Analysis of Easy A

Summary The movie revolves around Olive Penderghast, a high school student, who is falsely accused of being promiscuous. In an attempt to set the record straight, she decides to broadcast the truth on the internet. As the story progresses, Olive confronts rumors about her sexual behavior and faces public shaming from her peers. She even agrees to stage a fake sexual encounter with a classmate to improve his social status, but eventually realizes the gravity of her actions. Olive seeks guidance from a church and tries to make amends for her lies, but faces resistance from those she helped in the past. In the end, Olive admits her love for her childhood friend Todd and the couple ride into the sunset together.


Screenplay Story Analysis

Story Critique The premise of the story has potential, but the execution falls short. The plot meanders through random events that don't flow cohesively and the character development lacks depth. The ending also feels rushed and cliched.
Suggestions: Focus on tighter pacing and a clearer character arc for Olive. Cut down on unnecessary subplots that don't contribute to the main story. Create more meaningful relationships between characters to add emotional depth. Consider a different, less predictable ending.

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

Characters in the screenplay, and their arcs:

Olive Penderghast

Olive Penderghast is a quick-witted and sarcastic high school student who initially enjoys her anonymity until rumors about her promiscuity start circulating in school. She struggles with societal norms and pressure to conform, often using humor as a defense mechanism. She is imaginative, reflective, sympathetic, and caring towards others. She desires to clear her reputation by broadcasting the truth about herself online but eventually becomes conflicted when she takes on a fake promiscuous persona. Olive is clever, strong-willed, and independent, but also vulnerable and yearns for genuine human connection.



Rhiannon

Rhiannon is Olive's best friend who displays a range of emotions and qualities throughout the movie. She can be brash, sarcastic, judgmental, and obsessive about sex. However, she also shows loyalty, humor, and concern for Olive's well-being. Rhiannon has a complex personality that is shaped by her relationship with Olive and her own insecurities.



Marianne

Marianne is a deeply religious student who often clashes with others over their moral beliefs. She is judgmental and harsh towards those who do not share her values and can be quite mean. Despite her flaws, she is also passionate and vulnerable, deeply caring for those around her.



Rosemary

Rosemary is a well-meaning, caring and supportive mother who loves her children deeply. She is quick-witted and has a playful sense of humor that she uses to connect with those around her. However, Rosemary can be clueless at times and often imparts awkward wisdom to her daughter Olive. She is fiercely protective of her family and tries to keep the peace in difficult situations. Her past experiences have shaped her advice-giving style, which is often laced with humor and practicality.



Brandon

Brandon is a gay teenager who grapples with his identity and the pressure to conform to societal norms. He is sarcastic and quick-witted, unafraid to challenge authority figures. Despite being a loner and a target of rumors, he has a good heart and is able to open up to his best friend Olive about their shared experiences. He is desperate to improve his social status and win the affection of his peers, willing to go to extreme lengths to achieve this goal. However, he also has moments of vulnerability and insecurity, particularly in regards to his lack of experience and confidence in his own sexuality.



Woodchuck Todd

Woodchuck Todd is a charismatic and charming character who genuinely cares about Olive's well-being. He is sympathetic, sensitive, perceptive and introspective, characterized by his willingness to offer his help and support. Todd has a longstanding crush on Olive, but he supports her without expectation or pressure. He wants to help her overcome the social expectations and peer pressure she faces, even when he's not immune to those same pressures himself. He is portrayed as goofy and lighthearted, but his presence allows Olive to reflect on her situation.



Mr. Griffin

Mr. Griffin is a dedicated and compassionate English teacher who values his students and strives to be a positive influence in their lives. He exudes an air of authority and intelligence, but also possesses a gentle side that earns him the trust and respect of his pupils. He is perceptive and understanding, with a sense of humor that puts others at ease. Outside of school, he struggles with the aftermath of his wife's infidelity but does his best not to let it interfere with his professional life.



Mrs. Griffin

Mrs. Griffin is a guidance counselor at the school who genuinely cares about her students but is troubled and guilt-ridden due to questionable choices in her personal life. Despite her vulnerability, she can be defensive and confrontational when confronted about her actions.



Character Arc Critique Suggestions
Olive Penderghast Olive's character arc in the screenplay revolves around her journey towards self-acceptance, redemption, and honesty. Initially a liar afraid of being judged, she takes matters into her own hands by setting the record straight about her reputation. However, as she begins to relish her new reputation and act out as a promiscuous girl, Olive becomes conflicted about her own identity and her desire for authenticity. She falls deeper into her persona until she realizes the severe consequences of her actions. Olive reflects on her mistakes and seeks to make amends by confronting those she has hurt. She learns the weight of her lies and grows as a person by setting boundaries on her romantic life and prioritizing honesty and accountability. While Olive's character arc is compelling and emotionally impactful, it may benefit from more clarity on her motivations and the specific events that lead to her transformation. Additionally, some of the scenes may feel repetitive, especially in the middle of the film when Olive leans into her promiscuous persona. The resolution of the film also feels somewhat rushed, leaving the audience somewhat underwhelmed by the ending.
To improve Olive's character arc, it may be helpful to provide more explicit motivations for her behavior and deeper insights into her psyche throughout the film. This could be accomplished by adding more scenes of introspection and personal reflection, perhaps through the use of voiceover or inner monologues. The film could also benefit from stronger pacing and more events that drive the plot forward. Finally, the ending could be revised to provide a more satisfying resolution to Olive's journey, perhaps by emphasizing her growth and personal development.
Rhiannon Rhiannon starts out as Olive's brash and occasionally insensitive friend. She pressures Olive into sharing details about her sex life and shames her for lying. However, as Olive's reputation takes a hit and their friendship fractures, Rhiannon becomes more frustrated and resentful. She joins in on the public shaming of Olive and reveals a superficial and spiteful side to her personality. Eventually, Rhiannon realizes the errors of her ways and forgives Olive, becoming her ally once again. Through this journey, Rhiannon learns to overcome her own insecurities and become a better friend to Olive. While Rhiannon's character arc is ultimately satisfying, it feels rushed and underdeveloped. The movie could have delved deeper into Rhiannon's insecurities and motives for behavior. Additionally, her sudden forgiveness of Olive feels unearned and could have benefited from more exploration.
To improve Rhiannon's arc, the movie could have spent more time exploring her relationships with both Olive and Todd. It could have also added more scenes that showed Rhiannon's inner conflict and struggles with her own insecurities. Finally, Rhiannon's forgiveness of Olive could have been more gradual and shown through small acts of kindness or understanding.
Marianne Marianne starts off as a mean girl who enjoys bullying Olive and shaming others for their behavior. Through her interactions with Olive and the emotional trauma of her parents' divorce and Micah's infidelity, Marianne begins to question her own beliefs and actions. She becomes more open-minded and empathetic, ultimately accepting Olive for who she is and forgiving her for her mistakes. Marianne also learns to let go of her need for control and reputation, realizing that her faith is more about compassion and love than judgment and shame. While Marianne's character arc is well-done, it could benefit from more development earlier in the screenplay. Her change in attitude towards Olive seems rather abrupt and could use more buildup. Additionally, while her emotional trauma adds depth to her character, it could be further explored and integrated into her arc in a more nuanced way.
To improve Marianne's character arc, consider adding more scenes earlier in the screenplay that show her struggles with her beliefs and values. This will make her eventual change of heart towards Olive more believable. Additionally, integrate her emotional trauma more closely with her moral struggles, showing how they both contribute to her character arc. Finally, consider giving Marianne more agency in the story and allowing her to make choices that drive the plot forward.
Rosemary Rosemary goes on a journey of self-discovery and growth as she navigates the challenges that arise within her family. At first, she is quick to shut down any uncomfortable conversations and tries to maintain control of the situation. However, as the film progresses, she begins to learn that sometimes it is better to let go and allow her children to make their own mistakes. She also becomes more comfortable with vulnerability, and learns to open up about her own struggles in order to better connect with and support her family. By the end of the film, Rosemary has transformed into a stronger, more emotionally aware person who is able to provide even better support for her family. The character arc is well-crafted and Rosemary's growth is believable and natural. However, it might benefit from more specific examples of moments in which Rosemary finds herself challenged and how she grows from those experiences. Additionally, while Rosemary's humor is a defining trait, it would be interesting to see how she uses it to mask her vulnerability and how this begins to change over the course of the film.
To improve the character arc, consider incorporating specific instances where Rosemary finds herself struggling to maintain control and how this ultimately leads to her growth. This could be shown through her interactions with her children or in moments of conflict with her husband. Additionally, consider how her humor serves as a defense mechanism, and how she is slowly able to let go of that as she becomes more open and vulnerable. Including these moments would add depth to the character and make her journey more impactful.
Brandon Brandon's arc throughout the movie is one of self-discovery and growth. At the beginning, he is a confident but somewhat superficial teenager who is willing to manipulate and deceive others to improve his social status. As he becomes more involved in Olive's plan and begins to spend more time with her, he starts to confront his own insecurities about his sexuality and identity. This is emphasized by his growing feelings for Olive, which force him to confront the pressure he feels to conform to societal norms and his own internalized homophobia. By the end of the movie, Brandon has learned to embrace his true self and let go of his need for external validation. He is more confident and authentic, and his relationship with Olive has deepened into one based on mutual respect and understanding. The character arc for Brandon is generally well-done, as it highlights some of the common struggles faced by LGBTQ+ teenagers in regards to acceptance and identity. However, the character could benefit from more consistency in his behavior and motivations. At times, it seems like his arc is being pushed forward by plot points rather than his own internal development. Additionally, some of the scenes involving Brandon feel like they are being used more for comic relief than genuine character development, which can be disorienting for the audience when trying to track his emotional journey.
To improve the character arc for Brandon, it would be helpful to give him more agency in regards to his own development. Rather than having his arc determined by external factors (such as the plan and Olive's feelings for him), it would be more compelling to see him actively grapple with his own insecurities and work to overcome them. Additionally, the comic relief scenes could be integrated more smoothly into the overall narrative, with an eye towards making them feel more organic to the character's emotional arc. Finally, it would be useful to flesh out Brandon's internal struggles more fully, perhaps through more explicit dialogue or character introspection, in order to make his journey feel more authentic and relatable.
Woodchuck Todd Woodchuck Todd starts out as a supportive friend who shows concern for Olive and believes in her potential. However, as the story progresses, his feelings for Olive begin to cloud his judgment, and he pressures her for a kiss. Realizing this mistake, Todd apologizes and refocuses on supporting Olive as she struggles with her reputation. In the end, Todd's arc is one of personal growth and the realization that true support means being there for someone without expectation. The character arc for Woodchuck Todd is well done, but it might benefit from more conflict or challenges to push him further. Additionally, there could be a clearer resolution to Todd's arc in the end, perhaps tying it more directly to Olive's arc. While Todd is a well-liked character, there could be more development in his motivations beyond his feelings for Olive.
To improve Woodchuck Todd's arc, try incorporating more conflict for him to overcome. This could be around his feelings for Olive, but could also involve external pressures or challenges that test his loyalty to her. Additionally, Todd's growth could be tied more closely to Olive's, for example, as he realizes that his own behavior is contributing to Olive's struggles. Finally, more development around Todd's backstory or motivations could make him a more complex and interesting character.
Mr. Griffin Mr. Griffin's arc in the film involves his relationship with Olive. Initially, he acts as an ally to Olive, offering her advice and guidance through some of her toughest times. When Olive's lie about losing her virginity spirals out of control, Mr. Griffin is one of the few people who believes her story and remains committed to helping her. However, when the truth about Olive's lie is revealed, Mr. Griffin feels betrayed by her and struggles to reconcile his emotions. Eventually, he comes to understand that Olive's actions were not out of malice but rather a desperate attempt to navigate the complicated social norms of high school. He forgives her and offers her the chance to set things right. The character arc of Mr. Griffin feels somewhat rushed and underdeveloped, particularly in the middle part of the film. While it's clear that he values Olive and wants to help her, his reactions to the truth about her lie feel somewhat passive and disconnected. Additionally, his personal struggles with his wife's infidelity are mentioned but never fully explored or integrated into the narrative.
To improve Mr. Griffin's character arc, it would be beneficial to delve deeper into his personal life and how it affects his relationship with Olive. Perhaps have him confide in Olive about what he's going through, and let that vulnerability bring them closer together. Additionally, it would be helpful to see more of Mr. Griffin's emotional reactions to the truth about Olive's lie, perhaps by having him confront her before ultimately deciding to forgive her. By doing so, Mr. Griffin's arc would become more integrated with the overall story and feel more satisfying.
Mrs. Griffin Mrs. Griffin starts off as unsure about Olive's identity but agrees to talk to her and offer support. As the movie progresses, she reveals her troubled past and seeks solace in confiding in Olive. However, when confronted about her affair with a student, she becomes defensive and manipulative. In the end, she is forced to confront her mistakes and seek redemption. The character arc is detailed and shows a clear progression of Mrs. Griffin's actions and emotions. However, the ending feels rushed and could benefit from more focus on Mrs. Griffin's attempts at redemption.
To improve the character arc, there could be more emphasis on Mrs. Griffin's attempt at making amends and seeking redemption. Additionally, her relationship with Olive could be explored further to showcase the impact of their interactions on Mrs. Griffin's growth.