Note: This is the synthesis. See scene by scene analysis here
|Concept||8.4||94||Suits: 8.3||Inception: 8.4|
|Emotional Impact||7.4||50||Breaking bad, episode 306: 7.3||Donnie Darko: 7.4|
|Dialogue||7.6||47||Shaun of the Dead: 7.5||get out: 7.6|
|Overall||8.2||45||The sweet hereafter: 8.1||Donnie Darko: 8.2|
|Plot||7.8||31||The Good place release: 7.7||American hustle: 7.8|
|Characters||8.0||29||Hors de prix: 7.9||Donnie Darko: 8.0|
|Conflict Level||6.8||22||Midnight cowboy: 6.7||Donnie Darko: 6.8|
This is the shooting script that was used by
the cast and crew during the shooting of the film.
Converted to PDF and contributed by RonCecchini@comcast.net
We descend upon Carpathian Ridge, a crescent-shaped cliff
that extrudes from the dense Virginia evergreens above a
deep rock canyon.
The cliff marks the end of a dirt road that winds down from
Donnie Darko (sixteen) is asleep at the edge of the cliff.
With his bike collapsed next to him, he is shivering, curled
up on the foetal position.
He slowly opens his eyes and looks around, disoriented by
the morning light. He then stands up, looking down into the
expansive rock canyon. After a moment of hesitation, he
takes his bike back up the hill.
EXT. MIDDLESEX - MORNING (11 A.M.)
Montage is choreographed to 'Never Tear Us Apart' by INXS.
Donnie pedals down into the suburban village of Middlesex,
Virginia ...passing by a large rock 'Middlesex' rock-pattern.
Donnie pedals past two neighbourhood women who are
speedwalking with handweights. They smile at him.
A Pontiac Trans-Am speeds by.
EXT. NEIGHBOURHOOD STREET - DAY (SATURDAY 1 P.M.)
Donnie turns the corner and heads towards the garage.
We pan over to the Darko house... moving through the front
yard where Eddie Darko (forty-four) pulls the cord and his
gas-powered leaf-blower roars to life.
Elizabeth Darko (nineteen) comes out the front door. She
approaches her dad from behind. Eddie turns and aims the
leaf-blower at her face... blasting her with air.
EXT. DARKO DRIVEWAY - NEXT
Donnie parks his bike and goes inside.
EXT. DARKO BACKYARD / PATIO - NEXT
We pull back from Samantha Darko (ten) as she is jumping on
a trampoline and pan over to Rose Darko (forty-two) as she
sits at a table reading a paperback copy of Stephen King's
"IT". She glances over to the kitchen.
INT. KITCHEN - NEXT
Donnie walks into the kitchen. He then goes to the
Printed in magic marker on the refrigerator notepad is the
WHERE IS DONNIE?
INT. FAMILY ROOM - EVENING (5 P.M.)
The opening theme of "Who's the Boss?" begins as we see Tony
Danza's blue van and the title card. We reveal Samantha,
sitting on the floor, singing softly to the theme song "Brand
New Life" performed by Larry Weiss.
We pan over to Donnie, sitting in the La-Z Boy.
The Darko family has convened for dinner. They eat silently
for several moments.
I'm voting for Dukakis.
Perhaps when you have children of
your own that need braces, and you
can't afford them because half of
your husband's paycheck goes to the
federal government, you'll regret
I'm not gonna squeeze one out until
Will you still be working at Yarn
Barn? 'Cause that's a great place
to raise children.
No, a year of partying is enough.
She'll be going to Harvard this fall.
I haven't been accepted yet, mother.
If you think Michael Dukakis will
provide for this country prior to
the point when you decide to squeeze
one out, then I think you're
When can I squeeze one out?
(to his sister)
Not until like... eighth grade.
Donnie? You're a dick.
Whoa, Elizabeth. A little hostile,
there. Maybe you should be the one
in therapy. Then Mom and Dad can
pay someone two hundred dollars an
hour to listen to all of your
thoughts... so we won't have to.
Maybe you'd like to tell Mom and Dad
why you stopped taking your
An awkward silence.
You've stopped taking your medication?
When can I squeeze one out, Mom?
(glaring at Elizabeth)
You're such a fuck-ass.
When did you stop taking your
Did you just call me a fuck-ass?
You can suck a fuck.
Oh, please tell me, Elizabeth, how
exactly does one suck a fuck?
We will not have this kind of language
at the dinner table.
They are all silent for a moment.
What's a fuck-ass?
Despite his brave efforts to hold back laughter, Eddie Darko
lets out a slight guffaw.
INT. ELIZABETH'S ROOM - EVENING (SATURDAY NIGHT, 9 P.M.)
Elizabeth talks on the phone, getting ready for her Saturday
night. Rose knocks and then enters.
(into the phone)
No. I took a year off to be with
Of course I care. Don't get angry.
(covering the phone)
How did you know -
(cutting her off)
I didn't realise it was such a big
It is a big deal.
I caught him flushing pills down the
toilet. He knows you check the
INT. DONNIE'S ROOM - NEXT
Donnie lies on his bed, reading "Collected Short Stories" by
Graham Greene. His room is an organised wreck.
Rose enters and begins to pick things up of the floor.
Get out of my room.
Rose bitterly turns to leave, but stops at the door.
I wish I knew where you went at night.
Did you toilet paper the Johnson's
I stopped rolling houses in the sixth
Get out of my room.
You know... it would be nice to look
at you some time... and see my son.
I don't recognise this person today.
Then why don't you start taking the
Donnie leans over and turns off his lamp. Rose turns and
leaves her son alone in the dark, closing the door behind
INT. UPSTAIRS HALLWAY - NEXT
Rose stops in her tracks, hearing this. She then walks into
her bedroom and closes the door.
Rose goes into bed with Eddie, who is reading a hardback
copy of Stephen King's "The Tommyknockers".
Our son just called me a bitch.
You're not a bitch.
INT. UPSTAIRS BATHROOM - NEXT
Donnie removes his pills from the medicine cabinet. We see
insert that reads: L. THURMAN M.D.
He looks at the bottle for a moment, and then takes three
pills and swallows them... staring at his reflection in the
INT. MASTER BEDROOM - NIGHT (12 A.M.)
Eddie sits up in bed, unable to sleep.
INT. FAMILY ROOM - NEXT
The TV pops on. Eddie drops into the La-Z Boy.
They are replaying a Bush/Dukakis debate. Eddie laughs.
INT. FOYER - NEXT
We pull back and pan over to a grandfather clock... as the
hand reaches midnight.
OCTOBER 2 1988
INT. DONNIE'S ROOM - NIGHT (EARLY SUNDAY MORNING, 1 A.M.)
Wake... up... Donnie.
Donnie jerks upright in his bed, awakened from a bad dream.
He looks over at his alarm clock: 12:50 a.m. His expression
is distant... confused.
INT. FOYER - NEXT
Donnie walks downstairs.
INT. FAMILY ROOM - NEXT
Donnie stares at Eddie, asleep in the La-Z Boy.
INT. KITCHEN - NEXT
Donnie walks into the kitchen, removes the magic marker from
the refrigerator message board.
INT. FOYER - NEXT
Donnie walks to the front and exits the house.
EXT. DARKO HOUSE, FRONT YARD - NEXT
Donnie walks down the front walk to the street.
EXT. NEIGHBOURHOOD STREET - NEXT
Donnie walks down the street.
EXT. SEVENTH HOLE - NIGHT (1:30 A.M.)
Donnie arrives next to the pin and stares off into the
Helluva night for a walk... huh,
Donnie stares off into the distance.
Tonight is very special, Donnie.
I've been watching you.
Do you believe in God, Donnie?
Donnie doesn't answer. He holds his stomach, taking deep
God loves his children, Donnie. God
There... standing on the seventh hole is a six-foot-tall
figure dressed in a grotesque bunny suit.
Donnie stares at the Bunny nervously as a wave of nausea
My name is Frank.
I want you to follow me.
I'm here to save you.
The world is coming to an end, Donnie.
Donnie doesn't answer.
Look up in the sky, Donnie.
He looks up into the black night.
28 days... 6 hours... 42 minutes...
12 seconds. That is when the world
Donnie looks back at Frank. His expression is a vacant expanse
INT. FOYER - NIGHT
Elizabeth comes through the front door, leans back against
it, closes her eyes.
INT. FAMILY ROOM - NIGHT
Eddie Darko sleeps reclined in the La-Z Boy. The final notes
of the Channel 12 National Anthem fade away to static.
From above... a thunderous crash. Plaster rains from the
ceiling ...Books fly off the bookshelf as the entire wall-
mount collapses to the floor.
Eddie jerks awake.
INT. FOYER - NEXT
Elizabeth falls back in horror as plaster rains down from
around the chandelier... debris falling in the dining-room
Donnie is curled up, asleep on the green. A golf ball lands
on the green and rolls within inches of his head.
A golf cart filled with four older men arrives. Dr. Fisher
(forty-five) gets out first.
Son? What's going on here?
Jim Cunningham (forty), the man riding shotgun, gets out of
the cart and walks over.
Who is it, Don?
Eddie Darko's kid.
Donnie gets up and brushes himself off. On his arm he sees
something written in black magic marker.
Donnie stares at the numbers on his arm, confused.
DR. FISHER (CONT'D)
(to Jim, kissing his
Sorry about this, Jim, just a... a
kid from the neighbourhood.
DR. FISHER (CONT'D)
(back to Donnie)
So let's stay off the greens at night,
Jim Cunningham stares at Donnie with a friendly grin.
Sorry, Dr. Fisher. It won't happen
EXT. NEIGHBOURHOOD STREET / DARKO HOUSE - MORNING (11 A.M.)
Donnie walks down the street towards his house.
A fire engine. Two police cars. A news van... All parked in
front of his house.
There are dozens of neighbours in the street surrounding a
barricade. Donnie moves through the crowd where a Police
Officer is standing.
Hey, I live here!
Are you... Donnie Darko?
The Officer lets him through.
Near the cul-de-sac there is a large caterpillar crane lifting
something from inside the house. There are firemen roaming
around. Two Police Officers are speaking with Eddie and Rose.
Donnie looks over at the house.
A crane lifts a gigantic jet engine over from the house
towards a large flatbed truck. Firemen kick pieces of wood
and shingle from the roof.
He turns and sees his entire family standing there. Eddie is
It fell on your room.
EXT. CUL-DE-SAC - LATER ON
Two men in suits approach from a black sedan. A police officer
directs them to Rose. One of the men removes a badge from
his pocket and holds it up for Rose to see.
Mrs. Darko, my name is Bob Garland
and this is David Coleman. We're
with the FAA. If you don't mind,
we'd like to speak with you and your
Elizabeth looks over at Donnie with a grin.
They don't know where it came from.
Donnie looks over in awe as the mammoth engine is now strapped
to the flatbed truck. A man in a silver firesuit sprays the
engine down with water.
EXT. CUL-DE-SAC - MOMENTS LATER
Eddie is signing some documents in front of Garland at a
table that has been set up. Another FAA guy is there.
(pointing to the
And then here as well.
Eddie signs off, and Garland takes the documents.
We've arranged for you to stay at a
hotel, get some sleep. We'll take
care of things here.
Eddie picks Samantha up into his arms. He stands with Rose
and Elizabeth... turning towards Donnie... who seems lost in
Come on, Donnie... we're going to a
INT. HOLIDAY INN, ROOM 614 - SUNDOWN (SUNDAY NIGHT, 5:30
Donnie lies in bed, watching television. Elizabeth is spread
out on the other bed. Samantha sits on the edge of Elizabeth's
bed, holding a stuffed unicorn named Ariel.
If it fell from a plane, then what
happened to the plane?
They don't know, Samantha.
Is there any way that we can make
money from this? Couldn't we get on
television if we sue the airline?
INT. HOLIDAY INN, ROOM 615 - NEXT
Rose and Eddie lie awake in the dark.
So let me get this straight. No
airline will claim ownership of the
engine. So we have to wait for the
FAA to decide who fixes my roof.
Fuck that. We're taking the money
out of savings.
(quoting Rod Serling)
You are entering a new dimension of
sight and sound...
Rose begins to laugh.
INT. HOLIDAY INN, ROOM 614 - NEXT
Why do I have to sleep with Donnie?
When you fall asleep tonight, I'm
gonna fart in your face.
(walking to the door)
I'm telling Mom.
Samantha, don't go over there.
Frankie Feedler. You remember him
from high school?
He was a year ahead of us?
He died, remember? On the way to the
He was doomed.
Rose lies there silently.
Jesus Christ. They could have said
the same thing about Donnie. Our
But he dodged it. He dodged his
Rose rolls over to embrace him.
That's my boy.
Moments later, the door to the adjoining room opens. It is
Mom, Donnie said he's gonna fart in
OCTOBER 3 1988
EXT. BUS STOP - MORNING (MONDAY MORNING, 7 A.M.)
Rose drops Donnie and Samantha off at the corner.
Ms. Farmer will pick you up from
recital. Bye, now.
She pulls of in the Taurus.
Already waiting at the bus stop is Joanie James (eleven).
Also Cherita Chen (fifteen).
Also there are Donnie's two best friends, Sean Smith (sixteen)
and Ronald Fisher (fifteen)
(raising his hands in
DARKO CHEATS DEATH! Man... you're
famous! I called you, like, a jillion
times last night!
We went to a hotel.
My dad said he found you on the golf
course. Are you sleepwalking again?
I don't wanna talk about it.
Now that you're famous, you gotta
have a smoke.
Sean hands Donnie a Marlboro Red and he takes it, looking
over at Samantha and Joanie.
What happens if you tell Mom and Dad
about this, Samantha?
You'll put Ariel in the garbage
Sean, Ronald and Donnie light up. Ronald is the most amateur-
Hey, Cherita... want a cigarette?
Go back to China, bitch!
Leave her alone, man.
Cherita looks over at Donnie... her quiet devastation poorly
EXT. / INT. MIDDLESEX RIDGE SCHOOL - MORNING (8 A.M.)
The following montage is three long Steadicam shots in the
main school hallway and courtyard.
We follow Donnie and his friends as they pour out of the
back of the emergency exit of the school bus to 'Head Over
Heels' by Tears for Fears.
We pick up teachers Karen Pomeroy (twenty-seven) and Dr.
Kenneth Monnitoff (thirty) and Kitty Farmer (forty-two),
with Jim Cunningham, as they make their way through the
Swarms of girls surround Donnie as he makes his way to his
locker. There is a huge smile on his face.
We reveal Gretchen Ross (fifteen)... we see Principal Cole
(thirty-eight) and then Samantha's dance team (Sparkle Motion)
practising their routine in the courtyard.
We follow Ms. Pomeroy into English class... then time-lapse
dissolve through the doorway...
Ms. Pomeroy has been reading from "The Destructors" by Graham
"There would be headlines in the
papers. Even the grown-up gangs who
ran the betting at the all-in
wrestling and the barrow-boys would
hear with respect how Old Misery's
house had been destroyed. It was as
though his plan had been with him
all his life, pondered through the
seasons, now in his fifteenth year
crystallised with the pain of
Donnie sits in the front.
MS. POMEROY (CONT'D)
What is Graham Greene trying to
communicate in this passage? Why do
the children break into Old Misery's
Joanie James raises her hand.
MS. POMEROY (CONT'D)
They wanted to rob him.
Joanie, if you had actually read the
short story... which, at a whopping
thirteen pages must have kept you up
all night, you would know that the
children find a great deal of money
hidden in a mattress. But they burn
The class gives an "Awwww." Joanie blushes.
MS. POMEROY (CONT'D)
Donnie Darko, perhaps, given your
recent brush with mass destruction,
you can give us your opinion?
Well... they say it right when they
are ripping the place to shreds.
When they flood the house. That
like... destruction is a form of
creation. So the fact that they
burn the money is... ironic. They
just want to see what happens when
they tear the world apart.
They want to change things.
Gretchen Ross stands at the doorway to the classroom.
May we help you?
I just registered, and I think they
put me in the wrong English class.
Ms. Pomeroy studies her.
You look like you belong here.
Umm, where do I sit?
Ms. Pomeroy thinks for a moment. There are several empty
Sit next to the boy you think is the
cutest. Girls, get up.
The whole class begins to freak out. The girls all get out
of their seats... eating this up. Ronald fixes his hair.
MS. POMEROY (CONT'D)
Quiet! Let her choose.
Without hesitation, Gretchen scans the class for every guy.
As she gracefully takes her seat next to Donnie, they make
eye contact. Donnie grins ear to ear.
The class freaks out laughing.
INT. TAURUS - SUNSET (MONDAY NIGHT, 6 P.M.)
Eddie drives Donnie down Old Gun Road, a windy back-road
that goes towards the country.
So how was school today?
It was great. We had peanut-butter
sandwiches and apples and honey at
snacktime. And then during show-and-
tell, my stuffed walrus was a big
So the construction guys say it'll
take about a week to fix the roof.
Damn airline better not fuck us on
the shingle match.
Do they know yet?
Where it came from?
No... apparently they can't tell us
what happened yet. Something about a
matching serial number that got
But I had to sign a form saying I
wouldn't talk to anyone about it.
So we're not supposed to tell anybody
what nobody knows?
You tell Dr. Thurman whatever you
Suddenly, Eddie slams on the brakes and the station wagon
comes to a sudden stop.
Standing in the road directly in front of the car is Roberta
Sparrow (101 years old, a.k.a. Grandma Death).
Grandma Death lives in a modest brick house that sits back
in a huge grassy field that overlooks the entire town. Her
mailbox sits on the edge of Old Gun Road.
EXT. OLD GUN ROAD - NEXT
Donnie gets out of the car and takes Grandma Death's hand,
walking her back towards her mailbox. He opens it for her.
No mail today.
Grandma Death smiles back at him... and begins to walk slowly
back to her house. She then turns and takes Donnie's hands
into her frail grip.
Every living creature... on this
Donnie stands there silently for a moment, and then Grandma
Death turns back towards her house.
EXT. DR. THURMAN'S RANCH - SUNSET
We see a large colonial rancher in the distance.
Dr. Lilian Thurman (fifty-eight) is a beautiful older woman.
Your mother said that you've been
skipping cycles of your medication.
I've been taking it. I just like to
make her feel guilty for all of this.
You know, abuse her. Psychologically.
All of this... certainly isn't your
mother's fault, Donald.
He is quiet for a moment.
So, I met a new friend.
Would you like to talk about this
His name is Frank.
I think he saved my life.
Don't you watch the news?
I don't own a television.
A jet engine fell on my house...
landed on my bed. While I was talking
to Frank on the golf course.
Dr. Thurman looks at him for a long beat, analysing whether
or not he is telling her the truth.
I'm not kidding.
Concerned, Dr. Thurman leans in closer.
Frank... instructed you... to get
out of bed... just before this
He said to follow him.
Follow him where?
Into the future.
Then he said that the world was coming
to an end.
He rubs his arm, where the numbers are still lightly drawn.
Do you believe that the world is
coming to an end?
INT. MIDDLESEX RIDGE SCHOOL - HALLWAY
In the empty school hallway... a gigantic tidal wave forms
in the distance and comes crashing towards us between the
INT. FAMILY ROOM - NIGHT (EARLY TUESDAY MORNING, 2 A.M.)
Donnie lies on the couch... fast asleep. His eyes slowly
There, standing in the corner of the room in the shadows is
Wake up, Donnie.
INT. MIDDLESEX RIDGE SCHOOL - NIGHT
In the dark school hallway, Donnie rounds the corner with a
flashlight, a can of spray paint, and an axe. Frank stands
in the same hallway where the tidal wave crashed.
INT. SCHOOL BASEMENT - NEXT
Donnie shines the flashlight through the basement. He
approaches some old piping.
Donnie puts the axe back over his shoulder and then lowers
it fiercely. The smashing of metal against metal echoes
through the huge room.
OCTOBER 4 1988
The same group stands and waits for the bus. The guys smoke.
Cherita stands alone. Samantha is reading something to
"And then the prince was led into a
world of strange and beautiful magic."
Donnie grabs the piece of paper from his sister.
(reading out loud)
"The Last Unicorn!" By Samantha Darko.
Donnie! Give it back!
He pushes her away.
You're wrinkling it!
Hey, it's 7:45. The bus shoulda been
here, like, twenty minutes ago.
Maybe Martha Moo finally went nuts
and hijacked the bus.
You know, there's, like, this rule.
We get to go home at 7:55.
There's no rule!
Fuck yeah there is! If the bus doesn't
show up in thirty minutes, you're
supposed to go straight home.
Yeah... he's right. Because if we
keep waiting, some guy in a van might
pull up and try to molest us. And
then our parents could sue the school
Everyone starts to get excited... looking down the road to
see if the bus is coming.
Sean's watch hits 7:55. No bus.
All right! 7:55. Everybody goes
Let's go to Donnie's house. His
parents are both at work.
The three guys begin walking.
Come on, Sam, you can call Joanie's
mom from home.
The two girls follow them. Cherita stands at the corner.
Hey, Cherita... you should go home.
Yeah, if you're still here and the
bus comes, we'll get in trouble.
Hey, porky pig. I hope you get
Suddenly, Emily Bates (ten) and Susie Bates (eight) run up
to the bus stop.
Hey! Our mom said that school is
cancelled today because it's flooded!
A horrible expression appears on Donnie's face.
INT. MIDDLESEX RIDGE SCHOOL - MORNING
A janitor named Leroy (fifty-five) stands at the end of the
hall with Principal Cole. Water rushes past their feet down
I got twelve classrooms full of water.
All coming from a busted water main.
What else? Shit, Principal Cole,
you ain't gonna believe what else.
EXT. BACK COURTYARD - MORNING
They stand before the bronze Middlesex mongrel. Spray-painted
on the concrete before it is the phrase: THEY MADE ME DO IT.
There are papers strewn everywhere. Embedded in the head of
the mongrel is an axe.
Christ. Is that an axe?
How did this happen?
I guess they made him do it.
Leroy can't help himself. He has to laugh.
Principal Cole walks off.
EXT. BUS STOP 2 - EARLY MORNING (8:15 A.M.)
Donnie, Sean, Ronald, Samantha and Joanie, Emily and Susie
walk from their bus stop.
School's closed! Everybody go home!
Yeah-huh. A cat burglar broke him
and trashed everything.
Susie talks with Emily. Joanie and Samantha listen in.
Mom said that the boys' locker room
looked like a swimming pool... and
that they found faeces everywhere.
What are faeces?
Oh my God, that is so grody.
EXT. BUS STOP 3 - NEXT
Sean looks down to another bus stop down the street.
A bunch of young kids scream out... jumping up and down.
Donnie approaches another corner alone. Ricky Danforth
(seventeen) and Seth Devlin (eighteen) stand with Gretchen.
(smoking a cigarette)
Has anyone ever told you that you're
I like your boobs.
Gretchen looks at them with disgust.
Donnie walks into the group.
They look at one another, surprised.
Wanna walk me home?
They quickly begin to walk off. Seth and Ricky look off at
Don't look so freaked.
I'm not. But you should check your
backpack 'cause those guys like to
Gretchen smiles at Donnie, and then turns back and gives
them the middle finger.
Donnie and Gretchen walk along the sidewalk together.
So... you just moved here?
Yeah. My parents got divorced. My
mom has a restraining order against
He has... emotional problems.
Oh, I... have those too.
What kind of problems does your dad
He stabbed my mom four times in the
Donnie is shocked.
Wow. Did he go to jail?
He fled. They still can't find him.
My mom and I had to change our names
and stuff. I thought Gretchen sounded
kind of cool.
I'm sorry. I was in jail once.
I accidentally burned down this house.
It was abandoned.
I got held back in school again.
Can't drive until I'm eighteen.
I think when I grow up I want to be
a painter. Or maybe a writer or
maybe both. Then I'll write a book
and draw the illustrations like a
comic book. You know, change things.
Donnie Darko is a cool name. Sounds
like a superhero.
What makes you think I'm not?
Gretchen smiles. She looks over at her house.
I should go. For physics. Monnitoff
says I have to write an essay on the
greatest invention ever to benefit
That's easy. Antiseptics.
She gives him a look.
I mean, the whole sanitation thing.
Joseph Lister... 1895. Before
antiseptics there was no sanitation,
especially in medicine.
You mean soap?
Don't knock soap. Without it, disease
would spread rapidly. If we ran out...
you and I would never live to see
the year 2000.
Wonder where we'll be then.
The best thing about soap is that
it's the only thing on earth that
can never get dirty. No matter what
crap you throw on it ...it always
rubs off. And there it is again...
Until it withers away.
She stares at him for a moment.
It's a good thing the school was
Why is that?
We never would have had this
That was a compliment.
Will you go with me?
Where are we going?
No... I mean, will you GO with me?
That's like... what they call it
here. Going together.
She gets up and begins to walk up the hill.
Where are you going?
I'm going home.
OCTOBER 6 1988
Dr. Thurman sits next to Donnie. His eyes are closed.
And when I clap my hands twice, you
will wake up. Do you understand?
So, tell me about your day, Donald.
I met a girl.
What is her name?
Gretchen. We're going together now.
Do you think a lot about girls?
How are things going at school?
I think about girls a lot.
I asked you about school.
I think about.. Fucking a lot during
What else do you think about during
I think... about... "Who's the Boss?"
Who is the boss?
I just turn the volume down and think
about fucking Alyssa Milano.
What about your family, Donnie?
No, I don't think about fucking my
family. That's sick!
Donnie... I want to hear about your
Donnie is now undoing his belt. He is no longer paying
Dr. Thurman quickly claps her hands. Donnie jolts awake...
INT. ENGLISH CLASS - DAY (FRIDAY, 8:30 A.M.)
Donnie sits with his eyes wide open, staring at something.
(out of shot)
Aaron Armitage... Cherita Chen.
Donnie's face has gone white.
We reveal on the blackboard the phrase, "They made me do
it", written over and over again.
We reveal two Police Officers standing next to Principal
Cole in the corner of the classroom.
Donnie gets up and walks over to the board and writes the
He then sits down again without hesitation.
The Police Officer hesitates for a moment, lingering over
Donnie's penmanship. He then places a '?' next to Donnie's
name on the roster. Ms. Pomeroy makes eye-contact with him.
INT. HEALTH CLASS - AFTERNOON (FRIDAY, 1 P.M.)
We pull back from a television: a cloud formation blows across
the screen revealing a logo that reads: CUNNING VISIONS
A series of interviews follows.. infomercial style.
And what I realised was that my entire
life I was a victim of my own FEAR.
I was FEEDING FEAR WITH FOOD... and
finally... I looked in the mirror.
Not just IN THE MIRROR.
LINDA CONNIE (CONT'D)
I looked THROUGH the mirror. And in
that image I saw my EGO REFLECTION.
Donnie's health class is assembled in uniform rows in front
of a television cart. Ms. Farmer paces in front of them.
(with her arm around
her geeky son)
...and for two years I thought it
was NORMAL for a fifteen-year-old to
wet the bed.
Laughter from the students.
We tried everything. But the solution
was there... all along.
(burst out emotionally)
I'm not AFRAID anymore!
A montage of "family" imagery follows.
All across America... people have
come together to join hands. People
who believe that human life is too
important... too valuable to be
controlled by FEAR.
A middle-aged man walks out onto a country patio. It is Jim
Cunningham... the guy from the golf course.
Hello. My name is Jim Cunningham.
And welcome to "Controlling Fear".
The title CONTROLLING FEAR appears on the screen... followed
by PART ONE: ATTITUDINAL BELIEFS.
Pay close attention, you could miss
Donnie stares at the screen... at Jim Cunningham.
The ruins of a brick chimney sit in the middle of a field.
Donnie, Sean and Ronald have lined up several empty beer
bottles, cans and stuffed animals on the hearth.
They take turns blasting these targets with a BB gun.
Blam! A can falls over. Ronald hands the gun to Donnie. Sean
pulls out a bottle of Raspberry Night Train and takes a sip.
He hands the bottle to Ronald.
What is this shit?
He takes a big sip... which results in a dry heave.
Raspberry. That's good shit.
Donnie aims the crosshairs on Smurfette's head. He pulls the
trigger. Smurfette falls over.
No more fuckin' for her.
Smurfette doesn't fuck.
Bullshit. Smurfette fucks all the
other smurfs. That's why Papa Smurf
made her, 'cause the other smurfs
were getting too horny.
Not Vanity. He's a homo.
Blam! A bottle shatters.
Then she fucks 'em all while Vanity
watches. And Papa Smurf films it.
Ronald takes another sip of Night Train... followed by another
dry heave. Blam! A bottle breaks.
First of all... Papa Smurf didn't
create Smurfette. Gargamel did.
She was sent in as Gargemel's evil
spy, with the intention of destroying
the smurf village. But the
overwhelming Goodness of the Smurf
Way of Life transformed her into the
Smurfette we all know and love. And
as for the whole gang-bang scenario...
it just couldn't happen. Smurfs are
asexual. They probably don't even
have reproductive organs down there
under those little white pants. The
only reason they exist is because of
magic spells and witchcraft... which
is all a bunch of bullshit if you
That's what's so illogical about the
smurfs... what's the point of living
if you don't have a dick?
Donnie aims the gun... pulls the trigger. Blam! A bottle
Dammit, Donnie! Why do you always
gotta get all smart on us!
Donnie takes the bottle of Night Train and takes a small
Their conversation is interrupted by the squealing of tyres.
EXT. OLD GUN ROAD - NEXT (MAGIC HOUR, 5 P.M.)
Down the hill, a Dodge minivan is stopped on Old Gun Road.
Grandma Death is once again in the middle of the street.
Ms. farmer leans her head out of the window.
Grandma Death doesn't hear her. She wanders around in circles.
Furious, Ms. Farmer gets out of the car and walks over to
the old woman, walking her by the shoulders back to her
MS. FARMER (CONT'D)
Please stay out of the road, Ms.
Sparrow. If this happens again, I'm
going to call social services.
Ms. Farmer gets back behind the wheel and they drive off.
Grandma Death lurks around her mailbox.
How old is Grandma Death?
A hundred and one, I think. Every
day she does the same thing. But
there's never any mail.
Grandma Death approaches the mailbox.
Here we go... this could be it.
She opens it... then closes it. Walks away.
Awwww. That sucks.
She approaches the box again...
Wait a minute... we may still have
Opens it... closes it. Walks away.
They continue to watch her, sipping liquor into the sunset,
as Grandma Death repeats this act like an ancient wind-up
INT. FAMILY ROOM - EVENING (FRIDAY, 7 P.M.)
Donnie lies on the couch watching television... where there
is a news story about the flooded school. Several construction
workers are packing up their things.
INT. UPSTAIRS BATHROOM - MOMENTS LATER (7:15 P.M.)
Looking nauseous, Donnie opens the medicine cabinet and
retrieves his pills. He takes four of them. Donnie takes a
drink of water, closing his eyes. He puts the pills back and
closes the cabinet.
In the mirror's reflection is Frank. Donnie jumps.
You got away with it. Don't worry.
Donnie reaches his hand out towards Frank and it presses
against an invisible wall, as if he were pressing his hand
against liquid glass.
How can you do that?
I can do anything I want... and so
Donnie stares closely at Frank. He then removes his hands
and moves back away from him.
EXT. MIDDLESEX SCHOOL AUDITORIUM - EVENING (7:15 P.M.)
A sign reads: EMERGENCY PTA MEETING TONIGHT.
Parents and teachers convene in front of the auditorium
Kitty Farmer hands out Xeroxed images of something.
Eddie and Rose chit-chat with other concerned parents.
Ms. Pomeroy approaches Kitty Farmer.
What are you trying to accomplish
There was urine and faeces flooded
in my office.
INT. AUDITORIUM - LATER ON
The crowd settles... Principal Cole takes the stage.
In co-operation with the county
police, we have begun an active
investigation into the cause of the
flooding... and our suspects include
several of our own students.
Kitty Farmer stands up in her seat near the front row.
I want to know why this FILTH is
being taught to our children.
The crowd stirs.
Kitty, I would appreciate... if you
Mr. Cole... not only am I a TEACHER...
but I am also a PARENT of a Middlesex
child. Therefore, I am the ONLY
person here who transcends the parent-
The bottom line... Mr. Cole... is
that there is material being taught
to our children that is cause for
this destructive behaviour.
She stands up.
MS. FARMER (CONT'D)
I have in my hand Graham Greene's
"The Destructors". This short story
is part of my daughter's English
assignment. In this story, several
children destroy an elderly man's
house from inside out. They destroy
his house without motive, without
moral consequence. They destroy
private property ...and they get
away with it.
Ms. Pomeroy shakes her head bitterly.
MS. FARMER (CONT'D)
And how do they do this? They FLOOD
the house... by breaking through the
(trying to calm her)
This meeting of the PTA was called
to inform the parents of our ongoing
I AM THE PTA! And I say that this
FILTH is directly related to this
Applause from the crowd.
MS. FARMER (CONT'D)
I think this garbage should be
Several shouts of approval come from the crowd.
INT. UPSTAIRS BATHROOM - EVENING
Donnie continues to converse with Frank.
Why did you make me flood the school?
We just want to guide you in the
Who is... we?
You'll know soon enough.
Where did you come from?
Do you believe in time travel, Donnie?
A moment of silence.
Who are you talking to?
Donnie turns to see Samantha is standing in the doorway.
Frank is gone.
INT. AUDITORIUM - NIGHT
A heated debate among the parents is under way. Frustrated,
Rose stands up. Karen Pomeroy is furious.
Excuse me... but what is the real
issue here? The PTA doesn't ban
books from school.
The PTA is here to acknowledge that
there is pornography in our school's
My GOD... woman, are you drunk?
Excuse me? You need to go back to
Do you even know who Graham Greene
I think we've all seen "Bonanza".
Ms. Pomeroy is disgusted. Rose and Eddie burst out laughing,
grab their coats, and leave.
Donnie and Gretchen play a Sega race-car driving game. Donnie
drives a souped-up red Ferrari through the Grand Canyon.
So when you sleepwalk, can you
remember afterward? Like, do you
No. I just wake up and I look around,
try to figure out where I am... how
I got there.
My dad said never wake a
sleepwalker... because they could
The Trans-Am crashes head on into a tree. Game Over.
It's like this big force... that's
in your brain. But sometimes it grows
bigger... and it spread down into
your arms and legs... and it just
sends you someplace.
So when you sleepwalk, you go
No. Every time I wake up somewhere
different. Sometimes my bike is
laying there next to me. Like once
when I woke up on the edge of this
cliff up on Carpathian Ridge.
And you'd never been there before?
They sit silently for a moment.
Do you ever feel as though there's
always someone watching you?
Well... maybe someone is, like...
giving you these dream steroids. And
sleepwalking ...is someone showing
you the way.
OCTOBER 13 1988
INT. ENGLISH CLASS - MORNING (THURSDAY, 8 A.M.)
Donnie stands in front of the class. Ms. Pomeroy sits behind
her desk. On the chalkboard is "Poetry Day".
"A storm is coming, Frank says. A
storm that will swallow the
children... and I will deliver them
from the kingdom of pain."
"I will deliver the children to their
doorsteps. I will send the monsters
back to the underground. I will send
them back to a place where no one
can see them ...except for me. Because
I am Donnie Darko."
Donnie returns to his seat. Ms. Pomeroy stares at him
Who is Frank?
A six-foot-tall bunny rabbit.
The class begins to laugh. Donnie looks over at Gretchen.
Ms. Farmer stands next to the television where Jim Cunningham
narrates the Lifeline tutorial.
And so, let us begin Lifeline Exercise
"PLEASE PRESS STOP NOW" appears on the screen.
Ms. Farmer stops the tape and moves to the blackboard. On
it, she has drawn a horizontal line book-ended by the words
"Love" and "Fear".
As you can see, the Lifeline is
controlled by two polar extremes:
"Fear" and "Love". Fear is in the
negative energy spectrum. Love is
in the positive energy spectrum.
"No duh" is a product of fear.
She stares them down for a moment... shaking her head.
MS. FARMER (CONT'D)
(handing out cards)
Now, on each card is a CHARACTER
DILEMMA which applies to the Lifeline.
Please read each character dilemma
aloud... and place an X on the
Lifeline in the appropriate place.
The students read their cards.
We'll start in the front.
Cherita Chen stands up and walks over to the blackboard.
Ms. Farmer pulls up large white cards that have black-and-
white animated cartoons on them.
Juanita has an important maths test
today. She has known about the test
for several weeks, but has not
In order to keep from failing her
class, Juanita decides that she will
cheat on the maths test.
Cherita places an X near the "Fear" end of the lifeline.
Donnie watches as several more students interpret their
respective human dilemmas.
Finally... it is his turn.
Ling Ling finds a wallet on the ground
filled with money. She takes the
wallet to the address on the driver's
license but keeps the money inside
Donnie looks at the blackboard.
I'm sorry, Ms. Farmer, I just don't
Just place an X in the appropriate
place on the Lifeline.
I just don't get this. Everything
can't be lumped into two categories.
That's too simple.
The Lifeline is divided that way.
Well, life isn't that simple. So
what if Ling Ling kept the cash and
returned the wallet? That has nothing
to do with either fear or love.
Fear and love are the deepest of
Well, yeah... OK, but you're not
listening to me.
There are other things that need to
be taken into account here. Like the
whole spectrum of human emotion.
You're just lumping everything into
these two categories... and, like,
denying everything else.
Ms. Farmer stares at Donnie vehemently. She can't believe
what she's hearing.
People aren't that simple.
(not knowing how to
argue with him)
If you don't complete the assignment,
you'll get a zero for the day.
Donnie thinks for a moment... and then raises his hand.
INT. PRINCIPAL COLE'S OFFICE - AFTERNOON (2 P.M.)
Donnie and his parents sit in front of Principal Cole.
Donald... let me preface this by
saying that your Iowa scores are...
(looking down at the
(rubbing his temples)
So... let's go over this again. What
exactly did you say to Ms. Farmer?
Donnie does not answer. We reveal Ms. Farmer standing in the
He asked me to... forcibly insert
the Lifeline exercise card into my
Silence. Rose looks down, furious. Eddie lets out a snort
laugh which he tries to conceal with a cough. It doesn't
INT. TEACHERS' LOUNGE / OFFICE - MOMENTS LATER (2:15 P.M.)
Eddie and Donnie exit Cole's office, moving on while Rose
approaches Kitty, who looks visibly shaken.
Kitty, I don't know what to say.
They've suspended him for two days.
Ever since this jet fiasco, I honestly
don't know what has gotten into him.
Rose, I'll tell you this because our
daughters have been on dance team
together for two years and I respect
you as WOMAN. But after witnessing
your son's behaviour today, I have...
Our paths through life must be
righteous. I urge you to go home
and look in the mirror and pray that
your son does not succumb to the
path of fear.
Kitty Farmer turns and walks away.
EXT. DARKO BACKYARD / PATIO - SUNSET (MAGIC HOUR, 5:30 P.M.)
Samantha jumps up and down on the trampoline.
Donnie walks into his room again for the first time since
the accident, looking around at the new furniture, paint and
carpet. Everything is perfect.
Elizabeth appears in the doorway behind him with a cordless
phone in her hand.
(into the phone)
Oh my God, remember that gym teacher,
Yeah. Well, I guess my brother called
her a fat bitch today in class and
got suspended. And my parents just
bought him all of this new shit.
Yeah, I know. I wish a jet engine
would have fallen on my room.
INT. MARINO'S ITALIAN BISTRO - NIGHT (6 P.M.)
Eddie and Rose sit across from one another at the bistro
patio... having a quiet dinner to themselves.
He's too old to be behaving this
Eddie considers this.
Oh, I say we buy him a moped.
INT. DONNIE'S ROM - NIGHT (7 P.M.)
Donnie lies in bed... looking up at the ceiling. He then
rolls over and looks at the calendar on his wall. The days
of the month of October are marked off with an X in each
square. Tacked onto the calendar is a drawing of Frank.
28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes, 12
INT. PHYSICS CLASS - DAY (FRIDAY, 2:30 P.M.)
As everyone is leaving class, Donnie stays behind.
I know that this is gonna sound kinda
weird... but do you know anything
about time travel?
Dr. Monnitoff pauses, turns and looks at Donnie. He seems to
INT. PHYSICS CLASS - LATER ON
Dr. Monnitoff has drawn a diagram on the blackboard. In his
hand he holds a copy of Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History
So... according to Hawking...
wormholes might be able to provide a
shot cut for jumping between two
distant regions of space-time.
So... in order to travel back in
time, you'd have to have a big
spaceship or something that can travel
faster than the speed of light --
-- and be able to find one of these
A wormhole with an Einstein-Rosen
bridge, which is, theoretically... a
wormhole in space controlled by man.
So... that's it?
The basic principles of time travel
So you have the vessel and the portal.
And the vessel can be anything.
Most likely a spacecraft.
EXT. SCHOOL COURTYARD - NEXT
Cherita Chen listens to this conversation intently.
INT. PHYSICS CLASS - NEXT
Like a DeLorean.
A metal craft of any kind.
Donnie stares at him intently. Dr. Monnitoff walks over to
his desk and picks up a book.
DR. MONNITOFF (CONT'D)
Don't tell anybody that I gave you
The woman who wrote it... used to
teach here a long time ago. She was
a nun for many years and then
overnight she just became this
entirely different person. She up
and left the Church, wrote this book,
and started teaching science.
Donnie takes the battered book... we see the cover.
INT. SCHOOL MAIN HALLWAY - MOMENTS LATER
Donnie stands before an array of old photographs. We zoom in
to a black-and-white photograph of a young Robert Sparrow
standing in a class photograph dated 1944.
Donnie looks down at the book, and then at the photograph.
Roberta Sparrow... Grandma Death.
INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT (FRIDAY, 6 P.M.)
Donnie sits down for dinner with his family.
It's called "The Philosophy of Time
What does time travel have to do
Guess who wrote it?
No one seems to know.
That is a terrible nickname.
You know, Roberta Sparrow. We almost
hit her with the car the other day.
I've heard she's loaded.
The family is taken aback.
You're right. Roberta Sparrow was
famous for her gem collections. Kids
used to try and steal stuff from her
all the time. Over the years... as
she got older, she became more and
more of a recluse... now she just
likes to stay up there all by herself.
I guess she just lost faith in the
Slow motion. Donnie and Gretchen jump up and down on the
trampoline, lost among falling autumn leaves.
INT. THERAPIST'S OFFICE - DAY (SUNDAY, 12 P.M.)
Donnie is back on Dr. Thurman's couch.
How many times have you seen Frank?
Four times... so far.
Can anyone else see him?
I don't think so. It's like a TV
station. And they're tuned into
mine and no one else's.
Who is they? Is Frank part of some
I don't know. Gretchen has a theory.
That Frank is a sign. I told her I
thought it was ridiculous.
A sign from whom?
(changing the subject)
I think that Frank wants me to go to
(holding up the book)
She wrote a book about time travel.
Frank asked me if I believed in time
travel. That can't just be a random
My dad almost hit her with the car
the other day, and she said the
creepiest thing. She said that every
living creature on this earth dies
How does that make you feel?
It reminded me of my dog Callie.
Is Callie still around?
No. She died when I was eight. We
couldn't find her for days. She
went and crawled underneath our back
Do you feel alone right now?
He looks at her for a moment.
I'd like to believe that I'm not...
but I've just never seen any proof.
So I just choose not to bother with
it. It's, like, I could spend my
whole life thinking about it...
debating it in my head. Weighing
the pros and cons. And in the end,
I still wouldn't have any proof. So
...I don't even debate it any more.
Because it's absurd.
I don't want to be alone.
So, does that make me, like, an
No. That makes you keep searching.
Donnie takes this in for a moment.
INT. FAMILY ROOM - EVENING (SUNDAY, 7:15 P.M.)
Eddie and Dr. Fisher watch the Redskins game. Ronald and
Donnie watch the game in the family room.
Ahh... we need Theisman.
We need a miracle.
INT. KITCHEN - NEXT
Rose and Anne Fisher (forty-five) share a bottle of wine at
the kitchen table.
And so, his tapes made me realise
that for forty-five years I have
been a a prisoner of fear. Rose, you
have to meet Jim Cunningham.
(taking a sip of wine)
I can't believe he's not married.
Samantha bounces through the kitchen and into the family
room, wearing a Dorothy outfit from "The Wizard of Oz".
INT. FAMILY ROOM - NEXT
Donnie sits back in the La-Z Boy, dozing off...
John Madden's CBS chalkboard unfolds on the TV screen. Madden
traces his electronic lines across the screen, tracing the
movement of the players... as their images are frozen in
Donnie's eyes close... and then re-open.
Donnie turns his head and sees that the room is momentarily
bathed in artificial white light, as if God hit the slow-
motion button during a flash of lightning.
Donnie turns his head and sees that protruding from his
father's stomach... is a thick spear made of silvery plastic
As Eddie gets up from the couch to walk over to the
refrigerator ...his spear precedes him... morphing into an
extruded arrow that reaches the refrigerator several seconds
The spear traces the exact geography of his movement through
time... using his centre of gravity as its axis point.
Donnie turns and sees Samantha skipping from the kitchen...
as her spear bounces several feet in front of her like a
Her spear... smaller than her father's... is proportional to
(her voice echoing
through the silence)
Follow the yellow brick road...
Donnie looks down at his stomach and sees his own spear
protruding outward. It then begins to extrude forward towards
He does not follow it. It then retreats back in and beckons
him to follow.
Like a child transfixed by a firefly... Donnie follows the
path of his spear into the foyer.
INT. FOYER / UPSTAIRS HALLWAY - NXT
Donnie and his spear round the corner and arrive in his
His spear leads him to the closet. He opens the closet door...
and the spear leads him down to a box hidden beneath his
father's shoe rack.
Donnie removes the box from the closet and unlatches it.
Inside is a gun. Donnie removes the pistol from the box...
staring at it with the same childlike expression.
Suddenly... Donnie's universe snaps back to normal. The white
light strobes... the spear has vanished.
Donnie still holds the gun. His expression changes to nervous
His eyes linger over the gun for a moment, he then quickly
puts it back in the box... and carefully places the box back
under the shoe rack.
OCTOBER 18 1988
EXT. BUS STOP - MORNING (TUESDAY, 7:30 A.M.)
The usual bus stop crew is there. Donnie arrives last... by
himself. He looks tired and preoccupied.
A plane flies overhead... they all look up at the sky.
INT. ENGLISH CLASS - MORNING (8:30 A.M.)
We see the students placing the Graham Greene books on Ms.
It gives me no pleasure to deny you
the right to read one of the great
writers of the twentieth century.
But... alas, I have not yet been
elected Queen of the Universe. And
until that day, I will be forced to
obey the rules... and so will you.
So... if anyone is found carrying
this book in school, they will be
Donnie slips his book into his backpack.
MS. POMEROY (CONT'D)
But let's not worry. Someone has
already pre-ordered several dozen
copies at Sarasota Mall Waldenbooks.
now, in Mr. Greene's absence, we
will be reading another classic.
Richard Adams' "Watership Down".
She begins to hand out copies of the paperback novel. Beth
Farmer smiles when she sees the cover.
(whispering in his
Donnie, maybe you and Frank can read
this one together.
INT. SCHOOL BATHROOM - MIDDAY (11:30 A.M.)
Donnie walks along the edge of the school. Suddenly, a figure
approaches, grabbing him from behind, placing a switchblade
next to his throat. It is Seth Devlin.
Did you tell them that I flooded the
I didn't say shit.
That's not what I heard. Now they
think I did it.
Well, if you're innocent, then you
have nothing to worry about.
You know what? I think that you did
Seth takes the knife and pokes the tip softly into the flesh
of Donnie's neck, drawing a small amount of blood.
He pushes Donnie away. Donnie touches his neck in shock.
INT. PHYSICS CLASS - DAY (2:30 P.M.)
Donnie walks into the classroom and takes his seat next to
Gretchen. He is sweating profusely.
Dr. Monnitoff is handing out papers. The bell rings People
Don't forget tomorrow we'll be meeting
with our partners for the Young
Donnie rubs his finger over his neck wound.
What happened to your neck?
I don't want to talk about it.
(changing the subject)
So what happened to your neck?
Donnie and Gretchen walk around the trail.
Were you ever afraid of the dark?
They pull over to a stop.
She thinks for a moment.
Babies cry because they're afraid of
the dark. And because they have no
memories... for all they know...
every night could be the last forever.
Like, perpetual darkness.
Why not just buy your baby a night
That's not good enough. You've got
to go back in time and take all those
hours of darkness and pain and replace
them... with whatever you wanted.
With, like, images?
Like... a Hawaiian sunset... the
Grand Canyon. Things that remind you
how beautiful the world can be.
Donnie stops and takes Gretchen's hand.
You know... we've been going together
for a week and a half...
You want to kiss me...
Donnie goes in for an awkward kiss... but Gretchen turns and
Donnie turns away, embarrassed.
That's alright... I understand.
No... Donnie, wait. I've never...
I always wanted it to be at a time
when ...when it reminds you how
beautiful the world can be.
Yeah. And right now there's some fat
guy over there watching us.
A man in a red jogging suit is standing there in the forest
smoking a cigarette. He turns away... disappearing into the
EXT. NEIGHBOURHOOD STREET - LATER THAT AFTERNOON (4 P.M.)
Donnie rides along the sidewalk... and skids to a stop, seeing
a wallet lying there.
Donnie opens the wallet, looking at the ID. It reads:
42 POWDERHAM DRIVE
MIDDLESEX, VA 23113
(echoing in Donnie's
Now you know where he lives.
Donnie looks over and sees that he is in front of Cunningham's
INT. KITCHEN - EVENING (7:15 P.M.)
Donnie sits at the kitchen island with Elizabeth, carving a
So I hear you have a girlfriend.
What's her name?
You're not gonna tell Mom, are you?
Why would I tell Mom?
Because you tell Mom everything.
No I don't.
She worries about you.
Well, don't worry... I'm taking my
It's not that. I mean mouthing off
to your teachers. I'll admit... when
Dad told me what you said to Ms.
Farmer, I laughed my ass off.
I was just being honest.
Yeah... well, that's not the way the
world works. If you keep being too
honest, the world will eventually
find a way to destroy you.
Her name is Gretchen.
That's a nice name.
OK, let me see it.
Donnie turns the carved jack o' lantern around and we see
that it looks remarkably like Frank.
Rose and Eddie sit in front of Dr. Thurman.
Thank you for seeing us... We...
just felt that it was time to
What I think is going on with your
Well, you know about his past. And
when you said to look for signs of
aggression ...He was recently
suspended from school for insulting
his gym teacher.
She deserved it.
Rose... let me just lay out what I
believe is happening here. Donnie's
aggressive behaviour seems to stem
from his increased detachment from
reality. His inability to cope with
the forces in the world that he
perceives to be threatening.
Rose smiles nervously.
DR. THURMAN (CONT'D)
Has your son ever told you about
Frank... the giant bunny rabbit?
Donnie is experiencing what is
commonly called a daylight
You're telling me my son has an
He has described lengthy
conversations... physical encounters
with what I believe to be a
manifestation of his subconscious
Rose looks over at Eddie with an expression of panic.
I... What can we do?
I would like to put him through more
hypnotherapy... and increase his
Eddie looks at Rose... who nods in approval.
If that's what you think is necessary.
But let me remind you that this
treatment is... experimental.
INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT
Donnie walks into the kitchen and removes a butcher's knife
from a drawer.
INT. UPSTAIRS BATHROOM - NIGHT
Donnie stands in front of the bathroom mirror... catatonic...
looking at his reflection.
Frank stands behind him.
Suddenly, Donnie turns around with the butcher's knife and
lunges at Frank with all of his weight.
The knife collides with Frank's invisible force field as if
it were liquid steel. Donnie lunges repeatedly at Frank with
psychotic rage... but the knife bounces off.
OCTOBER 20 1988
INT. SCHOOL AUDITORIUM - MORNING (10 A.M.)
The auditorium is packed with Middlesex mongrels. Jim
Cunningham takes the stage.
Good morning, mongrels!
That's all the gusta you can musta?
I said, "Good morning!"
Now that's better... but I still
sense some students out there... who
are AFRAID ...just to say GOOD
Are you AFRAID?
Now that's what I like to hear!
Because too many young men and women
today are paralysed by their fears.
They give in to their feelings of
self-doubt... they surrender their
bodies to the temptations of drugs,
alcohol and premarital sex. Empty
solutions. These are toxic chemicals
...and disease-spreading behaviour.
A large screen lowers behind him.
JIM CUNNINGHAM (CONT'D)
I would like to tell you a story
today about a young man whose life
was destroyed by the instruments of
fear. A young man searching for
love... in all the wrong places.
(shaking his head
His name was Frank.
On the giant screen, an image slide appears of a young cartoon
teenager whose eyes are whacked out on drugs. The title
appears: HIS NAME WAS FRANK.
Upon hearing the name Frank, Donnie falls into a paranoid
Gretchen, who looks extremely bored, leans over to Donnie.
Let's get out of here.
Donnie ignores her. His eyes are locked on Jim Cunningham,
who begins his rousing re-enactment of the sad, unfortunate
downfall of Frank.
Within minutes, Jim Cunningham has the crowd laughing...
enamoured of him with his cartoon slide show.
Note: during this sequence, the camera speed ramps to 4 bps.
Donnie is in a trance.
We're moving through time.
The huge screen rises upwards and Jim Cunningham takes
questions from the crowd from portable mike stands in the
back of the auditorium.
Several students get up and go to the mikes.
Hi. Um... my stepsister... like... I
sometimes worry that she eats too
at her sister from
Shut up, Kim!
I'm just trying to help you!
There's no need to be embarrassed.
Many times we eat because we are
afraid to face the reality of our
ego reflections. We shouldn't just
look INTO the mirror. We should look
THROUGH the mirror.
Kitty Farmer runs out onto the stage and hands Jim Cunningham
a bottle of water and a towel. She gives him the thumbs-up
sign, and runs back offstage.
Um... How can I decide what I want
to be when I grow up?
I think you should look deep within
yourself... deep within your heart...
and find what it is in the world
that makes you feel LOVE. Just pure
LOVE. And then go to that. In your
studies... in your athletics... go
Donnie gets up from his seat and goes to the mike.
What can I do to learn how to fight?
Violence is a product of fear. Those
who love themselves enough should
have no need to fight another person.
Learn to truly love yourself... and
the world will be yours.
Donnie steps up to the mike stand.
How much are they paying you to be
Excuse me? What's your name, son?
Well, Gerald, I think you're afraid.
Well, Jim, I think you're full of
There are rumblings from the faculty. Some laughter from the
Are you telling us this crap because
you want us to buy your book? Because
I'll tell you something, that was
some of the worst advice I've ever
(to Dorky Girl)
If you want your sister to lose
weight... tell her to get off the
couch, stop eating Twinkies... and
maybe go out for field hockey.
(to Lanky Kid)
You're never gonna know what you
want to be when you grow up. Most of
the time, nobody does. How about
And you... Sick of some jerk shoving
your head in a toilet? Then go lift
some weights... take a karate lesson.
And when he tries to do it again...
kick him in the balls.
More rumblings from the faculty... Laughter from the students
I think you are afraid to ask me for
advice. I think that you are a very
troubled... confused young man. I
think you're searching for answers
in all the wrong places.
Well, I think you're the fucking
The crowd is stirring. Students break out into applause.
Principal Cole approaches Donnie and removes him from the
Gretchen watches him go with a smile.
EXT. OLD GUN ROAD - AFTERNOON (3:30 P.M.)
Donnie and Gretchen walk down the wooded road.
They suspended me for two days.
Are you okay?
I've been seeing stuff... a lot of
really messed-up stuff.
Do you know who Grandma Death is?
The old crazy woman who lives off
Old Gun Road.
Donnie takes out the book by Roberta Sparrow.
(taking the book)
"The Philosophy of Time Travel".
What is this?
She wrote it.
There are chapters in this book that
describe the stuff I've been seeing.
It can't just be a coincidence.
Will you come see her with me?
Donnie and Gretchen stand at the end of Grandma Death's
Gretchen leads Donnie up to the front porch of the decrepit
house. She then rings the doorbell. They wait for several
moments ...nothing happens.
Gretchen then goes and peers through a window.
I know she's here. She never leaves
Maybe she's asleep.
They walk to the end of the driveway, and Donnie stops at
the mailbox. He opens it... empty.
(pointing at the house)
In an upstairs window of the house, the silhouette of Grandma
Death peers down at them ominously.
INT. DONNIE'S ROOM - AFTERNOON
Donnie sits at his desk, sealing an envelope. The address
MS. ROBERTA SPARROW
22 OLD GUN ROAD
MIDDLESEX, VA 23113
OCTOBER 23 1988
INT. THERAPIST'S OFFICE - EVENING (6 P.M.)
Dr. Thurman looks at a diagram from Sparrow's boo. Donnie is
pacing around her office.
And they grow out of our stomachs?
It was just like she described them
in her book. Like they were alive.
The way that they looked... moved...
smelled. They were like workers...
assigned to each one of us.
(long beat, then
I followed my spear... and I found
What did you find?
Donnie is silent for a moment.
Have you told Gretchen about the
Yeah, but if I told her about the
other stuff about Frank...
Are you embarrassed by these things
that you see?
You know... every week I come in
here and I tell you stuff... and
it's all embarrassing.
I tell you stuff that I don't tell
anyone else... and you know what?
It's your turn, Dr. Thurman. I'm not
saying anything else until you tell
me something embarrassing about
Donnie makes a "zipper lip" gesture.
(long, stubborn beat)
I once had an extended sexual fantasy
involving Mr. Rogers.
Donnie just stares at her.
That's OK, Dr. Thurman, it's nothing
to be embarrassed about. I have sexual
fantasies all the time too.
I mean... Gretchen... She won't even
let me kiss her. She says because
it's our first kiss... she's, like,
waiting for this big... moment or
something. I just don't get it. I
just want to get it over with so we
can move on to the good stuff.
The good stuff.
Yeah... you know...
(cutting him off)
Have you ever made love, Donald?
Donnie looks at her... and we know the answer.
INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT (7:15 P.M.)
The entire family is having dinner. Donnie is lost in a
Donnie, are you coming to my talent
Donnie ignores her.
He can't, Samantha. He's been
suspended from after-school
activities. Donnie... are you still
How was your therapy session tonight?
Fine. You know, Dr. Thurman isn't so
bad a lady. I can tell her anything.
Rose appears surprised and then sad at this comment. She
looks at Eddie, who just looks down at his plate of food.
Donnie and Gretchen are at the front of the room, presenting
their invention. Dr. Monnitoff presides.
So, we call them... IMGs.
Infant Memory Generators.
Yeah. So the idea is that... you buy
these glasses for your infant, and
they wear them at night when they
And inside these glasses are these
slide photographs. And each photograph
is of something peaceful... or
beautiful. Whatever pictures the
parent wants to put inside.
What effect do you think this would
have on an infant?
Well... the thing is, nobody remembers
their infancy. And anyone who says
they do is lying. We think that this
would help develop memory earlier in
Did you stop and think that maybe
infants need darkness? That darkness
is part of their natural development.
Seth Davis raises his hand.
What if the parents, like... put in
photographs of Satan... pentagrams,
dead people... stuff like that?
Is that what you'd show your kids?
I mean, didn't your dad, like, stab
Dr. Monnitoff looks over at Seth calmly.
Seth begins to walk out. Gretchen doesn't answer. There is
only the 80 IQ grin... staring back at her face. The room is
EXT. SCHOOL FRONT ENTRANCE - NEXT (2:15 P.M.)
Gretchen walks out the front door. Donnie comes chasing after
Gretchen! Gretchen... wait up!
She turns and faces him, tears in her eyes.
I'm so sorry.
They embrace... kissing for the first time.
EXT. BYRD THEATRE - MAGIC HOUR (5:30 P.M.)
The old-fashioned theater marquee reads:
THE EVIL DEAD / THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST
Donnie and Gretchen approach the box office.
Two for "Evil Dead", please.
INT. BYRD THEATRE - NEXT
Donnie and Gretchen sit in the middle of the huge, empty
"The Evil Dead" unfolds. They eat popcorn and watch silently.
Donnie looks over and sees that Gretchen is asleep.
Donnie turns back to the movie... beginning to look ill.
Donnie turns his head over and looks across Gretchen. Frank
is sitting next to her.
I want to show you something.
You have to do something for me first.
You have a request?
Yeah. Tell me why you're wearing
that stupid bunny suit.
Why are you wearing that stupid man
Take it off. I want to see you.
After a moment, Frank slowly reaches up and removes the rabbit
Donnie's eyes widen.
Underneath the headpiece is the human face of a handsome
young man. His left eye does not exist, because it has
imploded into the socket. There is blood oozing from the
Donnie just stares at him.
What happened to your eye?
I am so sorry.
Why do they call you Frank?
It is the name of my father... and
his father before me.
How much longer is this gonna last?
You should already know that.
Watch the movie, Donnie. I have
something to show you.
Donnie looks at the screen.
On the screen, "The Evil Dead" morphs into a Time Portal.
There's a storm coming.
Have you ever seen a Portal, Donnie?
Suddenly... the screen morphs into an image of a large Tudor
Burn it to the ground.
Donnie pulls out Jim Cunningham's wallet from his pocket.
Donnie contemplates his fate for several more moments, and
then gets up and walks out.
EXT. BYRD THEATRE - NIGHT (6:30 P.M.)
Donnie walks slowly past the theatre marquee.
On the stage, among blowing autumn leaves, Cherita Chen
performs a strangely beautiful mime act to Symphony No. 3 by
When her act is finally over, the crowd is indifferent, with
scattered applause and laughter. Ms. Pomeroy stands up and
Clearly affected by the laughter, Cherita walks offstage.
In the front row, the entire Darko family has assembled.
INT. AUDITORIUM BACKSTAGE - NIGHT (7:15 P.M.)
Kitty Farmer stands with the five-member dance team in a
Now girls... I want you to
concentrate. Failure is not an
option. And Bethany... if you feel
the need to vomit up there. Just
Jim Cunningham walks past them towards the stage. He stops
and touches Samantha on the shoulder... smiling.
Good luck out there.
She smiles nervously back at him. He exits onto the stage.
INT. AUDITORIUM STAGE - NEXT (7:20 P.M.)
Thank you... Cherita Chen. That was
Next... it is my distinct pleasure
to introduce to you... Emily Bates...
Suzy Bailey... Samantha Darko...
Beth Farmer ...and Joanie James.
They are... SPARKLE MOTION!
The audience roars with applause as the lights dim.
The following montage alternates between the auditorium stage
and Jim Cunningham's house.
The stage lights slowly raise as the opening beat of 'West
End Girls' by the Pet Shop Boys begins.
Under the soft stage lights... Sparkle Motion unfolds.
Donnie approaches Jim Cunningham's house.
Sparkle Motion... in perfect synchronicity.
In the living room of the house... Donnie walks through,
dousing gasoline all over the place with psychotic force. A
trail of fire spreads.
A mystery woman emerges from the back wall of the auditorium.
A couch and curtains become engulfed in flames.
Middlesex girls are jumping up and down in the aisles.
Eddie and Rose are smiling ear to ear.
Elizabeth Darko is cracking up at the entire scene.
Kids are going bonkers in the aisles.
The mystery woman takes off her glasses.
Slow motion: fire engulfs a deer taxidermy.
Ms. Pomeroy gets into the groove.
The parents are now on their feet.
The crowd roars even louder.
Slow motion: Sparkle Motion stands triumphant.
Slow motion: Donnie stands before a wall of flames.
EXT. SCHOOL AUDITORIUM - NIGHT (8 P.M.)
Cherita sits alone in the courtyard at the base of the mongrel
statue... defeated and alone.
INT. BYRD THEATRE - NIGHT (9 P.M.)
Donnie walks into the theatre and sits next to Gretchen, who
is asleep. As the credits to the film roll, Donnie wakes
What? How long was I asleep?
The whole movie. Let's go.
INT. JIM CUNNINGHAM'S HOUSE - NIGHT (9:45 P.M.)
Firemen walk through the charred room shining flashlight.
A Fireman shines his flashlight onto a mysterious door with
smoke emerging from it.
He kicks the door in... and shines the flashlight into the
EXT. CARPATHIAN RIDGE - SUNRISE (5 A.M.)
Donnie and Gretchen lie awake on a pile of blankets... staring
out into the abyssal canyon.
Helicopter shot: we swoop down over Carpathian Ridge... past
Donnie and Gretchen... over the canyon and the endless expanse
of evergreen forest.
OCTOBER 22 1988
EXT. DARKO HOUSE BACKYARD / PATIO - MORNING (11 A.M.)
Donnie and Eddie are in the backyard raking leaves onto a
I know everyone thinks I'm a nutcase.
I've been getting a lot of weird
looks from people lately.
They rake in silence for a moment.
Who's been giving you weird looks?
A lot of people. Teachers. Younger
kids. It's like they're afraid of
me for some reason.
But that's OK... because I know I
Eddie stops raking.
You're my only son...
I know, Dad.
I know I'm not the best...
But whatever happens in your life...
whatever obstacles you come up
against... you just say... and do
whatever is in your heart. You be
honest... and tell the truth... even
if they look at you funny... and
they will. They'll tell you that
you're wrong. They'll call you a
But what you've got to understand,
son, is that almost all of those
people are full of bullshit... and
they're scared of people like you.
Because you're smarter than all of
Donnie smiles at his father.
Donnie sits on his bed and stares at the calendar on his
wall. Each day is marked with an X.
He takes his pills from his nightstand... and downs three.
There are noises coming from downstairs.
INT. FAMILY ROOM - AFTERNOON
Donnie comes downstairs to see Elizabeth glued to the TV.
Oh my God, that's him. That's the
guy from last night.
On the television: a Newscaster stands in front of the charred
heap of what was once a large suburban house. Firefighters
mill about behind her.
As firefighters continue their
investigation, arson has not been
ruled out as a cause of the fire,
particularly because of the shocking
discovery made earlier today among
the burned ruins. In the basement of
the house, authorities have discovered
what has been described as a kiddie-
Policemen emerge from the basement with several large boxes
Cunningham, who has become a recent
celebrity for his motivational books,
audio tapes and videos, ducked his
head from cameras when he was arrested
at the Sarasota Heights Golf Club
this morning. In a vicious statement,
Cunning Visions executive Linda Connie
attacked the Middlesex Fire
Department... claiming a vast
Donnie stares at the television... speechless, horrified. On
the TV, Jim Cunningham hides his face from the camera.
Oh my God. Dad played golf with
Donnie says nothing, turns around... and walks upstairs.
INT. PHYSICS CLASS - DAY (2 P.M.)
Donnie and Dr. Monnitoff are having another in-depth
Each vessel travels along a vector
path through space-time... along its
centre of gravity.
Like a spear.
Like a spear that comes out of your
Uhh... sure. And in order for the
vessel to travel through time it
must find the portal, in this case
the wormhole, or some unforeseen
portal that lies undiscovered.
Could these wormholes appear in
That... is highly unlikely. You're
talking about an act of God.
If God controls time... then all
time is pre-decided. Then every living
thing travels along a set path.
I'm not following you.
If you could see your path or channel
growing out of your stomach, you
could see into the future. And that's
a form of time travel, right?
You are contradicting yourself,
Donnie. If we could see our destines
manifest themselves visually... then
we would be given the choice to betray
our chosen destinies. The very fact
that this choice exists... would
mean that all pre-formed destiny
Not if you chose to stay within God's
(cutting him off)
Donnie, I'm afraid I can't continue
this conversation. I could lose my
INT. TEACHER'S LOUNGE - AFTERNOON (2:30 P.M.)
Ms. Pomeroy sits across from Dr. Monnitoff. They both grade
Dr. Monnitoff stares at her for a long moment.
She stares at him for a while, haunted by something.
INT. PRINCIPAL COLE'S OFFICE - AFTERNOON (3 P.M.)
Ms. Pomeroy sits across from Principal Cole.
I'm sorry, Karen, this is a
specialised school. We don't think
the methods you've undertaken here
(trying to contain
With all due respect, sir, what
specifically about my methods do you
Principal Cole stares at her for a moment.
I don't have to get myself into a
debate about this, Karen, I believe
I have made myself clear.
You call this... clarity? I don't
think you have a clue what it's really
like to communicate with these kids.
You don't think that they can smell
your bullshit from a mile away? Every
day that goes by ...that we fail
to... inspire them... is another
moment that we all lose. And we are
losing them to apathy, and this...
prescribed nonsense. They are slipping
I am sorry that you have failed. Now
if you'll excuse me, I have another
appointment. You can finish out the
INT. SCHOOL OFFICE / TEACHER'S LOUNGE - NEXT (3:15 P.M.)
Ms. Pomeroy steps out from Principal Cole's office. She sees
Kitty Farmer and the Sparkle Motion girls milling about. The
mystery woman is there as well.
Ms. Pomeroy glares at Kitty Farmer before leaving.
Ms. Pomeroy steps outside through an emergency exit. She
stares out at the beautiful forest. Her eyes are filled with
Hearing the scream from the distance, we see Cherita Chen
turn her head in shock as she walks alone along the edge of
the school building, eating her lunch.
She and Ms. Pomeroy share a moment of eye contact before she
turns and heads back into the school.
INT. MAIN SCHOOL HALLWAY - NEXT (3:45 P.M.)
Ms. Pomeroy walks slowly through the hallway, wiping tears
from her face.
(over the intercom)
Good afternoon. It is my great
pleasure to announce that the
Middlesex Middle School dance team
has been invited to perform on Ed
McMahon's Star Search '88 in Los
INT. PRINCIPAL COLE'S OFFIC - NEXT (3:45 P.M.)
The Sparkle Motion girls squeal with excitement... jumping
up and down. Kitty Farmer pumps her fist in victory.
Suddenly... Linda Connie bursts into the office, grabbing
Kitty by the arm. The teacher holds up a newspaper... where
there is a headline that reads: JIM CUNNINGHAM CHARGED.
Kitty's facial expression goes from elation to horror.
INT. ENGLISH CLASS - MORNING (8:30 P.M.)
The classroom is dark. The students watch "Watership Down",
Donnie is asleep. Gretchen stares at him. Ms. Pomeroy stares
Suddenly, she turns on the lights, turning off the TV.
Donnie wakes up... with dark circles under his eyes.
And when the other rabbits hear of
Fiver's vision, do they believe him?
It could be the death of an entire
way of life, the end of an era.
Why should we care?
Because the rabbits are us, Donnie.
Why should I mourn for a rabbit like
it was a human?
Is the death of one species less
tragic than another?
Of course. A rabbit is not like us.
It has no history books... it has no
knowledge of sorrow or regret. I
like bunnies and all. They're cute...
and they're horny. And if you're
cute and horny... then you're probably
happy that you don't know who you
are... or why you're even alive. But
the only thing I've known rabbits to
do is have sex as many times as
possible before they die.
He looks over at Gretchen, who looks angry at this.
There's no point in crying for a
dead rabbit... who never feared death
to begin with.
The class is silent for a moment.
You're wrong about these rabbits.
These rabbits can talk. They are the
product of the authors imagination.
And he cares for them. So we care
for them too. We care that their
home has been destroyed... and that
their lives are in danger. Otherwise
...we've missed the point.
But aren't we forgetting the miracle
of storytelling? The dea ex machina.
The god machine. That is how the
rabbits are saved.
Gretchen looks across the room at Donnie with a disdainful
INT. MAIN SCHOOL HALLWAY - LATER (9 A.M.)
Donnie approaches Gretchen at her locker.
You want to skip fourth period and
go to the Ridge?
What's wrong with you?
What do you mean?
She turns and walks off, leaving Donnie broken and dejected.
INT. DONNIE'S ROOM - NIGHT (6:30 P.M.)
Donnie sits at his desk looking at an intricate drawing of a
cloud formation. On it he has written: THE PORTAL.
INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT (7 P.M.)
Rose and Eddie are in the kitchen. He is getting ready for a
Samantha is jumping up and down. Elizabeth is jumping up and
down, dancing with her.
Donnie looks into the kitchen from the foyer, catching his
family in a serene, contented moment of happiness. A moment
that he chooses not to interrupt.
OCTOBER 25 1988
Doorbell rings. Rose answers the door.
Kitty Farmer is there on the front porch. She is wearing a T-
shirt that reads: GOD IS AWESOME!
Rose, we have a crisis.
I am sure that you are aware of the
horrible allegations against Jim
Yes, I saw the news. Something about
a kiddie-porn dungeon.
(holding up her hand)
Please! Don't say those words.
(shaking her head)
Well... as you can see... many of us
are devastated by this news. This is
obviously some kind of conspiracy
meant to destroy an innocent man.
And I have taken it upon myself to
spearhead the Jim Cunningham defence
campaign. But unfortunately my civic
duties have created a conflict of
interest... which involves you.
Rose... I have to appear at his
arraignment tomorrow morning.
MS. FARMER (CONT'D)
And as you know, the girls also leave
for Los Angeles tomorrow morning.
Now, as their coach... I was the
obvious choice to chaperone them on
But now you can't go.
Yes. And believe me, of all the other
mothers I would never dream of asking
you, given the predicament with your
son. But none of the other mothers
are able to go.
Oh, Kitty, I don't know. This is so
last-minute... Eddie is in New York...
Rose... I don't know if you realise
how great an opportunity this is for
our daughters. This has been a dream
of ours for a long time.
Sometimes I doubt your commitment to
INT. DONNIE'S ROOM - NIGHT (7 P.M.)
Rose is standing in Donnie's room alone. She stares at a
drawing of Frank that he has tacked onto his bulletin board.
Donnie appears in the doorway. Rose jumps.
I feel like... I'm approaching
Donnie walks over and sits on his bed. Rose goes and sits
next to him.
I have to take the girls to Los
Do you get to meet Ed?
If I'm lucky.
So... I won't be back until the first.
Your dad will be back on Sunday, so
I've put Elizabeth in charge until
then. She has the car... so she can
drive you to your therapy tomorrow.
How does it feel to have a wacko for
It feels wonderful.
EXT. DARKO HOUSE DRIVEWAY - MORNING (10 A.M.)
Rose brings her luggage out to the airport van. Mystery Woman
loads Beth Farmer into the van.
Donnie sits on the back-porch steps, watching everyone
silently. Elizabeth gives Samantha a hug.
You're gonna win. I know it.
So do I.
Donnie waves goodbye.
Here are the keys to the Taurus.
There's plenty of groceries in the
fridge. And I left money on the
kitchen table. And don't forget...
Don't worry, Mom. Just go, you'll
miss your flight.
Rose turns... wanting to say goodbye to Donnie, but not
knowing how. She smiles and waves goodbye.
Donnie waves back.
Rose turns and goes to the van... handing the driver her
Donnie stands up and reluctantly approaches from the porch.
There's nothing broken... in my brain.
Rose stands there for a moment, looking at her only son.
Come on, Mom!
(to Donnie, holding
She gets into the van, as Donnie and Elizabeth watch them
INT. SCHOOL MAIN HALLWAY - AFTERNOON (3 P.M.)
Donnie walks up to Gretchen, who stands at her locker with
several other girls. The girls whisper to each other as he
Will you please talk to me?
Not now, Donnie. It isn't a good
Then when? I have to talk to you.
Gretchen walks away, looking back at him with apologetic
Donnie walks alone through the hallways... lost.
He stumbles upon Ms. Pomeroy's room. She sits behind her
desk... which has been packed up into a cardboard box.
(knocking on the door)
Ms. Pomeroy... what's going on?
Donnie... it's Friday. Shouldn't you
be off with your friends, scaring
Where are you going?
I don't know. That's a good
question... but suffice to say that
I am no longer your English teacher.
They fired me.
That's bullshit. You're a good
Thank you, Donnie. And you're a good
student. Lazy... but a good student.
Unlike most of the others, you
question Mom and Dad's rules.
What do I tell the rest of the class
when they ask about you?
Tell them that everything is going
to be just fine.
It is up to the children to save
themselves these days. Because the
parents ...they don't have a clue.
Donnie looks at the blackboard. On it she has written in
perfect penmanship: "Cellar Door".
What's "Cellar Door"?
A famous linguist once said... that
of all the phrases in the English
language, of all the endless
combinations of words in all of
history... that "Cellar Door" is the
She is silent for a moment.
Sometimes it's the only thing that
keeps us going.
She takes the box and crosses the room towards Donnie.
MS. POMEROY (CONT'D)
So... will Donnie find his Cellar
I think I already have.
But now she won't even talk to me.
Then go find her, Donnie. Don't let
her get away.
(stopping at the door)
She was right about the rabbits. Go.
INT. MAIN HALLWAY - NEXT (3:15. P.M.)
And with that... Ms. Pomeroy turns and walks down the hallway
with her career in a cardboard box... heading towards the
bright Friday afternoon sunlight.
Donnie walks back down the hallway... lost in his own
Across the way... at her locker... as Cherita Chen. Donnie
approaches her slowly like a cat.
She turns from her locker... and they make eye contact.
She looks at him warily, frightened. A book falls from her
arms onto the floor.
Written in large letters on the brown book cover is his name.
He comes face to face with her, grabs her earmuffs with both
hands, and touches his forehead to hers as if he were going
to kiss her.
I promise that one day things will
get better for you.
Cherita holds still for a moment, trembling, and then jerks
back from him. Her earmuffs come off in his hands.
She backs away from him slowly. A single tear rolls down her
She then turns and runs down the hall... disappearing from
EXT. OLD GUN ROAD - AFTERNOON (4 P.M.)
Donnie walks by himself... thinking... wearing Cherita's
OCTOBER 29 1988
Donnie is under hypnosis.
And when I clap my hands together
twice, you will wake up. Do you
So, your parents... why did you
I... I was playing with fire.
Is it Frank who wants you to destroy
the world, to set the world on fire?
Donnie doesn't answer.
People get hurt.
But it was an accident. The house
was under construction.
People get hurt. I don't want to
But you were punished.
Yes. I went to jail.
Do you wish that you were punished
by your parents instead?
They... didn't buy me what I wanted
for Christmas that year.
What did you want for Christmas that
Hungry Hungry Hippos.
How did you feel... being denied
those Hungry Hungry Hippos?
What else makes you feel regret?
That I did it again.
You've done it again?
Yes. I flooded my school... and I
burned down that pervert's house. I
think I only have a few days left...
before they catch me.
Why did you do these things, Donnie?
Did Frank tell you to commit these
He does not respond.
I have to obey him... because he
saved my life. He controls me and I
have to obey him or I'll be left all
alone... and I'll never figure out
what all of this means...
If God exists?
I think now that he might...
Because I'm so horny.
God exists because you're horny.
I think so. I think that's one of
the clues. It's a clue that tells
us... to keep going.
Where are we going?
DR. THURMAN (CONT'D)
Where are we going, Donald?
I have the power to build a time
How is that possible?
Grandma Death will teach me how.
Then how is time travel possible?
It would have to be God's portal.
They will lead me to it. Then I will
go back in time... and I won't feel
When will this happen?
Soon. Time is almost up.
Donnie gets up on his feet, staggering around the room. He
looks frightened... childlike.
It has to happen soon, it has to
Dr. Thurman gets up and tries to control Donnie... following
him around the room.
What is going to happen?
Frank is going to kill.
Who is he going to kill?
Dr. Thurman grabs him, trying to get him under control in an
DR. THURMAN (CONT'D)
Who is he going to kill?
Donnie stares across the office like a frightened child...
as the room becomes white with artificial light.
Frank is there in the office... staring back at him.
I can see him right now!
Where is he, Donald?
He's right there... He can read my
mind and he'll show me the way out
of this. The sky is going to open
up... and then He will reveal himself
If the sky were to suddenly open
up... there would be no law... there
would be no rule. There would only
be you and your memories... the
choices you've made and the people
you've touched. The life that has
been carved out from your subconscious
is the only evidence by which you
will be judged... by which you must
judge yourself. Because when this
world ends, there will only be you
and him... and no one else.
It's too late. I've already ruined
You will survive this... Donald. I
promise you that you will survive.
You must let me help you.
And when I clap my hands together,
you will wake up.
She claps her hands together twice... and Donnie snaps out
of his trance.
Donnie, calmed down and putting his jacket on, walks slowly
to the doorway.
Dr. Thurman stands looking out the window.
Donnie turns back and faces her. Beat.
DR. THURMAN (CONT'D)
Your medication. They're placebos.
Just pills made out of water.
Donald, an atheist is someone who
denies altogether the existence of a
God. You are an agnostic. An agnostic
is someone who believes that there
can be no proof of the existence of
God... but does not deny the
possibility that God exists.
Goodbye, Dr. Thurman.
INT. KITCHEN - DAY
Donnie walks into the kitchen, where Elizabeth is sitting at
I got in. I'm going to Harvard.
Donnie sits down across from her.
Mom and Dad won't be back until Sunday
night. It's Halloween Carnival. We
should throw a party. We could totally
get away with it.
Okay, but it has to be a small one.
Everything is going to be just fine.
EXT. DARKO HOUSE - NIGHT (9 P.M.)
Neighbourhood kids are trick-or-treating. The man in the red
jogging suit shines a flashlight towards the house.
There are at least two dozen cars parked in front... and
somebody is already throwing toilet paper in the trees.
INT. FOYER - NIGHT (9:30 P.M.)
The doorbell rings. Donnie answers the door... only to find
Sean and Ronald dressed in black with monster masks. They
are both carrying backpacks.
Donnie is dressed in a black skeleton suit, and his face is
painted white like a skull.
We got eggs, water balloons, and a
dozen rolls of toilet paper.
I stole four beers from my dad.
There's a keg here.
Only pussies drink keg beer.
They go back into the house towards the kitchen. There are
at least forty people, already quite wasted, many carrying
their own twelve-packs of beer under their arms.
Almost everyone is wearing a costume. Donnie and his friends
weave through the crowd toward the patio.
EXT. BACKYARD / PATIO - NEXT
Donnie and his friends watching the party unfold.
The party grows larger.
INT. THERAPIST'S OFFICE - NIGHT
Dr. Thurman paces around her office with the phone to her
INT. MASTER BEDROOM - NIGHT
The phone is ringing. The answering machine picks up.
INT. FOYER - LATER ON (11 P.M.)
The doorbell rings... and once again Donnie is the one to
answer it. To his surprise... it is Gretchen standing on his
Hey. You OK?
My mom is gone.
Where is she?
(close to tears)
I don't know. She didn't leave a
The house is all messed up.
But you're OK?
She nods yes.
Did you call the cops?
Yeah, they told me to get out of the
Donnie takes Gretchen into the hallway and gives her a hug.
I'm so scared... I just keep thinking
that something awful has happened.
It's my fucking stepdad. I know it.
It's safe here.
Donnie takes Gretchen upstairs. We reveal Elizabeth watching
INT. FAMILY ROOM - NEXT
Elizabeth walks over to a friend.
(yelling over the
Have you seen Frank?
No. I think they said they were going
on a beer run.
Donnie and Gretchen sit on the bed. Gretchen takes a sip of
Some people are just born with tragedy
in their blood.
He kisses her. He then pulls back.
There's something you have to know,
Everything is going to be just fine.
They lie down together... silently listening to the party
The phone is ringing. The answering machine picks up.
(on the answering
If you're there, please pick up.
Oh well... there's good news. The
girls... they got three and a half
stars... and they get to come back
for the quarter-finals.
INT. LAX TERMINAL - NIGHT (9 P.M. PST)
Rose stands at a payphone while the Sparkle Motion girls
wait at the terminal.
Sorry... semi-finals. Anyway... we're
taking the red-eye back tonight and
we should arrive around six a.m. I
hope everything is alright. Bye.
INT. FOYER - NIGHT (12 A.M.)
We move towards the grandfather clock and see the minute
hand reach midnight.
INT. FOYER - NIGHT (12:30 A.M.)
Donnie and Gretchen walk downstairs. They kiss, and she goes
towards the family room.
Donnie walks towards the kitchen, but then doubles over
against the wall in pain.
Suddenly... the room blows out with a strobe of white light...
as costumed teenagers and their vector spears intersect in a
shimmering maze of chaos.
Donnie slowly follows his spear as it leads him through the
crowd... directly towards the refrigerator.
Donnie stares blankly at what he sees... scrawled in magic
marker on the memo board.
It reads: FRANK WAS HERE... WENT TO GET BEER!!
Donnie stares at the board for several moment... he then
turns his head and sees a teenager with a Ronald Reagan mask
He then sees another spear come towards him. Gretchen rounds
the corner, coming in from the family room.
Donnie falls to his knees and puts his face inside the end
of Gretchen's spear. We see his P.O.V. - an abyssal tunnel
Come with me.
Where are we going?
He grabs her and pulls her out the back of the kitchen into
the back yard. Ronald and Sean follow.
EXT. BACKYARD / PATIO - NEXT
They move through the backyard.
Donnie, what's going on!
She stops him.
Time is running out. We have to go
see Grandma Death. We have to talk
Why? Is this about the book?
Ronald and Sean approach.
Donnie? Where are we going?
Donnie looks at Gretchen... This is it.
She knows. I know she knows.
EXT. NEIGHBOURHOOD STREET - NIGHT (1:15 A.M.)
The group of hour ride their bikes down the street.
EXT. FOREST - NIGHT (1:45 A.M.)
They ride their bikes through the forest.
EXT. GRANDMA DEATH'S HOUSE - NIGHT (1:30 A.M.)
They stand in front of the dark house. It is pitch-black. No
There's nobody here... Just forget
Then... there is a clanking noise from somewhere around the
side of the house. Everyone hears it.
Donnie looks towards the lower front of the house where there
is a cellar door.
Is that a cellar door?
(his eyes widen)
The cellar door is ajar... and there is a dim light coming
out from inside.
Don't open it, Donnie. Let's just
INT. GRANDMA DEATH'S CELLAR - NEXT
Donnie and Gretchen open the door to the cellar... and descend
down into a murky pit with a stone floor.
Inside... the room is quite large... filled with row after
row of boxes, paintings, antique furniture and chandeliers.
There is even an ancient piano in the back.
Gretchen slowly reaches her hand out and places her finger
on the deepest piano key.
Suddenly a figure emerges from the shadows and slams Donnie
into the wall. He then grabs Gretchen by placing an arm
around her neck with a butcher's knife.
It is Ricky Danforth. Seth comes out from another corner...
also brandishing a butcher's knife. Both have pantyhose pulled
over their heads.
Get the fuck out! Now!
Ricky drags Gretchen out. Seth drags Donnie out.
The four of them come bursting out of the cellar.
Seth holds Donnie's arms down with his knees and places the
butcher's knife against his throat.
Ricky throws Gretchen down hard onto the shoulder of Old Gun
Road. She lets out a gasp of pain as her head hits the
I have... a bigger knife now.
Sean and Ronald watch... dumbfounded, backing away.
Seth just stares down at Donnie with his dead eyes... pushing
the knife down harder, cutting off Donnie's air supply.
Hey... there's someone coming! Look,
there's a car coming!
Seth slowly turns his head and sees... far down Old Gun
Road... approaching headlights.
(barely audible whisper)
Dea ex machina...
What did you say?
The headlights are getting close.
They called the fuckin' cops!
Gretchen struggles to breathe on the shoulder of the road...
the wind knocked out of her, semi-conscious.
That's no cop...
The headlights are getting close.
(in a hoarse whisper)
You better run.
Forget it... let's go!
Seth doesn't move... He just stares down at Donnie.
Come on! Let's go!
You're dead, Donnie Darko.
Seth gets up and runs off with Ricky into the forest... just
as the approaching car crests the top of Old Gun Road at
Suddenly, in the bright glow of the car's headlights... is
the silhouette of Grandma Death... standing in the middle of
the road. In her right hand she is clutching a letter.
The car swerves left, barely missing Grandma Death.
The Pontiac tries to brake hard... but the wheels lock...
and it goes skidding onto the shoulder.
Gretchen raises her head from the gravel... into bright
The Trans-Am goes barrelling over her like a speed-bump...
and her limp body rolls off into the grassy ditch.
The Trans-Am skids off into the grass and collides head-on
with the crumbling stone chimney... which explodes into the
crumpled hood of the car... as it eventually comes to a stop
in a fury of smoke.
Donnie staggers to his feet... regaining his breath. He runs
over to Gretchen and kneels down next to her.
Gretchen... wake up. Wake up.
Her neck is broken. She has no pulse.
The passenger door to the Trans-Am opens, and a passenger in
a clown costume gets out.
The driver's side door opens and the driver gets out.
He is wearing a rabbit suit. A Halloween costume.
He is holding the grotesque rabbit helmet in his hand.
It is Frank.
Frank... what'd you do... what'd you
Frank approaches Donnie... who raises his head from Gretchen
to see him for the first time... face to face... with an
expression of shocked horror.
She's dead. You killed her, Frank!
Frank is in shock.
Donnie slowly nods his head. Sean and Ronald approach him
slowly. Grandma Death looms behind them.
What the fuck. Look at my fucking
Let's get out of here. Let's get out
of here, Frank!
What were you stupid fucks doing in
the middle of the road?
Waiting for you.
Donnie raises the gun from his father's closet with his right
hand, and to his own surprise, he pulls the trigger.
Frank's left eye implodes as the bullet passes through his
head. His body falls limply to the ground.
The Passenger turns and runs off into the woods.
What'd you do, Donnie? What'd you
Go home. Go home and tell your parents
that everything is going to be just
After contemplation of the recent events... Sean and Ronald
turn and run off in the opposite direction.
Donnie is left alone... with the dead bodies.
He turns and stares at Grandma Death... who is calmly standing
there... with his letter in her hand.
A storm is coming.
You must hurry.
Donnie is still in shock.
EXT. NEIGHBOURHOOD STREET - EARLY MORNING (4:30 A.M.)
Donnie carries Gretchen home.
Donnie looks down at Elizabeth asleep on the couch. He then
leans down and gives her a kiss on the forehead.
EXT. DARKO HOUSE DRIVEWAY - NEXT
Donnie walks out to the Taurus, then stops and looks up at
EXT. DARKO HOUSE - DRIVEWAY - NEXT
The Time Portal begins to form above the house.
Donnie touches his stomach... feeling sick once again.
Donnie then steps into the car, where Gretchen sits in the
passenger seat. He turns on the engine and peels out of the
INT. FORD TAURUS - EARLY MORNING
Donnie drives the Taurus up Carpathian Ridge.
EXT. CARPATHIAN RIDGE - EARLY MORNING (5:30 A.M.)
Donnie sits on the roof of the Taurus looking out.
He smiles, lighting a cigarette.
28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes, 12
seconds. We're almost home.
EXT. SKY - NEXT
We see the Time Portal in the distance, forming.
INT. FLIGHT 2806 - DAWN (6 A.M.)
Samantha Darko is fast asleep. Her head rests on Rose's
shoulder. She looks out of the window at the rising sun.
EXT. DARKO HOUSE - DAWN
The Portal continues to form above the Darko house.
Police cars pull up in front of the house.
EXT. CARPATHIAN RIDGE - DAWN
Donnie continues to stare out at the canyon.
EXT. SKY - NEXT
We see the Time Portal once again.
INT. FORD TAURUS - NEXT
Donnie steps off the hood and gets into the car.
He takes Gretchen's hand.
INT. FLIGHT 2806 - NEXT
On the plane, Rose looks out of the window as the jet wing
explodes (audio only... we don't see it). She screams out as
the cabin shakes violently.
EXT. DARKO HOUSE - DAWN
The Time Portal continues to form over the house.
EXT. SKY - NEXT
The left jet engine from Flight 2806 falls downward through
the sky. Beneath it, the Portal forms itself.
EXT. SKY - NEXT
The falling jet engine approaches the hexagonal plate of
light which accelerates downwards... forming a tunnel with
walls made of swirling liquid marble.
The jet engine passes into the hexagonal plate.
INT. / EXT. VARIOUS
In a series of inter-velometer time-lapse shots... the entire
suburban landscape retreats backward in a fury of speed.
Shot 1: a time-lapse of the mongrel statue.
Shot 2: a time-lapse of the main school hallway.
Shot 3: a time-lapse of the main school building.
Shot 4: a time-lapse of neighbourhood street/Darko house.
INT. FOYER - NIGHT
We Steadicam up the stairs.
INT. DONNIE'S ROOM - NIGHT
We move towards Donnie's empty bed.
OCTOBER 2 1988
INT. VARIOUS BEDROOMS - NIGHT (1:30 A.M.)
Dr. Thurman wakes up.
Jim Cunningham wakes up... sobbing.
Kitty Farmer wakes up... coming to a horrible realisation.
Karen Pomeroy and Dr. Monnitoff wake up together.
Cherita Chen wakes up.
EXT. SKY - NIGHT (1:30 A.M.)
The jet engine falls silently through the night down towards
the Darko house... having travelled back in time.
INT. DONNIE'S ROOM - NEXT
Donnie wakes up. He is laughing hysterically.
The engine crashes through his ceiling... engulfing the room.
INT. FAMILY ROOM - NEXT
Eddie jumps up from the La-Z Boy... startled awake by the
INT. MASTER BEDROOM - NEXT
Rose sits up in bed, hearing the crash.
INT. FOYER - NEXT
Elizabeth leans against the wall, screaming.
INT. DONNIE'S ROOM - NEXT
The mammoth jet engine has plummeted all the way down through
the house, creating a cavernous hole that splits Donnie's
room in half. The smoke from the wreckage begins to clear.
Above the engine is Donnie... impaled through the stomach by
a wooden beam that was once part of the floor beneath his
bed. There is blood gushing from his mouth, as his face is
contorted into an expression that could almost be a smile.
The same disaster scene as before... only more media, more
neighbours, and a Coroner. People stand around in shock...
From the other end of the street, a girl comes riding along
on a bike... slowly taking in the entire scene. She pulls
up to the kerb where a kid named David (eleven) is standing
It is Gretchen Ross.
Hi... what's going on here?
Horrible accident. My neighbour...
he got killed.
He got smooshed. By a jet engine.
She stares at the house, where paramedics wheel a body out
of the front door.
What was his name?
Donnie. Donnie Darko.
They stare at the front yard for a while. We see Elizabeth.
We see Eddie, carrying Samantha... who is crying.
I feel bad for his family.
Did you know him?
She stares at the family for several moments... and then
shakes her head slowly as if trying to locate a memory that
is slipping away.
Rose, leaning against a tree while smoking a cigarette,
notices them. She seems to recognise Gretchen... from
somewhere in the vast reservoir of her memory.
She waves at her.
She waves back.
|Donnie Darko||Donnie Darko starts off as a disoriented and rebellious teenager with mental health issues, searching for direction and answers. As he becomes more detached from society and reality, he begins to experience supernatural forces and visions that lead him to a deeper understanding of himself and his purpose. He displays bravery and reluctant heroism, ultimately sacrificing himself to fix the timeline and save those he cares about, demonstrating his growth and acceptance of his fate.||The character arc is well-developed and effectively portrays the growth and transformation of Donnie Darko throughout the movie. However, some parts of his journey feel rushed or underdeveloped, such as his relationship with Gretchen and his fascination with death. While these elements add to his character, they could have been explored more fully.||To improve the character arc, there could have been more emphasis on Donnie's relationships with others, particularly Gretchen, to further highlight his growth and emotional depth. Additionally, further development of his interest in death and mortality could have added more nuance to his character. Overall, more attention to detail in these areas could have made the character arc even more impactful and memorable.|
|Rose||Rose starts off as a stressed and controlling mother who is struggling to connect with her family. Throughout the movie, she becomes more concerned, caring, and motherly towards her son, Donnie. She realizes the importance of emotional connection and tries to bridge the gap between her and her family. At the end of the movie, Rose becomes older, but still sharp-witted and observant, with a strong intuition.||The character arc for Rose seems a bit underdeveloped and lacks significant growth. While there is some progression in her character, it is not fully explored or impactful enough to leave a lasting impression.||To improve the character arc for Rose, the movie could have given her more screentime and a more defined conflict to overcome. This would allow for a more significant growth in her character and a stronger connection with the audience. Additionally, showing more of her relationship with Donnie could add depth to her character and provide a stronger emotional payoff at the end of the movie.|
|Frank||Frank starts the movie as a mysterious and possibly supernatural figure guiding Donnie towards some kind of destiny and ends up being revealed as an antagonist who has been manipulating Donnie throughout the film. His motivations remain unclear, but his death raises more questions than answers and leaves the audience wondering about his true nature.||While Frank's arc is interesting and keeps the audience engaged, it feels somewhat incomplete. His motivations and true nature are never fully explained, and his death leaves a lot of unanswered questions.||To improve Frank's arc, it would be helpful to provide more backstory and information about him throughout the movie. This would make his motivations clearer and make his eventual reveal more impactful. Additionally, resolving some of the unanswered questions surrounding his death would help give the audience a sense of closure.|
|Donnie||Donnie starts off as a troubled but curious teenager who is struggling to make sense of his experiences with Frank and his own mortality. As the story progresses, Donnie becomes more determined and brave, showing his protective and caring side towards others, particularly Gretchen. However, his decision to kill Frank raises questions about his morality and the consequences of his actions.||The character arc for Donnie could be more clearly defined and developed throughout the film. His mental health struggles and fascination with time travel are established early on but could be better connected to his motivations and actions later in the story. Additionally, the resolution of the story and Donnie's ultimate fate could be more satisfying and less confusing.||To improve Donnie's character arc, the film could more explicitly connect his mental health struggles and fascination with time travel to his motivations and actions. Additionally, the resolution of the story could be clarified and made more satisfying by providing more context and explanation for the strange events that have occurred. Donnie's ultimate fate could also be more clearly defined and connected to his character arc throughout the film.|
|Dr. Thurman||Dr. Thurman starts off as a trained therapist who wants to help Donnie but doesn't fully understand his experiences, as she becomes concerned about his erratic behavior, suspects he may be experiencing hallucinations or delusions, and is patient and understanding but also skeptical of his claims. Throughout the movie, she continues to work with Donnie and becomes more open to his experiences, eventually embracing and believing in them as a means to help him come to terms with his anxiety and existential concerns.||The character arc for Dr. Thurman is decent but lacks significant development. Her change of heart feels a bit too sudden and unearned, as we do not see enough evidence of her questioning her initial skepticism and embracing Donnie's experiences. Additionally, her character is somewhat one-dimensional and lacks significant depth.||To improve her character arc, we recommend providing more details about why Dr. Thurman becomes more open to Donnie's experiences. Perhaps she sees tangible evidence that supports his claims, or she starts to experience similar visions herself. Additionally, adding some personal conflicts or backstory for Dr. Thurman could add more depth to her character and make her more relatable to the audience.|
|Gretchen||Gretchen starts off as a new student who is drawn to Donnie despite his strange behavior. She stands up for herself against bullying and becomes Donnie's love interest and confidante. She is a supporting character who provides a sense of stability and hope for Donnie. However, her tragic death adds to the emotional impact of the movie and fuels Donnie's journey towards acceptance and understanding.||The character arc for Gretchen is well developed, but her death feels more like a plot device to further Donnie's story rather than a fully realized end to her own arc. It also perpetuates the trope of the 'fridged girlfriend', where a female character is killed off to motivate the male protagonist.||To improve Gretchen's character arc, she should have more agency and her own storyline beyond her relationship with Donnie. Perhaps she too is struggling with mental health issues or has her own interests in the paranormal. This would make her death more impactful as it would be the end of her own character arc rather than just a catalyst for Donnie's journey.|
|Donnie Darko must unravel the truth behind his visions of a grotesque bunny named Frank who predicts the end of the world in 28 days.|
|As the world countdowns to its end, Donnie must confront school drama, family tensions, and his own fears to try and save his loved ones.|
|With the help of his girlfriend Gretchen and a book, Donnie must decode his hallucinations and come to terms with his fate.|
|Amidst paranoia and uncertainty, Donnie must embrace his heroic destiny and travel through time to avoid the end of the world.|
|Donnie Darko must make the ultimate sacrifice to reset the timeline and save the ones he loves from the impending apocalypse.|
|Dialogue and Emotional Impact||There is a positive correlation between the quality of Dialogue and Emotional Impact scores. When the dialogue is good, it has a stronger emotional impact on the reader/viewer.|
|Conflict and High Stakes||There is a lack of correlation between Conflict and High Stakes scores. A story can have a lot of conflict without high stakes or can have high stakes without much conflict.|
|Tone and Emotional Impact||There is a positive correlation between Tone and Emotional Impact scores. When the tone is well-set, it can enhance the emotional impact of the story.|
|Concept and Overall Grade||There is a positive correlation between Concept and Overall Grade scores. An interesting concept can help elevate the quality of the entire screenplay.|
|Plot and Character Changes||There is a positive correlation between Plot and Character Changes scores. When the plot is complex and well-developed, it can allow for more significant changes in the characters.|
|Overall Grade and Character Scores||There is a positive correlation between Overall Grade and Character scores. If the characters are well-developed and interesting, it can help elevate the overall quality of the screenplay.|
|Tone and Move Story Forward||There is a positive correlation between Tone and Move Story Forward scores. If the tone is used effectively, it can help move the story forward.|
|Character Changes and Emotional Impact||There is a positive correlation between Character Changes and Emotional Impact scores. If the characters undergo significant changes, it can enhance the emotional impact of the story.|
|Concept and Plot||There is a lack of correlation between Concept and Plot scores. A good concept does not necessarily mean a good plot, and vice versa.|
|Dialogues and Move Story Forward||There is a positive correlation between Dialogues and Move Story Forward scores. Good dialogues can help move the story forward.|
|Character Changes and High Stakes||There is a lack of correlation between Character Changes and High Stakes scores. A character's changes can be significant to the story without any huge, life-threatening stakes.|
|Dialogue and Character Changes||There is a positive correlation between Dialogue and Character Changes scores. Well-written dialogues can allow for more significant changes in the characters.|
|Emotional Impact and Overall Grade||There is a positive correlation between Emotional Impact and Overall Grade scores. If the story has a strong emotional impact, it can help elevate the overall quality of the screenplay.|
|Conflict and Move Story Forward||There is a positive correlation between Conflict and Move Story Forward scores. Conflicts are often used to move the story forward.|
|Plot and High Stakes||There is a lack of correlation between Plot and High Stakes scores. A plot can be compelling and interesting without any high stakes.|
|Tone and Conflict||There is a lack of correlation between Tone and Conflict scores. Tone can be used in any type of story, even those without much conflict.|
|Conflict and Character Changes||There is a positive correlation between Conflict and Character Changes scores. Conflicts often lead to character changes and development.|
|Characters and Emotional Impact||There is a positive correlation between Characters and Emotional Impact scores. Well-developed and interesting characters can enhance the emotional impact of the story.|
|Concept and Dialogue||There is a lack of correlation between Concept and Dialogue scores. A good concept does not necessarily mean good dialogues, and vice versa.|
|Tone and Dialogue||There is a positive correlation between Tone and Dialogue scores. A well-set tone can be enhanced by good dialogues.|
|Trope||Trope Details||Trope Explanation|
|Theme||Theme Details||Themee Explanation|
Screenwriting Resources on Themes
|Studio Binder||Movie Themes: Examples of Common Themes for Screenwriters|
|Coverfly||Improving your Screenplay's theme|
|John August||Writing from Theme|
|Story, Plot, Genre, Theme - Screenwriting Basics||Screenwriting basics - beginner video|
|What is theme||Discussion on ways to layer theme into a screenplay.|
|Thematic Mistakes You're Making in Your Script||Common Theme mistakes and Philosophical Conflicts|