I Love You Again

Inciting Event: After being knocked out and recovering from his seven-year amnesia in the Hook at the beginning of the story, George arrives back in America and is met by Kay, the wife he doesn’t remember. The opening of this movie is a little shaky. It begins with what would have been a better Inciting Event: the clunk on the head that ends his amnesia. By opening with that scene, the story is able to get right to the good stuff of the conflict. The problem is that it hits full steam ahead without allowing for any setup. It uses one of its best plot points right away, instead of leveraging it as a key turning point later in the act.

First Plot Point: George arrives in Hammersville (which he doesn’t remember) with the goal of conning money from the city. He also wants to win back his wife, who is going to divorce him (because she’s bored with him and believes he doesn’t love her) and marry another man. This is a good First Plot Point, since it neatly fulfills the requirements of the character leaving the Normal World (as established in the First Act) and thrusting him into a new world—literally in this case, since he enters a heretofore unseen setting.

First Pinch Point: George pretends to be ill so Kay will cook for him and spend time with him. He then sneaks out, tries to rob a safe, and sets off an alarm. The true conflict in this story is that of George trying to win back Kay, so the true pinch point is the quieter scene in which she rejects his attempts at affection and dumps the scrambled eggs on his head. But the story tries to force the subplot conflict—of George trying to illegally gain money from his situation—into the more prominent scene. The result isn’t wrong, so much as weak, since it pulls attention from the part of the story that really matters, thus fragmenting the plot a bit.

Midpoint: George takes Kay out shopping and to her shock (since he was a miser during his amnesia) buys her expensive clothes. This marks the turning point in their relationship. This is the first moment when George is able to convince Kay that perhaps he really has changed. It’s not the best Midpoint ever, since it doesn’t offer anything particularly new or unique within the framework of the story, but it gets the job done by acting as a swivel in the plot.

Second Pinch Point: Kay is obviously starting to fall back in love with George. But because he’s hurt her so often in the past, she resists. She tells him everything he did wrong in their marriage and why she refuses to believe his advances are now sincere. Then she bursts into tears. What’s at stake in this story is George’s marriage, and this scene (arguably the best structural moment in the story) does a great job of driving that home.

Third Plot Point: George puts into play his plan to scam the townspeople by selling them land on which he’s convinced them there is oil. This is the follow-through on the subplot involving George’s attempt to pull a major con. It functions as a personal low point for the character (although not a particularly effective one) because it follows on the heels of the revelation that Kay is no longer going to divorce him. He’s won her back, but now he’s about to do something she will find reprehensible, so he might lose her again.

Climax: Kay tells George she loves him, and he decides to call off the swindle and remain in town with her—at the risk of his life, since there is another gangster involved. This moment comes a little late in the timeline, but it’s the obvious turning point in the Third Act when George finally makes up his mind about the kind of person he’s going to be and charges into the final confrontation with that resolution firmly in place.

Climactic Moment: After faking a relapse of his amnesia in order to get out of the deal with the gangster, George reveals to Kay that he has been faking—and that he is still the George she has fallen back in love with.

Resolution: The Resolution is extremely brief, almost nonexistent, with George embracing Kay.

Notes: This is a very screwy screwball comedy. It’s a fun movie, and I enjoyed it. But it would have benefitted from a much tighter structure.

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