An excerpt from my script review for The Whale which will be available 12/27/22:
2.) Plot Stability
Was this the overwhelmingly best story I’ve read all year?
However, I do feel like the project was more than just the few characteristics highlighted above.
Was Charlie gay? Yes.
Was Charlie overweight? Yes.
But the point of the story was to show how one man chose to deal with the tragic loss he was dealt, and how he chooses to right his worst wrong before he dies.
And he knows he’s going to die soon, he can literally feel it in his heart.
Him being overweight isn’t politicized either way, he’s obese and he’s dying because of it. No one in the script argues it’s healthy, and aside from his estranged daughter, no one seems to give him any grief about it other than to tell him he should be in the hospital.
At the same time, his being gay isn’t harped on either, aside from the fact, as we learn later, that his partner was estranged from the church and a reason why he ultimately wasted away.
For the sake of the story though, and in Charlie’s case, his partner could have been either man or woman, and the story would have worked, aside from a few minor tweaks.
And that’s important when you write.
One of the downfalls of the awards season part of the year is that some of these projects gain favor simply for the fact that they touch upon one or two of these social topics and critics vote for them, perhaps because they’re afraid that if they don’t it will make them seem like haters or fascists.
Of course they’re not, but good writing is telling a story that isn’t dependent on these factors.
Your characters are who they are, which we’ll explore in the next section.
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