Genre: Drama/Love Story/French
Premise: A high school girl becomes involved with an older artist and the two soon find themselves falling in love.
About: Okay, so this movie has received a lot more publicity than your typical French import for a couple of reasons. First, there’s a lot of graphic lesbian sex in it (have I got your attention, guys?). And second, the actresses who played the leads are now saying that they were forced to do a lot of things sexually that they weren’t comfortable with. The film won the prestigious Palme D’or at the Cannes film festival, and that’s when the heavy scrutiny began. Director Abdellatif Kenhiche, who was at first defiant against his actresses and their accusations of him, has done an about-face, pretty much shutting down when asked about the controversy. His most recent interviews imply that he realizes he may have gone too far and it may have even affected his desire to direct again.
Writers: Abdellatif Kechiche & Ghalia Lacroix (based on the comic book, “Le Bleu est une couleur chaude” by Julie Maroh)
Details: 186 minutes long

BlueisWarmestColorKissUSposterbig1

Hey, a French film about a young woman’s sexual awakening. Where have I seen this before? Oh yeah, that’s EVERY SINGLE FRENCH MOVIE EVER. Didn’t we see it as far back as Seinfeld? When the Seinfeld crew tried to go see Rochelle, Rochelle?

Okay, so maybe it’s not EVERY French movie. I’m guessing there are only a handful of French genres they can market over here in the States, and “sex between young women” is one of them. There are probably tons of more diverse French films we’ll never see because distributors know there’s no way they can do well in the ultra-competitive American marketplace.

As far as this film, I’ll be the first to admit that the only reason I went to see it was because of the controversy behind the sex scenes. I had to see myself just how far they supposedly went, and also if I could detect any clear discomfort on the actresses’ part or see if they was forced into something they didn’t want to do. I wanted to make the call myself.

Here’s the funny thing about what happened though. There was so much damn sex in this movie, that after awhile, the shock value wore off.  What you realize is that, along the way, you’ve been pulled into this relationship, a relationship authentically constructed and universal enough to make you see yourself in it, and in that sense, care about the fate of these two girls, even if that fate took 186 minutes to get to!

17 year old Adele is in high school. She’s a pleasant enough girl, but you get the feeling she’s uncomfortable in her surroundings (and, in many ways, her own skin).

As is the case in most high schools, Adele’s friends are peer-pressuring her into doing things she doesn’t want to do, particularly have sex with a hot guy who’s into her. Adele eventually does go out with the guy and DOES have sex with him, but there’s clearly something missing from the experience. She needs more.

After an unexpected kiss with a female friend, Adele becomes obsessed with women, and finds herself at a lesbian bar one night, where she meets the mysterious older Emma, a blue-haired maven who’s as confident as Adele is timid.

The two immediately hit it off, spend all their time together, and start falling in love, as is on display every night with their extremely passionate love-making.

A year passes and Adele is now out of school (teaching pre-school) getting her shit together. Her relationship seems to be going well also, as she’s helping Emma (who’s an artist) get ready for a big art showing. The problem with Adele is that she can’t shake the feeling that she’s doing something wrong by being with a woman. It’s a subtle feeling, but intense enough that she ends up cheating on Emma with a man (partly brought on by a suspicion that Emma may be cheating on her).

Emma finds out and the entire relationship unravels. Emma kicks Adele out and Adele is completely lost. A couple of years go by and, still, Adele misses Emma. She tries her best to reconcile but Emma’s moved on. Poor Adele is left with an uncertain future, which she now knows will never include the love of her life. Fin.

Blue-Emma

So why is it that this movie, despite ignoring most of the screenwriting principles I promote on this site, still worked? That’s a great question. To start, you have to understand that this is a relationship movie. With relationship movies (which includes romantic comedies), there isn’t always a goal. The story’s intrigue rests more on “What’s going to happen between these two people?” The movie only works if you care about the answer to that question. And you only care about the answer to that question if you a) like the lead, b) like the romantic interest, and c) want to see them end up together.

So the rules are a little different (from the typical GSU model). And I think “Blue” succeeded on all three of these fronts. I mean, the acting in the movie was amazing, but if the story was written with the same specificity as it was acted, I think it would’ve worked just as well on the page.

But there were a few other reasons why it worked. Conflict conflict conflict conflict and conflict. If you’re going to write a slow story (whatever the genre is), it must be infused with conflict. Because you have to remember – we don’t have anything STORY-RELATED to look forward to. We don’t have Indiana Jones trying to get that Ark. We don’t have the Pacific Rim robots trying to stop those monsters. We don’t have little miss sunshine trying to get to that beauty pageant in time.

For that reason, you have to use OTHER tools to keep the reader/viewer interested. And conflict is the most effective of these tools. And in this case, it starts with INNER CONFLICT. Adele is unsure if she wants men or women. We see her battling with this dilemma throughout the first 40 minutes of the movie. When she finally gets a woman, there’s a part of her that’s still nervous about whether she should be with her. We see that in scenes like when she brings Emma over for a family dinner. She can’t tell her parents the truth about Emma. She’s too ashamed. And then when Emma breaks up with her, all Adele can think about is that she’s not happy without her.  In all of these instances, Adele is battling some sort of inner conflict.

But there’s plenty of external conflict as well. From getting into fights with her schoolmates about her sexuality to trying to start a relationship with the friend who kissed her (who then rejects her) to hiding from her parents that she’s dating Emma to being underage and dating Emma to being pulled by this man at work to eventually cheating on Emma to trying to get Emma back.

Despite some of the early scenes where Emma and Adele were in the honeymoon period, there was conflict in every scene. You never felt 100% comfortable during “Blue.” You always felt like something was unresolved, and that’s why you needed to keep watching. You had to see that resolution.

27SUBDARGIS1-articleLarge

And, you know, I was surprised by just how many plot developments they packed in here also. Usually, in these relationship or coming of age movies, whether they be American indies or foreign films, it takes FOREVER for anything to happen. But stuff kept happening here all the way through. Adele is pushed to go out with a guy. She does. It doesn’t work out. She kisses a girl.  She’s excited and pursues her.  She’s rejected.  She hangs out at a gay club. She meets a girl. She starts dating her. She meets Emma’s parents. Emma meets her parents. She helps Emma prep her art showing. A new woman is introduced into Emma’s work life who Adele is jealous of. Adele cheats on Emma. I always felt like things were HAPPENING, that stuff was DEVELOPING here. And that’s why it never got boring.

And you know, the thing that this script is getting hammered for, the over-the-top sex – was actually necessary. Because it showed how attached these two were. The passion in their sex showed how much they loved each other. And I’m not sure I would’ve known how much they were in love had that not been shown. I mean I wouldn’t have felt Adele’s desperation to get Emma back in the final third of the film had I not seen that passion.

After I walked out of “Blue,” I had to ask myself a tough question. I’d enjoyed the film. Yet I constantly tell writers not to write a film like this. Would I have to reevaluate that stance? Should I do a 180 and start preaching, “Go forth and write 180 page relationship movies if that’s what you want to write!”

After giving it some consideration, the answer is still no. I have to remember that I’m teaching people how to break into Hollywood, not Pariswood. And in Hollywood, creating marketable material with complex characters and a story that moves is still the easiest way to break through. If you want to write the next “Blue is the Warmest Color,” because it’s a story you NEED to tell and you won’t be able to live your life unless you write it, by all means, don’t let me or anyone else stop you. Sometimes passion is the best storyteller, so there’s a possibility it comes out great. Just know that, at the end of the day, you’re trying to sell a product to someone who will be trying to sell that product all the way up the Hollywood ladder. As long as you know that this process becomes infinitely harder when you try to sell the entertainment business the kind of movies it doesn’t like to make, go for it. I’m not going to hold it against you if you take a chance. Just make sure what you write is great because it will need to be!

[ ] what the hell did I just watch?
[ ] wasn’t for me
[x] worth the price of admission
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius

What I learned: The Honeymoon Period. Relationship movies (including romantic comedies) are all about conflict. They’re about your protagonist being unable to find someone (conflict), to experiencing everyday life obstacles (conflict) and then when they find someone, it’s about things affecting that relationship, like cheating (conflict), everyday relationship problems (conflict), work (conflict), other people (conflict). Your relationship films should be PACKED with conflict. The one time in the script, however, where it’s okay to be conflict-free, is the “Honeymoon Period.” When your characters first get together and start hanging out, it’s okay for them to have fun (this can last anywhere from 3-8 scenes). But sooner or later, conflict should start creeping into that relationship, or we’ll get bored.

  • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

    Gonna be flat out honest.

    This is your best film review ever, in my opinion.

    Not simply because I agree with essentially all of it, but also because it is your most well-reasoned and quite honestly most well-written review to date.

    Primarily based on your previous bashing of French cinema and your expectational adherence to the GSU model, I didn’t expect this review from you.

    Okay, that is all. Great article.

    • Alex Palmer

      Agreed.

      Personally, I find Carson’s GSU principle helpful, but occasionally (such as during French week) its presented as holy scripture.

      For almost every approach to storytelling, there is an exception. And the way Carson has put the spotlight on a film that rejects his methods yet still works deserves props.

      I guess a willingness to challenge your views is what separates self proclaimed “gurus” from good teachers.

  • K.B. Houston

    I laughed when I went to by bookmarks, clicked Scriptshadow and “Blue is the Warmest Color” appeared on the front page. Never thought in a million years you’d go to see this film Carson. Glad you did.

    HOWEVA…

    I disagree with your review. This movie is worth the price of admission if you want to see a lesbian softcore porn. If you want to see a good movie, I’m not so sure.

    Let’s start with the time. It’s three hours long. Probably 20 minutes are sex scenes. The other 160 minutes are mostly crying and stylized images of women walking around or staring at each other somewhere in France. When I was in the theater I remember consciously thinking to myself over and over: “That scene wasn’t really necessary. That scene could have easily been cut.” In a really good, quality movie do you ever think that to yourself? I sure don’t.

    This movie was entirely too long for the complexity of the storyline. Sure, there was a decent amount of conflict, but for every element of conflict presented there were two or three scenes that were totally unnecessary in moving the story along. To me, you’re doing a disservice to the viewer by not compacting your story. If you want to make a film with long, draw out, stylized scenes, that’s fine, but you have to juxtapose it with some sort of a fast-paced, cerebral storyline to carry your viewer through the heaviness. The whole time while watching this film I felt like I was trying to tread water in the deep end of the pool, when all I needed was a few breaks to sit by the stairs in the shallow section to catch my breath. Those breaks never came.

    As for the sex scenes…

    I saw this in a very small, independent theater, as I’m sure many people did. When the first really long sex scene hit, it was the most uncomfortable I’ve ever been during a movie. In your review you’re pretty nonchalant about the content of the sex scenes. It’s not like we’re talking about a brief cutaway to Sharon Stone’s lady parts here. This was full on oral sex for five straight minutes.

    In the theater I was at you could hear a pindrop during the first big sex scene. Then, after about five minutes people just started laughing. A few minutes later the entire theater was cracking up. At the next sex scene, people just started laughing the minute they kissed. Before long this movie transformed from a passionate love story into a joke. The amount of explicit sex was entirely unnecessary, and in turn it subtracted from the film’s credibility.

    After the sex scenes I just couldn’t take this movie seriously anymore. Because it was no longer about the story at that point; it was about a hedonistic, self-serving, vulgar director attempting to break new ground by brazenly incorporating porn into commercial cinema. If I wanted to see porn I’d have stayed at home and turned on HBO.

    The fact the actresses have come out after the film’s release and criticized Kechiche, saying they were uncomfortable and misled, even further corroborates my sentiment that this dude was more interested in satisfying his own fantasies than directing a good movie. And as many in the gay community have rightfully asked, would this dude EVER have thought about doing this with men? Not a chance in hell.

    I’m an extremely open minded person who loves a good stylized film that goes against traditional Hollywood standards, but I just couldn’t get on board with this. Don’t get me wrong, the acting was absolutely incredible and it’s probably worth the price of admission alone for the shock value, performances and visceral love story. But I think your review is a bit misleading. If any film I’ve seen deserves a “What the hell did I just watch?” rating, it’s this one.

    • pmlove

      This suggests an equal problem with the audience to me.

      I haven’t seen the film, maybe the sex scenes are overwrought but damning them because the audience couldn’t cope doesn’t strike me as that much different than scenes of extreme violence.

      I think my main problem would be that sex scenes rarely advance the story. The main justification for spending time on sex scenes, in my opinion, would be if the film was about sex. Which, as far as I can tell, it isn’t. It’s a love story. Sex in this context is just a part of a loving relationship, so I can figure it out. Just as I don’t need 20 minutes of hand holding and hugging, unless there is subtext in the sexual actions (vacant stares / aggression etc) I probably don’t need it about sex.

      But I don’t think audience discomfort is relevant to the criticism. Nor that it wouldn’t be done with men (this should be an option – look at the plaudits for Brokeback). Maybe because it doesn’t advance the story, unless it is key for the story.

    • drifting in space

      I’m in the boat where maybe a scene leading up and initializing is needed, then cutaway for effect. It resonates more with audience. Drawn out sex scenes aren’t really something that is needed.

      Five minutes? At that point, you’re just doing it for other reasons.

      But it is French cinema, which I have no experience with, and could be their cup of tea. To each their own. As Carson said, this site is mainly for breaking into Hollywood. That stuff doesn’t really hit here.

  • carsonreeves1

    You should! :)

    • J. Lawrence Head

      Yes. I saw this film at VIFF, and though my derriere (that’s French for buttocks) fell asleep in the 3 hr time frame, it was a fantastic film.

  • Marija ZombiGirl

    The controversy surrounding this movie was not so much about the graphic sex scenes but about Kechiche’s shitty behaviour and the fact that the crew were never paid a dime for their almost daily overtime hours. Kechiche believes himself to be the French Stanley Kubrick, idling about on set, sipping champagne and eating oysters with his leading ladies while taking up to EIGHT HOURS to think up a SINGLE SHOT. Seriously WTF ?? Maybe the result is up there on the screen – I haven’t seen this movie and have absolutely no desire to spend three hours (!) of my life on such a simplistic story. As for the “technically amazing sex scenes”, come on. Girl on girl ? A few clicks away on the internet and who gives a blue-haired girl’s titties about lighting and angles ?

    I also have a very real problem with those +150 minute movies. It’s like the screenwriters who hand in +150 page scripts because “That’s what I need to tell my story”. No, it’s not. You need to get to the heart of it even if that means taking out lots of interesting stuff from the basic material which here is a comic book.

    /Rant over.

    • Ginger

      Exactly right. That director is an asshole, just like Kubrick was. If you can’t make a movie – even if it’s going to be awesome – without humiliating cast and crew, you shouldn’t be allowed to shoot it, in the first place. And yes, I too think 150+ aren’t necessary for that kind of story…

      • Marija ZombiGirl

        It pains me to think of Kubrick that way because I’m a very big admirer of his work :) (except for 2001 which bores the hell out of me). Great artists often have execrable personalities and many resort to crappy behaviour to get what they desire out of their actors. I can’t admire that in any way and I don’t think the end result, however amazing, justifies that.

        The controversy made big waves over here because of all the buzz coming out of Cannes. Of course, the crew was accused of surfing it just to get attention and were mostly rebuffed under the pretense that “Hey, making a movie IS hard work so just suck it up and take your paycheck !” Um… When a movie is made by amateurs, everybody knows what they’re getting into. I’ve worked for free as well because I trusted the director and I knew there was gonna be a movie at the end. But when you work on a several million dollar/euro shoot, I believe the director has an obligation towards cast and crew to treat them in a professionnal way.

        Kechiche had a sort of breakdown after all this, wailing about his immense deception and shouting about his puerile decision to quit making movies. So quit.

        • mulesandmud

          In theory, I like that Kechiche has an approach that is extremely collaborative with his actors. In practice, you can certainly do this without exploiting people.

          I like this film and an earlier film of his, The Secret of the Grain, but this guys is no Kubrick, that’s for sure. The only thing they have in common is that they both do lots of takes.

        • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

          Kubrick definitely had his share of controversy, though it seems to be more stories that have been passed around rather than stories directly from the offended. The only exception being Shelly Duvall, who spoke about how badly he treated her, but I think she also said in the end it was worth it or something. Not exactly sure, but he was notoriously compulsive and an extreme perfectionist.

          I honestly know almost nothing about Kechiche, aside from the controversy around this film, which I followed quite a bit. I honestly loved the film – though during those sex scenes I couldn’t help but think of the controversy that had been drummed up by the time I watched it. It (obviously) doesn’t show on the screen, but you can’t help being a little turned off when you’re watching something that’s supposed to be two characters engaging in mutual pleasure while knowing that the actresses themselves were humiliated and exploited while performing these acts.

          I dunno, guy honestly sounds like a dick, but I loved the film nonetheless. And who knows, maybe all of this was blown way out of proportion.

    • John Bradley

      I enjoy good rants, well done!

      • Linkthis83

        Yes you do. I remember a comment you made to me awhile ago that I found quite amusing:

        John Bradley Linkthis83

        • 5 months ago

        Carson should have charged money to view this back and forth, I would have easily paid $20 to read this post today!

        • John Bradley

          Carson is always preaching the importance of having conflict in every scene! I just try to pretend my life is a giant screenplay. The standard of great rants to me is the infamous scene in Network! I’ve seen a few good ones on here though.

    • Poe_Serling

      Hey MZG-

      My favorite part of the rant: “Kechiche believes himself to be the French Stanley Kubrick, idling about on set, sipping champagne and eating oysters with his leading ladies while taking up to EIGHT HOURS to think up a SINGLE SHOT.”

      That would make for a memorable scene in a script/film.

      And I was just wondering if Kechiche was a distant relative of the ‘guy’ you mentioned a few days ago? ;-)

      “This reminds me of “notes” I got on my latest script treatment where the
      ‘guy’ didn’t like a single thing : characters, story, plot, atmosphere
      and even me.”

      • John Bradley

        It’s bad when someone develops a dislike of you based on your script! I’ve had it happen lol

        • Marija ZombiGirl

          It’s terrible :D Everything you do or say after that automatically gets the “agressive & defensive” stamp, even if you just answer that person’s questions.
          I didn’t keep his email, I would’ve liked to gloat that a producer’s interested in my script based on the treatment he hated and that “nobody will ever make and you should change your attitude, as well ‘cos you’ll never get anywhere” :p

    • ripleyy

      I love this. Well put! A three hour odyssey about two lovers, of the same gender, who have passionate sex together. Perhaps in theory it should work, but I have never seen it and I don’t really intend to, though I am curious if the sex scenes in this were as graphic as the Interwebs makes it out to be.

      Even though I do enjoy your comment, and I agree with it, I am also conflicted because I think if you want to do something right, you need to take your time. A three hour movie to tell something as simple as “Blue” shouldn’t work. It could have been told in a very tight two-hour movie, not three.

      That all being said, I do know the author of the comic was staunchly against this. She didn’t like it, and said that he ruined what made the comic/graphic novel as personal as it was to her. I can’t really say much, because I haven’t seen it. I won’t judge a book by its cover.

      • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

        “I am curious if the sex scenes in this were as graphic as the Interwebs makes it out to be.”

        I’ll put it this way…. I’m not sure they could have been any more graphic.

  • pmlove

    Off topic: Carson, can you do a review of 12 Years A Slave (screenplay or film)?

    I’d like to see Carson’s opinion of a widely acclaimed film (and script) that seems to contain a passive protagonist, deus ex machina ending, no urgency etc.

    I definitely enjoyed the film but feel like I am missing something – *potential SPOILERS* it felt a little like watching Papillon but the main character doesn’t try to escape (very much); this diminished my ability to connect with the violence / hardship etc. As a true story, it is fascinating but as a piece of cinema, his actions as a slave are fairly unremarkable (basically, bunker down and get on with it for the most part), which makes his story feel much like there would be many other slaves in his predicament and facing his hardships, with the exception that his is bookended by being a free man. So why his story? Is the fact that he was free enough?

    It is definitely an important story to tell in terms of history but cinematically probably also why biopics don’t often make great films (albeit this one is getting rave reviews).

    • Awescillot

      I’m also curious. I recall Carson saying he wasn’t a big fan of Steve Mcqueen though.

      • Trek

        He did. But considering the guy’s only directed three feature length films, I think Carson needs to give it a try.

        • Awescillot

          I totally agree. Maybe he’ll have a crack at Shame. McQueen directed it, but also co-wrote it. So you – kinda – have a writer-director situation going on. Either that one or 12 years, because I have this hunch Hunger isn’t exactly his cup of tea.

          • Trek

            Definitely 12 Years a Slave. That’s the one that matters these days, and the one he’s most likely to enjoy.

          • Awescillot

            That’s true. Assuming it’ll be nominated, do you think it’ll win Best Picture at the oscars, btw?

          • Trek

            Considering the fact that I’ve not seen it, I can’t say for sure; but there’s definitely some major contenders this year (American Hustle, 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, Her, ect.).

            However. IF I had to put my money on it, I’d put mine on 12 Years a Slave. I think it’s the safest bet. :)

          • Awescillot

            I’ve watched all the movies you just mentioned, and I enjoyed them all. But I guess the impression a movie leaves you with, depends on the genre and theme I guess. Maybe that’s why 12 years already is a bit of a favorite?

          • Trek

            I think it does. As my username suggests, I’m a sci-fi person, so I always lean towards sci-fi with my tastes. That said, I love me some goo old fashioned drama, and films like 12 Years a Slave and Saving Mr. Banks I think will satisfy that for me.

    • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

      It’s my favorite film of the year.

      SPOILERS:

      I really wouldn’t call Solomon a passive protagonist. Nor the ending deus ex machina. Urgency… meh… the overall story doesn’t have urgency (like pretty much any biopic), but there exists urgency in individual scenes and sequences.

      Solomon isn’t passive because, even while he doesn’t try to escape, he does take action. His action is surviving. While he could fall into despair as so many of the other slaves do, he restrains himself in order to survive. That is an action.

      And the ending – it’s certainly not deus ex machina. A deus ex machina ending would be if Solomon just lived out his years and then randomly one day somebody showed up and took him home. But it wasn’t random. Sure, he didn’t directly send the letter or anything like that, but he did ask.

      There’s also the true story aspect, and the fact that the film is incredibly faithful to that. Which is also I think the answer to “why his story?” How many books are out there written by former slaves with such incredible stories? And also, it was very important that Solomon was a free man brought into this world of slavery. It was important that it was a foreign world to him, like it is to us. So when he sees these atrocities, they are equally horrifying to him as they are to us. As opposed to someone who was born into this life and knows nothing different. They wouldn’t bat an eye at the stuff that goes on here.

      • drifting in space

        I really appreciate this comment. The project I’m working on now is a true story (not a book though, just a story I came across) that I am working into a fictional tale based around true events. It’s along the same lines as this where the protagonist isn’t passive but pushes the story forward (via her actions) because of her will to survive.

      • pmlove

        Thanks for the well thought out comment. You make some excellent points.

        Re: the ending, that isn’t exactly what happens but someone turning up from nowhere who is openly anti-slavery in front of him and is a fairly safe bet to ask isn’t a million miles from randomly showing up and taking him home. There’s a step in between but that’s all.

        I know I’m nitpicking but as a pure piece of cinema I felt it was lacking something. There aren’t that many stories written by former slaves and this is why it’s an important story to tell as a piece of history. But as a piece of cinema (acting and directing aside, which were fantastic), it felt as if Andy Dufresne had got into Shawshank, learned to survive and then right at the end asked a helpful lawyer to look at his case. This is a flippant analogy, granted, but hopefully shows what I mean.

        Definitely a good film, fantastic acting, superb direction, important story but for me, lacked that sucker punch of hurt and emotion that I was hoping for to truly feel his pain.

        • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

          Fair enough. For me, if it had any more punch of hurt and emotion, I don’t think I’d have been able to handle it. As is it hit me in the gut hard enough.

    • Linkthis83

      I wouldn’t say I loved this film, but I appreciate it on so many levels.

      (possible spoilers)

      I agree with Matty that this PROTAG isn’t truly passive. He’s actively choosing to do what he has to in order to survive (or what the situation calls for). The role this character is in, doesn’t allow him to be who he actually is or who he wants to be (his conflict/drama). So he is being active in choosing not to be this person. However, on the screen, then there really isn’t much to “look at” per se (regarding this character – unless you are willing to just appreciate the character and the actor’s portrayal of these scenes – which I did).

      Even if there was a consensus that this character is ultimately passive, well then I think that would be okay for this particular story. I think it’s okay for a PROTAG to be passive (or appear passive) when the world around him/her is supremely complex and interesting. I believe that to be completely true for 12 Years a Slave. The story/situations around him are extremely interesting the entire time (IMO).

      If I was disappointed in anything in this film, it was the ending. It was the interaction between Solomon and his family. Everyone in this scene was so stoic. This is what this man was working to get back to. I just felt there be a lot more uncontrolled emotional reactions from all involved. That is what we were building towards (IMO). I can understand any opinion that says it was the appropriate way to end the film, but I would’ve argued that the scene needed more.

      Unless, the purpose of that ending was to show the effect of what these 12 years did to these relationships. To portray more accurately the true distance of time and separation in the moment where I felt everyone should be at their emotional peak with pure joy for Solomon’s return.

      Again, I thought the ending should be different, but I could make cases as to why the one they chose works (the first one being the obvious – because it did).

      I would also disagree that it’s a deus ex machina ending. There was an opportunity for him to attain his freedom and he took it (and this was by putting faith in another man – a white man). Also, when he tried to do this previously, he was betrayed. And was able use his wits to once again save himself and survive. Being patient for the next time he felt he could put himself at risk.

      There are just so many things to appreciate in this particular STORY. Both from the story itself and the film that tells it.

      • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

        The ending to me was definitely to show the effects of the 12 Years on him and his family. I can’t even imagine finally seeing your wife and daughters after being kidnapped for 12 years. So much has changed that you haven’t been witness to, and that entire time you were thinking about them. So it does seem like that first meeting would be a bit awkward for everyone.

        It was also nice how you don’t really see Solomon age or change physically very much over those 12 years, and then in that final scene you see gray hairs on his head and the reality of that amount of time sets it. It’s a 12 year punch in the gut. I cried at the end, as well as when his friend showed up to save him.

        Passive protagonists are honestly incredibly rare. It’s super hard to write one, and even harder to write one well. You almost have to intentionally write a passive protagonist, it rarely happens on accident. It’s just a matter of HOW active they are, which is what people really mean when they criticize an amateur script for having a passive protag, for example.

        One of the best examples of a passive (aka reactive) protagonist is The Big Lebowski. The Dude is probably the most passive character ever. Everything just happens TO him, and he just reacts. When something he’s trying to do (and when I say trying it’s a very lazy version of trying) goes wrong, he’s just like “well, let’s go bowling.” And then something happens to him again. A few examples where he actually does action is going to the other Lebowski to get his rug replaced, going to that kid’s house, etc. Though in all of those examples, he only does those things at the urging of someone else (usually Walter). I’m honestly not sure you can write a protagonist more passive than The Dude.

        Paul Rudd in Our Idiot Brother is pretty passive too, but not quite at the level of The Dude.

        • drifting in space

          Man, I need to watch this. It’s basically what I’m trying to do.

          Also, are passive protagonists easier when the story is based ON them? It’s a series of events that happened as opposed to creating a story for the character to drive through.

          EDIT: Disregard the profile picture as it was pulled from Twitter, LOL!

          • mulesandmud

            Interesting question. Passive is such a slippery word here. Solomon isn’t really passive, he just has so little opportunity for action (because slavery robs a person of their autonomy) that his moves are small and are ultimately dependent on the actions of others.

            A truly passive protagonist is a risky proposition whether (s)he comes from a true story, adapted material, or original material. I’m not sure you can even have a story in which a character literally takes no action to alter the course of events.

            Reactive is a better word, since a character can certainly TRY to stay out of the fray, but inevitably responds somehow (even if it’s by bowling). Otherwise why include that character in the story at all, right?

          • drifting in space

            True, and I think that is exactly the answer I’m looking for. My character certainly tries to be passive, but the circumstances she is thrust into require her to take action shortly after the inciting incident. They also pave the road for her “arc.”

          • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

            I would argue a truly passive character is impossible to write. Even just deciding to sit on the couch all day is an active decision. So what we’re really talking about are levels of passivity or activity. The Dude is about as low on that scale as you can get. A film like “Die Hard” is about as high as you’re going to get.

            Solomon’s goal is survival until “freedom is opportune.” But since it isn’t opportune at the moment, his goal is to survive. That’s a fairly basic goal because pretty much any character is also trying to do that just as in real life (though in films it’s usually overshadowed by a “higher” goal – John McClane wants to save his wife, but of course to do that he must also survive). But in 12 Years a Slave, survival isn’t as simple as it is for us; it’s not a matter of scraping money together to pay rent and buy food that Solomon is facing, it’s more than that. Same thing in many other films: All is Lost (goal = survival in extreme circumstances), Beasts of the Southern Wild (goal = survival in extreme circumstances).

            Anyway, I wouldn’t say there is necessarily any single best way to write a very passive character. The Big Lebowski does it while wrapping it up in a bizarre kidnapping plot. 12 Years a Slave (if you want to call him passive) does it by telling the story of one man in an almost episodic structure.

            I also don’t really recommend trying to strive for a passive protagonist anyway. The Big Lebowski pulls it off because it’s hilarious and entertaining and made by the Coens. But if you’re trying to write a story about someone simply trying to survive (through whatever means that is, whether it’s keeping your head down and going through the motions a la 12 Years or whether it’s holing up until there’s sunlight a la 30 Days of Night) then just consider that idea itself, and don’t worry about passive/active. The character is doing exactly what they need to do to survive.

            12 Years a Slave also works for the very reason that we know he’s going to be rescued. And it’s a true story. If it was fiction, it would hardly hold the same effect, which is interesting because the work itself is no different. But, that happened when I watched The Way Back. Thought it was based on a true story when I watched it, thought it was amazing, and then I found out it was pretty entirely fiction. No longer was it as effective in my mind.

        • Linkthis83

          “The ending to me was definitely to show the effects of the 12 Years on him and his family. I can’t even imagine finally seeing your wife and daughters after being kidnapped for 12 years. So much has changed that you haven’t been witness to, and that entire time you were thinking about them. So it does seem like that first meeting would be a bit awkward for everyone.”

          I agree. For me, I felt Solomon would be the one to just lose it once he crossed that threshold and saw his family. I just feel that based on his character and what he used for motivation (the love of his family) combined with what he had to endure in those 12 years, that once it’s all over, and you are back HOME, that one wouldn’t be able to contain themselves as he had. That unbelievable weight and burden has been lifted and you finally get your real life back. Just feels like a moment that couldn’t be restrained/controlled by a human being. Plus, that’s what I wanted to see from him (for him).

          • gonzorama

            The ending with his family was way too weak. There was a great opportunity to hit us with an emotional sledge hammer. I was ready to cry, but the ending let me down.

            If Solomon was fighting back tears as he spoke to his family, if his family would have been sobbing, covering their mouths and letting tears flow, and if he would have broken down when he was handed his grandchild – yes, I would have lost it.

    • Awescillot

      Would you think the ending would be less of a deus ex machina ending, perhaps, if Brad Pitt’s character was introduced earlier on? If Solomon had to actually try hard to convince the man to take his letter, and the man not being so fairly open about his opinion on slavery? That way there might have been more suspense, imo.

      • pmlove

        Absolutely. Going back to Papillon, you feel the guy’s struggle as he will stop at nothing to remove himself from his predicament, no matter the consequences.

        Here it felt like at the end of the film Brad Pitt arrived and basically started a three scene sequence: 1) ‘I’m white and Canadian and I disagree with slavery'; 2) ‘Would you mind asking my family to send my free papers / resolve my situation? Well, it’s a risk but go on then'; 3) Solomon – you’re free!

        Introducing him earlier and making Solomon work for it would have been better. BP’s character just felt like a plot device, like the letter / betrayal. That character is in two scenes, fulfils his plot device and is out.

        If Solomon had taken the letter himself to the store whilst running errands (as foreshadowed), this could potentially have had more suspense in my opinion, although a lot of people seem to have enjoyed it as is.

        • Awescillot

          That would’ve made it more exciting, no doubt. I didn’t feel the same way with the letter betrayal though when I watched the movie, but I have to agree it does feel like a plot device now I come to think of it.

          But then again, maybe that’s the problem with films based on true events: if the guy didn’t do it that way or it didn’t happen that way, you can’t write in some major alternative plotline just because it enhances the story…

          Or can you?! Imagine this: “Based on the remarkable true story of Solomon Northup… But you know, with some enhanced plotlines, because it wasn’t remarkable enough.”

          Btw, I really need to watch Papillon. It’s been on my watch list for ages.

  • FD

    I agree with Matty, and with everyone else as well. This review and its comments show just how difficult it is to land a hit in this industry. A film doesn’t always just have to be about a story. It can also be about imparting a mood, making you think, giving you a fright, teaching you something… so kudos to Carson for surprising us, and to the others as well for knocking him for doing so. Nice.

  • Stephjones

    The script was an adaptation of a graphic novel which already had a following. It wasn’t a spec.

  • Citizen M

    Julie Maroh (writer-illustrator of the graphic novel) began work on Le bleu est une couleur chaude when she was 19 (she’s now 28) and saw it published in France in 2010.

    Blue isn’t autobiographical… OK, I’m a lesbian, but it doesn’t mean that every time I write a story with lesbian characters they’re gonna be inspired by myself. I found this idea really sad and actually… alarming.

    “My process as a writer is more like an actor. I determine the personality of a character, I let them inhabit me and forget about myself at the same time, therefore I can better understand and express them on the paper.

    “But the fact that it is a fiction doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be realistic. Yes all the characters and events are fictional, however… for what I know and heard from gay people, we mostly go through the same steps and hardships when we realize we’re gay and must come out.”

  • mulesandmud

    This film was impressive – lots of amazing observational details about each stage of a relationship – but God, was it long. A full hour could have been snipped out without losing any plot, character, or emotional impact.

    The sex scenes were powerful and meaningful at times, but they always kept going long after their intended effect of ‘wow, what a passionate connection between two people’ had worn off, leaving us with a repetitive cycle of moans and wet sounds.

    An interesting detail about the film’s approach to its own script: a detailed screenplay was written, but then the director asked all the actors to read the script only once at the beginning and then essentially improvise each scene over the course of dozens and dozens of takes, custom fitting the scene to the actors. The director, who was also one of the writers, was apparently open to exploring all kinds of changes during this process, even if it potentially changed the entire story.

  • John Bradley

    My girlfriend wants me to watch The Host with her and I’m desperately trying to find a way out of it! I have survived only having to see one of those terrible Twilight movies, thank god! I saw Carson rated The Host 2013’s worst movie! I wish there were a way to delete something from Netflix! Maybe I will watch it with her but roofie myself so I have no rememberance of what I’m sure will be a terrible movie.

    • J. Lawrence Head

      I have no doubt that Host was a bad a movie, but I totally understand from a business standpoint why it got made.

      1) YA Novel.
      2) Same novel as a previous money making franchise. Yes they were terrible, but the appealed to..
      3) A demographic that had been largely untapped before. Females age 12-29 (though im sure some older than that watched it, just a much lower percentage.)

      So they made it based on a good decision process, but the right reasons don’t always pan out to the best result. the road to hell is paved….

    • Alex Palmer

      Here’s what you do.

      Step 1: Convince your GF that it’s better to watch it on DVD/Blu-Ray than on Netflix.

      Step 2: Offer to nip down to a DVD rental (if any still exist).
      Step 3: Specifically ask for The Host (2013) AND The Host (2006), an awesome Korean horror comedy.
      Step 4: Switch the disks.
      Step 5: Hide the box of the 2006 version (which contains the 2013 one’s disk) from GF.
      Step 6: Boot up the film. If she notices something’s amiss, pretend it’s all just a HI-larious coincidence.
      Step 6: Watch the film anyway, since you went through all that trouble to find a rental shop for her.
      Step 7 (optional): Break-up with GF, since this trick only works once.

      • John Bradley

        My favorite part is there are 2 step sixes lol I hope it doesn’t come top step seven!

        • Alex Palmer

          It’s worth a try :P

          • John Bradley

            Haha it is!

    • Trek

      If I were you, I’d just go ahead and watch it. I’ve found that many times, you can learn a thing or two (or thirty) about writing from a bad movie. It may be worth your while just for that.

    • drifting in space

      Just fall asleep. Works every time. And I’m married. ;)

      • Linkthis83

        Right now, somewhere in another forum, your wife is writing the exact same thing….only about a different subject :)

        • drifting in space

          LOL! ZING!

          • John Bradley

            Hey Drifting are you from/in Colorado? I ask because of the new Bronco profile pic.

          • drifting in space

            My dad was, grew up liking them and the Avs. I’d love to move there and have tons of family in the area.

          • Linkthis83

            You can have place there for when you want to get away, otherwise, your primary home will be somewhere in Cali.

          • drifting in space

            I like the way you think. ;)

          • Linkthis83

            I like the way you write!

          • John Bradley

            I live in. Colorado so I was just wondering=)

          • drifting in space

            You lucky duck!

  • shewrites

    Fantastic review, Carson. Your points, especially about judicious use of conflict in scenes, were spot on.
    I probably won’t watch the movie though after reading about the unnecessary lengths and repetitive sex scenes. As a long time viewer of French cinema, I find the French director’s overly self-indulgent directing, when it comes to sex scenes and female nudity, tiring and sometimes offensive.

  • Film_Shark

    Good analysis of the film, ‘Blue.’ I just wanted to add a few points. Firstly, Adele Exarchopoulos is sexy and when the director zooms in on her pouty lips, it’s hot. Beyond that, she is one of those actresses that are just natural in front of the camera and she will be a major star one day. Lea Seydoux is equally sexy too but they made her look extremely ‘butch’ in the film.

    I love art films and I almost thought you were going to bash this film with your introduction. Here’s why art forms work. They use motifs through out the story to give the story texture. Young screenwriters make the mistake of being too obvious in their writing. Challenge the audience a bit in your screenplay. Audiences are more intelligent than we give them credit. What was the significance of the color “Blue?” It represented happiness and there were blue symbols scattered through the whole film. There was even a little girl in Adele’s classroom with the color blue nail polish on. When Adele was sad, she wore different colored dresses. Food is another motif used through out the film.I don’t care if the Academy recognizes this film or not, it is a masterpiece.

    Anybody catch the Golden Globe awards? Who won Best Screenplay? Spike Jonze for the sci-fi romance, ‘Her.’ Indie films can transcend into the mainstream and this film is a testament to it. You can tell Charile Kaufman inspired Jonze’s writing style. It had elements of ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ in it. They’ve collaborated on two films together, ‘Being John Malkovich’ and ‘Adaptation.’ Impressive debut screenplay by Jonze and I hope he doesn’t wait another four years before doing another film. His voice is so unique, similar to how unique Alexander Payne or a Wes Anderson are to independent filmmaking.

    • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

      Completely agree about “Her.” A beautiful and magnificent piece of cinema. Though, slight correction: Jonze did previously co-write Where the Wild Things Are. But Her is his solo debut.

  • John Bradley

    It definitely should. I can’t remember if Carson has done an article on this, but I’d love to see him do one on why good scripts turn into commercial failures.

  • http://www.kevin-sharp.com/ K_Sharp

    Carson,

    I am more than a little surprised at your overall rating here. All of your praise is valid… BUT I walked out of the theater thinking (and am still of the opinion) that this would have been much, much stronger at 90-100 mins vs. 3 hours.

    To me, if you as a filmmaker are going to paint on a 3 hour canvas, every scene, every moment had better be *essential* to the narrative/characters (see Hobbit Part I for an example of neglecting this). Did we need 15-20 mins of screentime on her relationship with the boy from school? Did we need *real time* footage of her teaching the children to read?

    A documentary filmmaker is, to a degree, stuck with the footage they have. A narrative filmmaker has a whole different level of freedom to shape the narrative. BLUE, while it has many good things about it, is ultimately stretched past any reasonable length for this particular story.

    • Faulty Parts

      Well said.

    • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

      While the film surely could’ve lost some running time here and there, I don’t feel like it would’ve worked at all if it was half the length. There’s a certain enchantment you get from watching and observing characters for longer periods of time, even if that one scene could’ve been shorter, or cut entirely because in the purest sense it doesn’t “move the story forward”. But it may well reveal character, or it may just be damn fun to watch. That’s how I felt about Wolf of Wall Street. Could some of those scenes have been shorter in the most scrutinized, objective sense? Sure. But they were so much damn fun I didn’t want them to be any shorter.

  • Linkthis83

    “With relationship movies (which includes romantic comedies), there isn’t always a goal.”

    -I don’t think he was saying there aren’t ANY goals, just not ONE major goal (like finding the Ark) driving the story.

    Plus, if you add in the very next sentence after the one you highlighted…

    “The story’s intrigue rests more on “What’s going to happen between these two people?””

    …then you understand that Carson is stating that STORIES like this one will have more people engrossed by the JOURNEY, not the DESTINATION. The story’s merit isn’t dependent on a MAJOR GOAL or the collection of minor ones that everyone has. For some, learning about these characters and watching them go through their life moments will be enough.

    -You’d probably respond with something like: “Link, you are forever securing your spot on the short bus. Please, educate yourself and make room for others. There’s no way this story would even be a film without goals.”

  • fragglewriter

    I’m surprised that you liked that movie, especially since the running time is 3 hours. Could this movie have been shortened or would doing so not allow the audience to understand the relationship.

    I think you really do need to reevaluate your stance on page count and action. I read the pilot for Breaking Bad. The action lines go against your blocked sections as well as a few actions/descriptions that an actor might not be able to display in a way that an audience will understand.

  • andyjaxfl

    It’s a shame because the real story of the 47 Ronin would have made for some terrific cinema. Plus it would have been a lot cheaper–even with Keanu’s participation–if they stuck closer to history and didn’t have to waste $100 million or more on special effects for trolls, beasts, dragons, shape shifters, etc.

    • Linkthis83

      Amen. I was disappointed they felt they had to go that route with the story.

      • andyjaxfl

        Apparently the 1962 Japanese version of the 47 Ronin is pretty good. It is called Chushingura and I’m trying to figure out how I can watch it on DVD as quickly as possible…

  • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

    I agree with all of this.

    I think Carson would too, for the most part. I don’t think he literally meant there are zero goals in this film. It’d be rather impossible to write a character with zero goals. Sitting on the couch staring at the wall is as much a goal as retrieving the ark. The only difference is one is boring as fuck, the other is not.

    This film has goals, but there isn’t one single primary goal that you can point to, aside from, as you say, characters pursuing or attempting to maintain happiness. Which, just like the survival goal, is fairly universal. What elevates it are stakes and conflict. Guy has to make enough money to pay rent and have food (survival) – something that most people go through. Or, guy has to fight off wolves and trek through the wilderness (also survival). You tell me which is more interesting, at least in the most basic form of those concepts. Almost anything can be very interesting.

  • Linkthis83

    I’d be happy to Mr. Grendl. Just show me where I said that some films survive with no major goal. And also be a dear and show me where anybody said that what you listed weren’t goals in this particular story.

    The basis of your reply is saying that Carson stated that there are no goals in this story….and grendl ensues. My reply to you was that I “think” he didn’t say that. What a burden I must be; to interject my nonsensical retort to your magnum opus of grendlness.

    For some reason you act like you are incapable of reading sentences and believing they could have any other possible meaning than the one you understood. Or that they just don’t carry the weight of meaning that you have now supplied because you’ve taken the time to spend energy on them.

    I however, believe you are capable. I know, how naïve of me. To think that I could possibly offer up an opinion that might challenge the great and wise grendl to challenge his own comments – FOR SHAME!! I’m well aware of this and my status (or lack thereof) in this world of yours, but that’s the thing, G-man, it’s your world….not mine.

  • Linkthis83

    Yes, I’m aware that you bought a round of INTERNAL goals for all characters in a story. I acknowledge you. I wish you’d start exercising the ability to extrapolate what someone could possibly mean other than the way you took their one or two sentences. Not every sentence written by you communicates exactly what you mean to everyone else. Yeah…I said it!!! Lol.

    And look, you’ve decided to play along but only to an absurd degree. But Link, you aren’t suggesting that grendl is ACTUALLY being absurd, are you? Oh yes, Other Link, I absolutely am.

    But Link, everything he listed was from ACTUAL MOVIES. I mean, they actually happened. Calm down, Other Link, he may have listed those, but they aren’t relevant in any way whatsoever to the actual point we started with.

    This is a grendl thing. He gets people caught up in the things that aren’t the actual issue at hand. He needs this to take focus away from where he was initially misguided. He isn’t capable of human emotions like the majority of us. He can’t just say, “Oh yeah, I guess Carson could’ve meant it that way and I took it off the unnecessary deep end.” And because he isn’t capable of that, we have a choice, fall with him into his own rabbit hole, or just offer him what he is unwilling to offer us = understanding.

    Truth is Grendl, I’m a big fan. Always have been. I don’t always agree with HOW you make your points, but your points are usually spot on. And this is why I’ve been challenging you lately, because honestly, it’s been weak sauce, brother. I want better from you and for you. You can put me down in every manner you want. Don’t care and won’t lose sleep. But you add real value to SS the
    majority of the time. That’s what I want. So yeah, I’m going to call you out on it. Respond to me or don’t. That’s your choice. But it’s obvious who needs the Comments Section more.

    Where you ALWAYS lose credibility = when nobody else’s take on a subject is even remotely equal to yours. Unless you have
    given them the G-man stamp of approval, they are a waste of your time. When in actuality they aren’t, because it’s these opinions you feel are beneath you or just plain wrong that actually give
    you this false sense of superiority.

    Regardless, most of the time you bring real value to this community. I’m grateful for that. I’m even grateful for these moments. They test me. They challenge me to see how I really feel about a subject and how I feel standing up for them. I don’t need the masses to agree or disagree. It’s about challenging myself to get better. Whether you are a willing participant or not, it’s helping ;) So thanks, grendl.

  • carsonreeves1

    That was definitely an intense scene. I think I was trying to highlight areas of conflict that weren’t as obvious. But yeah, one of the better scenes in the movie for sure.

  • Linkthis83

    I first commented because I felt your interpretation of Carson’s usage of GOAL for this particular film was taking a simple meaning and amplifying it.

    Nobody is saying that these aren’t valuable, story related goals. He was just highlighting how he THOUGHT others would stay invested in this movie because OTHERS may not have the same Goal value hierarchy you have the same way you’ve laid it out.

    It doesn’t make these human goals less valuable or important.

    Plus, pursuing the ARK is an established set GOAL. Wanting to be happy is a GOAL, but up for interpretation by whether or not someone has achieved that happiness.

    If I’m holding the effing ARK then there is no argument to whether or not I have it. However, people could argue or interpret whether or not a character achieved their goal of happiness or love.

    And I know you are freaking smart enough and deep enough to understand the freaking difference. It doesn’t make the goal any less valuable, but there is a difference when someone is watching a movie. You could argue the character did achieve love and happiness why I could argue otherwise. If the GOAL is to kill the shark and we kill it, it’s not really up for debate.

  • Illimani Ferreira

    I’ve been thinking the whole day about this very insightful article, Carson. What about an article only about what defines relationship movies without the burden to connect it with a particular movie? Would love to hear more about your take on that.

  • Linkthis83

    Okay. I finally get it. You have to stay in character. I accept this.

  • Linkthis83

    Since I don’t feel like waiting for moderation to let you through, I’m going to reply here:

    You’ve made the following statements:

    “It has nothing to do with bullying, or arrogance, it has to to with solid reasoning.”

    —-I’ve never said that your points weren’t valid. NEVER! And I don’t think of you as a bully. A stubborn idiot at times, yes!!

    “And I get it too, Link. It’s hard to fight logic so resort to troll tactics which never have worked. People know reason when they see it.”

    —–People SHOULD know reason when they see it. But you haven’t this entire discussion. Which discussion isn’t even the correct term because you respond to things I HAVEN’T said and points I HAVEN’T even made. And took a stance on something I wasn’t even arguing.

    I’ve even said I agree with your points multiple times. So if you aren’t staying in character then WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?

    And you want to talk about TROLLS?!?!? Your the epitome of a TROLL. You picked one bridge to reside under and you take your shots at those who pass over you.

    And the truth that still remains: I look forward to your future comments. I look forward to the insights you will have and the passion in which you will provide them. This bullshit you are doing with me….well….disappointing.

    You have an unwillingness about you that is saddening. You haven’t reached your peak, figure out ways to grow. It will help you as a writer — which is the entire fucking point of this process.

    EDIT: and i forgot to tell you earlier – Happy New Year! I hope you have an awesome 2014. Because if anybody can do this, it’s you.

  • Linkthis83

    G: Link, what’s disappointing is that I’m addressing the very things G: you say.

    The “very things I say?” If you believe this to be true, so be it. These replies you keep sending me aren’t rooted in my original post. Let’s look back at the things I said and then said again:

    LINK: -I don’t think he was saying there aren’t ANY goals, just not ONE major goal (like finding the Ark) driving the story.

    Plus, if you add in the very next sentence after the one you
    highlighted…

    “The story’s intrigue rests more on “What’s going to happen between these two people?””

    …then you understand that Carson is stating that STORIES like this one will have more people engrossed by the JOURNEY, not the DESTINATION. The story’s merit isn’t dependent on a MAJOR
    GOAL or the collection of minor ones that everyone has. For some, learning about these characters and watching them go through their life moments will be enough.

    ————-

    And then I said in one of my replies:

    LINK: I first commented because I felt your interpretation of Carson’s usage of GOAL for this particular film was taking a simple meaning and amplifying it.

    Nobody is saying that these aren’t valuable, story related goals. He was just highlighting how he THOUGHT others would stay invested in this movie because OTHERS may not have the same Goal value hierarchy you have the same way you’ve laid it out.

    G: Do you want me to go over it in detail, really? How you don’t G: think chasing an ark and chasing a love interest are similar G: concepts.

    G: Both might be what the protagonist believes they want, and G: may well end up being what they want. Regardless they G: present the goals of the protagonist to pursue them, and in G: relationship movies this applies.

    I will address this again, even though this wasn’t part of my original reason behind commenting. I will use 12 Years a Slave as my example:

    The goals for Solomon are to survive and get home. When Solomon does return home he has obviously physically survived = goal accomplished. By your reasoning, because
    Solomon has reached his physical location of home, then his other goal has been accomplished as well. However, internally, he may not actually be home. This portion is up for interpretation. You and I can differ on whether or not this goal is actually achieved INTERNALLY for this character. Any goal that is internal for a character is subjective. It’s open for interpretation. Just because someone has their arm around the person they’ve pursued the entire film doesn’t mean they actually achieved their goal of happiness. We can both make a stance for why this
    character is or isn’t happy. And all of this has nothing to do with my original post. So, yes, I say you haven’t been responding to what I wrote.

    G: Don’t get emotional. You don’t have to.

    I appreciate your concern regarding my emotional status. However, there is no need. I do not subscribe to the belief that if a
    person exhibits human traits that they are less than human. If my take on the matter comes from a place
    of emotion as well as logic, I’m okay with it.
    If it makes you uncomfortable, well, then that’s your human response.

    G: I’m not a troll. You’re the one who jumped on my initial post, with theories about my response in paranoid fashion. Calm down.

    Jumped? I jumped on your original post? This is your OPPORTUNITY to really look at what I said. I simply said that I think your interpretation of Carson’s sentences were inaccurate. That’s it. I even said I “think”!! I didn’t declare it as fact and law. I offered another perspective on your interpretation. And for that, the rest of this has taken place. By your rationale, I’m not allowed to disagree. But you would certainly argue that a poster has a right to his or her opinion on subjective material. So….did you still play no role in this?

    It never occurred to me to even use the word TROLL until you stated I was using troll tactics. It was at that instant you inspired the realization that if anybody is troll-like here it would be you. A staple of your reply to people who challenge you or disagree with you is a free backhanded comment. That your words are not up for debate or interpretation. A refusal to just say “oh, you could have a point.” Those are traits of a TROLL. Regardless of how intelligent said troll his. Because true intelligence would recognize
    these moments and be able to respond to them in ways in which you cannot…or do not.

  • Linkthis83

    Haha. I know you are. And I’ve been around SS for a year now. I’m aware of the entity that is grendl. I appreciate the help though. I just have a certain faith in this one.

  • Linkthis83

    And while you might be correct that he is Bradley Cooper’s character from SLP, I think he thinks he is Col. Nathan R. Jessup from A Few Good Men.

    “I WANT him on this blog, I NEED him on this blog.”

    • Guest

      If you like being insulted and abused by an anonymous commenter who clearly has nothing but contempt for you, there are better sites than this one.

      • Linkthis83

        He’s only insulting and abusing if I let him get to me.

  • Bfied

    “If I’m holding the effing ARK then there is no argument to whether or not I have it. However, people could argue or interpret whether or not a character achieved their goal of happiness or love.”

    Although it’s true in probably most stories, that when a character achieves their said goal (like an ark, a girl) they’ll be happy, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true for every story, so we just have to be careful not to always equate the two.

    “Plus, pursuing the ARK is an established set GOAL. Wanting to be happy is a GOAL, but up for interpretation by whether or not someone has achieved that happiness.”

    But overall Indy wants the ark (his goal) because we know that’s what will make him happy – we see it from the moment we fade in. So if we know a guy wants a specific girl (his goal) because she’ll make him happy – like Indy and the ark – then what’s the difference?

  • Guest

    From Carson’s review, it looks a bit like the NC-17-rated version of Water Lilies ( Naissance des Pieuvres in French).

  • Yuri Laszlo

    From Carson’s review, this film looks a bit like the NC-17-rated version of 2007’s Water Lilies (Naissance des Pieuvres in French), an hour and a half of teenage girls trying to find if they’re really lesbians or not, inbetween sincronized swimming lessons.