luck Michael!

  • Poe_Serling

    What a difference a day makes!

    Just yesterday a commenter asked Carson: I’m just wondering, when was the last time you gave something higher than “wasn’t for me”?

    Carson: Awhile ago.

    >>Congrats to Michael for garnering an impressive and causing a major ripple in the SS pool.

    • IgorWasTaken

      “a major ripple in the SS pool“?

      Something about the sound of that doesn’t quite smell right.

      • Poe_Serling

        lol. I see what you mean… thank God for the edit button.

  • Kay Bryen

    Am I a dark soul? Because I actually thought this would make a more devastating ending:

    – Andre denies ever knowing Mireille, and claims Emilie is his wife.

    – Andre and Emilie go on their merry way… but later on, wrecked by guilt, Emilie goes back and confesses to the Germans.

    – Mireille is released… but stung by his betrayal, she takes Freddie and leaves Andre, having lost all three of the people in his life.

    • Tailmonsterfriend

      Let’s go darker. Emilie goes back later to turn herself in, only to find out that Mireille either was executed or hung herself. Emilie is taken by the Germans, and Andre is arrested for sheltering a jew. Everyone dies. Le end! :)

    • IgorWasTaken

      Sure, there’s a risk of trying to weave in too much, but I think these suggestions and those posted by TheRealMWitty (adding a there’s-been-trouble-in-the-marriage element) are well worth consideration.

  • SeekingSolace

    There are so many Nazi/World War 2 scripts that I don’t see how this one even remotely has a chance of standing out. It was boring all the way through to me. I don’t see how this got an impressive. It’s seems like a safe and by-the-book Nazi’s are bad and lets all shed a tear at those who suffered because of them. I’d like to see something more daring like that could make the reader and viewer think to themselves “Maybe the Nazi’s did have good intentions, but were led astray by thoughts of absolute power.” That would take real chops as a writer.

    I do understand why the Nazi obsession exists, it’s OSCAR bait like Mr. Reeves mentioned. Why? I don’t know. There’s Pol Pot, Charles Taylor, Robert Mugabe, Mao Zedong, Joseph Stalin, who had a way better mustache than Hitler, and Kim Jong-IL, isolation and massive public starvation was this guy’s specialty. The list is almost endless of brutal dictators who oversaw massive genocide and perpetrated heinous acts against there own people, because they thought they were doing the right thing. But they get overshadowed by Nazi Zombies, Nazi’s in space, Nazi invaders, Nazi concentration camps, Nazi, Nazi, Nazi, Nazi.

    I’ve simply developed an adverse reaction to any news of a Nazi related movie, show, stage play, or novel (i.e. eye rolling, teeth sucking, ripping out my hair). IT’S TOO EASY. It’s like writing a zombie movie. THE CHOICES ARE ALMOST ALWAYS predictable. That’s how I felt about this script. It felt like an off-brand “Schindler’s List.” But it’s about Nazi’s so there may just be major awards in Mr. Whatling’s future. I should stop working on my original ideas and just do a Nazi, Zombie, Found-Footage, Time Loop script. Good luck to Mr. Whatling. Don’t let this jaded writer kill your buzz.

    • IgorWasTaken

      [deleted by user]

    • Poe_Serling

      Here’s an interesting article about Nazis as Movie Villains from The Atlantic:

      http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2011/07/nazis-as-movie-villains-the-evolution-of-a-cliche/242519/#slide1

    • JakeMLB

      So I take it you didn’t bother to read the script?

    • ArabyChic

      Uh, no offense, but your “original ideas” would probably have many on this site rolling their eyes as well.

    • SeekingSolace

      I would like to apologize to Mr. Whatling. I was unaware that I was reading V12, an old version of the draft. I’ve recently had the chance to read V13. It’s far more suspenseful and intriguing. I definitely hope this guy gets a sale with this one. Good luck, Mr Whatling.

  • TheRealMWitty

    I know what Carson means about having reserved enthusiasm for the script at first. Here’s the source of most of my reservation: Andre seems to have been a great husband, and now he’s lost his wife and he’s clueless about her fate. What’s more, his cluelessness makes him the focal point of some great scenes of dramatic irony. That all makes him sympathetic, but I needed something else to make him interesting. My idea: Put his marriage on the rocks at the beginning of the movie. There’s no doubt he loves Mireille with all his heart, but even the strongest movie marriages have points of vulnerability to make them interesting. What about hinting at a past infidelity, or maybe some recent sexual dysfunction? Andre’s rage at Egger’s suggestion that Mireille ran off with a German soldier would become even more believable, because it would come from a small but nagging part of him that thinks it might be true.

    But like Carson, my enthusiasm became less reserved with each new development and vanished completely after a dynamite third act. Congratulations Michael, great stuff! And please, do take my words of advice above well-salted. It’s only with scripts this good that I have suggestions that specific, though often cockeyed.

  • Joe Marino

    A HUGE congratulations, Michael! Hope this script gets you far!

  • Kieran ODea

    Another early morning post! Awesome keep it going!

    • carsonreeves1

      They come at the most unexpected times.

  • RafaelSilvaeSouza

    Impressive? That’s beyond cool. Congratulations, Michael!

  • IgorWasTaken

    Hey, is this new – like, just as of today?

    Now I can see who up-voted various posts. (Kinda like on old Disqus at the old SS site.) Just have to hover my mouse over any up-arrow and the up-voters’ names appear.

    I’ve been hoping that this functionality would appear. Makes this more of a community, being able to know who thinks this or that POV is a good one.

    • Citizen M

      That’s funny. The upvotes show, but not the downvotes.

      Damn, I was hoping to settle a few old scores.

      (There’s one downvote from me, Igor. Just testing, nothing personal.).

      • IgorWasTaken

        Oh, no, no. I know you’ve had it in for me for a long time, M.

        BTW, you can only down-vote if you’re registered. And it is funny they don’t show who down-votes you. I guess that’s to not encourage virtual fisticuffs. It’d be even more-funner if the up- and down- arrow icons could be changed to a bouquet and a dagger.

        And oh, you can undo an up or down vote by clicking again. But M, don’t undo yours here. It is a badge of honor.

    • Andrew Mullen

      I guess this means I can’t be lazy about upvoting anymore.

      Sigh.

  • Tailmonsterfriend

    HERE BE SPOILERS.

    I’m a little confused by the ending, to be honest. If Andre admitted that Mireille is his wife, then surely he’d be arrested for sheltering a Jew. So if he admits the truth, he’s damning himself and Emilie, but if he lies, he’s damning Mireille. Even if Emilie turns herself in, ANDRE WILL GET BUSTED FOR SHELTERING A JEW. Plus, the nazis were not exactly big on ever admitting mistakes, so there’s no guarantee that Mireille would even be allowed to leave.

    In that situation, admitting that Mireille is his wife and Emilie is a Jew he sheltered would be the absolute WORST THING that Andre could do. That’d be the decision that kills him, Emilie, likely Mireille, and would orphan Fred. So OF COURSE he can’t admit to the truth.

    It’s a plot hole in an otherwise beautifully written script. It sucks because without this ending, the script sort of loses its poignancy. But I feel that this needs to be revised to make more sense.

  • Alexander Felix

    Big congrats Michael! Can’t wait to read the script now :)

  • Will Vega

    I didn’t have time to finish (though I want to) but the first thirty pages were great until I felt it drowned in exposition. I’m a little surprised it earned an Impressive but then again I need to finish it! The writer certainly knew what he was doing for the most part.

    Big congrats for the rating! Hope to read more from you soon!

  • klmn

    Congrats to Michael Whatling and good luck in selling the screenplay.

  • rsuddhi

    Huge congrats to Michael!! I’m sure you’ve won the envy of all your fellow Scriptshadow readers :)

    I really enjoyed this read. Well written and easy to read, and cranked up the tension and suspense, especially in the climax, as everyone is saying. Can’t wait to see this on screen some day. Wish you all the luck!

  • AJ

    I also hope that it hasn’t come to that and I agree that the Nazis hauling away the wife was fantastic.

    I did however read the script only two weeks ago, and there are only two things I remember from those first 30 pages: The wife being hauled away and the Jewish girl hiding in the Patisserie.

    Some could say that’s enough, but why settle for enough?

    I’m glad to hear that he revised the draft and because of your praise, I’m going to have to check out this new one.

  • tobban

    I’m hoping that dramas like this will get a comeback.
    Checking IMDB there is about thirty of them slated for release this year.
    Carsons new links in the newsletter are a great feature.
    Congrats to Michael, hope you can snare Natalie for the lead.
    Just like Carson said. Get one or two actors attached and you are on your way.
    Will pay good money to see this in theaters.

    • crazedwriter

      Me too!

  • J.R. Kinnard

    I love it, too!

    The writing here is first rate. It knocked me out from page one. I mean, you get an establishing shot on page one!! First the outside of the pastry shot, then taking us inside and making us a part of the space. There are lots of establishing shots peppered through the script, and they all help to orient us to what is happening. Just brilliant.

    Mood, time, space… all given such detail and care. And yet, things continue apace for the entire running time. I never felt drag. I never felt confused. I never felt anything less than captivated by what was happening.

    You mentioned, Carson, the amazing characters that every actor would love to play. I would also like to mention Durand. With perhaps a little more fleshing out, that role has Best Supporting Actor written all over it.

    Now… the one big issue I have with this script…

    Emile never tells Andre what happened when his wife was taken.

    What happens to Mireille is tragic. Our hearts weep for her. We want to tear our teeth out for her. However, once she is gone, this becomes Emile’s story. That means while we may wonder whatever became of Mireille, her resurfacing at the very end derails the story arc that matters the most: What will Andre decide when he discovers that Emile let Mireille go in her stead?
    That’s what I wanted to know. That’s what should have comprised the last act of the script. First, Emile resolving (finally) to tell him, and then Andre having to decide if he can overcome his anger and resentment to keep her in his life. Emile tries to make the decision for him by leaving. He chases after her. Circumstance keeps them apart. Heartache.
    I believe this is the only thing keeping this script from greatness. Mireille is more dangerous to Emile as a ghost. Keep her that way. FORCE Emile to confront her fears of telling Andre, and then FORCE Andre to finally confront his feelings for Emile (both good and bad) and leave Mireille behind forever. Then, with all of that guilt and garbage resolved and a happy ending in our sights, rip it from us and tear our hearts out. Bang!
    But man, this script is good. And you, my friend, can write. It was a pleasure.

  • JakeBarnes12

    I’m working through this script. I’d already read the first fifteen pages and found them slow, but with Carson’s recommendation I’m rereading.

    I’m currently on p. 26 and I just can’t accept Andre’s actions.

    This is Nazi-occupied France in which his wife disappears. Extremely dangerous times where anyone could be denounced by a neighbor to the Germans, not just Jews. Yet it isn’t until page 25 that Andre even thinks to question Emilie, this mysterious woman whom he finds downstairs AT THE SAME TIME AS HIS WIFE SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE.

    He goes to the German-controlled gendarmes before talking to a woman he finds hiding in his shop?

    And what about her? Are we supposed to believe she makes no connection between the young woman she runs past and the fact that this man’s wife has disappeared? She knows Andre is willing to protect her, yet she won’t tell him there were Germans in the street looking for her, perhaps they had something to do with your wife’s disappearance?

    I simply don’t know how much Emilie has seen or heard and how much she is hiding from Andre because the script, on my second reading, isn’t making it clear.

    This isn’t a “logical” problem. It’s nagging me every page as a reader. His being so slow to worry and ask questions of Emilie, her not saying anything about the Germans.

    It feels like the story is hinging on these two not talking when I believe that a real-life husband would push this woman much further to answer questions.

    The plump German seeing Emile and not reporting her also strikes me as strange. If the officer had done a check of the shop himself and seen her he would have shot the soldier. We have so few accounts of mercy from German soldiers during the war that this also rings false to me.

    I guess I’m saying the whole set up strikes me as contrived. Yes, readers will accept coincidences in the first act, but unrealistic character behavior never works.

    • MichaelWhatling

      Emilie’s blocked out most of what happened, but it does come flooding back. She doesn’t tell him (although at one point she thinks she should), because of what happened to her own husband. She knows Andre will go after his wife with similar consequences. She’s trying to save his life.

      • JakeBarnes12

        None of that’s clear from when it happens until p. 45-6, Michael, when Emilie speaks to Durand about it.

        So I’m reading all those pages not knowing.

        When exactly, as in what moment on what page, does it come flooding back to her?

        When she talks to Durand on p. 45-6 about knowing, I figured she knew the whole time.

        This is the kind of stuff that really bothers me, because if you’re filming it, you gotta know how to play it and it’s just not there on the page.

        • MichaelWhatling

          On pages 82 and 83, the weight of everything hits her. She remembers it all.

      • ArabyChic

        Hi Michael,

        I think this script shows great promise and is extremely well thought out, though I agree with Jake’s comments. The idea that she “blocked it out” is not only not hinted at, it feels like a cheat, a way to keep Emilie as an innocent instead of asking her direct questions and having her give half truths in return. I think all of Jake’s suggestions would make this a more logical and gripping story. You weaken Emilie’s character, and her guilt, by saving her from the shame of misleading Andre.

    • JakeMLB

      I have to agree with Jake here, I had trouble buying the setup.

      If you read carefully, the ingredients are all there, in fact the setup is smart in its construction, but it leaves me wanting more in the execution.

      For example, if the townsfolk are so afraid of the Nazis that they won’t even tell a family man and local shopkeeper what happened to his wife, why is it that Andre is near fearless when it comes to actually harbouring a Jew? I imagine a man in his position literally knocking on every door to find his wife. And if you want us to buy into the notion that he thinks she left with another man, you have to show us some marital problems at the start. I know we’ve all been programmed to get right to the inciting incident, but this is the type of story that can benefit from a lengthy introduction. Even so, wouldn’t he be desperate to know the truth?

      Nevertheless a great premise and looking forward to seeing where this goes. Congrats!

    • MichaelWhatling

      Jake, I’ll
      have an updated version of “Pâtisserie” in a few days. If you’d like
      to read it, contact me through the e-mail on the title page of my script. Just
      promise to give feedback. Thanks again.

  • witwoud

    The storytelling is good, but the details don’t ring true. This doesn’t feel like occupied France in 1941. Chain gangs of Jews in the streets — really? And a Nazi officer who believes he can just grab a random woman from a shop, add her to the chain gang, and get away with it — sorry, I don’t buy it. Occupied France was intensely bureaucratic and, curfews aside, the Nazis were attempting not to antagonise the public. The officer would surely know that he’d a) never get away with it and b) be in a hundred times more shit for doing it than for losing a prisoner. So, I lost faith in this from the start. The screenplay is going for a realistic tone, but gives us all-purpose Hollywood Nazis.

    • IgorWasTaken

      OK, let’s say you’re right about the actual history. (I have no idea, either way.)

      And so let’s say the writer rewrites this so that part of the story is that the Nazi officer does take Mireille, but then he gets into trouble for it. And part of the plot is him sorting that out. And let’s assume that that can be done in a nice dramatic way. Still – Would American audiences care?

      More importantly – Would American audiences believe it? That a Nazi officer could get in trouble for grabbing a random woman off the street?

      In the real story of Argo, the US diplomats get through Iranian emigration control due to a paperwork snafu. As I read the original article some years ago, I found it suspenseful, and yet the people who made the movie decided to add a chase and soldiers, etc.

      I love sticking to reality, whether history or how things are simply done today inside government, this or that agency, etc. But sometimes dead-on-accuracy strikes people as not credible. And while credible reality in a story is great, if we have to choose between credible and reality, we have to go with credible.

      • Citizen M

        I think it was Michael Hauge who pointed out that if you were writing a movie about snatching a crowned head of Europe you’d put a team of experts together and get plans of sewers and alarms and stuff and work out an incredibly complicated plan.

        In reality a guy climbed over the wall of Buckingham Palace on a whim and wandered around until he stumbled into Her Majesty’s bedroom and asked her for a packet of fags.

        Entertainment trumps reality in the movie world.

        • IgorWasTaken

          Now there’s an idea: Put both of those in the same script.

          “Snatch II – HRH”

          BTW, “a packet of fags.” Is that like “a pride of lions”?

          (Yeh, yeh, I know – There, it means cigarettes. It’s a joke.)

    • witwoud

      Michael Whatling “And for all the comments on what could or could not happen in France under the Occupation, the basis of this story actually happened, the difference being it was a man who was snatched off the street to make up the numbers for an escaped Jewish prisoner. Of course, what happens after that is my creation. But please trust I did my research. :)”

      Hi Michael — thanks for this, and I’m sorry if I’ve been wronging you. It’s just that your screenplay didn’t really seem to accord with what I’ve read about the Occupation. Can you tell us more about the original story? I’m fully prepared to eat my words. :)

    • Crazedwriter

      Given the horrors if the holocaust and the documented deplorable things done at this time, you think the idea of civilian Jewish chain gangs is not believable? Reallyyyy?

  • New_E

    Huge congrats to Michael – a truly impressive script.

    So glad to see Scriptshadow endorse these types of stories in spite of his well-known aversion to dramas.

    Also, good idea to have screenwriters put loglines and links to their scripts as their signature at the end of their posts. Guaranteed to increase comments and will allow Carson to find more viable scripts.

    Also, congrats to Joe Marino, Ryan Binaco, Monique Mata, & other SS alumns…

    E

    • carsonreeves1

      I do have an aversion to straight dramas from amateur writers, but I feel like WW2 is its own little marketable genre. If you’re going to write a drama, it has a much better chance of going somewhere if set during one of the most important wars in our history since WW2 movies will always get made.

  • JakeBarnes12

    I’m on page 48.

    There’s some really good character work here — Durand and Emilie’s exchanges, for example.

    But I can see the writer’s problem.

    If Andre pushed Emilie too hard earlier to say what she saw, which realistic human behavior calls for, then the reader loses sympathy with Emilie for saying nothing or outright lying.

    But what this creates in the story is an absence, a glaring missing piece where the writer wants us not to look.

    I think it would be much better for Michael to embrace this problem rather than run from it. In other words, make it clear that Emilie sees Andre’s wife being taken away. When? She hears the prisoners being marched away, peeks out the patisserie window, and sees the woman she ran past being carted away.

    It’s still not easy to ask us to sympathize with this woman who will let Andre suffer, but it is, in my estimation, better than having this hole in the narrative which to me read like a failure of clarity rather than a mystery.

    • MichaelWhatling

      Keep reading. :)

  • charliesb

    I enjoyed this script, but I’m one of those people who feels like they’ve had their fill of WW2. I was trying to think if this would work in another setting which made me think of the movie The Return of Martin Guerre (remade horribly as Sommersby).

    Still I agree with Carson that this is the best of the week, and could easily be turned into an oscar nominated film. Good luck to you Michael.

  • carsonreeves1

    I say you give it a chance. This could definitely be a future Black List script. Plus it’s not a comedy, so there’s hope I’m right this time!

  • Evan Porter

    It may have only been two years. Still. I think one of the keys is honestly gauging your development. If you’re a beginner, spending years on a spec is probably only going to hold you back. If you’re more advanced, you might be getting better ROI on the time spent.

    Didn’t Michael Arndt say a great script takes something like 20 man-years of work?

    KEYLESS ENTRY – Car thief finds a mysterious girl in the trunk of his latest grab.
    http://bit.ly/16nNUTT

  • kidbaron

    Since Carson first made this script available I’ve wanted to read it. I think he’s reposted it 3 times up to day and each time I’ve tried to get to it. With the Smackdown crashing and burning, I stopped reading with Tuesday’s offering. (I’m trying to finish up a pass on two of my scripts — one is MAD DOGS using the Scriptshadow’s feedback — that’s why I don’t have the time to read.) Now I’m going to make the time. I can’t ignore it anymore.

    And congrats on the glowing review!

  • godisagnostic

    No real opinion on Carson either way, but most of the Black List comedies I’ve read are shitty and misogynist. They all have the same “quirky” sexist tone and the same two characters (the player guy and the guy who needs to get over his girlfriend/guy who can’t get chicks).

  • grendl

    I made my assessment last month, before Carson reviewed the script.

    It’s not based on his endorsement. It’s my own. I don’t need someone telling me whether something worked for me or not.

    Judging a script based on anything but the actual read itself is unfair. And this writer shouldn’t be penalized for Carsons past indiscretions.

    Which I’m sure he’s sorry for.

    Maybe the business doesn’t forgive. But then again if this site actually becomes a viable source of new screenwriting talent, that may change. Success has a funny way of making amends.

    And a lot of Black List scripts are complete crap. IMHO.

  • MichaelWhatling

    Thank you Carson for your very kind and wonderful review. I greatly appreciate your comments and all the comments by the readers here on ScriptShadow. It was thanks to the comments made here a few weeks ago that this script is better. And, yes, the e-mails are pouring in.

    To respond to some of the comments:

    — There have been multiple endings for this screenplay. Seems everyone who reads it has a suggestion for a new one. If I went with Carson’s suggestion, I’d actually pull it back more and have the story end at André’s contemplation before he actually answers, sort of a take on the short story, “The Lady or the Tiger?” I wrote the ending of this screenplay with the idea that the world as it once was is finally restored. Or is it? How could anything be “back to normal” for any of them after what they’ve been through even if it appears to be on the surface?

    André doesn’t ever say Mireille is not his wife. Rather, he says that Émilie is “the mother of his son.” When the child is threatened, even Mireille is willing to, momentarily, sacrifice herself for him. “Think of the boy”–that’s everyone’s sacrifice. The child is all their hope. Of course, André knows fully well what the implications of his actions are: he can only believe that his wife, the woman he loves, will continue to survive for them to be reunited again, even if they have to wait for the end of the war. He chooses what he believes is the best of all the bad options to keep all of them alive.

    — André does confront Émilie, but she insists she knows nothing. He does have suspicions that she knows more, but his mind can’t get past that his wife may have run off with another man as the gendarme suggested. What should he do? Beat it out of the woman? When he does find out later that she did know more, he angrily tells her to leave, a damning punishment given he knows his son now sees her as the only mother he knows.

    Émilie doesn’t tell André what happened to his wife because, as we find out later, she fears he’ll go after his wife like her husband did for her…with a similar outcome. She’s shut out what she saw happen to Mireille and her part in it, and only later does it flood back as she recreates hiding behind the display case.

    — And for all the comments on what could or could not happen in France under the Occupation, the basis of this story actually happened, the difference being it was a man who was snatched off the street to make up the numbers for an escaped Jewish prisoner. Of course, what happens after that is my creation. But please trust I did my research. :)

    Thanks again everyone!

    • ThomasBrownen

      Congrats again! Let us know what happens with the screenplay.

    • carsonreeves1

      Great job Michael! Keep me updated on the project’s progress and I’ll update everyone in the newsletter if (when!) anything happens.

      • Sly

        Hey Carson, is there an amateur offerings post today or did you forget?

    • Midnight Luck

      Congrats! Congrats!

    • craze9

      I agree with Carson that your ending is more powerful if Emilie doesn’t give herself up.

      Mireille relents in the shop for the kid’s sake, then changes her mind (or loses it, a little) on the Nazi truck and screams for Andre. And Andre / Frederic / Emilie just have to watch as she is dragged away…

      That is an extremely powerful ending, in my opinion. It’s a little unsettling, and unexpected — not resolving things as a Hollywood Holocaust movie usually would.

      Right now your ending is, to be honest, how I ultimately expected things to end up, based on the initial concept. His wife is taken away on page 10? By the end, the
      family will be reunited. And thematically your climax is a bit muddled — Andre chooses not to save Mireille for the sake of Frederic, but then Emilie immediately undermines that choice (contradicting the man who saved her and to whom she owes everything).

      Nice work overall, though.

      • Zadora

        Congratulations on getting an Impressive!!!!! Best of luck with this script!!! :)

      • MichaelWhatling

        My original ending was exactly that, but readers hated it. They hated how Emilie didn’t get her comeuppance. And while there’s an expectation that the family is reunited at the end, I thought I switched it up in a rather unexpected way. Emilie’s love for André and his son, along with her guilt about Mireille, motivates her to be “noble” beyond all expectations at the end.

    • pedows

      Great to see Patisserie get some attention. I read a version a couple years ago before it was Triggerstreet Screenplay Of The Month and was very impressed. The writing was exceptionally visual and atmospheric, the kind of script where you can “see” the movie… and what a great dramatic set-up filled with conflict! Congrats to Michael!

    • TruckDweller

      Thanks for giving us some of your insights. I sort of wish I read this before I posted. Anyway, I posted late. I hope you give my response a read despite the tardiness. And nice work!

    • FDSY

      AWESOME JOB, MICHAEL! Aw man, this is so inspiring. What did I tell you! The toughest battles have the greatest rewards!

    • Lucid Walk

      Hello. Could I perhaps trouble you for a copy of your script? My email is sde91@hotmail.com
      Much appreciated, and congrats on the impressive rating

      • Emotionoid

        Hi Lucid, If you have a copy of this, do you mind sending it to mazhar.mohd@gmail.com? I would love to read it. Thanks.

    • BigDeskPictures

      Excellent job, Michael. Impressive. Would love to find out where your fascination with WWII came from.
      Note: Auschwitz was the only camp that tattooed their prisoners.
      http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007056

  • Leigh

    Well, instead of the hoary cliché of yet another Nazi film, it could choose any one of hundreds of Marxist totalitarian states. You could have virtually the same story that the script has, except make it fresh and original by transporting it to a different dictatorship, one that the audience hasn’t seen as often yet. The Soviet Union, for example, or Cambodia, or China under Mao. Anywhere.

    • grendl

      This isn’t a hoary cliche. A woman mistaken for Jewish and taken away from her family hasn’t been done, to my knowledge.

      And I thought it worked. Nothing you can say will convince me I’m wrong. But you go ahead and try.

    • Andrew Mullen

      It might be a cliche, but if you set the movie in Cambodia or China under Mao, you’re going to have to explain the setting and place to the audience in a way you don’t need to when you say, “Nazi Occupied Paris.”

  • carsonreeves1

    I think obsessing over one script IS a huge problem for young writers. If there’s a script you love, simply keep coming back to it while working on new material. Don’t put ALL your eggs in that one basket.

  • grendl

    No, “Inglorious Basterds” was revisionist history not a fabricated world.

    That was earth. World War 2, those were Nazis, and the movie wouldn’t have made sense if it was a Mad Dog Time alternate reality.

    It’s revisionist. There’s a difference.

    Like Dustin Hoffman being at Custer’s last stand in “Little Big Man” and warning him about the ambush. Didn’t happen.

    Thats not a fabricated world. Sorry, its not.

    • JakeBarnes12

      Leigh’s right, grendl. IB isn’t a good example.

      Inglorious Basterds felt like a movie about WWII movies, with little sense of “realism.”

      This script is clearly striving for a much more realistic tone.

      • IgorWasTaken

        I agree with you – “a movie about WWII movies” (nice phrasing) – and yet I agree with grendl, in this way: I think IB portrays Nazis in a way that is pan-genre as far as the American movie-going public is concerned.

        • JakeBarnes12

          The point is about the TONE of these two stories, Igor.

          It’s TONE that determines ranges of reader/audience acceptance of an event’s plausibility.

          • IgorWasTaken

            Tone. I think I got that about your post. What I mean is – and of course, you may disagree – I think American audiences have no problem accepting any depiction of Nazis, no matter how evil, regardless of the tone of the movie. Take any Nazis-being-evil scene in IB (any such scene that comes to mind at the moment) and put it in Von Ryan’s express – and I think people in the US would accept it.

      • Andrew Mullen

        Didn’t Quentin Tarantino even say that Inglorius Basterds was a movie that the characters in his Pulp Fiction/Reservoir Dogs universe would go see? I swore I read something like that somewhere.

  • Maggie Clancy

    I always do like trying to incorporate the thought of “create characters that actors would want to play,” almost like bait. As soon as Natalie Portman was suggested I was just like, “yup.” It made sense. Kudos to the writer for a somewhat “simple” problem (by simple I mean not convoluted and messy) and creating a heart-wrenching, academy award winner magnet of a script.

    Saving Momo – After a horrendous break up, 24-year-old Therese is wrangled into a mission to “save” an older friend of a friend that parties way too hard. http://bit.ly/198SUwQ

  • SeekingSolace

    A young Jewish woman in occupied France escapes the Nazis by changing places with a shop owner. But as her love grows for the other woman’s husband and child, so does her guilt. THAT’S FROM THE FREAKING LOGLINE, sir, did you even read the script, or do you just like running your mouth?

    • Citizen M

      It’s not about the Nazis. It’s about making choices, balancing one’s values against one’s life. For the Nazis you could substitute French revolutionaries, or terrorists, or gangsters, or being stuck in a burning building or sinking ship — anywhere where doing the right thing could mean sacrificing your life.

  • NajlaAnn

    Oh my gosh! What a strong, heartbreaking drama. Well, I’m gonna disagree with Carson about the ending. I think it’s perfect just the way it is. My message to Whatling: “Don’t change the ending. Perfection should not be tampered with.”

  • Midnight Luck

    [x] impressive

    that’s what I said, many times,

    no one was listening, over the last few weeks…..

    glad you got what you deserved Michael

    • IgorWasTaken

      “Testing… Is this thing on?”

      • Midnight Luck

        Hello?….Hello?…..can you hear me now, how bout now?

        Reception is terrible in these parts…..

    • MichaelWhatling

      Thanks for all your support, Midnight, from the beginning!

    • GeneralChaos

      Guess you owe Carson an apology.

      • Midnight Luck

        yap. yap.
        not impressed.

        • GeneralChaos

          Typical.

  • Citizen M

    I compared the first 30 pages of both versions and didn’t see much difference. Andre was in the park with the boy when Mireille was snatched instead of upstairs at home; and he goes to the police that evening before curfew instead of the next day. Otherwise, there was the same lack of urgency and anxiety that readers remarked on in the earlier draft.

  • crazdwriter

    Some seem to have a problem with Emilie not telling Andre right away what happened to his wife. Would it make her more sympathetic if, in an effort to get away, she tripped, bumped her head, fell and passed out. And then when she comes to — she could have forgot what happened to her right before her fall. That way she really will be innocent when it comes to knowing what happened to his wife.
    I know the amnesia thing is all very soap opera-y, but it might up the sympathy card when she faces Andre.

    Havent read this yet, but dayum am I looking forward to it! Happy Father’s Day!

  • K.B. Houston

    I read the first five pages when it was posted last week and knew right off the bat that it had potential, mostly due to the strong prose. I’m stoked it got an “impressive” rating from Carson. That’s no easy task.

    A few quick questions:

    I’m relatively new to scriptwriting. I’ve been a writer for a while now but I’m just diving into screenplays. How often does a typical 120 page script take to read? I want to start reading more scripts but I also love books. Finding time to read both is difficult, unfortunately.

    Also, I’m floating around an idea for a script. It’s been in my head for a while now. My characters are set, my theme is set, my plot is outlined, I even have some dialogue worked out. But I can’t seem to figure out how to create plot twists and/or suspense. Is this something that will usually work itself into the script? Do I need to start writing first before these things work themselves out or is there a way to brainstorm them beforehand that I’m just missing?

    Thanks.

    • AJ

      The time of a script read varies a lot based upon the writer’s style. An M. Night script reads more like a novel and might take me upwards of 2 1/2 hours, while a William Goldman may take slightly over an hour.

      As far as writing the script, I feel that the most important things to know before writing is theme/ tone. Without these two, the plot can be phenomenal and the script will still read horribly because we’ll keep getting pulled out of the story from the dramatic shifts in tone and contradictory themes.

      The next thing you are going to want to develop are your characters. You’re going to have to know them as well as you know yourself, since they come from you. THIS MEANS EVERYTHING YOU KNOW ABOUT YOURSELF, YOU MUST KNOW ABOUT THEM.

      IMO, the plot twists and major plot points are the most essential things to workout regarding the plot! All other plot is just a tool used to navigate our characters and story between these points. Plot points/twists can present themselves on the fly, but as you will find out from reading the amateur scripts posted on this site, everything feels sloppy this way (and I always wonder to myself if the writer took the time to question the first decision to come up with a better choice, because it never feels like they do). MAJOR PLOT POINTS ARE WHAT YOUR ENTIRE PLOT SHOULD CENTER AROUND.

      My personal style regarding plot is to come up with a semblance of a story I want to tell (helps to sell if it is marketable). I then come up with an ending that would make the movie something people want to talk about. Next, I develop how the story will be told through the first half until the MIDPOINT SHIFT. I put as much time into the midpoint shift as I do the ending, because these are huge to getting the audience to fell good about what they are seeing (helps them stay interested and then leaves them talking about the film long after the credits roll).

      I would suggest hiding all of that dialogue in a word doc that you don’t look at until all of the above have been completed.

      (Everything in this post is subject to contradictory beliefs and may not represent the views of me or any other poster on this site.)

      • K.B. Houston

        Thanks a lot!

        The point you make about tone is definitely one I’m struggling with. I’m geared towards comedy, but I also want to write a good script that will make you think. I guess I see myself somewhere in that Little Miss Sunshine/Safety Not Guaranteed/High Fidelity model — if that makes any sense. I really need a good story. I want to tell a good story. I want an ending that people are gonna talk about. I want a fast-paced plot. And as I said above, I have a lot of stuff figured out, I just don’t know where to go with my plot points.

        I think once I sit down and write, they’ll start to come to me. I guess I should at least try before I start worrying about it!

        Thanks again.

        • Nathan

          Sounds good. I’d just be careful about making the classic mistake of trying to “write a script that make people think”. You can end up making things too preachy (based on ideas, philosophies etc).

          Instead, writing a script that make people feel (based on fears, hopes, desires, insecurities etc) is what we all want to be shooting for. Which isn’t so easy..good luck.

    • Michael

      Please don’t take this the wrong way, but your questions indicate that you have not taken the time to first study the craft of screenwriting. You’ve stated you have experience writing, but not screenwriting. Many successful writers have failed at screenwriting.

      Take however long it takes (probably not less than a year), read all the recommended books, follow this blog and many others, and read a ton of professional scripts. Then write your script, applying what you learned and incorporating good advice from others, like AJ.

      Good luck with the education process and writing your first script. Welcome to the dream.

      • K.B. Houston

        Well, yeah, that’s why I said I’m new to screenwriting and asked those questions. I’m currently in the process of buying books, reading blogs, etc. I do need to study before writing. I was just wondering in general how plot points are created, that’s all.

        Thanks for the advice though.

  • Zadora

    Who’s to say what’s good or bad? My scripts are not great by any stretch of the imagination, yet there are people out there who want to produce them.

    • gazrow

      Maybe your scripts are not great – However, the fact that they’re being produced, suggests they’re pretty damn good! -:)

  • MichaelWhatling

    But if she tells him, she knows what will happen. It happened to her own husband. So you’d have her send André to his death for honesty’s sake? In any case, she doesn’t even think not telling him is the right thing to do–at one point she is going to tell him, but Durand, convinced of what will happen to André if she does, talks her out of it.

    • ArabyChic

      She doesn’t have to tell him the truth. She can lie. And later when her backstory is revealed we understand why she lied. The importance is to ASK these questions otherwise, the audience is thinking, “why isn’t Andre asking the most obvious person the most obvious questions?”

      • JakeMLB

        I figured she was simply lying to save her own ass at first. I think that can work but for it to work we need to be shown just how terrible the Nazis are so the audience can sympathize with Emilie’s decision to bite her tongue. Instead, we actually have the Bulky Soldier showing pity on Emilie — the exact opposite of what needs to happen.

  • Spitgag

    As we all know lots of mediocre movies get made. Some are even on the precious Black List (as in the real one). Sometimes they’re on it bc they’re by a some hot shot. Sometimes it’s bc omg they’re actually super well written and freaklin awesome. But what’s really crucial about every single one of those BL scripts is that it’s marketable. Shocker. PRODUCERS put them on there.

    As far as Carson’s ruining people’s names online?

    What’s your argument?

    The way I see it: If your NAME can be ruined by a disqus blog, I’d think it’s pretty likely that you probably aren’t very well respected in the business aka no one gives a shit about you or your work.

    And what’s with that “Online” qualifier bit? So off-line, everyone treats you’re Steve Zallian but online you’re a hack? Puh lease.

    If you want to find an argument against Carson, try the one a few A list whiners like to make…about how a script is intellectual property and that by releasing and critiquing what might be an early draft, it can hurt the writer and the project. I personally disagree but at least it’s got some logic behind it.

  • Citizen M

    This script was heavy going, rescued by a very strong ending. If Carson hadn’t given it an ‘impressive’ I would have bailed around page 70.

    I see it as a female-interest movie. Emilie has the hardest job, namely to supplant another woman’s place, and the most to lose and the most difficult choices to make. Andre’s choices are simpler. Do I sleep with this woman or remain true to my wife’s memory? We see him move into her bed, but I think there should be a couple of other milestones on her journey that women would recognize as important:

    – Andre tells his son to call her “maman”.

    – Andre behaves in public like they are a couple. (Gives her Mireille’s wedding ring she took off to make pastry, perhaps?)

    – Someone is mean to her or threatens her and Andre stands up for her (presumably everyone in the village knows she’s an impostor).

    Something I found unusual about the dialogue was a lot of the time characters just sort of trail off and never say fully what they mean. It made the story harder to follow, but is probably how they would talk in real life in that situation, by suggestion rather than by outright statement. Personally, I’d prefer more direct dialogue. I wonder how others feel about it.

    • Sullivan

      There is a scene where he rescued her from a guy who confronts her in the alley. Do people read?

      • Citizen M

        You’re talking about page 72 where Gilles grabs Emilie in the alley and Andre pushes him off. I’d forgotten about that. But it’s not quite what I mean, because it was a private confrontation.

        I’m talking about something the whole village sees and knows about.

        The thing is that Andre defies the village by taking in Emilie. They must have been scandalized as well as scared. There’d be all sorts of gossip and talk and snide comments. The only way to deal with it is to take it on the chin and say this is my choice and I’m doing it and I don’t care what you think. Eventually they will come to accept the situation.

  • Sullivan

    When I read some comments here I wonder if they read all the script or read it for comprehension at least. Almost all the answers are there but are subtle or get answered later not immediately. Not a script to scan.

  • JakeBarnes12

    Okay, just finished it.

    I’m sorry to be a nay-sayer, but I had problems both with plot elements and with the character work, resulting in the whole thing reading both thin and contrived to me.

    I’d start by knocking a good fifteen pages off this script to make it much tighter — way too much sitting around talking about butter and going to the lake.

    Durand functioned often as a figure usually seen in soap operas — the confessor who allows the protagonist to unburden and discuss their problems endlessly over dozens of shows, while the hooded Mireile appearing and disappearing at the end was straight out of nineteenth-century melodrama. Way, way too much.

    The ending could have worked — a real Sophie’s choice, but only with better character work leading up to it. I still didn’t know Andre at the end so didn’t feel invested in what he did. In the end, as always, this weakling did little and it was up to one of the women to make a choice.

    In terms of plausibility, Mireille was an escaped prisoner who had also been branded — the Germans would have shot her too, and also Andre for harboring a Jew for years. And then we’re supposed to believe that after not standing up for his wife, being willing to allow her to be dragged off to her death (they wouldn’t just return an escaped “Jew” to a factory — they would have shot her), at the end Mireille would want to be with her husband, would be trying to reconnect with him, her eyes pleading?

    But maybe it all comes back to the character work. At the moment I find it in places both vague and repetitive — we keep hitting the same story and character beats; Andre wants to go out looking for his wife, Emilie tries to stop him, interspersed with scenes where neither really seem that bothered.

    What’s required instead is a much clearer TRAJECTORY to this relationship. Relationships never stay still, not in life and certainly not in good drama. Here we have forward momentum early on, but after almost sleeping together, Andre goes into “I’ll always love my wife mode” and they seem to settle into a platonic domesticity that continues for dozens of pages..

    That is dramatically uninteresting. What we need instead is a series of hills and valleys in the relationship itself — treat the relationship like it’s a plot needing twists and turns.

    Forget the Nazis and the pastries and all that other stuff. This is a two-person drama, which means every time Andre and Emilie are together on the page (and hopefully on screen) we should be intrigued, we should know what each of them WANTS from each other, and we should WANT them to get it.

    So maybe Emilie falls deeply in love with Andre only he’s mourning for his wife until he realizes, too late!, that he really loves Emilie. In that case we have to SEE Emilie loving Andre. Or maybe they both love each other but because of his disappeared wife they keep resisting — well, SHOW IT. Let us feel it And maybe they finally give in to their feelings, sleep together, and it is then that the possibility of Mireille’s release appears.

    I’ve mentioned a few plausibility issues, but the big problem here is the dramatic flatness of the central relationship, the fact the writer isn’t communicating clearly WHERE WE ARE in this relationship in every scene, and what the characters are feeling.

    If Emilie immediately forgets what she sees on the street (Mireille being dragged away in her place) it is Screenwriting 101 that this must be communicated to the reader. If she suddenly remembers, this needs to be communicated.

    Finally, there’s Andre. I guess Emilie is the protagonist of this story. If it’s Andre, dear God. This man could make an orgy boring. Imagine if Godfather II wasn’t about Don Corleone as played by Robert DeNiro, but about the storeowner who he intimidates — the guy who first insults him in the street, then finds out who he is and cowers and stammers in front of him.

    Yes, I know he goes off and gets beaten up (off-screen!), drives a car with a murdered Nazi into a lake (off-screen!) but that’s why film is a visual medium. If all we see is him opening and closing the shop and mixing batter, we don’t think of him as active.

    Why not have Andre be part of the Maquis (the Resistance)? That would OPEN UP this stage play of a story (we seldom leave the bakery) into a MOVIE SCRIPT. Then we could see him traveling around, questioning his contacts, etc. to find his wife. We could see him TRYING to get Emilie out of the country though his resistance network. We could see him STRUGGLING with the fact that he NEEDS this woman he’s trying to get rid off. Yes, he would still be an ordinary working man, but an ordinary man who like so many brave French working people took extraordinary risks and did extraordinary things to liberate their country. The focus would still be the same, but it would play out on a broader dramatic canvas.

    I think there’s great promise in the concept but I would do a page one rewrite.

    • Michael

      This analysis is spot on. Emilie is no less reprehensible than the Nazis in the choices she makes. Having her mentally block out the truth of her situation is a weak writing choice, especially when it’s revealed to us so late in the story. I couldn’t sympathize with Emilie or Andre for all the reasons you gave. Your suggestion to make Andre part of the Resistance and un-containing this little drama is perfect.

      Overall, though, this is a strong piece of writing. It’s such a pleasure to be discussing character depth, theme and story choices, as apposed to formatting, structure and sparse, clean writing. I don’t know why we can’t come up with one of these scripts every Friday, it shouldn’t be this hard.

      I’ll be the first to admit I put this down early. I commend Michael for incorporating our notes in his rewrite. Thank you Michael for your level of participation in the comments, all writers being reviewed should do no less. Congratulations on the impressive review. Looks like another Scriptshadower’s career is off and running. Best of luck with the script. Again, inspired 3 part review Jake. Thanks.

    • Kay Bryen

      Sacre bleu! There isn’t a single word or comma I differ with in your brilliant analysis. That’s both ‘rare’ and ‘well done’…

      • JakeBarnes12

        Thanks for your kind words, Kay.

    • PatKirkSS

      I hate to rain on the parade since this is getting such a good reception but your review is spot on with my feelings. I was never emotionally invested in this one and I had a hard time understanding the main characters’ motivations for precisely the reasons you stated. The ending at the park struck me as unbelievable, as did many other parts like the final interrogation or Emilie’s death (or rather, lack of Andre and Mirielle’s death… I was expecting Frederic to be at the park alone with new foster parents).

      I think you’re suggestions of having Andre be a part of the resistance is a great start. And someone else mentioned making Andre and Mirielle’s relationship rocky to start off with and I think that’d be another strong change to add for the writer. But as of now, this is very flat on an emotional level and this plays more like a play than a film, with the very limited scenes and long, repetitive dialogue sequences. I’m not sure why more people haven’t thrown objection to the fact that the most cinematic and dramatic action in the script played out off screen: the driving of the Nazi (who I took as a Landa knock-off) into the lake.

      As much as I enjoy a good amateur success story, I don’t think I could consider this one as of yet but good luck to Michael and I sincerely hope for the best.

    • ArabyChic

      Wonderful assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the script, Jake. I 100% agree with them all.

      Michael, I think you should enjoy your success with the script thus far, then, in a few weeks, look over these notes and see if you can implement them into the script, to really make each of these characters as three dimensional as they can be.

    • Sullivan

      That’s YOUR movie.

  • ArabyChic

    Chain gangs in Nazi Germany happened. Google it. More than just that of Allied soldiers. There were civilians too. So if it happened in Germany, it’s not so far-fetched is it?

  • shewrites

    I think Michael made the right choice by setting this in Nazi Germany. The reason why most people are still fascinated with that era is that the fate of the jews is very well known because it was so well documented by the perpetrators of those atrocities. Therefore, the jews’ plight feels more horific and more real than any other genocide in my opinion for this very reason, let alone the scale and methodical quality of the awful “final solution”.

    I, for one, am much more likely to see yet another well made film about the Nazis than about any other blood-thirsty dictator however horrific he may have been.

    As for this particular script, I too had bumped on the chained jewish prisoners bit but that didn’t stop me from getting interested to read more. Michael doesn’t announce on p1 that this was based on a true story. He says in one of his comment that actually a man was taken for a jew on purpose which goes to show that nothing is ever clear cut even when you are dealing with rule obsessed nazis.

    Like several commenters wrote, this isn’t about Nazis and Jews, but about finding who we are under the most horrendous circumstances, when every decision we make impacts so many and collateral damage is unavoidable.

    Well done, Michael and good luck. I have no doubt this will be made.

  • Poe_Serling

    Hey g-

    A week or so ago, you mentioned “My story deals with people who rely on it for their livelihood and the gullibility of tourists as well.”

    Just saw this piece and thought it might be of some interest to you:

    http://www.inquisitr.com/702826/loch-ness-monster-scottish-tourism-officials-fight-about-whether-nessie-is-real/

  • TruckDweller

    Okay, I read the right version last night. I’m not sold that this is an “impressive” yet. Maybe my view is off. I’ve read and seen different iterations of Martin Guerre, read and seen Sophie’s choice, and I’ve done my own research on WWII for a project that is miles from Patisserie. It’s certainly impressive compared to most amateur scripts. I still feel like there’s an emotional blockade here. There’s stilted dialogue which seems very period and fitting and maybe that’s part of why I have trouble connecting to the characters.

    That said, I think the point is you want to sell this as a prestige piece. And that means you have to really make me care. There’s a number of moments that are glanced over or cut around that seem like you could mine for drama. The biggest of these scenes takes place behind the blue door. Now I’m all for privacy in real life, but what happens behind the blue door is a soul crushing moment that any A-lister would fight for. And seeing Emilie sacrifice to save someone that she knows can only ruin her present tranquility is nobility worth exploring.

    Another one of these beats is with Gilles. Now you say you did your research so I’m going to believe that you already know a lot of the cool, underhanded ways the French resistance fought Nazi occupation. Give us tastes of that. This is a movie and it reads like a play. All the big action minus two gunshots and one fight (I’m not giving you the last gunshot) takes place off screen. I’m not saying the drama isn’t there but the depth to the drama is specific to these characters where their struggle can be broadened to encapsulate occupied France. So, give me moments of their resistance. Let Gilles try to recruit Andre. Give us a beat of how Gilles and company resist. And then when (spoiler) Gilles is killed for a crime, I’m going to care twice as much because not only do I understand the guilt of the couple, I understand the loss to France. Does that make sense?

    I would also love to see the Durand scene where he discovers how to sneak Emilie off. We believe he’s been given false information from a Nazi plant. So give us that scene. Now you have a chance to play with dramatic tension if we know he’s walking into a trap or we can feel the sting of betrayal when he finds the results. Let us see how much it costs him both monetarily and emotionally. If this is about anything, it’s about sacrifice so embrace that theme.

    I really hope you perfect this script. I’m certain you have the talent for it. Here’s hoping someone picks this up for not only the strong script that it is but for the impressive/genius script it has the potential of becoming.

    • MichaelWhatling

      Good suggestions. I was trying to keep this contained and focused on as few characters as possible, but if a producer, let’s say, wanted to broaden the scope of this screenplay, these are some really good ideas. Thanks!

      • IgorWasTaken

        TD’s suggestions, and a number of others here, seem well worth considering, but many of them also seem to have budget implications.

        And with a WWII drama, simply from a marketing-strategy standpoint, is it better to craft the script small or big at the outset. I guess that’s what managers are for – to help writers with that stuff.

        • TruckDweller

          I suspect you could still work in my suggestions for a small budget. One of the fun things that the French resistance was said to have done was to rig paintings to explode. Their houses would be occupied by the German army. They would leave their rigged paintings cockeyed on the wall. The Nazis, ever the lovers of order, would straighten the paintings and BOOM! Fun scene on the cheap.

          As far as marketing, the biggest advice I hear (I am no expert… yet) is to create great characters for actors to fight for. This is the kind of script that you want to attract some real talent or even if it’s made, no one hears of it. To do that, you bring the drama. Give anyone that can be a name an A-list moment. Once you get your actors, you get your budget and from there you can adjust.

          Ultimately, you want people to see what you’ve written as a movie that they need to see on the big screen. As is, I could totally imagine a talented cast doing this as a theater play. That might be an avenue to consider. However, I still suggest you really consider making this a touch more “cinematic”, you can always pull this draft out later if a smaller company says they are interested.

          One more point before I’m through: Prestige period pieces are expensive in general. Small companies rarely make them because there often isn’t a return on investment and the upfront costs can be pricey. I wouldn’t worry too much about shrinking costs if there’s a scene you feel should be there. Generally only major distributors have the ability to make these prestige pictures anyway. Oh, they might have names that imply small, but we are savvy. We’re still looking at the majors as a parent company.

          • MichaelWhatling

            Sound advice, Thanks for that.

  • TruckDweller

    Perhaps the answer would be exploring that officer a bit more. If he were Egger, say, damn right we’d believe that guy would bend the rules if it suited him. I wouldn’t make him Egger, but maybe a henchman of Egger’s? Anyway, I personally didn’t have a problem with this exchange other than the fact that I felt it would be nice if you gave the two women more of a moment before both of their lives are forever changed.

  • Crazedwriter

    You are more than welcome to make those stories. This is the story the writer chose to make, and based on the comments made here, it seems like a good choice!

  • IgorWasTaken

    Nice idea.

    But please, for the love of [enter your deity’s name here], please do not shoot the scene in B&W and color the star yellow in post.

  • Crazedwriter

    Congrats micheal! I love historical dramas! Wish I’d written this! Best of luck to you getting it sold! It’s gonna happen!

  • MichaelWhatling

    Good suggestion, but Emilie isn’t supposed to be “likable,” just understood. The whole point of the screenplay is the quote at its beginning: “The guilty one is not he
    who commits the sin, but the one who causes the darkness.”

    • Malibo Jackk

      Your logline suggests that she is the protag.
      Is she the protag?

    • Michael

      This is why writers shouldn’t include quotes, because in the end that’s not the story you told.

      • MichaelWhatling

        Well, that’s your opinion. But as the writer, I believe I told a story about ordinary people who were forced to do morally questionable things that they wouldn’t normally do, things that would even make them “unlikeable” from a screenwriting p.o.v.

        Whom you blame is up to you as a reader.

        • Michael

          You told a wonderful story, an ambitious story with depth. I’m so glad you shared it with us. It’s one of the best scripts I’ve read on this site, despite my comments on what needs improving and the story as I read it does not best reflect my interpretation of that quote. Regardless, you’ve raised the bar for everyone submitting scripts for AF. That’s my opinion, for what it’s worth.

          • MichaelWhatling

            Thanks for your support. Us “Michaels” have to stick together.

  • Sullivan

    I find she’s likable. She’s just in a tough situation and is struggling to do the best she can and survive. That makes her realistic to me.

  • Poe_Serling

    “Lake monsters will always be interesting, to everyone except Carson.”

    In Carson’s defense, it probably echoes back to his life-changing lake monster encounter at The Grove’s water fountain just south of Melrose.

  • grendl

    No, if they’re in a rush and grab a woman who resembles the one they’re chasing it could work.

    Like the snark though. Almost good.

  • Andrew Mullen

    I’m really not.

    I’m saying that making it Nazi Occupied Paris allows him to get to the destination quicker.

    You’re saying he should take the scenic route because it’s prettier and less travelled.

    I’m not disagreeing that it’s prettier and less travelled. But it’s 10 miles out of the way and gas is really expensive.

  • Awescillot

    Congratulations on your script, Michael, I enjoyed reading it.

  • JakeMLB

    Agree with your suggestions here. The brutality of the Nazis needs to be pounded into the readers minds early. Instead we have the Burly Soldier showing sympathy and a rather dramatically clunky wife swap sequence. This sequence could and should be much larger and much more dramatic.

    And I hope Michael doesn’t take these notes in a negative light. The fact that readers are passionate to give their thoughts is telling of something special at work here. It just needs a little more work.

    • Sullivan

      Ya brutal Nazis will make this stand out because no one’s ever seen them before.

  • Alexander Felix

    Michael, I just finished the script. Fantastic effort! With all the authentic little details you sprinkled in I’m guessing you’re either a francophile or have spent some time in France. Either way, great job!

  • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1888937/ Rick McGovern

    Finally something I could read the whole thing of lol

    So I like that phrase “boring good” which has such ironing on it that it makes it feel like they shouldn’t go together. But that expresses what I felt about the whole thing. Not just the first half. I didn’t think the second half was any different than the first, except for the two big conflicts. The one with Egger, and then the last confrontation with the soldiers. But over all I thought it was pretty consistent.

    For some reason, and it might just be me, the beginning, where he keeps asking the same question about his wife got annoying. It seemed like that’s all the first half was about. I almost feel like their should be a small time jump, like three months later, where we know he’s asked questions, we know he can’t find him, and we have an idea that Egger knows this isn’t his wife. In fact, he probably knows what happened. But it was just too much of him asking, “where is she? She would never do this. When your mother gets home…”

    I also didn’t totally view Egger as a complete villain. In fact, I didn’t really feel like there was a villain. He was just an obstacle, if you can even call him that. I felt like he was lonely, with nobody he could really call a friend in this town he didnt want to be stationed in, and for some reason felt attachment to Albert, so he kept his secret. And he loved sweets and so he gave him ingredients. Not that he was very likeable, he was still a Nazi that agreed with the killing of Jews. He actually felt human to me.

    The only villainous thing he did was choke Albert at the beginning and then head towards Emelie looking for fun since Albert told him not to talk to his son. But I didn’t hate the guy. Not entirely. But I do see why she shot him, but I don’t feel like he would have told anybody. I think he would have shown up the next day, smiling, maybe apologizing, or just acting like it never happened. I would actually have liked to see him live longer. And actually be more of what Carson said, chum around, smoking together, telling jokes, and then as he drops him off at his house, saying, I want my 30 percent protection fee tomorrow.

    I also liked him having to decide. Didn’t see it coming, though I feel like I should have. I didn’t understand why she nodded her head to him, telling him to let her go and then screaming for him two seconds later. I think she only did it because the writer wanted her to so that he wouldn’t spill his guts.

    I also didn’t like the gunshot. I don’t think they would have shot her. I also don’t think they Albet and his real wife would be sitting apart at the end.

    I also feel like Albert’s wife wouldn’t be sneaking around. She would know she was set free for a reason. Her first thought would be her husband, unless she was told something else. So she would come running home. Especially since she’s a mother.

    I also found her doing things counter to what her husband describes her as during the beginning. I founds parts of myself not really liking her. Probably for that reason.

    Anyway, seems like a lot of negatives, but it was good enough for me to finish. And I really did feel like part of that world. I felt for almost everyone. And even though slightly bored throughout, I was still invested and wanted to know more. And I’ve always liked these kind of stories. They are what I am drawn to as a writer myself.

    Still just a worth the read for me, but with work, I think it can really shine. Of course, some people say it’s already there… ;)

    Not the best review, but hey, what do I know? lol and at least I tried!

    And I can see you doing big things as a writer :) keep it up, man.

    • MichaelWhatling

      At the end, when she returns, Mireille is not thinking straight. She initially still believes things can be straightened out and people can be reasoned with, but when she sees that her son will be threatened by her disclosure, she resigns herself to go back with the Nazis…until they start to chain her again and the enormity of what going back with them means hits her, and she panics.

      She’s sneaking around because she escaped the work camp thanks to the Burly Man whom Emilie “paid.”

      Thanks for reading.

      • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1888937/ Rick McGovern

        Yeah, I knew how she paid him. I never totally disliked Emille. I ended up not liking Mirielle very much though.

        And I still don’t understand why she would be sneaking around. She knows everyone there knows she’s not a Jew. She knows her paperwork is at the house. If I was reased, I would think it’s my husband, unless the guy told her something different, but since it’s not shown, I would suspect he didn’t tell her anything and just set her free. So she would be expecting her husband to be expecting her with her kid.

        And I actually have a question. If Emille could sleep with the guy to set Mirielle free, why couldn’t Mirielle do the same thing? She slept with him to deliver the letter, why not sleep with him to be set free.

        And also, in those days, the German soldiers could rape these women with no repercussions. It was actually quite common. Not that it’s that big of a deal, he can be a man with a small heart. Because he could have slept with both women and not deliver what he had promised.

        I don’t know if these issues are that important. But it took me personally out of the story. Something to think about anyway. It is your story and other people haven’t seemed to care lol so again, what do I know ;)

        • MichaelWhatling

          The guy is a workman, not a Nazi, but I see your point about Mireille sleeping with him to set her free, In an older version, Emilie sleeps with him and pays him a lot of money from Durand selling his first edition Hugo book. That got lost along the way. Good point.

  • JKA

    This was a very nicely written screenplay. There are so many nice things about it that
    have already been discussed, so I will share things that might help the writer. My husband and I both read it and had these responses to the story – we wanted to feel more sympathetic toward someone. Both my hub and I agreed we would not be able to function as Andre did in that situation. We would be far more desperate. “Beat it out of her?” as you say below? Well, why not go there – at least have Andre struggle with the temptation to do so. I certainly would consider all means to find my husband especially if someone had info they weren’t sharing. Say we forget that, and we allow someone of opposite sex to move in and pose as a spouse…would there be enormous tension, resentment, etc. It would not work as easily as it did in the script. My sense was the war and resulting conditions had blunted peoples’ normal responses to bizarre situations. But we
    couldn’t make it work in our minds that Andre would trust Emile, who obviously has something to hide, with his child. The turning of Andre toward Emile and what makes him in essence betray his wife…we felt we needed more there because he seemed happily married and devoted in scene 1. Also, the child seemed to act more like 1ish year old and I think he is 2 yo in the script.

    The end: Throughout the story I thought one potential consequence that kept a lid on everyone was that if this deception became publicly known, it would result in everyone’s
    death – Andre, the child’s, as well as Emilie’s. We have neighbors watching this man’s wife get carried off and being too afraid to whisper the truth in the wee hours of the night behind closed doors when there were numerous witnesses who could be blamed for blabbing. When Emilie leaves in the end to get shot, I thought – now Andre and the boy are dead too, except they weren’t. ?? Also, if I were Mireille, I would not jeopardize my child by bringing the deception to light. If it becomes clear that Andre has been hiding a prisoner, what happens to Andre? As a wife and mother, I would consider these things before acting, and sacrifice myself to save my family. The only justification for Andre to cooperate with this whole thing is that his child is endangered if he tells the truth.
    Ok, maybe he falls in love somewhere in there (which I would like to see
    more clearly and with less convenience in the script). Nonetheless, if Mirielle exposes him, everyone is still endangered, right? It seemed like the threat did not play itself out completely at the end.

    This sounds so negative. I only mean to share the reactions that both my husband and I had in common, which means to me that others may be feeling the same way when they read it. It is a very nicely written story and there is a lot of tension that kept me turning the pages.

    • MichaelWhatling

      I like the part about André being tempted to beat the truth out of her. I’ll think about it.

      But I disagree with your statement about not trusting someone with his child. This was the 1940s in Europe. It isn’t like today where parents think there’s danger on every corner. Back then, no one thought twice about leaving a child with an adult for a moment, especially a woman.

      At the end, when she returns, Mireille is not thinking straight. She initially still believes things can be straightened out and people can be reasoned with, but when she sees that her son will be threatened by her disclosure, she resigns herself to go back with the Nazis…until they start to chain her again and the enormity of what going back with them means hits her, and she panics.

      At least that was my intention.

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

  • K.B. Houston

    Just read it. Excellent script. I really enjoyed it.

    I really only had one complaint and that was Andre. I didn’t think he was believable enough. He did things that I felt contradicted his character. He was also too stoic for such an emotional time in his life. He never really broke down. He never seemed to fully understand the weight of his situation. He spends the entire script wanting his real wife back, yet in the very end he suddenly decides to roll with Emilie when his wife is right there in front of him? That didn’t make sense. A few pages before that he talks about how frustrated he was with Emilie that she didn’t show him his wife. He even calls her stupid, as I recall. If you could add a bit more depth to his character and really make us feel like he TRULY loves Emilie, I think you could have something special on your hands.

    Also, the dialogue. I like the brevity. It speaks for itself. But it felt like someone was always getting interrupted or cut off, especially Andre. Yes, we’re taught to write like we speak but I don’t know of anybody who gets cut off that much or just doesn’t complete their sentences.

    Overall though, really solid stuff. I wish you the best in moving forward with it.

    • MichaelWhatling

      He choses Emilie at the end because doing otherwise would get them all killed.

  • MichaelWhatling

    If anyone is interested, I’ll have a new version of “Pâtisserie” available in a few days that should respond to many of the concerns expressed here. Just e-mail me: michael.whatling@mail.mcgill.ca

    I only ask you promise to read it and give feedback. It will be appreciated. Thanks.

  • Crazedwriter

    Timing on this is great! Recently a 98 yr old nazi was arrested for war crimes!

  • MichaelWhatling

    Grendl, I’ll have an updated version of “Pâtisserie” in a few days. If you’d like to read it, contact me through the e-mail on the title page of my script. Just promise to give feedback. Thanks again.

  • MichaelWhatling

    Sorry I missed your question. I wrote 4 screenplays since then, but I keep returning to “Pâtisserie,” whenever possible, to try to make it better. So it’s a mix of both, I guess.

  • fragglewriter

    Read your review, but not the script. I think your ending makes a lot more sense and to end it with the wife on her knees.

    Maybe instead of the husband, Emilie is out walking with Mirelle’s 2-year old son, and makes a scene. Trying to take the son away from Emilie and telling the little boy to call her mama. He instead called Emilie mama. Just a thought.

  • MichaelWhatling

    Thanks for pointing these out. It’s appreciated. Dates were changed to accommodate ages and events. Good catches!

    Just a few points: Durand is optimistic the war will be over despite the evidence around him. The comment on petit fours was not one about the camps. Emilie plays Josephine Baker in defiance.

    I’ll make those things clearer in the next draft.

    Thanks again.

  • Lucid Walk

    If anyone has a copy, please email to sde91@hotmail.com. Thanks

  • Emotionoid

    Hi everyone,
    Can anyone send me this script to mazhar.mohd@gmail.com? I would love to read this one. Thanks.