Author Topic: Comparison between '03 to '05 screenplay: would we still be discussing this film  (Read 35802 times)

Offline serious crayons

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OK, here's a story/movie comparison that I just thought of. You know how we're always observing that Ennis is less homophobic in the story? Well, that's not the only difference; he's also much more chatty. In the movie, he's downright taciturn ("that's the most I've spoke in a year"). Whereas in the story, he talks more or less the same amount as Jack, as far as I can tell. That's another reason the characters seem less distinguishable in the story.

But also, it suggests something to me about the two Ennis' childhoods. I always figure Movie Ennis is quiet not only because that's his inherent nature (although, as a big believer in genetic influence, I would probably argue for that in RL). I think it's because he's extremely inhibited, and for a good reason. For Movie Ennis, the Earl experience was just the tip of the iceberg. If Ennis could even consider the possibility that his dad, someone he seems to have respected, tortured someone to death for being gay, we can assume that his entire childhood was pretty terrifying and confusing and shame-filled and awful -- from the time he noticed he was attracted to men, presumably at an early age, until his dad died, and of course beyond. The fear of revealing that one big part of his nature scared him into keeping ALL of himself hidden.

Talkative Story Ennis, on the other hand, doesn't hesitate to tell Jack about wringing it out and realizing he shouldn't have let him out of his sights and Jesus H, sex with women ain't nothin like this. Granted, he's talking to someone he trusts, but so is the far more inhibited Movie Ennis, and yet he's all "Me? Uhhhh .... I dunno."

And that goes along with what always seemed to be the big reason for Story Ennis to reject Jack's offer: he saw a man who'd been killed for living with another man, so he knows it's dangerous. From that perspective, his response to Jack's offer seems a pragmatic, even reasonable, decision rather than the result of inner conflict. The larger implications of how the Earl incident might have affected his whole youth are still there if you think about it -- and I'm guessing that wily Annie Proulx probably means for us to do just that. But they're not so vividly played out in Ennis' personality.

Sorry if everybody else is rolling their eyes and thinking, "Well, duh!" Though I had thought of all the parts of this before, I'd never put them together quite that way.

BTW, I have come very close to starting a whole thread about Ennis and the Earl incident. So often I see people say Ennis behaved the way he did because "he was forced to view the body of a man who'd been killed for being gay" or something like that -- that is, explaining his behavior in terms of one isolated horrifying incident. Whereas in fact that's just an incident that lends itself to telling, both by Ennis and the film/story, but really suggests so much more than that. "For all I know, he done the job" is really a key line.

Offline Front-Ranger

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Yes, and you have to also remember the older brother who teased, beat, and harassed him (in the story) and the fact that Ennis had to go live with him after his ma and sister abandoned him, and then even his older brother kicked him out. In that light, his reticence and self-repression is very believable.
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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Yes, and you have to also remember the older brother who teased, beat, and harassed him (in the story).

OT for the screenplay discussion, I guess, but reading this (thanks, Lee!), it just finally clicked: this is where Ennis learned to solve problems with violence. His brother kept picking on him and his father told him the way to get it to stop was to "ambush" his brother and beat on him, which he did, and after he did it a couple of times, his brother left him alone.  :-\
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline jpwagoneer1964

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OT for the screenplay discussion, I guess, but reading this (thanks, Lee!), it just finally clicked: this is where Ennis learned to solve problems with violence. His brother kept picking on him and his father told him the way to get it to stop was to "ambush" his brother and beat on him, which he did, and after he did it a couple of times, his brother left him alone.  :-\
In the book it explaines Ennis's reason for the punch, a reflex brought on by his roughousing with K.E.
Thank you Heath and Jake for showing us Ennis and Jack,  teaching us how much they loved one another.

Offline serious crayons

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Yes, and you have to also remember the older brother who teased, beat, and harassed him (in the story) and the fact that Ennis had to go live with him after his ma and sister abandoned him, and then even his older brother kicked him out. In that light, his reticence and self-repression is very believable.

True, although in RL -- or even in other stories -- having to stand up to his brother and fend for himself might make him more outgoing. Like, say, Huck Finn who stood up to his abusive father and all of society and had to fend for himself and yet wasn't shy. But I do find Ennis' reticence and repression believable. Maybe that's why I'm such a believer in genetic influence -- your environment definitely influences you, but what it influences you to do or be depends a lot on what you were in the first place.

Uh-oh, here's a confession: Just this moment, reading back on previous posts, I realize I meant to put my last post that on a different thread -- the story vs. screenplay thread, not the 03 screenplay vs. 05 screenplay thread. Oops.  :laugh: Well, since it's mostly the same people talking on both, I hope you all don't mind?

Or maybe I'll repost it there. Hopefully in a shorter form.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2006, 02:51:23 pm by latjoreme »

Offline serious crayons

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OK, I just reposted. And when I went over it again, I made it much shorter without really taking out anything substantive. Jeff, I need an editor.  :-\

Offline Front-Ranger

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I noticed U didn't talk about the screenplay, but I assumed we had evolved away from that discussion, like we usually do!!  :D
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Offline serious crayons

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Sometimes I think all our conversations could be in one big gigantic thread!  :laugh:

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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OK, I just reposted. And when I went over it again, I made it much shorter without really taking out anything substantive. Jeff, I need an editor.  :-\


Sometimes we all do, little darlin'.  :D

And these conversations tend to be organic anyway.  :)
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline nakymaton

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I think story-Ennis had at least as traumatic of a childhood, at least from the events that we hear about, as movie-Ennis. Both were forced to see Earl's dead and mutilated body, and both thought their father may have been responsible. And as Front-Ranger pointed out, story-Ennis also was taught violence by being told to punch his older brother to solve the bullying problem. (Movie-Ennis, on the other hand, says his brother and sister "did the best they could.")

But given how little movie-Ennis says about anything, it wouldn't surprise me if he didn't have the same traumatic childhood, but is less willing to talk about it.

I wonder if movie-Ennis was simply a more sensitive child in general? That sounds weird, I guess. But you know how Heath described Ennis as being very sensitive to light, to sounds, to everything? Well, the tiny amount of reading I did in child-raising books (before I threw them on the floor and went to chase my own child...) told me that even kids who can't speak yet respond to people in totally different ways. (Like some kids break into tears when somebody tells them "no," and others -- mine, for instance -- just keep on going as if they didn't hear you, no matter how angry or upset you sound.) So I'm wondering if story-Ennis simply dealt the abuse in a different way -- by burying some of his emotions, for instance -- whereas movie-Ennis pulled away from people and withdrew completely?

(That is SO pop-psychology. Sorry, everyone!)
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