Friday, February 11, 2011

One Great Example of Good 2cd Act Structure

A movie that I watched recently that has a great second-act structure (and a good – what I call – “mentors and motivators” dynamic) is Welcome, a French film, which was released in 2009.
The logline of the film is: When Kurdish refugee, Bilal, can’t get to England to see his girlfriend either legally (or illegally), he decides to learn to swim from France across to English Channel.
The second act journey is all laid out for you: training for the big event – the big event which, of course, is swimming across the Channel (which we no doubt see in the third act).
We have a great immigrant hero ("orphaned"/without family) who finds a mentor (father figure) in a French swim coach, who, yes, is experiencing his own familial crisis in the form of a divorce (so he needs the relationship he develops with this young man as much as the young man does).
We root for the main character because -- although his desire to swim across the English Channel is harebrained -- it is to see his beloved girlfriend afterall, and, besides, he's an underdog, a refugee from Iraq, now stuck in France, where he's not wanted.
See, even the French follow a structure in their films.

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