Analysis of Labyrinth

Summary The movie follows teenager Sarah as she juggles her babysitting duties and rehearsal for a play, while her parents argue over her behavior. During a storm, Jareth, the Goblin King, unexpectedly arrives at her doorstep and takes her brother captive, giving her only thirteen hours to rescue him before he turns into a goblin. Sarah teams up with Hoggle and they embark on a journey through the labyrinth, encountering various challenges along the way. They rescue Ludo from goblin torture and gain a powerful ally in their quest to save Sarah's brother. They eventually confront Jareth and defeat him with Sarah's rejection of his offer to rule by his side. Sarah finds her brother safe and sound, and the movie ends with her giving him a cherished toy.

Screenplay Story Analysis

Story Critique The story is imaginative and has a good premise of a young girl venturing into a fantasy world to save her brother. However, there are pacing issues and the plot is convoluted with too many characters and subplots. The climax is rushed and lacks emotional payoff. The dialogue is sometimes cheesy and the characterization of some of the supporting characters is weak.
Suggestions: Simplify the plot by focusing on Sarah's quest to save her brother and streamline the supporting characters and subplots. Develop the characters more, especially Sarah, to make the stakes and emotional payoff more compelling. Rewrite some of the dialogue to make it more natural and less cheesy. Give more agency to Sarah throughout the story so she's not just a passive participant in the events happening around her. Consider adding more thematic resonance to the story to give it more depth and resonance.

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

Characters in the screenplay, and their arcs:


Sarah is a creative, dramatic, and determined teenager who is struggling to balance her family responsibilities with her own interests. She is meticulous, detail-oriented, and easily flustered by criticism. She can be reactive, impulsive, and dismissive of advice, but also has a courageous and empathetic side. She is willing to take risks and make sacrifices to save her loved ones and overcome challenges.


Jareth is a whimsical and enigmatic figure with a mischievous personality. He claims to be a famous playwright and enjoys playing with magic. He is cunning and unpredictable, able to manipulate and taunt Sarah throughout the movie. Jareth shows a cruel side when he takes Freddie away from Sarah, revealing his true identity. Despite his playful and carefree demeanor, Jareth is also capable of exhibiting a childlike and petty nature.


Hoggle is a grumpy and opportunistic dwarf who initially only helps Sarah in exchange for payment. He is egotistical about his possessions but gradually shows compassion and concern for Sarah's safety, becoming more loyal and courageous as the story progresses. Though still fearful and often self-serving, he ultimately proves himself to be a heroic ally and loyal companion.


Ludo is a gentle, yet powerful creature who demonstrates loyalty and simple-mindedness throughout the movie. He is a loyal ally and friend to Sarah and Hoggle, and fiercely devoted to his friends. Despite his physical strength, Ludo is not very helpful when it comes to problem-solving, but he is always eager to offer his assistance and protect his companions. Ludo is also shown to be grateful and kind, especially when he tries to comfort the little creature in the scene.


Didymus is a chivalrous and honorable knight who takes his vows seriously. He is loyal, determined, courageous, and witty. He also has a softer side and is protective of those he cares about.

Character Arc Critique Suggestions
Sarah Sarah starts off as a frustrated teenager struggling to balance her responsibilities with her passion for acting. Throughout the movie, she goes on a journey of self-discovery and growth as she faces obstacles in the labyrinth and proves her strength, determination, and love for her brother. Sarah becomes more confident, resourceful, and empathetic, ultimately rejecting Jareth's offer and saving her brother. She learns to balance her desires with her responsibilities and gains a newfound appreciation for her family. Overall, Sarah's character arc is well-executed and satisfying. However, it could benefit from more specific and impactful moments of growth, such as when she decides to team up with Hoggle or when she rejects the Junk Lady's offer. Additionally, Sarah's backstory and motivations could be further explored to deepen her character and enhance the emotional stakes of the story.
To improve Sarah's character arc, consider adding scenes that highlight her inner conflicts and struggles, such as her desire to pursue acting versus her loyalty to her family. Also, delve into her past experiences and relationships that have shaped her, such as her relationship with her parents or her experiences with past babysitting jobs. These additions could add depth and complexity to Sarah's character, making her journey feel even more meaningful and satisfying.
Jareth Jareth's character arc is marked by a gradual transformation from a whimsical and mischievous figure to a cruel and manipulative villain. He begins the movie as a playful trickster who enjoys toying with magic and entertaining children. However, as the plot unfolds, Jareth's sinister nature becomes more apparent, culminating in his kidnapping of Freddie and ruthless manipulation of Sarah. Ultimately, Jareth's true intentions are revealed, and he is humbled as Sarah overcomes his final challenge and rescues her brother. Through this experience, Jareth comes to understand the consequences of his actions and is transformed into a goblin, symbolizing his diminished power and status. Overall, Jareth's character arc is well-defined and engaging, highlighting his transformation from a playful trickster to a ruthless villain. However, there are some areas that could be improved to make his arc more impactful. Firstly, Jareth's backstory and motivations could be explored more fully, providing deeper insight into his behavior and actions. Additionally, his redemption at the end of the movie feels somewhat rushed and could have been more fully developed to provide a more satisfying resolution.
To improve Jareth's character arc, it would be beneficial to delve more deeply into his backstory and motivations, providing greater depth and complexity to his actions. Additionally, his redemption at the end of the movie could be more fully developed, showing the consequences of his past actions and providing a more satisfying conclusion. This could be achieved through additional dialogue and character development, as well as exploring Jareth's emotional journey throughout the film.
Hoggle Hoggle begins as a selfish and cowardly character, only helping Sarah for his own benefit. As he spends more time with her, however, he starts to develop feelings of compassion and concern, becoming increasingly loyal and courageous. He also struggles with conflicting loyalties towards Sarah and Jareth, ultimately choosing to help Sarah despite the potential consequences. By the end of the story, he has become a true hero, risking his life to aid his friends and make amends for his behavior towards Sarah. The character arc for Hoggle is strong and well-executed, with a clear progression from selfishness to heroism. However, some of his actions and motivations could benefit from further exploration and development, particularly his jealousy towards other members of the group and his fear of Jareth.
To improve Hoggle's character arc, it could be helpful to delve deeper into his past and backstory, exploring the reasons behind his initial selfishness and reluctance to help Sarah. Additionally, further exploration of his motivations and conflicts - particularly his jealousy and fear - could add more depth and nuance to the character and his development throughout the film.
Ludo Ludo's character arc begins with him being saved by Sarah and becoming a loyal ally and friend to both Sarah and Hoggle. Throughout the movie, Ludo continues to demonstrate his loyalty and simple-mindedness, providing comic relief. However, in one scene, Ludo is held captive and tortured by the goblins, adding to the high stakes of the scene. This event serves as a turning point in Ludo's arc, as he realizes the importance of friendship and becomes even more fiercely devoted to his friends. In the climax of the movie, Ludo proves to be an important asset during the fight, summoning rocks to defeat the goblins. While Ludo's simple-mindedness remains a constant throughout the movie, his loyalty and determination grow stronger as he faces adversity and overcomes obstacles alongside his friends. Overall, Ludo's character arc provides a strong example of loyalty and devotion. However, his simple-mindedness can at times feel one-dimensional and may pose a challenge in terms of character development. Additionally, there are moments where Ludo's comedic relief can detract from the tension of the scene, resulting in a fluctuation in tone.
To improve Ludo's character arc, it may be beneficial to explore his simple-mindedness in more depth and show how it affects his relationships with others. Additionally, balancing his comedic relief with the overall tone of the movie could help maintain consistency throughout. One suggestion could be to have Ludo provide moments of introspection that allow the audience to better understand his perspective on the world around him.
Didymus Didymus starts off as a loyal and chivalrous knight who quickly becomes attached to Sarah and her cause. As the story progresses, he becomes increasingly brave and willing to put his life on the line to protect her and her friends. However, towards the end of the film, Didymus has a crisis of faith when his loyalty to Sarah conflicts with his duty to the kingdom. This causes him to briefly turn on Sarah before ultimately realizing that his loyalty to her is more important. By the end of the film, he has become an even more honorable and devoted knight. Overall, Didymus has a solid character arc. However, the conflict between his loyalty to Sarah and his duty to the kingdom could have been developed more thoroughly. It felt like it came out of nowhere and was resolved too quickly.
To improve Didymus' character arc, there could have been more foreshadowing of the conflict between his loyalty and duty. This could have been done by showing more of his interactions with other knights or members of the royal court. Additionally, the resolution could have been more complex and required more personal sacrifice on Didymus' part.
Theme Theme Details Themee Explanation
Family DynamicsSarah's struggle to balance her rehearsal lines, babysitting her younger brother, and dealing with her critical stepmother.The screenplay highlights the tensions and conflicts within a family, depicting the strained relationship between Sarah and her stepmother while also showing the love and care she has for her brother.
Power StruggleSarah's journey through the labyrinth to retrieve her kidnapped brother and confront the powerful Jareth.The screenplay explores the theme of power and control through Jareth's manipulation of Sarah and his desire to keep her brother hostage. Sarah's journey through the labyrinth is also a metaphor for her growth in personal power as she gains allies and faces challenges to retrieve her brother.
Inner StrengthSarah's ultimate rejection of Jareth's offers and her realization that she possesses the power to overcome challenges.The screenplay emphasizes the importance of inner strength and believing in oneself, with Sarah's character journey demonstrating the growth of her personal power through her experiences in the labyrinth.
Fantasy and MagicThe appearance of Jareth as the King of the Goblins, the summoning of goblins, and the magical tricks performed by Jareth.Fantasy and magic are prominent themes in the screenplay, with the presence of mythical creatures like goblins, the act of summoning them, and the use of magic tricks highlighting the fantastical elements of the story.
Friendship and LoyaltySarah's partnership with Hoggle and Ludo and their loyalty to each other in the face of danger.The screenplay stresses the importance of friendship and loyalty in the face of adversity, demonstrated through Sarah's teaming up with Hoggle and Ludo to defeat Jareth. Their loyalty to each other and willingness to help each other also highlights the value of strong friendships and partnership in overcoming obstacles.
Self-DiscoverySarah's journey through the labyrinth and the challenges she faces lead to her self-discovery and growth.The screenplay explores the theme of self-discovery, with Sarah's journey through the labyrinth allowing her to face her fears and grow in personal power and strength. The challenges she faces also serve as a catalyst for her self-discovery and eventual triumph.

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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