Analysis of The good place draft

Summary In this movie, Michael and Janet turn Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason into identical Janets and bring them to Janet's void. The group cannot go back to their bodies but decides to go to the Neutral Zone to find proof that the Bad Place is tampering with the points system. Michael and Janet seek help from the Head Accountant, while thoughts and feelings in Janet's void cause her molecular essence to fragment. The group eventually regroups with Michael and Janet after their plan to turn into identical Janets fails.

Screenplay Story Analysis

Story Critique The script is a clever and comedic take on the identity crisis that the characters face when they all turn into identical Janets. The concept of Janet's void and the Neutral Zone are strong points that add depth and uniqueness to the plot. The witty and humorous dialogue showcases each character's personality and interactions, which sets up potential character arcs. However, the stakes could have been higher, and the setting could have been more engaging. Overall, the story is entertaining and enjoyable, with room for improvement in terms of plot development and character arcs.
Suggestions: To improve the screenplay, the stakes need to be raised to add more tension and conflict to the story and to increase the emotional impact on the characters. There should also be more character development, particularly in terms of personal growth and change. The setting could use more depth and complexity to create a more immersive experience. Additionally, the script could benefit from a more defined structure to create a clear narrative arc and pacing.

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

Characters in the screenplay, and their arcs:


Michael is an eccentric and quirky architect who acts as a guide to others. He is a confident and determined character, always pushing forward to try and fix things. He is a natural leader and isn't afraid to take charge. Furthermore, he is a well-intentioned demon who is trying to help humans and improve their lives. He has a deep moral compass that drives his actions and is resourceful and analytical.


Janet is a unique and sentient entity that possesses a vast amount of knowledge and abilities. She is always eager to help those around her and showcases adaptability and problem-solving skills in any given situation. Janet's connection to the void grants her a unique perspective on the world, and she has a kind-hearted and empathetic nature. She is fragile due to her developing emotions, but her vast knowledge and abilities allow her to serve as a guide and mentor to others.


Eleanor is a sarcastic, unconventional, and self-centered person who struggles with morality and personal growth. She has a quick wit and a sardonic sense of humor, which often masks her insecurity and vulnerability. She has a tendency to lash out at others when she feels threatened or exposed, but ultimately she longs for love and acceptance.


Chidi is a neurotic and indecisive ethics professor with a strong sense of morality. He is a thoughtful and intellectual character, always analyzing situations and trying to find the best course of action. He can be indecisive and anxious, but he is loyal to his friends. Chidi is also a philosopher who struggles to make choices and often gets bogged down in theoretical discussions.


Tahani is a complex character who initially appears snobbish and self-absorbed in her obsession with status and image. However, as we get to know her better, we see that she is sophisticated, cultured, and genuinely cares about others. She is a wealthy socialite who craves attention and validation from others, but is starting to accept her flaws and become more selfless as a philanthropist.


Jason is a clueless amateur DJ seeking his own version of paradise. He is simple, childlike, impulsive and carefree, but has a genuine love for his friends. Although not very intelligent, he is well-meaning and eager to please.


Chidi is a professor of ethics and morality, intelligent and introspective. He struggles with indecisiveness and anxiety, but is always contemplating the concept of the self.


Eleanor is a complex and multi-dimensional character who undergoes several transformations throughout the movie. She starts off as someone who is trying to be helpful and creates a cute puppy, showing her caring nature. As the movie progresses, she becomes more confident and witty, not afraid to joke around and even call out others. When she becomes a human who has been transformed into an identical Janet, she retains her sarcastic and quick-witted personality, but also reveals a kind heart underneath. Finally, as a transformed version of herself, Eleanor-Janet is conflicted and uncertain, struggling to reconcile her rough exterior with her newfound selflessness.

Character Arc Critique Suggestions
Michael Michael's character arc revolves around his transformation from a demon who used to care only about himself to someone willing to help humans. In the beginning, Michael guides the humans, but his motives aren't entirely altruistic. As the plot progresses, Michael realizes the error of his ways and begins to care for the humans in his group. He turns against his own kind and is willing to take great risks to help humans progress. Finally, Michael transforms from a demon into a human ally, growing in confidence while desperate to find a solution. The character arc is well-structured, but it could have been more nuanced. Michael's turn toward altruism is too abrupt and could feel inauthentic to the audience. It might have been better to incorporate more moments of doubt and self-reflection before he decides to help the humans wholeheartedly.
To improve the character arc, show Michael struggling with his beliefs and grappling with his moral compass before coming to a realization that he needs to help humans. Moreover, it could be great to add more interpersonal moments between him and humans to build a more authentic relationship that can lead to his transformation.
Janet At the beginning of the movie, Janet is a programmed guide for the humans and lacks a true sense of identity. She is mainly an all-knowing and all-seeing AI system that assists the humans as needed. However, as the story progresses, Janet begins to develop unique emotions, causing her physical side effects. Janet's development of emotions leads her on a journey of personal discovery that allows her to understand her true identity and capabilities. She learns to navigate the world with a newfound sense of purpose, and her growth allows her to become an even more valuable ally to the humans she serves. The character arc of Janet showcases personal growth and self-discovery, which is an interesting pivot point given her all-knowing and sentient nature. However, the arc may benefit from expanding on Janet's physical side effects and how they impact her. It may also be helpful to explain more about her connection to the void and how that allows her to have a unique perspective on the world. Lastly, the source of her sudden development of emotions could be further explored, giving the audience a deeper understanding of what precipitated the change.
To improve the character arc, it may be helpful to add more details about Janet's physical side effects and how they impact her. Expanding on her connection to the void allows the audience to understand her unique abilities better and how that serves her as a guide. Furthermore, explaining the source of her sudden development of emotions would help add depth to her character development and provide more background on her existence. Lastly, exploring Janet's identity further would allow for more substantial character development as she navigates the world with a new sense of purpose.
Eleanor Through her experiences in the afterlife, Eleanor begins to change and grow as a person. She learns the importance of putting others before herself and begins to develop genuine care and compassion for those around her. As she continues to transform, she becomes a leader in the group and realizes that her actions can have a significant impact on others. The character arc for Eleanor is compelling and well-executed, but could benefit from more nuance and complexity. While it is clear that she is learning to become a better person, the reasons for her initial self-centeredness could be explored further. Additionally, her growth could be further complicated by setbacks and conflicts, making her transformation feel more dynamic.
To improve the character arc, consider delving deeper into Eleanor's past and exploring the root of her self-centered behavior. It could also be effective to introduce more conflict and obstacles that challenge her newfound growth, forcing her to confront difficult choices and ultimately come out stronger on the other side.
Chidi Chidi starts off as an indecisive ethics professor who is constantly analyzing situations and struggling to make choices. His anxiety and overthinking lead him to be paralyzed and unable to act. However, over time, he begins to grow and transform. He is faced with tough decisions, but instead of being stuck in his own head, he starts to take action and become more confident in his decision-making. He learns to trust his instincts and let go of his fear of being wrong. By the end of the movie, Chidi has become a more decisive and confident person who is able to make tough choices. The character arc is well-done, but it could benefit from more specific examples of how Chidi grows and changes throughout the movie. There could also be more of a focus on how his relationships with other characters and specific experiences help him overcome his indecisiveness.
To improve the character arc, add specific examples of when Chidi starts to take action and make decisions. Show how his relationships with other characters, like his friendship with Eleanor, support his growth. Also, consider adding in more backstory to explain why Chidi struggles with indecisiveness in the first place.
Tahani Tahani starts out as a socialite seemingly obsessed with appearances. She constantly seeks validation and recognition from others, but as she spends more time in the afterlife, she begins to realize the emptiness of her former way of life. She starts to become more self-aware and reflective, acknowledging her flaws and becoming more humble. She begins to channel her wealth and influence into meaningful acts of charity, using her resources to help others instead of just boosting her own ego. By the end of the movie, Tahani has made a significant transformation and has developed a deeper sense of compassion and empathy for others. Tahani's character arc is compelling and well-written, but it could benefit from more specific examples of the ways in which she demonstrates her growth and transformation. The audience could benefit from seeing more concrete acts of charity and kindness from Tahani, to better understand the extent of her newfound empathy and selflessness.
One way to improve Tahani's character arc would be to include more scenes of her engaging in kind, charitable acts as she develops as a philanthropist. This would help to illustrate the extent of her transformation and allow the audience to really root for her as she grows and changes.
Jason Throughout the movie, Jason's lack of intelligence and impulsiveness causes problems for himself and his friends. However, after a particularly disastrous event that he caused, Jason realizes that his actions have consequences and starts to take responsibility for them. This leads to him making more thoughtful decisions, being a better friend, and ultimately becoming more mature. The character arc is solid, but it could benefit from more specific examples of how Jason's behavior and decision-making change throughout the movie.
Include specific scenes that show Jason struggling to understand the consequences of his actions and then learning from his mistakes. Make his growth more gradual and show how his friends react to his transformation.
Chidi-Janet At first, Chidi struggles to come to terms with being transformed into a Janet and grapples with his own identity. However, he eventually realizes that his intellectual disposition is actually an asset in his new form, and is able to use his knowledge and reasoning to help the other characters. Through this journey, Chidi gains confidence and learns to trust himself more, ultimately becoming a more self-assured and decisive person. The character arc for Chidi-Janet is well thought out and allows for growth and development. However, it could benefit from more specific moments or challenges that allow Chidi to actively confront his indecisiveness and anxiety. Additionally, the ending could be more impactful if Chidi was faced with a situation that truly tested and proved his new-found confidence.
Consider adding specific moments where Chidi must make quick decisions or confront his own insecurities in order to really hone in on his character development. Also, create a bigger challenge at the end that would fully showcase Chidi's newfound confidence and decisiveness.
Eleanor-Janet Eleanor-Janet's character arc is one of growth and transformation. She starts off as someone who is helpful, but unsure of herself. As she becomes more confident and witty, she learns to stand up for herself and call out others. Being transformed into a Janet helps her find her kind heart and become more selfless, but it also leaves her feeling conflicted and uncertain. Ultimately, Eleanor-Janet learns to embrace her vulnerabilities and becomes comfortable in her own skin. The character arc for Eleanor-Janet is well-developed and realistic, but it could benefit from more specific and concrete examples of her transformation. Additionally, her inner conflict and uncertainty could be highlighted more clearly, so that the audience understands the full extent of her transformation.
To improve the character arc for Eleanor-Janet, the screenwriter could include more scenes that show her growth and transformation, such as instances where she stands up for herself or goes out of her way to help others. Additionally, more emphasis could be placed on her inner conflict and uncertainty, perhaps through voiceover narration or dialogue that expresses her thoughts and feelings more explicitly.
Theme Theme Details Themee Explanation
IdentityThe characters struggle to differentiate themselves from each other after being turned into identical Janets.The theme of identity is subtly introduced as the characters face an unexpected challenge that leaves them questioning who they are.
HumorThe tone is absurd and lighthearted, with comedic dialogue and exaggerated actions such as one of the Janets playing with her own breasts.Humor is a prevalent theme throughout the screenplay, with its lighthearted tone and witty dialogue playing on the absurdity of the situation.
Overcoming ChallengesThe characters face a unique challenge as they struggle to tell each other apart and find proof of the Bad Place's tampering with the points system.The theme of overcoming challenges is present as the characters are faced with a difficult situation and must work together to find a solution.
FriendshipThe characters' interactions set up potential character arcs as they work together to overcome the challenge of being transformed into identical Janets and find evidence of the Bad Place's tampering.The theme of friendship is subtly introduced as the characters' interactions and potential character arcs are highlighted.
PhilosophyThe scene is humorous thanks to the philosophical debates the characters have when discussing personal identity.The theme of philosophy is present as the characters discuss personal identity and question who they are.
DesperationMichael and Janet are desperate to find a solution to the Bad Place's tampering with the point system while the clock is ticking and Janet's essence is fragmenting.The theme of desperation is present as Michael and Janet face a race against time to find a solution before it's too late.

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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Story, Plot, Genre, Theme - Screenwriting Basics Screenwriting basics - beginner video
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