Knives Out Analysis

Wait a tick…drivers aside… is Benoit actually the other handoff IC?

And we see his change when he yells at the family, interrupts Marta to change his mind about ruling it a suicide and all that? Moving from his cool collected self to the zany donut within donuts we see at the end?

Sorry Jim. :heart:

Are you suggesting Benoit because he fits your storyform or because he has a challenging perspective? :smile:

In your storyform Control and Uncontrolled are also the problem and solution. Could that change in Ransom and Benoit you’re describing be entirely OS?

What’s the challenging perspective that he shares with Harlan and Ransom?


What major paradigm shift does this represent? (In non Dramatica terms if possible).

In Braveheart, Wallace stays Steadfast, and Robert the Bruce goes from avoiding conflict to going to war in Wallace’s name.

In The Fugitive, Kimble never wavers from his commitment to proving his innocence, while Gerard goes from not caring if Kimble is guilty or not to helping him.

In The Prestige, Angiers remains committed to having “the best trick” until he dies; Borden, who would never give up his secrets, agrees to sell “the transporting man” in order to save his daughter.

In Back to the Future Marty stays steadfast; but George McFly goes from being a total wimp to punching Biff in the face (and thereby changing the course of history).

[Sorry I couldn’t resist either @glennbecker]



Probably confusing things. Nvm. It’s in Jim’s hands now.


This better be amazing:


I am literally on the edge of my seat waiting to hear what you think :laughing:

Just got out of my screening. :smile:

LOL…what a GREAT film!

And now we have a ridiculously hilarious illustration of PROJECTION as a Solution…:rofl::rofl::rofl:


Sense of Self

Main Character: Marta
Influence Character: Thrombey family
Relationship Story: family -> adversaries (playing the game)
Overall Story: The Doughnut Hole inside of the Doughnut Hole

Protagonist: Benoit Blanc
Antagonist: Ransom Drysdale (and a bit of Harlan)



Well at least I wasn’t too far off!

Turns out @JohnDusenberry was right initially about the RS. I would have put it squarely between Harlan and Marta (Friends -> Family)

For the rest I guess the key is to see whole family as IC (as @glennbecker and others suggested) rather than just Harlan/Ransom. With that it makes sense that they would have a Problem of Inequity.

Anyway here was my attempt:

(The Objective Story)
DOMAIN: Psychology
CONCERN: Conceptualizing
ISSUE: Circumstances vs. Situation
SOLUTION: Inequity
FOCUS: Aware

DOMAIN: Universe
ISSUE: Destiny vs. Fate
PROBLEM: Projection
SOLUTION: Speculation
FOCUS: Aware

I really, really thought that the MC Unique Ability would turn out to be Falsehood and the IC Problem would be Projection – Harlan projects the future (thus leading to his own death).

However, I see that in your storyform that IC Crucial Element is still Projection.

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Yes, they basically teach her the importance of Projection when you’re rich (Walts confrontation in the hallway about having the “right” lawyers).

Her mom coming into the country is an act of Speculation. Johnson is basically saying, immigrants if you want to win in this country you can still stay true to yourself, but you need to learn how the game is played.

Too bad she took it literally :laughing:


Throwing this out there in the interest of learning.

I found myself with roughly the same storyform as @lakis going into the movie last night, but came out with a different one. I just want to explain my reasoning for the sake of seeing where I’m wrong. :smile:



For the Problem and Solution I picked Proaction and Reaction. My reasoning was:

  • Harlan wanting to clean house before he dies.
  • Ransom deciding he needs to do for himself.
  • Trying to get ahead of the poisioning situation when just waiting (not over reacting) would have solved everything.
  • Marta trying to step ahead of the investigation
  • Fran trying to blackmail Ransom

The solution being getting Ransom to blow up (react) and Marta suppressing her natural reaction to lying.

That puts the Concern in Conceiving, which I could see as

  • Harlan’s wanting his children to conceive of lives outside of his shadow
  • Ransom wanting everyone to get the wrong idea about Marta

That makes the Issue Need and Expediency, which felt really good. :smile:

So did the dividend of the Present (the inheritance) and the Requirement of Being (lying)

For IC I had The Family and Benoit. Interesting that appraisal is the Issue in that case as The Family’s appraisal of Marta is constantly changing and Benoit consistently appraising Marta a good person who will do the right thing. Acceptance seemed like a good fit with the family trying to convince her she’s one of them. @JohnDusenberry gets his Benchmark of Preconscious here. :smile:

For Marta, I had her in Universe for reasons listed previously. Mostly I couldn’t get away from thinking that everything in her perspective is about maintaining the current state of affairs, preventing her family from being broken up, etc. I took her inability to lie as her being physically incapable of “being”. To me, her Mother’s status was core to everything she was going through, and without it there would be no conflict in her throughline.

Finally, the RS, which falls into Learning. This was interesting because a lot of things feel right. I had sensed that the “Co-Sleuths to Friends” relationship was developing throughout the course of the story. But also, the issue of Strategy felt good when thinking about the game of Go between Marta and Harlan.

I don’t want to argue every single point in the storyform, so I’ll leave it there for now. :smile:

We can dive into it further, because I think it’s important to understand why, but stepping back–

Is Knives Out about:

  • an undocumented immigrant who learns to be a rich a–hole OR
  • a nice immigrant who learns to be rich

The first is Universe to Mind. The second is Mind to Universe.


Honestly, I saw it as the first. The Family’s condescending attitude pushes her to take their money and literally look down on them at the end.

REALLY?!? That’s what the film is about??


Typically, the last shot or sequence of a film is what is known as Author’s Proof. Everything is resolved, and here I am, the Author, showing you what I just proved to you.

I would say that the way she is positioned, physically above them, is an indication of her move into Universe. She’s not an a–hole, by virtue of Benoit’s statement that she’s a good person, and stayed true to that.

She’s not a Thrombey…but she has Thrombey money now.


So the movie was about her learning to get money???

That just seems so on-the-surface to me. Didn’t fit in with the feel of the movie to me.

The last shot of the film, the Author’s Proof, seemed to be reinforcing that she did things her way. Yes, it’s his cup, but she gained the inheritance because she’s the only one who treated Harlan like “family.” The only one who actually cared. And she did it by doing things her way. Hence the “My House, My Rules” cup.

I felt like it was a win for Harlan, who wanted to change the family dynamic.
And it was a win for her personally because she didn’t have to turn into one of those monsters to do it. She maintained her effort to help the whole way through–even and especially when it created conflict.

I see where you’re coming from there and it makes sense.

As far as Domains go. I know one technique is to think “if x stopped, would the conflict stop”. So, my reasoning with Domains was.

If Marta stopped worrying / being a nice person would the conflict stop. Maybe?
If Marta’s family situation went away would the conflict stop. That’s a big yes for me.

So, am I thinking about that wrong or missing something there?

But Marta’s family situation was there long before the whole incident with the apparent overdose.
Her family history is related, but that didn’t seem to be the source of conflict. Her personal problems, to me, seemed to show up when it was about doing the right thing:

Harlan’s apparent overdose: Marta is stuck between wanting to help him live, and fulfilling his wish to let him die for her and her family.
Benoit asks her to be his Watson: Marta is stuck between helping him investigate and get to the truth, vs. if he finds out the truth I am going to prison.
She learns Harlan gave everything to her: She’s stuck between accepting the inheritance which was clearly Harlan’s dying wish vs. Giving it back to the family she knows Harlan thought didn’t deserve it. It’s all about doing the right thing.
Confronted with Fran dying: Someone who is going to convict me who knows “you did this” vs. saving her life because it’s the right thing to do.

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Those examples all sound like external stuck to me. Having a moral quandary doesn’t make you a be-er by default, right?

She’s trying to do the right thing.

I see it as her fixed attitude that’s causing conflict, not the situation itself.
If she were an asshole like the Thrombeys, she wouldn’t have a problem being in that situation… but she isn’t. She’s got that heart of gold that keeps telling her to do the right thing, despite the negative consequences.

To me, every one of those examples is:

I need to help because it’s the right thing to do vs. Doing the right thing will convict me.

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