Adaptation was a very weird film for me. I can honestly say that I have never seen a movie like that ever before. However, I do think that it does illustrate the struggle that writers can have when they’re stuck or just trying to start something. While it may not be that extreme for some writers, starting a piece is really hard. It was really over the top, especially near the end, but the entire film was very meta about writing and the struggles of adaptation and writing well. I thought that the process was very interesting. Not only does the audience see Charlie writing his screenplay, but we also see Susan’s process of writing her article, which then turns into her expanding that into a book.
The plot was structured simply, similar to the plot outline we usually learn about during middle school. The film started with exposition, Charlie meeting with the film executive. After some explanation of who he is and a basic introduction to the important characters. Then, the rising action, where he starts to write the screenplay and fails. Over and over again. The climax, I think, is the part where he and Donald figure out that Susan is sleeping with Laroche and then they get chased and Donald dies and a lot of stuff happens in a row. It’s also, funnily enough, the denouement, because that starts settling things. The resolution is when Charlie finishes the script.
It was interested in how there was a lot of foreshadowing throughout the film, especially in the writing seminar with his mention of deus ex machina. There were two deus ex machina in the film: the car that hit Donald and the alligators. I was not surprised at all when Laroche got eaten by alligators, given that they were in the swamps of Florida, but they were a little jarring when they just suddenly came on screen. The car was also surprising in how quickly it came onscreen and hit Donald. I was not expecting that to happen at all and I was sure that Donald would just pop back up, perfectly fine. After all, it seemed like a film that would play around with tropes and what’s a better trope to play with other than faking the dead?
Speaking of Donald, I thought the inclusion of him was interesting because, throughout the movie, he could have actually not existed, except for when he had a girlfriend. I think that the audience was supposed to think that because, for a lot of the beginning of the film, Donald only existed in Charlie’s house. And, like we all found out, Donald does not exist in real life. Charlie, who, like everyone else in this movie, is real, does not have a twin brother. I think Donald was included to have someone for Charlie to talk to and to be his foil. Charlie wanted to write a serious film about flowers, while Donald wrote a thriller that included what sounds a little like an impossible plot. I thought the differences between the two brothers made their characters and their relationship really interesting.