Monday, January 6, 2014

TODAY'S NUGGET: Mumford (1999) - Another Example of When a Character Doesn't Change

[Quick Summary: The new, helpful psychologist in town hides a secret.]

Mumford is an excellent psychologist.

He listens more than he speaks, and people flock to him.

In fact, they're so occupied that it slips by that Mumford has a secret....

...so Mumford doesn't really change for 50 pages
...AND it's still interesting.

How does Kasdan do that without an arc in the first hour?! 

I've encountered a lack of a character arc before (here and here), but still am not sure how it works.

However, this script did give me one clue:
Mumford has engaging reactions.

ex. "LATER. The bar crowd has thinned. both Mumford and Skip have had a few. In fact, Mumford is now carefully pouring them each another drink from a bottle of Glensomething on the table.

MUMFOR: You want me...to be...your friend.

Skip beams. Mumford leans forward in the same confidential way Skip did before; he indicates that Skip should lean in too.  Mumford is almost whispering --

MUMFORD: But that's not what's really going on... (Skip is excited)...What's really going on is...you have some problems and you want some therapy, but you feel it could be very bad for Panda Modem stock if word got out that you were having head problems.

Skip confirms that's it.

MUMFORD: Can I ask you a personal question?

SKIP: Of course! That's exactly what I want.

MUMFORD: Have you thought about getting a wife?"

I so enjoyed Mumford's reactions (and his mysterious secret) that I was ok without the usual character arc that I am used to.  Weird. 

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: Again, not for amateurs. But boy, it works.

Mumford (1999)
by Lawrence Kasdan

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