Chapter 7 - Subplots


There are three true subplots.

1) Charlie’s failed romantic life. 

Character – It underscores Charlie’s intense fear of engaging in life. 

Plot – His romantic frustrations increase his inability to write his script. 

Theme - It’s tough to pinpoint the major theme in this movie, but it probably has something to do with the contrast between the natural/passionate life and a life that is phony or neurotic. This subplot underscores Charlie’s neurosis. 


2) The screenwriting career of Charlie’s dopey brother, Donald. 

Character – Donald’s ability to seize life, as a writer and lover, underscores Charlie’s inability to do so. 

Plot – Realizing he needs Donald’s confidence (however dim-witted), Charlie gets Donald to collaborate with him on his screenplay.

Theme – Donald represents screenwriting at its absolute phoniest. 


3) The relationship between Susan Orlean and John Laroche. It’s a large subplot, rivaling the main plot in screen time. 

Character – Laroche’s intense passion and connection to nature shows how far Charlie is from such things. Though Susan isn’t quite as neurotic as Charlie, her distance from passion mirror’s Charlie’s situation. 

Plot – Susan and John are major characters in the story Charlie is trying to write. When Charlie makes himself the star of the story, his life (in the movie within a movie) collides with their lives. This subplot also intersects with Charlie’s romance subplot, when Susan becomes one of the women he fantasizes about.

Theme – Susan is learning to lead a natural and passionate life from John, which is similar to what Charlie is trying to learn from the book.

<< Back