Imagination Connoisseur, Tommy Mårtensson, offers up a helpful reminder for those who want to provide a critical take on a movie or TV show. A story and a script are not the same thing – and critics should know and understand the difference.

Rob,

Something that I think is interesting – and it’s something that bothers me even though I am guilty of this as well – is when people criticize the script when watching a movie. I know it’s easy and convenient when criticizing or praising a movie to use the term script when it comes to discussing the story.

We all do it. I do it, because it’s the easiest way to get your point across.

But should we really use the word script when discussing a movie? A movie is, after all, just an adaptation of a script. A translation from one medium to another, and as always with adaptations, there are things that get changed.

I don’t believe there are many big budgeted, or even small budgeted movie that follows the script which was originally written 100%.

Things can be (and often are) rewritten during production, sometimes by forcing the original author to rewrite it and sometimes by bringing in others to rewrite it or punch it up a little.

And what about postproduction? Scenes can be moved around from one part of the movie to another, sometimes they are changed due to simple editing from what was on the written page and many scenes are deleted.

There are movies that we accuse of having poor character development or plot holes and we point our fingers to the script and blame the writer, but what if those scenes that were missing was actually in the script he or she wrote but simply didn’t end up in the final cut of the movie?

I know it’s hard to talk about the story and break it down without talking about the script, but my point is this:

Is it actually fair to criticize the script and blame the writer when perhaps the studio or even the director are the ones to blame for what we found was lacking?

Even if I do it myself because it’s a great word that makes a distinction and makes it easier to get your point across, but I do believe that we should try to simply use the word story and try to not be so hard on the screenwriters.

Maybe a movie we hated and blamed on a terrible script was drastically different from what the screenwriter wrote. Maybe we would have loved the movie if it stayed closer to the actual script?

Just a thought.

– Tommy M.

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