Friday, October 14, 2011

TODAY'S NUGGET: #58 WGA Script of All Time - Ordinary People (1980)

[Quick Summary: After his well-liked older brother dies, a teenage boy grapples with his feelings, his concerned father, & a bitter mother.]

I really like how this script resolves a household in hell.

In Act 3, Conrad (the son) has a significant breakthrough.  The only thing left to wrap up is the subplot of the parents' rocky marriage.

- The husband sees Conrad healthy for the first time, & also sees that it's such a stark contrast to the wife's (antagonist) unrelenting indifference. 

- The husband breaks down & weeps. He can't go back to the way things were.

- The wife tells Conrad she's leaving.  She's bewildered & has no idea what really just happened.

- The wife breaks down in her bedroom. "She can't find safety [in her familiar surroundings]."

What a satisfying emotional ending!  The good guys learned & grew. 

The antagonist continues her superficial existence because she refused to learn or change.

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: When the protagonists are better off than when they started, it's a good day.

Ordinary People (1980)
by Alvin Sargent

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