Antoine Fuqua’s Southpaw (2016) is a good example of a movie which could have been greatly improved with just a little bit of structural work before the final draft was handed in. Nothing in the script is as fully fleshed-
It would have been up for Oscars if the screenplay was any better than just average.
Billy gets his daughter back.
They live happily ever after.
Southpaw stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Billy Hope, a champion boxer -
Billy spirals downward until his life is a complete mess in every way possible. His career’s over. He’s lost his daughter. He wants to die.
It’s not until he cleans himself up and goes on with his life that he’s able to pull himself back together and avenge his wife’s murder in the literal final battle with the antagonist, an opposing boxing champ.
First turning point (of the movie): Billy’s wife is shot (25min) and dies.
Notice how the setting changes: Setting changes emotionally more than physically. Life with his wife vs. life without his wife.
First act -
Notice how the stakes rise tremendously: He’s now a single-
Pit of Despair: Pretty much the entire first half of the second act (plus).
Billy gets punched in the face (we enter the first fight as the credits finish, Escobar at ringside).
Inciting incident (of the boxing sub-
His daughter slaps him repeatedly:
‘You should have been the one that was killed! Not Mom, you! You! I hate you!’
Billy gets his shot: a title-
Notice how the setting changes: we now move onto serious training! And then the fight itself.
Notice how the stakes rise tremendously: If he doesn’t win, he’ll be destitute and lose his daughter forever (well, pretty much anyway).
He’s fighting amateurs where the stakes are low -
Lowest stakes possible -
Billy’s lost his wife. The authorities have taken his daughter away from him. His career’s effectively over. He’s lost his home. He’s a broken man. He’s defeated in every possible way.
If your main-
Original movie posters from the film
Home is where the heart is.
Grow up and be a man.
Billy learns to stop torturing himself and put his daughter’s needs and desires first for once. Billy learns that defense is as important as offense.