Chicago (2002)

Movie: Directed by Rob Marshall.

Inciting Event: Wannabe showgirl girl Roxie murders her lover in a fit of pique over his breaking his promise to get her into show business and then leaving her.

Note how her basic Want (to be a famous showgirl) is intact right from the beginning of the story. But not until the Inciting Event is her world turned down the road that will join her with her main story goal: building enough fame off the murder to become that famous showgirl.

First Plot Point: Roxie is arrested, taken from her Normal World as a mechanic’s wife, and thrust into the “adventure world” of Murderess Row, where she meets legitimate showgirl Velma Kelly, who will be both Roxie’s indirect mentor and her rival.

First Pinch Point: Slick lawyer Billy Flynn agrees to take Roxie’s case, but immediately proves his true colors as a greedy scoundrel—illustrating the stakes of the theme: razzle-dazzle showmanship vs. true justice.

Midpoint: On the brink of losing her hard-won publicity to a new and more sensational murderess, Roxie fakes a pregnancy to regain the headlines. She is becoming bolder and more confident and taking control of her press coverage.

Second Pinch Point: Angry that Billy won’t listen to her ideas, she fires him. Soon after, the only innocent woman in Murderess Row is sentenced and hanged—proving the stakes if Roxie can’t wrangle her way to acquittal. She promptly re-hires Billy.

Third Plot Point: Velma cops a deal with the D.A., appearing to reveal incriminating entries in Roxie’s diary—only to have Billy convince the jury it was planted evidence.

Climax: Roxie is acquitted, only to have her long sought after publicity stolen when another woman murders her husband and her lawyer on the steps of the courthouse. She struggles to find a job as a showgirl in the aftermath, until Velma convinces her they should team up.

Climactic Moment: Roxie and Velma perform together to an adoring Chicago audience.

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