Let’s breakdown the movie Ghost with Save the Cat
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Let’s breakdown the movie Ghost using Blake Snyder’s story structure.
Director: Jerry Zucker
Screenwriter: Bruce Joel Rubin
The key here is a nemesis and problem that is seemingly bigger than they are.
Logline: A murdered man’s ghost must find a way to warn the woman he loves that she is in danger… before she becomes a murder victim as well.
Opening Image (1):
Gray, dusty, abandoned room, wires hanging from the ceiling
clouds of moving dust. Muted light pierce the dense atmosphere. An eeriness envelops us. Strange ghostly forms appear and disappear in the distance. Broken timbers and dangling cables emerge from the smoky light. We see hints of a vast demolished space. An old white plaster wall.
Theme Stated (5):
Love never dies.
Molly comments about “the space” Sam asks, “what will we do with the space?” (when we leave space in our heart – we love – love never dies)
Sam Wheat and Molly Jenson are a couple in love. Well – in love- without Sam saying the words “I love you,” preferring to respond to Molly’s statement with a “ditto.” Together, and with the help of Sam’s business partner, Carl, they are renovating a loft. Unfortunately, Sam is preoccupied with a financial conundrum. Which affects him both at work and at home. Soon after delving into the finances, Sam is murdered and becomes a ghost. This effectively destroys his initial Normal World.
Sam is murdered by Willie Lopez. Sam dies in Molly’s arms.
Should Sam head towards the light – heaven, or should he stay as a ghost with Molly?
Break into Two (25):
Sam is worried that Willie Lopez is going to murder Molly.
B Story (30):
Sam finds himself in a new world – the world of a ghost.
Fun and Games (30-55):
Sam must learn the rules and how to adapt to the new world. He is mentored by an Emergency Room Ghost, who introduces him to the new world’s in’s and out’s. Sam meets the psychic Oda Mae and realizes she can hear him. Launching a series of reactions from Sam and Oda Mae as they try to negotiate their new relationship —and Sam’s need to protect Molly.
From a loud-mouthed New York City subway poltergeist (Vincent Schiavelli), Sam learns the skills needed to move objects using only his mental powers. Sam convinces Oda Mae to end Carl’s money laundering scheme by impersonating Carl’s fake bank account owner. She withdraws the balance and closes the account with an invisible Sam behind her, donating the money to a homeless shelter.
Molly goes to the police and asks about Ode Mae. She is told over and over. Oda Mae is a con (wo)man trying to cheat Molly. There is no such thing as a psychic. That Molly is not communicating with Sam. Afterward, Sam and Oda Mae return to Molly’s apartment to warn about Carl. Molly refuses to open the door – and is lost in her grief.
Bad Guys Close In (55-75):
When Oda Mae learns the name of Sam’s killer., she is afraid and refuses to help Sam.
All Is Lost (75):
Sam discovers the man behind his murder – his best friend, Carl.
Dark Night of the Soul (75-85):
Carl threatens to kill Molly if Carl and Oda Mae don’t return the money.
Break into Three (85):
Sam enters the apartment. He instructs Oda Mae to push a penny under the front door. In front of Molly, Sam lifts the penny into the air.
A shocked Molly realizes the truth and lets Ode Mae inside.
After Ode Mae calls the police, she allows Sam to possess her body, permitting him and Molly to share a dance. For the last time.
Gather the Team
Carl arrives intending to murder Molly and Oda Mae. They run away. Sam is left weak by the possession, and Molly and Oda Mae are left alone against Carl.
Executing the Plan
After evading Carl for a brief time, Carl seizes Oda Mae. At gunpoint. He threatens her, demanding the money. Molly comes to Oda Mae’s rescue. She is pushed aside. As a recovered Sam arrives to help. CArl throws a scaffolding hook in Sam’s direction, which swings back and shatters the window, which Carl was attempting to escape. Impaling him through the chest.
Carl morphs into a ghost, astonishing and paining Sam. Sam watches in silence as the shadowy demons arrive and drag a screaming Carl away into the darkness.
High Tower Surprise
As Sam returns, Molly suddenly realizes that she can hear him.
Dig Deep Down
A heavenly light fills the room, making Sam fully visible to Molly and Oda Mae. Sam turns and sees hundreds of people standing behind him, waiting for him. Finally, Sam realizes his task is complete. It is time to move on.
Execute the New Plan
Sam thanks Oda Mae for her help, then Sam professes both his everlasting love and his goodbyes to Molly.
Final Image (110):
Sam departs to the afterlife – neon/rainbow-colored light.