Pumpkin Eater

There's a trope in films where a writer will shortcut the work of developing a textured character and a comprehensive arc. The trope is: Begin your movie with a guy who's been cheated on.

It immediately lets you see him in a "world turned upside down" (a lazy way to send the hero's journey into chaos from page one), and to help everyone like the protagonist with sympathy.

If the laziness and overuse of the trope weren't bad enough: statistically, the man is more likely to be the cheater.

Dan O'Brien has a great expansion on this topic, but where my musing takes it is to wonder:

When can we see a movie/story where we open on a man being caught cheating? And instead of him travelling somewhere to find a manic pixie dream girl, instead, he has to figure out things about himself.

Wouldn't that be an arc? A character being flawed enough to cheat on someone; a character we don't like out the gate, having a satisfying journey of self growth?

Why do we have to like the main character right away? Nobody likes car accidents, but we'll damn well watch anyway - just be
interesting - don't be sympathetic.

Old School, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, soon to come out is Changeland, hell, even the pilot episode for The Orville did it - it's a trope we use time and time again, and it's a tired one at that.

I don't have time to make a new story, but I'm definitely putting this one on the back burner. I think a movie should follow the cheater, and let their arc be that of moral redemption.
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