Monday, May 11, 2015
A Reminder to Writers of the Importance of Details
This past weekend my husband and I saw the movie The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. After we returned home, I couldn't quit thinking about the movie even to the point that those thoughts reached into my dreams. Usually this kind of reaction to a movie comes because the movie was outstanding, or it moved me deeply. Such was not the case with this movie. The movie's blatant lack of attention to detail left me feeling cheated as to my movie-going experience. Major writing mistakes, that stuck out to me like a sore toe, was the reason I couldn't quit thinking about the movie. My husband didn't care for the movie either, though he could really pinpoint the reasons why. So I proceeded to share my writerly views with him and they clicked in place as to why the movie didn't work for him either.
I'll share some of the major detail mistakes I noticed. I'll try to be brief because I don't generally read long blog posts either.
The movie started out with actress Maggie Smith riding in a convertible driven by a young man of East Indian decent. I found this detail intriguing, and it pulled me in, especially when the young man mentioned they were traveling down Route 66. The desert landscape confirmed this. The young man obviously enjoyed the trip whereas Maggie Smith's character did not.
All these were great details. Unfortunately, the greatest facet to the art of good detail in writing was omitted: the details have to make sense. Maggie and her young companion ended up in San Diego where they met with some big wigs of whom they were soliciting money to help them acquire a second hotel. Here's the red flag: why on earth would they travel all the way from India via plane to land in some south west city and then drive for hours to get to their destination when it would have been cheaper and easier to fly into San Diego? My husband offered the reasoning that maybe the young man wanted to experience route 66. If that was indeed the case then that should have at least been addressed--though it still would have nothing to do with the story line.
The second swishing red flag of poor detail was Richard Geer's attraction to this young man's widowed mother. No reasons were given as to why he was attracted to her. His being drawn to her felt as though it was turned on like the director had simply flipped a switch. There was no build up, no emotion, no reason for this "romance." At the end of the movie this couple held hands, and Richard Geer often had his arm wrapped around her waist. That only communicated to me that the director was trying to "tell" us that these two were supposed to be a couple. I certainly didn't feel it. I had been given no reasons believe why these two unlikely people would end up together. That's because the details were missing--good, believable details.
DETAILS ARE ESSENTIAL TO GOOD WRITING.