The line between right and wrong is blurred when a woman of faith impulsively kidnaps the neglected four-year-old... more
HOW IT RATES
The line between right and wrong is blurred when a woman of faith impulsively kidnaps the neglected four-year-old son of a heroin addict.
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Reviews of GOOD INTENTIONS (22508) 12
by **DELETED ACCOUNT** on 04/27/2009Overall: This was a very well-executed, riveting story with two flawed characters in single-minded pursuit of very different goals. It was a story that also pulled at very primal fears, that is the loss of a child and it echoed epic themes found in “East of Eden,” “The Forgotten” and “August Rush.” I’m sure every parent will be on the edge of their seats in fear that this may... Overall: This was a very well-executed, riveting story with two flawed characters in single-minded pursuit of very different goals. It was a story that also pulled at very primal fears, that is the loss of a child and it echoed epic themes found in “East of Eden,” “The Forgotten” and “August Rush.” I’m sure every parent will be on the edge of their seats in fear that this may happen to them, so you did a great job amping up the drama of this story. My interpretation of the story is that life is about choices. Similar to one of my all-time favorite books, the theme is similar to that which is found in East of Eden, whose message of “timshel” or “thou mayest” indicates that life is about the choices that we make and not inevitably about following the footsteps of our father. In other words, it isn’t a matter of committing our father’s sin or in this story’s case our mother’s sin. Well done. Now, on to specifics.
Opening: By page four, we have identified with Ruby’s small, modest family and the sudden tragic loss of her son and caretaker. This immediately engages the reader/audience to be sympathetic to Rudy as a protagonist. Overlaying this sympathy is a story about Sharon and her selfishness, choosing coke over her young son’s welfare. So by page 5, the audience knows Ruby will be dealing with the aftermath of her loss and that the story will be tugging at heart strings for some time.
Characters: Ruby was a complicated, flawed character. Aptly named good intentions, Ruby decided to kidnap Pauley for his benefit, in large part because she saw the bad choices her mother had made (a life of addiction), and she did not want to see the same “sins of the mother” repeated. Her split-second decision forever altered the life of Pauley as well as herself. Some would say that the decision was partly selfish (to help her recover from her own tragic loss of her son), but also partly altruistic. Thus, creates a moral dilemma.
Sharon was on a rapid path towards her demise (not unlike Ruby’s mother). The story did not appear to show how she got on this path, as she came from a reasonably healthy environment and upbringing. Perhaps this is a message to the audience that this could happen to anyone despite how you were raised. It isn’t just junkies that create junkies. This is also echoed in the bad choices made by Diane and Derek later on in the story. By the time of Sharon’s release, her rehabilitation and her choice to do the right thing then made her the protagonist for the remainder of the story. In effect, the protagonist and the antagonist switched roles at that point.
Pauley/Jeff: Great job in creating voices that were consistently child-like in his younger years. Really for all the children, you did a great job. His character and his motivations were fleshed out very well.
Dialog: Good job. Nothing too wordy, very natural sounding dialog.
Plot: According to page count, by page 30 you were well on your way in Act 2 from the viewpoint of following Rudy’s storyline. By page 87, I felt the pacing had slowed down considerably and that Act 3 did not come soon enough, and it really came at Derek’s death on page 91. Not a big issue, but if you’d like to address it, this was just something I felt could use some help.
Description: Good job again. No issues.
Ending: Very satisfying and very cathartic. The moral dilemma being addressed. Is Ruby’s blatant disregard for the law to kidnap Pauley justified? Due ethical laws supersede man-made laws?
This was very cleanly written, was well-formatted, and had great use of grammar with the exception of a few too many run-on sentences.
Pg / comment
9 / …don’t you dare bring anything, she’s been baking… …anything. She’s been… (run-on sentence)
13 / what made Sharon this way? What is her backstory? How did she become a junkie?
41 / Spider-man Spider-Man
43-44 / Cellmate vs Inmate – stay consistent
57 / That’s okay, it’s something That’s okay. It’s something. (run-on sentence)
58 / amongst among (sounds too British for Philadelphia/Baltimore dialect)
59 / uncouth … Show me a teenager who says “uncouth”? Probably should go with another word.
60 / …at the kitchen today, I have to work. …today. I have to work. (run-on sentence)
61 / … done around seven, meet me then. …seven. Meet me then. (run-on sentence)
68 / that made – bad choices. Great transition!
82-87 / the pacing really slowed down in this section, IMHO.
109 / MR.HILLMAN insert space
by Teutonic Truffels on 04/11/2008The kid wears a pirate cap on page 42. This was a really strong image for me. It trsnsported the script for me more to this day. Even if they eat at Mc Donalds, I am in the 1930s, somehow ! The reason is a movie from 34, called Born to be bad. I couldn´t get it out of my head. The leading lady is a young mother in trouble whose son eventually gets taken away from her. Derek... The kid wears a pirate cap on page 42. This was a really strong image for me.
It trsnsported the script for me more to this day. Even if they eat at Mc Donalds, I am in the 1930s, somehow ! The reason is a movie from 34, called Born to be bad. I couldn´t get it out of my head. The leading lady is a young mother in trouble whose son eventually gets taken away from her. Derek and Diane´s dialogue is nice and crisp and contemporary. The end is classic, without surprises. Still German thumbs up! I understood it all and felt for the characters... read
by Fuasto Maldini on 03/31/2008Overall Comments This script had a promising premise of a terrible mother losing her child to a kidnapper who is a wonderful mother. Overall the story fell short in that it lacked action with any real meaning and was more descriptive. It also asks its audience to make a lot of leaps in logic with some key moments coming out of nowhere. The characters were also a little... Overall Comments
This script had a promising premise of a terrible mother losing her child to a kidnapper who is a wonderful mother.
Overall the story fell short in that it lacked action with any real meaning and was more descriptive. It also asks its audience to make a lot of leaps in logic with some key moments coming out of nowhere.
The characters were also a little shallow. The script told us a lot about them, but it didn’t show a great deal. Although the premise had great potential for situations in which characters would make difficult choices to reveal their character, this did not occur. Instead we are told about simple actions like giving money to the poor or working in a soup kitchen.
For the most part the script really also only delivers one side of the story. This finally becomes a little preachy at the end of the script.
In terms of the writing style, there was too much use of the passive tense (or the passive voice was used too much). Its use in the first line puts the script on the back foot from the word go and takes away from its forward movement. There is also too much going on and it’s too much for a reader to take in. A few shorter, well selected sentences would make the script a much easier read.
Evidently, there were some good, even great, intentions when writing this script. By creating scenes which build in tension, showing us character, presenting strong arguments for both sides of the story, and addressing style, however, an interesting concept can be taken from good intentions to a good script.
It is refreshing to see some meaningful action occur this early in a script, but it seems to appear a little too early before we’ve seen Joey or Ruby do anything really meaningful. It’s therefore difficult to care about them. That Ruby gives money to a poor person and goes to church tell us things about her, but until we see her make a decision under pressing circumstances do we understand who she is. Caring about the characters would make the incident far more dramatic. It would also set up Ruby’s actions later on and give them greater meaning.
The hymn fades in the background is a direction and not an action and should be written as a direction. Having said that, it’s also a direction that the director would make.
“Three Bandana Wearing Men” and “Man with scar” are poor descriptions.
Good dialogue between Man with Scar and Sharon however.
The last action paragraph could be broken into shots instead of one block of writing. Paragraphs in a script act like shots.
Nice payoff of the finger painting set up on page 1.
The dialogue between Sharon and the family is on the nose. Grandma’s dialogue doesn’t really go with the rest of the family’s discussion; it doesn’t ad anything. Grandma also doesn’t appear later on and so her role appears superfluous.
“They answer with an I-guess-we-have-no-choice look” pulls your reader out of the story. It’s an example of the author revealing itself. This can work and has, for example scripts by Shane Black, but should be used sparingly and where story allows.
The story really hasn’t built to Sharon not being able to forgive her mother, or even shown that the story got that far, nor does what she say relate to an argument raised before and so logically it doesn’t follow that Sharon came back this time, but never again.
A montage is really something that should be left to the discretion of the director unless it is so intricate to the story that it would not make sense without it.
This scene in the store is the best so far. There is tension and the order in which the details are reveals makes you want to know more.
Great work with Ruby claiming to be Pauley’s aunty and Sharon obviously assuming Donna. Excellent opportunity for subtext, tension and suspense.
The argument between the family and Drummond has potential to be a great one and needs some work. Later on though it doesn’t go anywhere.
There doesn’t appear to be a great deal happening on these pages. Even if they are setting things up for later they should be moving things along at the same time. There also appears to be a lot of repetition.
Is this action worth all the time devoted to it? Will their new looks be of major consequence later on?
This scene in Sharon’s cell comes across as melodramatic because it hasn’t been built up beforehand.
This action is not particularly exciting because it is really, at best, just delivering exposition.
Great transition between past and present.
No need to spell it out with “(yells to Pauley)” as this is obvious from the previous line of action.
Instead of saying “Mary Lou seems impressed”, which tells us that she is impressed, show us by changing this line to something like “Mary Lou’s eyes chase after Pauley”, which shows us she likes him and can also imply what type of girl she is: Romantic.
Description of Ben is telling us about him and not showing.
Use of caps for “other girls” is misused. Caps are for names and for objects or people without which the story would have a gaping hole.
Introduction of Sharon back into their world is well done.
The audience should not only see the moment when, but also why Sharon recognises Pauley, not just that she has recognised him. Otherwise it appears a little out of nowhere.
When Pauley says the thing about truth being simple and lies complicated, this should be set up on the beginning of the story. It could also form the basis of a theme throughout the script.
The judge’s speech is a little on the nose and a little preachy.
Best of luck. read
by sidestep on 03/29/2008I can easily see why you enjoy a 10 rating. It's hard to find anything to criticize. Your story rings true, had me reading all the way through non-stop, to a very satisfying conclusion. It is the age old question -- does the end justify the means? In this case, I fall right in line with Ruby. She did what she had to do, what many of us might have thought of doing, but... I can easily see why you enjoy a 10 rating. It's hard to find anything to criticize. Your story rings true, had me reading all the way through non-stop, to a very satisfying conclusion. It is the age old question -- does the end justify the means? In this case, I fall right in line with Ruby. She did what she had to do, what many of us might have thought of doing, but she had the courage to do it, and face the consequences. Bravo. Fortunately, you gave her a wise judge, and a biological mother who became wise at almost the last minute. I thought at first that Pauley had a convenient lapse of memory when we see him as a teen, but then I thought of myself as a 4 year old, and how little I could actually remember of that early age. What can I say? I would bet people would come down about 50-50 for either Sharon or Ruby, which is where you want them to be at the end, I believe. (But I'm for Ruby.) read
by The Pearl Poet on 03/17/2008Hi there! Welp, I'll just dive right into it. Good Intentions is a heart breaking, emotionally engaging script. It was a very good read. Good points: The characters. Ruby and Sharon share the roll of protagonist. Both have made their mistakes and must live with it. As the theme of the script is stated, they both made "bad choices." I really liked Ruby. Here is this... Hi there! Welp, I'll just dive right into it.
Good Intentions is a heart breaking, emotionally engaging script. It was a very good read.
The characters. Ruby and Sharon share the roll of protagonist. Both have made their mistakes and must live with it. As the theme of the script is stated, they both made "bad choices."
I really liked Ruby. Here is this woman who goes to church regularly, who does community service, gives to charity. Heck, she always drops a few coins to a beggar or into a collections bucket. I don't know many people who do that. And she didn't seem to have much to spare either. Yet, in a split second, she decides to take matters into her own hands. Grieving for her son, she can't stand to see another child suffer. So she takes a boy that isn't hers, and takes him away from everything he knows, which isn't really a bad thing.
The moral questions that arise in this script are really intriguing and interesting to think about. This movie could certainly spark debates and get you thinking.
Sharon, I didn't like at first. I'd lost hope for her, but then she regains herself. I think we are able to see who she used to be before drugs through her family. Very good characterization.
1. Diane. I understand her role, she represents the decay of society, the peer pressure, and the fall of Derek. But my question is, if Diane is the one pushing the drugs on her friends...who pushed the drugs on her? I think she needs to be a little more human because all I see is her evil, manipulative side. You might add just one scene of her home life. Rough family? An older sibling? With the suburban-like setting of Marylou's house, you might show Diane being influenced by an older sister or brother. I felt she had to be getting her behavior somewhere, you know?
2. The Judge's decision. The night before the verdict of Ruby's trial, Sharon is conflicted with what's happened. She knows Pauley had the best life, but she's angry that Ruby just took him.
When she says "I'm angry and sad..." You might cut this out. We can SEE that she's angry or sad and it felt forced that she just blurted out her emotions like that. I hope that makes sense.
Back to my original point...it felt like there was a scene missing between Sharon being upset and the Judge's decision. I felt the audience is supposed to be worried about what is going to happen to Ruby, but we don't really know what the judge is ORIGINALLY thinking. Is it possible to have Sharon talk to the Judge (she's feeling guilty) before he makes his decision? During this scene we can learn two things: 1) Sharon confesses why she started drugs in the first place, what she was looking for in them (we don't really know how she got hooked, unless I missed this) 2) We can learn what's on the Judge's mind. This should probably conflict with what his actual decision is...so we go in thinking we know Ruby's fate, but then he switches on us, convinced by Sharon's story to give Ruby a second chance.
The end just felt like, "Oh well, she made a mistake but for the good of Pauley, free to go!" Like he was throwing his arms up. The Judge is the law, this is a major conflict for him too. A big one. Show a bit more of this, and I think this might feel better.
Alright, I think that's all I've got for you. To be honest, I felt the script was pretty strong as is. A really good story. And I loved, loved, loved that the two protagonists in this story turned out to be strong, independent women who made a difference in their communities (eventually, in Sharon's case). They each had a meaningful purpose and message, and showed the kind of love only a mother could know.
Nice Work. Good luck! read
by Tim.Roman on 03/17/2008Lifetime MOW? You betcha. Of course, this limits me in terms of criticism. For every instance where I would like to critique for being mellow-dramatic or overtly and purposely PG-13 with what should be R-rated material, I'm reminded of the MOW intention. In that sense you have definitely succeeded. This is a story that would appeal immensely to middle-aged, middle-class... Lifetime MOW? You betcha.
Of course, this limits me in terms of criticism. For every instance where I would like to critique for being mellow-dramatic or overtly and purposely PG-13 with what should be R-rated material, I'm reminded of the MOW intention.
In that sense you have definitely succeeded. This is a story that would appeal immensely to middle-aged, middle-class women. Especially those who have lost a child.
Ruby's conflict of character is razor sharp in terms of pinning down that demographic. On one hand she's a grieving mother looking to love a child like she did her own and at the same time, give that child a better life. Yet, she is still kidnapping a young boy from a mother who is delinquent but still loves her son. Well done.
What drugs are being used by Sharon? I imagine she's either snorting heroin or coke. Neither of those gives you the giddy, playful euphoria you describe her as having. Heroin makes you very calm and very "out of it" and coke makes you pepped up, talkative and eventually anxious.
The only real issue I have with this screenplay is how initially easy it was for Ruby to get Pauley to accept his new life. You could stand to wrestle some more drama out of that initial kidnapping/on the run scenario.
The drug bust felt a bit awkward as well. Ruby and her "dealers" seemed very small time and therefore not likely to be the subject a major sting operation with undercover agents. It would be more believable if she got busted in a much less dramatic(and more realistic) manner and still have the same outcome:
She goes up to an apartment, leaving Paulie outside. One of the guys she's selling to is about to be busted for suspicion of murder...the cops bust in..Sharon is caught in the middle.
It's much simpler and a much more likely scenario.
I am a little saddened that your setting your sites so low.
Yes, it does serve well as a Lifetime MOW but considering the past quality of such movies, I'm not sure if that's an accomplishment to be proud of.
If this script were to delve further into the drug-addled, poverty-stricken world of Ruby and Sharon and have harsher consequences for their actions, it could be a very enthralling independent film. read
by steve huffman on 03/16/2008This was a well written screenplay. It’s obviously the results of a very talented writer putting a lot of time and effort into a story that is important to her. Now personally this is not a film that I would be interested in seeing. But that doesn’t take away from the quality of the screenplay or its execution. It’s a heartfelt and well thought out story that many will... This was a well written screenplay. It’s obviously the results of a very talented writer putting a lot of time and effort into a story that is important to her.
Now personally this is not a film that I would be interested in seeing. But that doesn’t take away from the quality of the screenplay or its execution. It’s a heartfelt and well thought out story that many will certainly find fascinating.
I read in your prodco notes that this is intended as a MOW. I agree. I don’t think the subject matter would lend itself to a theatrical release but I can definitely see it being picked up by Lifetime or Oxygen.
This is not going to be a long review as I don’t have a lot of suggestions for you on how you can improve this. I think you knew the story you wanted to tell and you did a very good job of telling it. One thing I would point out however, is that I think you have to be very careful to tell your story without preaching in the process. Frankly I think you crossed that line in this script on several occasions. The evils of drugs and how they can destroy lives and families is a powerful theme. And I think that point is clear in what you’ve written without resorting to the speeches and exposition that you have in much of your third act.
I’m specifically referring to Pauley’s speech while holding the bag of heroine in the park. Think this was overkill and honestly way too on the nose. Also feel that Sharon’s speech to the judge about why to show leniency was on the nose. Think if you would have written it where Sharon goes into the judge’s chamber and closes the door, that would have been more powerful. We can imagine what she’s feeling and what she might have said to him. It’s the same things we were thinking. Hearing her make a speech about it kind of lessoned the impact. Just my opinion, of course.
Following are the few notes I wrote as I read:
Pg5 Did Holly die of a heart attack?
Pg12 Nice scene. I feel for Sharon despite her issues.
Pg17 I need to know why Sharon would rather raise her son than let him live in a stable environment with his grandparents. Sharon can’t forgive Darlene for being upset that she had a mixed race child? Is that enough? If she truly loves her son I can’t imagine she wouldn’t want him to have a better life. Can you help me (the reader) understand this attitude a little better?
Pg28 This abduction scene and what follows immediately after seems a little hurried to me. I know you intend it that Ruby is just kind of acting without really thinking too much. It’s just seems kind of awkward. Not sure why.
Pg35 You might want to think about showing a little rougher transition for Pauley being separated from his mother. This seems a little too easy.
Pg79 Be careful about preaching here.
Pg97 Quick solution. A lot of coincidence here. Happens fast. Not sure about your choices. Might want to consider something a little more suspenseful.
I know these notes and this brief review are not going to be all that helpful to you. I apologize. I just don’t have that much to offer in regards to helping you improve what you’ve already written. And as far as my comments about exposition and preaching, maybe that’s necessary for the particular market for which this intended. I’m not sure. I’m just a subtext freak. Good luck with this.
by CartoonGal on 03/14/2008You probably know all these things, but I'm gonna say it anyway: This was tasteful (which is a rare find in screenplays nowdays) and sweet. The simplicity of the writing was just astounding. I loved it. It was great how Sharon finally saw the error of her ways and the emotions between Jeff/Pauley and Ruby when he finds out the truth. The death of Joey was dealt with...
You probably know all these things, but I'm gonna say it anyway:
This was tasteful (which is a rare find in screenplays nowdays) and sweet. The simplicity of the writing was just astounding. I loved it.
It was great how Sharon finally saw the error of her ways and the emotions between Jeff/Pauley and Ruby when he finds out the truth.
The death of Joey was dealt with in a simplistic yet still emotional manner.
It's ironic in a way how it went from Sharon in prison to Ruby in prison later - that was a good usage and the ruling of it being time served was awesome (although unrealistic).
It ends beautifully with the reuniting and possibility that Sharon will be part of their lives.
This is a definate recommendation for production. It's sweet and is error free. I only saw one thing I could nit-pick at:
Pauley stands in his undies.
Undies is slang. I'd go with underwear.
And also that the general idea of a child taken and raised by another is a little overused as far as originality goes (which is really two things, but it must be pretty good if that's it).
But other than that: Beautifully flowing, emotionally rendering screenplay. Wow. Two thumbs up.
(sorry this is short but your simplistic style leaves many things unquestionable).
by dleonetti on 03/10/2008Sometimes the simplest stories are the most profound. I liked the quiet desperation in this screenplay, and how you put it down onto paper. But there is still a plot question. Did Ruby take Pauley to fill the void in the death of her son, or because Pauley is living a life of degradation with his addict mother? Ruby, in the end, claims it was the right thing to do. Good...
Sometimes the simplest stories are the most profound. I liked the quiet desperation in this screenplay, and how you put it down onto paper. But there is still a plot question. Did Ruby take Pauley to fill the void in the death of her son, or because Pauley is living a life of degradation with his addict mother? Ruby, in the end, claims it was the right thing to do. Good way to present your protagonist. You also present Sharon out of prison, and yearning for her son and redemption for her dead father and redemption with her mother. There are complex plot maneuvers in this story and good job with all of them.
I did think you missed some dramatic moments when you didn’t show Sharon in her withdrawal. I think you should show her in hell, thrashing, vomiting, and yelling for a fix, tied down, etc; so that we can sympathize with her on the road to redemption. She’s paid the price. And how did Sharon get cocaine in prison? You might want to add a scene to explain it? And missed another one: milk Derek’s OD to the max, show him straining to breath, moment by moment, show Diane in her drug stupor, unable to help, etc. . .since this story makes a very concise statement on the use of drugs and its devastating effect on society. Show these physical elements in your story, aim for the bulls eye.
I would also, if this were my baby, fade in to Phily in 1995, and overlap VOICES SINGING You are my Sunshine. . .so when it appears later, it will jar the viewer and reach his heart. I think this is a marketable film for both Black and Anglo. . .with crisscrossing plots and characters that warm our heart. I know a producer who might have an interest in this, as a great TV film? Anyway, great job guys and good luck.
by Michael T on 03/09/2008This is a warm, compelling & heartfelt story. Technically, it’s an example of true craftsmanship with only a few typos. The scenes, well paced, penned with brevity and detail that gave me a clear sense of time and place. The story is engaging and held my attention throughout the read. But I do feel there’s a little room for improvement. Why is Holly necessary? Her death,... This is a warm, compelling & heartfelt story. Technically, it’s an example of true craftsmanship with only a few typos. The scenes, well paced, penned with brevity and detail that gave me a clear sense of time and place. The story is engaging and held my attention throughout the read. But I do feel there’s a little room for improvement.
Why is Holly necessary? Her death, to me, took a little away from the tragedy of Ruby losing her son. I’m guessing she’s merely a device used for Ruby to become more involved at the church, fulfilling the duties Holly used to do. If that is the case, couldn’t Pastor Free simply offer these duties in way to reach out to Ruby?
I like the dual protagonists. It’s rare. You parallel their lives quite well. I feel Ruby has it too easy though, through the second act. Not many obstacles for her to overcome, which makes act 2 lose some of the edge and quick pacing you established in the first. Maybe more of a struggle to keep Joey on the “right” path or even conflict with a local drug pusher or something. I don’t know…feels a little thin right now.
I have no complaints with the characters. They all seem pretty tight, have their own voice and are fairly consistent.
Well designed story. I enjoyed it very much. Thanks. read
- Writer: Alexis Croyle, Rudy Croyle
- Uploaded by: Lexey
- Length: 115 pages
- Genre: drama
- A low-budget, character-driven script suitable for Lifetime or other MOW. Cynosure 2010 quarter-finalist. Scriptapalooza quarter-finalist 2009. Second place in the July 2008 Writers Place Competition and 4th in Netfilm 2008 Split-screenplay Contest.
- Bio: "But words are things, and a small drop of ink, falling like dew upon a thought, produces that which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think." - Lord Byron
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