Sarah’s review published on Letterboxd:
I could admire the use of the “Chapter” narrative that this screenplay chooses the employ, but unfortunately it falls apart towards the end. If you are going to use “Chapters”, may I suggest keeping to only 3? Chapters 4 and 5 felt rushed, and I strongly suggest following the 3 Act Structure as we learned this semester.
Unfortunately I did not connect with these characters in the way you intended. In fact, I didn’t find any of them likeable at all. I was particularly disturbed by Will, who came off as an arrogant misogynist. At times, the line between budding romance and unhealthy obsession were too blurred for my taste. On the same note, I felt the women were either underwritten to say the least. I suggest you share your screenplay with a fellow, female class mate and see how she feels about these women. I also can’t help but notice that, sans Will’s suicide, everyone who dies in this film is a woman. Why is that?
There were strong moments, and I’m impressed with your Spanish! I know you mentioned your study abroad in Madrid, and the Spanish 201 classes are really showing in this work! However I felt the characters were often times repeating themselves and saying things that people wouldn’t say in day-to-day conversation. Try reading some of these scenes out loud and see if it comes off naturally or not.
This is difficult to evaluate since seemingly nothing happens, and perhaps that’s your point? It seems the only plot points of this screenplay was when a (female) character dies tragically. Is that really “Life Itself”? Also, I’ll remind you that not every love story has to start with a meet cute!
USE OF THE SAME SONG OVER AND OVER: 5/5
You nailed this! Excellent work.
OVERALL GRADE: 55/100.
Mr. Fogelman, it disappoints me to give you this grade. I was looking forward to this screenplay and I felt like you’ve given me a first draft. I think you have the potential to be a wonderful writer, but you need to start believing and caring that you are! A few small suggestions I’d like to share: watch more films. As evident by the screenplay, you’ve taken to heart our recommended viewing list but there is more to life than Quentin Tarantino! Watch your swears! The use of the “F” word is the mark of a frustrated writer, trying to punch up a script. You’re far better than that. Also beware of your exposition - it’s not cute to be on the nose.
I strongly suggest you take another look at your screenplay and perhaps share it with your peers for their feedback. I hope you continue writing and I encourage you to be more critical of your own work. I’d love to read the second draft of this. Despite this grade, I’d still recommend you for my Screenwriting 102 class. Have a wonderful summer