Once by Morris Gleitzman (2006)

To celebrate the 10 year anniversary of Once by Maurice Gleitzman, an  Australian middle grade novel by one of our best known children’s book authors, I’m going to take a close look at it using the 7-step story structure which applies to pretty much everything from advertisements to picture books to novels.

Once Morris Gleizman front cover
This is the front cover
Once Back Cover_700x933
And this is the back cover, which is a masterful shorthand way to signal to a reader picking up this book for the first time that this is going to be a sad tale.

The Redemptive Power Of Literature

This is also a story about the Redemptive Power of Literature, about how creating your own stories in the midst of terror can get you through tough times. This is a common theme in MG fiction and it sells pretty well, perhaps because people buying the bulk of books love stories which are about the greatness of books. (Our picture book app The Artifacts is another example, as is The Amazing Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore app by Moonbot Studios.) We know that Felix’s family is ‘Good’ because they owned a bookshop. The mother cared more about books than about clothes, which is what the former bookshop has become since it was taken over by Nazi Germans. (Subtext: Books = depth of emotion, clothes = surface/superficiality/image.) The boy whose family now owns his old book shop even used to wipe his bogeys on the pages of books, which is a concise way of building an ignorant, uncouth character who we know not to identify with. The nun who shelters Felix, too, is a book lover who never had anything bad to say about a book.

On the other hand, books which glorify books can sound a bit insular and twee — Felix has been a big reader, but the downside of this attribute is also shown; Felix learned how to tell if something is dead out of a book, yet he has no street smarts. He’s all knowledge, no clues.

Necessary Prior Knowledge

The reader needs to know the very basics of WW2 — that Nazis killed Jews in Poland. Even then, younger readers without this knowledge will travel through the story with the same level of naivety of Felix, and undergo an historical revelation at the same time Felix discovers the truth. In other words, young readers will respond differently to this book depending upon this prior knowledge.

Voice

Once by Morris Gleitzman is an excellent example of a MG story with an unreliable narrator. The reader is given enough information within the first few chapters to know that Felix is a Jewish boy living in Poland during the Nazi era and his life is in danger. Poor, naive Felix knows something fishy is going on but he hasn’t got his facts quite right: he thinks the Germans are after his Jewish parents because they don’t like the books they sell in their shop. He doesn’t know about the plan to rid the world of Jews.

The book is written from the first person point of view and in the present tense. The linguistic trick which is repeated: Every chapter opens with the titular word ‘Once’. Maria Nikolajeva, when writing about children’s literature in From Mythic To Linear: Time In Children’s Literature breaks prose in children’s books into two distinct categories according to the treatment of time:

1. The iterative — In an iterative sentence, it is assumed that whatever is happening has always happened and will continue to keep happening.

2. The singulative — In a singulative sentence, it is assumed that whatever is happening happened in this one story.

Whereas the iterative is associated with the phrase ‘Once upon a time’ (there lived three bears in a cottage…), by truncating this fairytale opening to ‘Once’, Gleitzman plunges the reader straight into the singular — the events in this book happened one time, to one boy. Yet the fairytale quality is still there: This happened long ago. The storyteller narrator is now much older, and is deliberately toying with us, letting us in on the joke of the dramatic irony.

It’s therefore a great choice to switch to the present tense after the single, past tense sentence that opens every chapter. A story written by an unreliable narrator — but one who has since learned the truth — would have no reason not to simply tell the reader the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. But the present tense voice is youthful, it takes the narrator himself right back to 1942, and the reader now feels as if the boy is telling us the story rather than the hypothetical old man who is a famous author running a cake shop in 1983. Whereas the opening sentence of each chapter is quite long, the present tense voice is almost staccato, and reads like a Paul Jennings story, with mostly very short sentences.

There is also a thematic reason for the word ‘Once’, which has its counterpoint on the dedication page:

For all the children whose stories have never been told.

In other words, this particular story only happened once to this one boy, but this sort of story has happened so many times over the course of history that the ‘once’ becomes an ironic counterpoint.

On the inside of the back cover we read:

Everybody deserves to have something good in their life. At least once.

This is truncated from the part where Barney buys Felix some secondhand books with three precious turnips and justifies them by saying everybody deserves something good in their life at least once.

There is a juxtaposition between the dire situation of Hitler’s eugenics regime and the voice of our narrator which, because of his naivety, feels justified.

The Main Character

Felix is immediately likeable, which is important in a character who is basically clueless. This is like the MG equivalent of a picture book like Rosie’s Walk — he’s walking around in extreme danger of being shot but narrowly avoids it at every turn.

Likeable child heroes stand up for other children. We see Felix do just that in the opening pages. Likeable heroes are generally the underdog, which is also by far the most common stock character in comedies for adults, too. We like to see underdogs get into and out of scrapes. On the road, he even saves a girl by carrying her on his back. Boys are even more likeable if they rescue girls than if they rescue other boys — a narrative we also saw in the aftermath of 9/11, which Susan Faludi points out in her book Terror Dream, became the dominant narrative — male firefighters saving women and children — and plunged America back into a mindset which glamorised the gender dynamic of the 1950s that exists mostly in our collective imagination.

Felix becomes even more likeable as we see that Zelda, the little girl he has rescued, behaves like a spoilt brat, with some stock brat behaviours such as sticking out her bottom lip, being ungrateful to Felix who has saved her, and turning Felix’s story around to be about her. She complains about Felix’s smelly hat, as prissy girls do.

An audience also loves trickster characters. There’s an element of Felix getting away with something by pretending to be an orphan when he’s not. (At least, he thinks he’s pretending, and we hope so, too.)

Seven Step Story Structure of Once

As in the best MG stories, the weakness/need, desire and opponent are all established within the first few pages.

Weakness/Need

Felix is naive. This is going to endanger his life, because if he knew what was good for him, he’d stay where he is, sheltered in the Catholic orphanage in the mountains of Poland. Naivety is a pretty common weakness in MG heroes.

In order to live a good life, Felix must learn the truth of his situation.

Desire

It has been more than 3 years since his parents left him in the orphanage and his great desire is to be reunited with them.

Opponent

The opponents are the Nazis, not that Felix knows this. However, the reader knows this, which is enough.

Plan

The inciting incident happens on the first page. Felix finds a whole carrot floating in his soup. He takes this as some sort of sign from his parents. He will break out of the orphanage, go back to his house in the village and find his parents working in their bookshop.

He finds that when he gets to the bookshop his parents are no longer living there.

Battle

The battle is often a three part affair: gate, gauntlet, visit to death.

The gate scenes happen as the two children walk to the city, where they come across death and destruction everywhere. The image of the dead old lady is resonant, especially since Felix wants to carry her on his back as well as Zelda but doesn’t have the capacity.

There is a really clear gauntlet scene as the children walk into the city. There are soldiers lining the street and Gleitzman paints a really clear picture:

The wide streets are dirty and the tall buildings, five levels high some of them, have all got Nazi flags hanging off the balconies and out of the windows. Army trucks and tanks are parked everywhere and lots of soldiers are standing around telling each other foreign jokes and laughing.

Then there is an actual gate:

We’re heading for a big brick wall right across the street. That’s a very strange place to build a wall. There’s a gate in the wall with soldiers guarding it and the people ahead of us are going through the gate.

The visit to death is where Felix has the revelation that things are much worse than he thought:

What was that noise?

Gunshots.

Everyone is screaming.

Over by the wall two people are lying on the ground bleeding.

Zelda is taken away from Felix at gunpoint and he winds up on the ground. This is a clear ‘visit to death’.

He is saved by a large man in ‘scuffed’ attire. This reminds me of stories such as the Grimm Brothers’ version of Little Red Riding Hood in which a large man rides in to save the child from the beast. It’s generally a good idea to have kids find their own way out of trouble, but in a situation such as this that would be unrealistic. Also, the young hero’s entire desire is to find his parents and save them. Being saved by a large man emphasises how powerless he really is compared to how much he thinks he can achieve. He thinks that if only his parents hadn’t put him in an orphanage he would have been able to save them somehow.

It’s worth noting that later, in the dire situation in the train, on their way to the Death Camp, it is indeed Felix who saves everyone, though inadvertently. He literally saves the day with his book of stories by generously donating the notebook as toilet paper, which he tries to hang on a bolt of the wall, then realises the boards are rotten and they can all escape. The other take home point there is that the earlier battle scene wasn’t actually the most dire. Gleitzman really does get our hero into the worst situation before he comes good.

Self-revelation

In the face of evidence everywhere, Felix eventually works out what has probably happened to his parents. There is no single epiphany — we see his psychological slump when he doesn’t want to tell the other children he meets up with his stories. They have a fairytale quality and he feels they’re irrelevant and pointless in the face of such doom. But he doesn’t lose hope entirely. When Barney tells Felix his parents might not ever be found, Felix is sure he is wrong.

There is an audience reveal near the end of the story too — Zelda’s parents are actually Polish Nazis who have been killed by the Polish resistance for being turncoats. This revelation adds some much needed gray area into a story about war. The problem with war stories is that the audience always roots for the hero. The enemy appears in ‘long shots’ — like the nemesis in superhero stories the enemy tends to be outright evil, and never victims of the same circumstance.

New Equilibrium

This part of the story has been truncated for the purpose of leaving the reader uncertain about Felix and Zelda’s future. “At least we get to choose,” Felix says, of the decision to either jump from the moving train or not. Likewise, the readers get to choose our own ending, and just enough detail is given about the cake shop scenario (an example of side shadowing) that readers can choose that as the story’s reality if they want to. When the story leaves off, however, Zelda and Felix are in the middle of nowhere, having jumped from a death camp train during wartime and Zelda is injured.

A further note on the ending: Just before the last third of the story we are encouraged to believe that Felix is not going to find his parents, but we’re fairly confident Barney the kind dentist will step in to be the parental figure. When Barney heads off towards the Death Camp with a pocket full of syringes this alternative ending we’ve been asked to consider makes the actual ending so much more sad. A similar technique is used in many tragedies, for example in the film Million Dollar Baby. In the hospital Maggie and Frankie discuss going to live in a cabin somewhere in the woods where Frankie will be able to immerse himself in his books while looking after Maggie. Because this alternative ending has been posed, Maggie’s death seems all the more of a shock. The story craft lesson here: In order to get the most emotion out of a sad ending, make sure you pose an alternative, happy ending first, whether this is done overtly (as in the dialogue of Million Dollar Baby), or subtly, as books are better able to do.

And a further note on the character of Barney: This is a rare example of a an adult male who displays emotion.

“I can feel Barney’s tears falling on me. For a while he doesn’t say anything, just strokes my head.”

This is great to see in a children’s book since they aren’t seeing it on the screen. As Howard Suber (film expert) quite rightly points out about movies:

Three kinds of people are allowed to express fear: children, women and men who will come to an unfortunate end. In all three cases, fear is a weakness that either requires someone else to do the job or is a kind of fatal flaw.

— Howard Suber, writing about film (also in 2006)

Although Once reads like a standalone book, it is actually the first of a four part series. So readers do in fact get to know what happens to Felix and Zelda next.

Once Series Gleitzman

TITLES RELATED TO ONCE

For more related titles to different books, see Value Packed Book Talks by Lucy Schall

Titles related to Once

Million Dollar Baby Film Study

Today is Curmudgeon’s Day, according to Twitter. (Un)happy Curmudgeon’s Day! In that spirit I will take a close look at a film in which a curmudgeonly old man learns to soften up with the help of an earnest and humble young woman. I first saw this film around the time Million Dollar Baby come out and in my memory it was a pro-woman film, but watching it again now I can see that although Hilary Swank becomes the boxing champion in the story, this is nevertheless a narrative about the Clint Eastwood character, who does curmudgeonly very well. (In certain fonts his name looks very much like ‘Cunt Eastwood’, just by the by.)

Million Dollar Baby

The film Million Dollar Baby is directed and produced by Paul Haggis, who also gave us Crash. The script is based on a short story by boxing trainer Jerry Boyd, who wrote under the pen name F.X. Toole.

It strikes me given recent Hollywood political news that perhaps the reason female actors are getting paid far less than male actors in Hollywood can be justified within the industry by the fact that women only have to read a few lines. (This even applies in films for children.) Swank’s character gets comparatively little to say throughout, with the vast majority of dialogue happening between the two old men, or via Morgan Freeman’s voiceover narration.

If in doubt about who is the hero of a story, ask which character changes the most. At first glance this would be Hilary Swank’s character, who goes from ‘trailer trash’ to ‘boxing champ’, but this is deceptive; a ‘change of circumstance’ does not equal a ‘character arc’: a fundamental shift in worldview. The character arc belongs firmly to Clint Eastwood’s character, Frankie, who ‘learns to love again’ after past rejection from his own daughter.

None of this is to say that this particular story should have been written differently, simply to say that this is no ‘Female Rocky’, as Warner Brothers tried to market the film as.

Designing Principle: An ageing boxing trainer learns to love (and lose) again after a brief paternal relationship with a young woman who becomes his stand in for an estranged daughter.

Theme Line: When you truly love somebody, your actions speak louder than words.

Story World: The battlefield of a boxing gymnasium and its surrounding underworld. (This is a story set in an ambiguous decade — it’s unambiguously American, but could be set in any number of decades of the past 70 odd years. There are few technological clues. In other words, this story takes place over Frankie’s whole lifetime — it’s a purely psychological story.)

Symbol Line: The boxing ring as a metaphor for inner turmoil

Arc phrase:”Always protect yourself” >> “I shouldn’t have dropped my hand “, in which hands held up to protect the head in boxing are a symbol of Frankie’s tendency to not get hurt by others in relationships.

 

INTERESTING STORYTELLING TOOLS USED IN MILLION DOLLAR BABY

REFLECTION CHARACTER

frankie and scrap reflection characters

Truby calls them allies and breaks allies down into true allies and fake-opponent allies. Within the first group, Michael Hauge writes specifically of ‘reflection characters’.

This is my term for the character who is most closely aligned with your hero – the best friend, partner, mentor or spouse whose primary function is to help the hero achieve the outer motivation and to urge the hero toward transformation. […] 

The reflection character’s primary goal is to help the hero achieve the outer motivation.

— David Hauge

Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupree is of course the reflection character for Frankie Dunn. The reflection character is often a teacher, though in this case Scrap is lower in status due to being financially reliant upon Frankie. He nevertheless demonstrates the qualities that Frankie himself needs to learn. He sees the champion quality in Maggie before Frankie does and is in fact instrumental in the pairing.

Frankie and Scrap

CONTRAST CHARACTER

Danger

Why does the character of Danger exist? Why is he needed in the story? While all of the other characters are acted in mimetic fashion, the character of Danger is hammed up, played for laughs in a comic fashion which seems almost wrong for the film. But Danger, and his over-the-top presentation, are necessary for building the storyworld. The audience needs to know that all the odds are stacked against Maggie’s succeeding in this male-dominated fighting world. As a welter weight who has never actually had a fight, this guy is at the bottom of the pecking order in the gym, but is still more accepted than Maggie is because at least he’s not a girl. He’s as close as it’s possible to get to a girl, however, symbolised by his tights and the way the bigger guys hassle him for them. This demonstrates (as if it’s not already obvious) the machismo of the world of boxing.

danger in tights

There is another reason for the character of Danger: Frankie is exasperated by him. He’s a bumbling fool. This elevates Maggie in Frankie’s eyes. She may be clueless, but it’s not because she has delusions of grandeur — she is clueless only because she hasn’t had the privilege of coaching.

USE OF CHARACTER NICKNAMES

In the case of ‘Danger’, there is a pleasing ironic juxtaposition between the character and his nickname which serves to highlight how very non-dangerous he is as a boxer. The character of ‘Scrap’ has obviously been formidable in his younger years. The world of boxing is a natural story arena in which to make the most of nick names, and other boxers are referred to briefly by theirs. The nick names function as a shorthand for their backstory.

The most significant use of a nick name is that which Frankie gives to Maggie: Mo Chuisle. We don’t learn until the end of the film that this means ‘my blood’, and that when Frankie gave her this name it meant he had accepted her as his own daughter.

In YA fiction, John Green also makes much use of nicknames as a way to say a lot about a character without saying anything at all. (The Colonel, Eagle, Pudge etc.)

USE OF A STORYTELLER

the cleaner

Scrap is also the storyteller, in a film which makes heavy use of his voice over narration. As Robert McKee says:

There’s only one good reason for voice over narration: counterpoint. Woody Allen is the master of counterpoint narration.

Incidentally, this aspect of film shares a lot with picture books — in a picture book, if the words simply explain the pictures, it’s not working as a picture book. Maria Nikolajeva and Carole Scott use the phrase ‘ironic counterpoint’ in their excellent text How Picturebooks Work. Likewise in film, if the voice over narration simply describes the scenes it is talking down to the audience. 

Morgan Freeman is well-established as a certain type of narrator. In The Shawshank Redemption, too, he plays a character/storyteller who has already been through his own version of character arc before the story of the (white) hero begins. In his narration he has generally these characters have had much time to reflect and to therefore offer insight the characters themselves don’t yet have.

Have we ever seen a white man narrating the character arc of a black man come out of Hollywood? Sometimes the insight of a black storyteller character is so deep that he almost tips over into Magical Negro territory — a familiar trope in American stories. However, compared to Freeman’s characters in The Shawshank Redemption, Bruce Almighty, Azeem and Batman Begins, the holey-socked, down-and-out Scrap doesn’t exactly subvert this trope, but perhaps narrowly side-steps it.

Part of the reason the voiceover narration works in this film is because there is a reason for it within the world of the story: At the end of the film it is revealed that the narration is a letter Scrap is writing to Frankie’s estranged daughter, explaining the true nature of his character and hoping the two of them will make amends.

FAIRYTALE/FANTASY SYMBOLISM

In fairytales, a character often bears a curse and comes up trumps despite this curse. Although in fairytales curses might come about due to a witch who wasn’t invited to a party, in modern stories the curse has morphed into some lack of privilege. In Maggie’s case she bears the curse of being female. She also happens to bear the curse of being 32-33 years old in a sport best suited to the young.

The boxing robe given to Maggie by Frankie is symbolic and marks a turning point in Frankie Dunn’s character arc. In fantasy, robes often mean ‘invisibility’, or ‘blending in’, but here it signifies ‘initiation’, and is therefore more akin to the fantasy ‘crown’. (It’s a hooded cloak, after all.)

maggie's cloak

 

GHOSTS

This is Truby’s term for ‘backstory’ because it’s a specific kind of backstory — it’s the bad thing that’s happened to the main character that makes them the way they are and explains the way they act in the story. The ghost is generally hinted at and then revealed in full sometime in the middle part of a film.

We learn in a very brief scene outside church that Frankie has a daughter. We don’t know if she’s still alive or anything about her. This explains why Frankie is uncomfortable getting involved with a young woman as a fatherly figure — he’s scared of being hurt again.

Frankie also has another ghost in relation to Scrap, which explains why he’s reluctant to promote Maggie up through the ranks even though she seems more than ready. Scrap explains this to Maggie on her 33rd birthday at the diner: Frankie feels responsible for the game in which Scrap lost his eye.

we learn of eastwood's ghost

The other characters have their own ghosts — we see what a horrible background Maggie’s come from when she buys her mother and sister a house only to have them complain about it.

FORESHADOWING

“I should’ve kept my hands up,” Maggie says from her hospital bed. This has been an ongoing issue, with Frankie refusing to progress her through the ranks until she can learn this properly. Ironically, since it was an illegal punch that lead to Maggie’s injury in the first place, the advice wouldn’t have helped her anyhow.

“Fly there, drive back,” Maggie requests, when Frankie asks how she’d like to travel to and from the championship round. ‘The storytelling device that seems most incompatible with the realities of actual life is foreshadowing,’ reads an article in The Atlantic, comparing it to a device such as metaphor, which exists in the real world as well as in fiction. Why does this kind of foreshadowing exist so regularly in stories?

“We try to predict the future all the time,” Pasupathi says. She speculates that the reason there’s foreshadowing in fiction in the first place is because of this human tendency. The uncertainty of the future makes people uncomfortable, and stories are a way to deal with that.

“The future is never a direct replica of the past,” Adler says. “So we need to be able to take pieces of things that have happened to us and reconfigure them into possible futures.” For example, through experience, one learns that “We need to talk” rarely foreshadows anything good. (Life has its own clichés.)

The Atlantic

 

SIDESHADOWING

Sideshadowing happens in stories when a character or narrator posits a series of possible events which never have any consequences in the story. Sideshadowing draws attention to the possibility that other paths could have been taken.

A conversation in the hospital between Maggie and Frankie posits an alternative ending for the two of them. They discuss maybe moving to a cabin somewhere, where Frankie can read his books and look after Maggie.

Another possible ending is posed by Frankie just before Maggie asks him to finish her off; he’s been thinking he can get a wheelchair which can be operated by blowing through a straw and she could go back to school.

These two alternative endings serve to heighten the sadness of the actual ending. Those are both the happiest endings an audience could wish for, but the popularity of this film should put paid to the idea that successful Hollywood stories have happy endings.

What is required for the ending of a film is not happiness; it is justice. The bad force may not totally overcome the protagonist, but it always takes its toll. The endings of the vast majority of popular films are, in fact, Pyrrhic victories. […] Happiness has nothing to do with being a hero; in fact, happiness is something heroes learn to live without.

— Howard Suber, The Power Of Film

 

7 STEP STORY STRUCTURE IN MILLION DOLLAR BABY

frankie dunn

Note the symbolism of Frankie behind those bars ^^. The character arc will see him come out of his psychological cage. Note that this film is based on some short stories, one of which was originally titled ‘Rope Burns’. (It has since been retitled to match the film.)

WEAKNESS/NEED

Frankie Dunn, boxing coach and gym owner.

Psychological Weakness: His relationship with his own daughter has soured and he is unable to relate to any female around his daughter’s age. His only real confidant is the pastor at his church where he is only ever in a verbal sparring match anyhow.

Moral Weakness: He discriminates against Maggie because of her gender even though she is obviously the most committed boxing student he could hope to find.

He needs to learn how to get close to people again, and in particular how to relate to women. He also needs to learn to become a true Christian rather than simply going through the motions of attending daily mass.

DESIRE

Frankie wants to take Big Willie Little, pro-level boxer who he has trained for years, right through to the big-time.

OPPONENT

Mickey Mack, big-shot manager poaches Frankie’s protégé. Big Willie goes with Mickey Mack because he feels Frankie isn’t advancing him quickly enough.

Scrap is Frankie’s sometimes opponent, functioning as his reflection ally.

PLAN

His plan doesn’t work when Big Willie Little is poached by a manager. Frankie is especially devastated at Big Willie’s parting comment that Frankie has taught him all he needs to know.

Needing a new focus, Frankie reluctantly settles upon Maggie, so he starts coaching her, meaning to palm her off at the first opportunity.

He does this, but doesn’t like that her new manager is coaching Maggie to lose so that his other fighters can win, so he takes Maggie on again. He will train her to be the best or not at all. He will also protect her from injury by refusing to advance her through the ranks quickly.

BATTLE

There are a series of actual battles — this is a storyworld which includes boxing matches, after all — culminating in a title fight with an illegal shot from the opponent which breaks Maggie’s neck. She is now a quadriplegic, dependent on a ventilator.

SELF-REVELATION

Frankie goes through the first three stages of grief: denial, then blaming Scrap in anger and later trying to bargain with God through prayer. (Note that when films have a reflection character such as Scrap they always ‘scrap’ with the hero at some point — it’s a screenwriting rule.)

Frankie has the self-revelation that he would give his own life (freedom) for his daughter (or his symbolic daughter) and he’ll do something illegal and against his own ethics to save Maggie from continuing misery.

NEW EQUILIBRIUM

At the end of the film there is a small chance that Frankie and his daughter will reconcile their differences, with Scrap’s quiet intervention. Nobody knows where Frankie has gone, so we know at least that he hasn’t ended up in jail. That may be him through the window of the diner — perhaps he’s bought a diner, or maybe it’s not him at all. His face through the glass is wraithlike — having lost not one but two daughters, he has become his ‘ghost’.

 

RELATED

I hope I’ve argued that Million Dollar Baby is not ‘the female Rocky’.

Here’s an article wondering if Rocky is ‘the most successful bad film ever made’.

The article makes some interesting points:

  • The story indulges in some Cinderella-style wish fulfilment
  • It was sold to adult movie goers as a gritty urban drama but is more like a feel-good Walt Disney children’s film
  • The storyline of Adrian is horribly misogynistic — the shy girl bullied into ‘dating’ a man who ends up falling in love with him is replicated all over films of this era, including Star Wars. (Remember when Princess Leia gets her head smashed against the wall in a ‘passionate’ kiss?)
  • Creed’s laziness saps the film of tension. Rocky really actually wins because he does some exercise.
  • The terrible dialogue and problematic construction give it the feel of an indie film, which works on its favour.

Call it a way-out theory, but I feel there is a correlation between sexist narrative in film and sexual assault in film-making. Multiple women accuse Oscar winner and prominent ex-Scientologist Paul Haggis of sexual assault.