Harold and Maude

Executive Summary

Pass/Consider/Recommend/Highly Recommend


Explanation: Harold and Maude is a darkly comedic and heartwarming screenplay with a unique premise and memorable characters. The strength lies in the contrasting personalities of Harold and Maude, their evolving relationship, and the exploration of life and death. However, the pacing could be tightened, some scenes feel repetitive, and further character development, particularly for Maude and in the aftermath of the climax, would enhance the narrative.

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USP: This script's Unique Selling Proposition (USP) lies in its ability to blend dark humor, introspection, and unconventional dialogue to challenge societal norms and expectations. The writer's unique voice creates a distinct tone that adds depth to the story and characters. The script stands out from others in its genre by exploring themes of mortality, individuality, and the pursuit of joy in life. Its target audience will be drawn to its thought-provoking and unconventional storytelling techniques, as well as its ability to balance humor with profound moments. Overall, this script offers a compelling and original piece of storytelling that will captivate its audience and leave a lasting impact.

Genres: Drama, Comedy, Romance, Dark Comedy, War

Setting: Contemporary, Various locations including the Chasen's den, Maude's apartment, a hospital, an amusement park, and a sea cliff road

Overview: The screenplay boasts strong character development, particularly with Harold's transformation and Maude's eccentric charm. The dialogue is witty and thought-provoking, effectively exploring themes of life, death, and societal norms. However, the pacing could be improved, and some secondary characters lack depth. The unconventional narrative may limit its broader appeal.

Themes: Death and Suicide, Mother-Son Relationship, Unconventional Love, Individuality and Self-Expression, Transience of Life, Mental Health

Conflict and Stakes: The primary conflicts in this story revolve around Harold's struggle with his own mortality, his unconventional interests, and his desire to break free from his mother's control. The stakes are his own happiness, freedom, and the potential for a meaningful connection with Maude.

Overall Mood: Darkly humorous and contemplative

Mood/Tone at Key Scenes:

  • Scene 1: The scene where Harold sets up a hanging suicide has a dark and somber tone with a touch of black humor.
  • Scene 2: The scene where Harold discovers Maude's dead body in the bathroom has a shocking and horrifying tone.
  • Scene 3: The scene where Harold and Maude attend a funeral procession has a mix of sorrow, horror, and surprise.

Standout Features:

  • Unique Characters: Harold and Maude are unconventional and memorable characters that stand out in the story.
  • Dark Humor : The screenplay's blend of dark humor and melancholy creates a unique and engaging tone.
  • Exploration of Life and Death : The screenplay's exploration of existential themes and the meaning of life adds depth and resonance to the story.

Comparable Scripts:

  • Harold and Maude (1971)
  • American Beauty (1999)
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
  • The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
Market Analysis

Budget Estimate:$5-10 million

Target Audience Demographics: Adults aged 18-45, fans of dark comedies and indie films

Marketability: The screenplay offers a unique blend of dark humor, romance, and philosophical themes, which can attract a niche audience and generate critical acclaim.

The screenplay's exploration of unconventional characters and its mix of humor and melancholy can appeal to indie film enthusiasts and fans of offbeat storytelling.

The screenplay's strong performances, unique visual style, and thought-provoking themes make it a potential cult classic and a favorite among film festival audiences.

Profit Potential: Moderate to high, due to the screenplay's potential for critical acclaim, word-of-mouth buzz, and a dedicated fan base.

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Writer's Voice

Summary:The writer's voice is characterized by a unique blend of dark humor, introspection, and unconventional dialogue, creating a distinct tone that challenges societal norms and expectations. The narrative description is vivid and often contrasts mundane settings with shocking events, adding depth to the story and characters.

Best representation: Scene 3 - Harold's Unconventional Interests and Family Concerns. This scene is the best representation of the author's voice because it showcases the writer's ability to blend dark humor with introspective moments and create a contrast between the superficial and the profound, setting the tone for the rest of the story.

Memorable Lines:

  • Harold: I love you. I love you! (Scene 38)
  • Maude: Farewell, Harold. It's been all such fun. (Scene 39)
  • Maude: To cry is to laugh. To laugh is to cry... a uniquely human trait. And the main thing in life, my dear Harold, is not to be afraid to be human. (Scene 34)
  • Maude: Reach out! Take a chance! Get hurt maybe. But play as well as you can. (Scene 24)
  • Harold: To pit your own life against another. (Scene 31)

Writing Style:

The writing style of the entire screenplay can be described as a blend of dark humor, unconventional storytelling, and exploration of philosophical and existential themes.

Style Similarities:

  • Wes Anderson
  • Charlie Kaufman
Other Similarities: The screenplay showcases a unique and distinct voice that combines whimsical and poetic elements with a focus on character development and the examination of deeper human experiences.
Story Shape