Comments Made During the Contest
Ammar Salmi (Level 5)
A very good concept. Loved the characters. The major problem of this script in my opinion is that the scenes doesn't flow right. They felt like they're interrupting each other. What I really couldn't understand is why would Edmund have such a suicidal mentality. I know this question can't be answered in a five-pages script, but to make the reader enjoy a story you have to allow him to understand the reasons and the motivations behind the behaviour of your character.
Brett Lovell (Level 2)
Handsome-worn face-80. Whos is this man? I want to be him, minus the wheel chair. "Confusion crosses her face at she spots the shirt" Perhaps might want to look at fixing that. It's your birthday again, makes it seem that time flies when you're having fun but I'm assuming peeing in bottles must be hell and perhaps dozens of letters on the same day is perhaps realistic for Hugh Hefner. Just sharing some of my in itial reactions. I'm guessing this is a long story and perhaps a true story but I only get to read the first few pages, good luck with your writting.
Brian Wind (Level 5)
The policemen should capitalized when they first appear. There were a handful of typos throughout the script, misspelled words, missing punctuation. This script was a strange one for me because the genre is so blurred... It starts out seeming like a crime story then she makes herself a cup of urine and I got the impression we were heading for a comedy and then it gets very dramatic and depressing. In the end it turned out to be a bit of a romantic tragedy. I don't know... A more consistent tone would benefit this script I think. I thought the story was pretty sad. The Alzheimers was well portrayed as was the struggle with how to care for her. Overall, a nice effort. Just needs a little polishing.
Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)
Like the title - don't I recognise it from somewhere??!!Like this a great deal. It's moving without being cheesy! A beautiful take on Romeo and Juliet set against a contemporary issue of care of the elderly, Alzheimer's and dignity in death.I felt that the setting of the scene of Win's decline wasn't as well-drawn as the ending. For instance, the thing about the post - a bit over-emphasised for me. I would have liked it more subtle, insiduous.The other thougt that occurred to me was that the R&J quote came a bit out of left-field for the character - perhaps some foreshadowing of his literary passion?I read it this a.m. and can remember a lot very clearly but absolutely NOTHING about the brother except you said he was drippy. Is he necessary?Coupla typos?You favourite look, nice and warm. ? Your?wretches - retchesLovely work!
Chris Keaton (Level 5)
This is going to be a popular screenplay for a lot of people around here. But I'm going to say, meh. I see where you were going and sure the constant attention to urine was distracting. We see these people at their worse. We didn't have a chance to get attached Their dialog told why they were killing themselves more than why we should feel for them. It's written well and shows the potential to be something a smidge longer and more sympathetic.Pg 2- Winnie -YOUR favorite look.
Chris Messineo (Founder)
Great story.I love that you tell it in reverse.Your craft is excellent. My only complaint (and it is a small one), is that I wasn't surprised by this. I feel like I have seen/read this story many times.Still, you tell it very well and it is quite powerful. Very well done. Lastly, great title.
Dan Lennox (Level 5)
This was pretty good, but I saw the ending coming by the end of page three. I wasn't sure if the third scene, INT. COUNTRY COTTAGE - DAY was a flash back. After reading this a few times, I sort of figured it out, but perhaps if this is noted in the slug line, it would keep the pace going a bit better.It seems as though the dialogue is simply "telling" too much at times. Especially when Emily and John are talking to Edmund about the nursing home. I think the simple action of having either Emily or John handing Edmund a nursing home brochure would take the place of almost ALL the dialogue on page four.Overall, this was a good story, however, I saw the ending coming too soon which spoiled it for me.
David Birch (Level 5)
parts were really well written...liked the premise...not too keen on the amount of space given to the infinite detailing of the room...in the end i just wanted them to get on with it...the author has talent, just felt like he/she missed the mark (a little) on this one...
DW Pollard (Level 4)
Good story, very good description and characters. It was a very quick and smooth read. It kept one's interest in wanting to see how things got the way they were. The characters were very distinct. It might have helped to have a FLASHBACK slugline just so the transition is a little clearer.In regards to "stands stock still" - why not just 'stands still'? Not a big deal, but every extra word we can cut out does make for a easier read
Elias Farnum (Level 5)
I'm sorry, but the first four pages really dragged setting up this tragedy. And though it is really written very, very well with good visuals, and unique characters/dialogue, it didn't pay off for me on the deep level that this type of subject matter deals with.There was another contest that had a tragic end where a radiation accident has a father kill his entire family, that's truly intense, and the script placed as a matter of fact. Sorry I don't remember it's name, but the point is, story resounded. This really didn't for me.I think this subject matter is getting to be all too common, (may just be personal experience) it is also The easy way out for Edmond, (may be the point - at least he didn't completely succeed). It's a sad, sad subject. You did write very well, and even if I had to come back to get through the lengthy set-up, you did a good job.
Faith Friese Nelson (Level 5)
Excellent! Amazing story. Truly caught the desperation of old age.
Herman Chow (Level 5)
It's a sad and tragic story. Your first scene is very intriguing, but as the story progresses, everything becomes very predictable and sometimes I lost interest.You did a good job showing the severity of Winnie's disease: forgetting about the letters, pouring from the urine bottle, etc. But it seems to me you took too long (and too much space - nearly three whole pages) to illustrate this. A little tightening can move the pace of the story way up. That's the part where I kinda lost a little interest.After page three is all standard fare with the children trying to convince Edmund. And then since you showed us the opening scene already, we knew that Edmund will kill Winne to prevent her from suffering.....but is that a bit too much? I don't think she's suffering at all. Even if Edmund wants to stay with Winne....I don't know. Not too sure about Edmund's reason to kill off his beloved wife.I think the opening scene hurts your story because it takes out all of the suspense. It would be better to keep us guessing what Edmund will do. Speaking of which, the action on the page five is good. Pretty tight and lean.Anyway, I'm giving you a GOOD.
Jacob Guerra (Level 4)
I thought this one was nicely written and had the right pace, but I wasn't too fully invested in it, and I thought I would be given the subject matter. A few technical notes: the fade in was on the wrong side, and there were a couple of instances where the action said things that we possibly could not see.
Jeannie Sconzo (Level 5)
So very sad, yet it had so much sweetness in it at the same time.I'm guessing from some of the wording and spelling that this may be an English writer. The first scene was a terrific hook, completely unexpected and keeping the audience wondering about what was to come.Not sure I buy the pouring urine into the teacup. Perhaps if she catches herself just before or if the daughter stops her. The line "It also brings out his dewy Paul Newman eyes" may be too descriptive. I asked a question about description in the screenwriting section not long ago. One comment I do remember is that you don't want so much description that it limits you in casting. Perhaps just saying that it compliments his eyes is enough.
JeanPierre Chapoteau (Moderator)
WOW!!!! This was sad and very entertaining. It had me wondering the entire time where it was heading. I loved how you told us how it ended first. I am usually bothered by films like that, but this one nailed it. The dialogue was great, and the descriptions were even better. Very good script. No, I mean EXCELLENT script. ;)
Jeffrey Slocum (Level 4)
This was very well written. A very tragic ending. I thought it brilliantly showed the reality and irony of life; that nothing ever turns out as we expect it to, and things often go wrong to spoil plans. Touching and heartbreaking. Good work.
Joel Davis (Level 5)
That was pretty depressing. It was well-written though.I think the biggest shortcoming, to me, was that the dramatic tension was all built on the question of "what happened", which is not nearly as interesting as the two characters you present. I think a less dramatic event in the lives of these two could have a much stronger impact. Violence desensitizes the reader, character engages them.I remember one short story (can't remember the name offhand) about a widower, and the story was about the day he ate the last piece of cake that his wife made before she died. He was keeping it in the freezer. That had a very powerful impact, even more so for such a simple action. Whereas the murder/suicide here is tragic, but a bit too over the top.
Jose Batista (Level 5)
Wow! That story blew me away. About halfway through I was able to figure out how it would end, but the trip there was very convincing of the final scene you presented at the beginning of the script. Sometimes things don’t work out the way one plans.The title was very meaningful and I like that Ed uttered those words in the script. The flow of the script was smooth and I also enjoyed the way the script went back from the first scene to show the cause. Good dialogue and visuals kept it all in perspective. My only complaint is the whole argument with the kids about the mum going to a home. This has been rehashed many times before, so it wasn’t the most original story line, but you did execute a great ending and it leaves one wondering about the suffering that Ed will now go through because of his actions. Excellent work!
Kenneth Goorabian (Level 2)
Very touching story. It's a poignant comment on our society at large. Age doesn't imply wisdom any longer, but burdon. But I can't judge the children too harshly though, because maybe they really believe what they're doing is the right thing.Edmond's decades of love for Winnie is more than enough to overlook the unimportant things; the insignificant foibles that the breakdown of the human brain hoists upon us as we age. The vows "for better, for worse, in sickness and in health, to death do us part" have somehow been swept under the carpet these days. The fact that Edmond failed in his quest to be with Winnie forever is a cruel twist of fate. Now that I've got that out...Pretty solid screenplay. Structure is good. Punctuation needs a bit of cleaning up, but that's nit picking. Descriptions are interesting. I had a bit of trouble with the obviously "English" dialog on the first reading, but the second time through was no problem. Good job.
Kenneth Hurd (Level 4)
I really liked this script. I like how you started with the end and then worked your way back up to that point.I think that some of the early stuff, after the opening, seems a bit drawn out. It left you very little room to show us what lead to the opening scene. You have some subtle hints throughout that had me re-reading just to make sure I read it right. However, you don't bring the problem of Winnie's Alzheimers to light until page 4. While I think your script works as is, I think that if you focused on this a bit more earlier on, it could have made a much more impactful ending.That said, I really like this script. There's just a few things you could do to really make it stand out, but as is, it's really good.
Kevin Carty (Level 4)
This is well written but it does lack some stuff. I got a tad confused by the second page. This had a nice love story and I can see some spurts of good writing in parts but some formatting needs to be addressed and I wished that this didn't jump like it did on the second page. I wish the beginning was stronger. Still a vg job.
Khamanna Iskandarova (Level 5)
The script is very well written. All the visuals are powerful and well conceived.I understood that it's in reverse order, wondering if it may play out against the script though. I always thought that if you opened with someone being hauled away in a police car and then go back and explain why, the movie has to build up to create suspense and then a twist. You have a twist - he wants to get out of being separated, but the suspense not so (for me).The theme been around, but you surely know that. It's a little bit crammed too for me, too much happening on five pages. I also don't see why the Alzheimer. I'd like this script more if you had less of dialog, almost none and displayed her Alzheimer better (her sickness is in the heart of the story). Otherwise the Alzheimer was a bit unexpected turn out, kinda out of blue.Good job though. Nicely written nevertheless.
KP Mackie (Level 5)
So sad. Really like Edmund and Winnie. Their devotion is endearing.Description is terrific. The first line where the police lights "illuminate a whispering crowd gathered in dressing gowns at night" sets up a simple and visual narrative. Edmund's panicked scramble to end his life is heart-wrenching.The storyline works, but it isn't until the end that it's clear that the first scene is actually the result of Edmund's "last, futile CLICK." Might need to add some type of notation to the INT. COUNTRY COTTAGE - DAY scene indicating that it takes place earlier.Bit confused by the reference to the "loud noise from the hall" that startles Winnie. Edmund says he heard it and sends Winnie to get "the post...On the mat." May be a minor translation problem; assume it's the mail being delivered that Edmund hears.Well written drama that evokes emotion.
Kyle Patrick Johnson (Level 5)
You need to capitalize CROWD in the first paragraph. If they need to be cast, they need to be introduced in ALL CAPS.I have a little problem with the description of Edmund as "a handsome man". If he has blood crusted all over his face, how would we know that he's handsome just by looking at him? Besides, a superficial characterization by using looks really tells us nothing about him.If Winnie's Alzheimer's is really that bad, well, she should be forgetting who these people are. But she clearly remembers Edmund, John, and Emily. If her Alzheimer's were so far advanced that she couldn't actually take care of Edmund, she'd also have no idea who he is. Just a thought.The characters are really lovable until Edmund shows that he has very peculiar form of love. I always thought love was supposed to be self-sacrificing. True love doesn't take the easy way out.I didn't much care for "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest". And in this script, too, the murder/attempted suicide is supposed to make me smile at the new freedom the character is supposedly experiencing. Without any mention at all of the fact that the guy just did a MURDER. Goodness. Call me an old-fashioned fogey moralist.
Margaret Ricke (Level 5)
Beautiful. I found a punctuation error on page 5 - you left off the period at the end of "She lies down."I think that's it...Very nicely thought out and put together. I like the opening shot. It's got drama and suspense. There's a hint of what's coming, but nothing is quite given away. The dialogue is very natural and each character has a distinctly individual voice. The flow is smooth. The formatting is good...Very good work.
Marnie Mitchell Lister (Level 5)
Sad but nice story. I liked it. It was a little slow moving though. I think it could be trimmed down a bit to make it move on faster. I also think that will help it have more impact. I liked it though. Nice work.
Martin Jensen (Level 5)
Very well structured. You set up our expectations with the opening and then completely subvert them later. The relationship between Edmund and Winnie was really nuanced. I like the children characters. They were sympathetic, but you could see that they underestimated Winnie and Edmund's love. I can't find any faults with this. Excellent.
Matthew Fettig (Level 5)
Very nicely done. Beautifully written. Very smooth tempo throughout and although you had a very clear sense where it was going, there was just enough of a twist at the end. I might be inclined to shorten the title to Last Embrace. It seems very well suited for production as well with the small cast and simple location. I hope to get to see it!
Michael Alberstadt (Level 4)
This is a very moving story and I didn't expect it to be. The set-up is clean and well-written. I had a real sense that something was going to happen. The characters in the beginning were particularly imaginative: one immediately wonders how an 80-year old in a wheelchair could be arrested for anything.Your details of the Alzheimer's patient's actions seemed quite real and gave a complete sense of the disease. It suggests either first-hand knowledge or good research by the author.The use of the urine bottle was surprising and original.A couple of things I wondered about:- Where did they get the sleeping pills? Doesn't seem like either of them could go to the store (I took it at face value that they just had them. Still...)- Was the cat killed or just wounded?- Were two shots fired? Or was one a dud? There were two shells in the gun.A great effort and surprising read.
Myke Friscia (Level 1)
Good opening paragraph and a dramatic ending, which too many writer DON't do, so nice job there. However, the 3 1/2 pages leading up to it are a bit slow, flat dialogue with little purpose. I'd keep the story to the two old lovers and their last moments together filled with intensity instead of ho-hum.
Paul De Vrijer (Level 5)
Great read! This will definetly place. Dramatic and well paced. I love the characters, the 'twist' and nearly everything about it. I find the cat shooting to be a bit unneccesary (maybe to build up the first scene and to get the neighbours), but I think the shotgun would suffice. The catshooting made it a bit comical. The scenes progress nicely, I didnt get the 'cards all over the place' at first. The sixtieth wedding anniversary cards. How do they fit in? At first I thought it was another sign of her dementia. They didn't just GET so many cards did they? Hmmm.Still, a really strong entry. It didn't really surprise though, but had a lot of emotional impact. Well done.Best Moment: The little dialog between Edmund and his wife. So tender, fragile and perhaps already broken...
Paul Williams (Level 5)
I thought this started out very, very good; we had the mystery and suspense of wondering what exactly happened. But, then I found this fairly confusing in the middle and an ending that didn't come much as a surprise. Yes, it's implied in the opening scene that Edmund shot and killed someone with the shotgun and then we learn the truth, but it's not hard to put the pieces together as we read.Your theme is clear and is poignant and tragic, but I feel we've seen this many times before, both in fiction and nonfiction.Your screenwriting is very good, but there are some formatting issues throughout:-You have to tell us after the opening scenes that the rest of the story is one extended flashback, because as it is now, at first it is confusing and I thought it was perhaps some time into the future with Edmund. Remember, we don't know Winnie yet or that it was her in the body-bag.Your top and bottom margins appear very stretched out.There are a few minor typos throughout.
Philip Whitcroft (Level 5)
You've gone for an emotional topic that gives good opportunities for drama. For me this story is one that seems quite familiar in a number of its elements and I've heard a number of actual news stories along these lines. What that means then is that I guess I'm looking for either an exceptional telling of the story or some additional element or insight that takes it further than I've heard before. I'm not sure if your script pushes the boundaries of that story.
Rob Dianora (Level 4)
Terrific title, terrific story. You do so much in 5 pages and it works brilliantly. I love the non-linear story telling as well, it's a strong point for your script. I don't know if I'd change much when filming, it's going to make a really good short film. Great job.
Rob Ross (Level 1)
Reminds me of The Notebook, but this is emotional, economical writing and very good for under 10 pages. The structure of showing the end first is a favourite of mine. Have you ever thought of Ed slipping out of his wheelchair and not finishing off Winnie? Then going back to the NIGHT scene and have Winnie being rolled to an ambulance, whereby Ed yells at her and the police.Anyway, you've got some skills.
Sally Meyer (Moderator)
Very very nicely done, my first excellent. Wow the feelings this evoked. Your characters are amazingly real, charming, and the scenes were just riveting. I so wanted Eddie to succeed, so they could be together. The sadness of it all was overwhelming. I loved this, even though it was so so very tragic.The way you wrote this, was just so well done. I think I know who wrote it, and I think it will do very well. It really tugged at my heart strings. Especially as I'm dealing with my mother who is rapidly going this way.Excellent job I am sure this will do well and be a favorite. I won't forget Winnie and Eddie for a long long time.I think the only nitpick I have is that the title is too long. Last Embrace would be perfect I think.
Scott Merrow (Level 5)
What a depressing moment for poor Edward. (And one I can sort of identify with since I have a 91-year-old father in the throes of dementia.) This is a really good script. But, I think it could be better, and (unfortunately) I'm not exactly sure why. For some reason, I didn't really feel the gut-wrenching emotion one would expect from a sad tale like this. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I think it's because you spent a lot of time showing us Winnie's dementia, and not enough time on the tidal wave of emotions leading up to Edward's agonizing decision. All the elements are there -- her dementia, the threat of being separated so Winnie can go in a care facility, etc., but somehow, the depth of emotion is missing. The most emotion-filled moment was when Edward quotes Shakespeare, "Eyes look your last, arms take your last embrace." A beautiful moment for sure, but the rest of that scene seems, I don't know, mechanical or something.You've chosen a very poignant topic. Then you've significantly multiplied the potential impact by having Edward fail in his suicide attempt. (Like jumping out of a plane and your parachute ripcord doesn't work.) That's great stuff. There's material for a great story there. But, we wade through a lot of other stuff to get to the pay-off. She confuses the shirts, forgets the mail, confuses birthday and anniversary, spills a lot of stuff, pours urine into her tea cup, etc., etc. In a longer script all that would be fine, but in a 5-page script we could do without that. We get it. Maybe spend a little more time showing us what wonderful people these are, and how sad to see them go. And what an unbelievably tough decision Edward has to make. Then he blows it!For me, the emotion in all of this just didn't come across, and that emotion is what would make a story like this really work.Still, I enjoyed it very much.My score: VERY GOOD.
Suzanne Smith (Level 4)
Hi there. The title was very fitting for this story, which was written very well. I was able to read it with a nice pace, great flow. The concept is very sad - I felt so damn sorry for Edmund, heartache. Can't even imagine a situation like that, but it happens all to often, yes? Okay, maybe not the murder suicide, but the endurance of love tested when Alzheimers sets in. On a visual, there were a few areas I was confused, and had to backtrack - this is just a visual thing for me. From the start, Ed has blood on his face, when you have him naked on the bed, I was left to assume he wasn't covered in blood anymore, otherwise Winnie would have noticed? There was no mention of flashback, or super 'earlier that day' - it was daylight and he was sitting on the bed. I also assumed it was the next day, and he was probably all cleaned up - it confused me. On page three I then realized it was a flashback due to the cards, but it left me lingering for a bit there. I had noticed the extra header while inside the cottage, was wondering why there were two, one with LATER, the other on top of page 4, not sure why it's there, just things that stand out to me which of course you can dismiss as insignificant, or helpful. Overall, I loved the ending - very dramatic. The kissing part pulled my heartstrings, and it left me thinking, reflecting on such a sad fate - awesome work!
Sylvia Dahlby (Level 5)
EXCELLENT. Touching story on a timely topic. Believable characters & snappy dialog.
Thomas W. Brown (Level 4)
This is a good take on the dying with dignity. My God, I hope I'm never put in that situation. I really like the way you portray Edmund. He deeply loves his wife, to a point where it may trump his good sense. You did a great job with Winnie, she seems really authentic. You portray a real feeling of sadness as Edmund watches her go about her business. Overall, I think you've done a great job with this. Cheers!
Veera Airas (Level 1)
A touching story, with gentle turns to it and even though I can not find almost anything at fault with it I can not give it an excellent as it is a story that lacks the oomph. That last punch to truly bring it home. Even though Edmunds despair of not being able to join his wife can be felt, maybe there should have been even more of a struggle for him towards the very end.
Comments Made After the Contest
Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 2/1/2010 12:17 AM
Great story. I'm happy to see this get an Honorable Mention. Congratulations.
Thomas W. Brown (Level 4) ~ 2/1/2010 12:33 AM
This is a great script MJ! Congrats on the HR, and all the best!
Kyle Patrick Johnson (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2010 12:33 AM
Was this written by a Lark or a NightOwl, I wonder? :)Congrats on the HM!
Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus) ~ 2/1/2010 12:37 AM
Go the Brit girls! Well done you!
Sally Meyer (Moderator) ~ 2/1/2010 12:52 AM
This was one of my favorites this month. So glad it got HM. Wish it had got higher, it deserved it. I really loved this.
Marnie Mitchell Lister (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2010 12:54 AM
Nice work MJ!!
JeanPierre Chapoteau (Moderator) ~ 2/1/2010 1:01 AM
MJ, I loved this.
Jose Batista (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2010 1:30 AM
Well deserved of an HM. Congrats.
Tim Westland (Moderator) ~ 2/1/2010 3:50 PM
Congrats, MJ. I didn't get to yours in the review period... but I will read it soon and comment.
Sylvia Dahlby (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2010 8:19 PM
I'm surprised this one didn't place, definitely one of my faves this month.