Analysis of Hors de prix

Summary The movie revolves around the character of Irène, who on her birthday, discovers her partner Jacques drunk and unresponsive in their hotel room. Despite her attempts to help him, he dismisses her concerns, leaving her feeling disappointed and alone. In another scene, Jean, a hotel employee, is exhausted from his various duties and agrees to do the closing shift at the hotel bar. As the story progresses, Irène confronts Jean in their hotel room with another woman, which ultimately leads to her decision to leave. She goes to a train station to change and store her luggage in a locker. Jean and Madeleine, a friend of Jean's, go shopping together. Irène's discovery of Jean with another woman and the subsequent confrontation becomes a turning point in the storyline. Irène's ultimate decision to leave affects not only her relationship but also the dynamics between Jean and Madeleine.

Screenplay Story Analysis

Story Critique The screenplay has an engaging plot with good development of the characters and their relationships. The scenes are well-paced and build tension effectively. However, some scenes could benefit from more visual action and less reliance on dialogue to drive the story.
  • Consider adding more visual action to certain scenes to enhance the storytelling
  • Ensure a good balance between dialogue and visual storytelling
  • Further explore the emotions and motivations of the characters to deepen the audience's connection with them

Note: This is the overall critique. For scene by scene critique click here

Characters in the screenplay, and their arcs:


Jacques is an older man who is heavily reliant on alcohol. He appears oblivious to the effect his drinking has on his relationship with Irène. He is dismissive of her concerns and often unresponsive to her needs. Though once a vibrant and charismatic individual, Jacques has sunk into a state of drunkenness and apathy.


Jean is a tired and overworked hotel employee who feels trapped in his routine. Despite his exhaustion, he agrees to work the closing shift, displaying his sense of duty and responsibility. His encounter with Irène awakens a sense of intrigue and attraction towards her beauty. Throughout the movie, Jean experiences a significant character arc as he is torn between his desires and his commitment to Irène. He initially dismisses Irène's concerns and tries to justify his actions, but ultimately realizes the consequences and the depth of his betrayal. He undergoes a transformation when he loses Irène and is left feeling devastated. Jean becomes a remorseful and apologetic man, willing to do whatever it takes to win back Irène's trust. He becomes caught in a love triangle, struggling with decision-making and feeling guilty and regretful for his actions. Jean's character is conflicted and uncertain of his own feelings, facing a moment of truth when Irène discovers his infidelity. Despite his initial confusion, he eventually shows his willingness to help Irène in her plan to deal with their past. Throughout the movie, Jean's emotions and actions make him a complex and flawed character.


Irène is a vulnerable and emotional woman who has just discovered her partner's infidelity. She is hurt and disappointed, but also determined to assert her independence.


Madeleine is a friend of Jean's and his current partner. She is described as manipulative, confrontational, and jealous, but also hurt and supportive. Madeleine is more carefree and easygoing than Irène. She witnesses Jean's actions and confronts him about his behavior, expressing her anger and advising him to reconsider. Upset and hurt by Jean's actions, she ultimately decides to end their relationship.

Character Arc Critique Suggestions
Jacques Throughout the movie, Jacques goes through a transformation from a drunk and unresponsive character to someone who acknowledges the consequences of his actions. He starts off dismissive of Irène's concerns on her birthday, showing no understanding of the effect his drinking has on their relationship. As the story progresses, Jacques becomes even more unresponsive and dismissive, pushing Irène further away. However, during a confrontation with Jean, Jacques notices Irène's emotional state and becomes persistent in trying to understand what is bothering her. This leads Jacques to confront his own alcohol addiction and the damage it has caused. In the end, Jacques starts on the journey to recovery, showing remorse and a genuine desire to change his ways. The character arc for Jacques is well-developed and has good potential. It effectively portrays his initial state of denial and apathy, followed by a realization of the consequences of his actions. However, there could be more specific and impactful moments throughout the movie that highlight his transformation. The overall progression feels a bit rushed and could benefit from more nuanced scenes that delve deeper into Jacques' struggles with his addiction.
To improve the character arc, consider incorporating scenes that depict Jacques hitting rock bottom, perhaps losing something dear to him or having a significant confrontation that forces him to fully acknowledge the impact of his drinking. Additionally, explore moments of introspection and vulnerability for Jacques, where he opens up about his own struggles and seeks help from others. This will allow for a more authentic and relatable portrayal of his journey towards recovery.
Jean Jean starts as a tired and overworked hotel employee who takes on various tasks and agrees to work the closing shift. He then becomes intrigued by Irène and is torn between his desires and his commitment to her. He betrays Irène, leading to her disappointment and anger, and experiences a significant change in this scene, realizing the consequences of his choices. He loses Irène and is left feeling devastated. He becomes a remorseful and apologetic man, willing to make amends with Irène. He is caught in a love triangle, struggling with decision-making and facing the consequences of his actions. He has a moment of truth when Irène discovers his infidelity, but eventually shows his willingness to help Irène in her plan to deal with their past. The character arc for Jean is well developed and shows his transformation from a tired and trapped employee to a conflicted and guilt-ridden character. However, the arc could be further improved by delving deeper into Jean's internal struggles and emotions. There are moments in the movie where Jean's motives and presence are unclear, leading to confusion for the audience. Additionally, more exploration of Jean's journey of self-discovery and growth could add depth to his character arc.
To improve the character arc for Jean, consider adding more scenes that showcase his internal struggles and conflicting emotions. This will help the audience better understand his motivations and decisions throughout the movie. Additionally, provide clearer explanations and context for Jean's actions in certain scenes to avoid confusion. Further exploration of Jean's journey of self-discovery and growth could provide a more satisfying resolution to his character arc.
Irène Throughout the screenplay, Irène goes through a character arc of discovering her partner's infidelity and learning to assert her independence. At the beginning, she is shown as disappointed and hurt, seeking solace at a hotel bar on her birthday. However, when she meets Jean and witnesses his willingness to help her, she becomes intrigued and starts to see the potential for connection and excitement. As the story progresses, Irène tries to reach out and help Jacques but is met with dismissal, further fueling her desire for meaningful connection. In a crucial turning point, Irène decides to leave and embark on her own journey of self-discovery, asserting her independence. She confronts Jean about his infidelity, showing her determination and self-respect. Ultimately, Irène makes the decision to leave him and find her own happiness. The character arc of Irène is compelling and effectively portrays her journey of discovering her partner's infidelity and asserting her independence. However, one suggestion for improvement would be to further explore the emotional depth of Irène's character. While the screenplay mentions her vulnerability and disappointment, it would be beneficial to delve deeper into her emotional turmoil and the impact of the betrayal on her. This would allow the audience to connect with her on a deeper level and empathize with her journey.
To improve the character arc of Irène, consider adding more scenes or moments that showcase her internal struggle and emotional transformation. Show her processing the betrayal and the range of emotions she experiences, such as anger, sadness, and confusion. Additionally, providing more insights into Irène's past and her previous desires for connection and excitement would add depth to her character. This could be achieved through flashbacks or dialogue that reveals her previous experiences and how they have shaped her current mindset. Overall, by further exploring Irène's emotional journey, her character arc can become even more relatable and impactful to the audience.
Madeleine Madeleine starts off as a supportive friend of Jean's, accompanying him while shopping and showing concern for him. However, as she becomes aware of Jean's affair with Irène, she becomes confrontational and jealous. Madeleine is deeply hurt by Jean's behavior, leading to a rift in their relationship. Despite her initial anger, Madeleine eventually helps Jean redeem himself after his betrayal of Irène, showing her supportive nature once again. However, when Madeleine becomes Jean's new love interest after Irène leaves, her character's personality is not well-established. In the end, upset and hurt by Jean's actions, Madeleine decides to end their relationship. The character arc of Madeleine is overall well-defined and interesting. It shows her evolving emotions and reactions to Jean's actions. However, the transition from being Jean's supportive friend to his new love interest is not fully explored, leaving her character's personality unclear in that moment. Additionally, the decision to end the relationship at the end feels somewhat abrupt and could benefit from more buildup and emotional exploration.
To improve the character arc, it would be beneficial to further develop Madeleine's character when she becomes Jean's new love interest. This can be done by providing more scenes or dialogue that showcase her personality and dynamic with Jean. Additionally, the decision to end the relationship could be strengthened by adding more buildup and emotional exploration, allowing the audience to better understand Madeleine's perspective and the impact of Jean's actions on her.
Theme Theme Details Themee Explanation
Betrayal and InfidelityIrène discovers Jean with another woman in their hotel room, leading to confrontations, disappointment, and her decision to leave.The theme of betrayal and infidelity is a significant theme in the screenplay. It drives the conflict and ultimately leads to the end of Irène and Jean's relationship.
Emotional Disappointment and LonelinessIrène confronts Jacques about his heavy drinking and is disappointed when he dismisses her concerns. She is also left feeling alone after Jacques falls into a coma and when she discovers Jean with another woman.The theme of emotional disappointment and loneliness is prevalent throughout the screenplay. Through various scenes, characters experience the pain of unmet expectations, abandonment, and deceit, highlighting the complex emotions they navigate.
Self-Discovery and IndependenceIrène decides to leave Jean and embark on her own journey after discovering his betrayal. She also sets out on a scooter with Jean in the final scene, symbolizing a new chapter of self-discovery and independence.The theme of self-discovery and independence is showcased as Irène makes the brave decision to leave a relationship that no longer serves her. This theme emphasizes personal growth and the pursuit of individuality.
Guilt and ConsequencesJean feels guilty about his infidelity and faces the consequences of his actions when Irène discovers him with another woman. Irène also steals money from her companion's wallet, showing the consequences of her own actions.The theme of guilt and consequences explores the moral repercussions that characters face as a result of their choices. Jean and Irène both experience guilt and face the consequences of their actions, highlighting the weight of their decisions.
Relationship Dynamics and ChangeThe screenplay portrays the dynamics and changes within relationships, such as the deterioration of Irène and Jacques' relationship due to his drinking, the betrayal and end of Irène and Jean's relationship, and the shifting dynamics between Jean and Madeleine.The theme of relationship dynamics and change explores the complexities and evolution of relationships. It highlights how relationships can be tested, broken, and transformed, showcasing the impact of individuals' actions on their interpersonal connections.
Finding Joy and RedemptionAmidst the turmoil and disappointment, some characters find moments of joy and redemption, such as Irene accepting Jean's cocktail to cheer her up and Jean attempting to reconcile and explain himself to Irène.The theme of finding joy and redemption amidst adversity showcases the resilience of characters in finding moments of happiness and working towards redemption. It provides hopeful and uplifting elements in the midst of challenging situations.

Screenwriting Resources on Themes


Site Description
Studio Binder Movie Themes: Examples of Common Themes for Screenwriters
Coverfly Improving your Screenplay's theme
John August Writing from Theme

YouTube Videos

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