- In a romantic comedy or drama, the heroes react to each other in an unexpectedly volatile way. That’s what romance is.
- In any character-driven story, the unique psychology of the hero is the main topic of the story.
- In Men in Black, we see that Will Smith is more clever than all of the other applicants when he figures out that he has to drag the table over while filling out forms rather than trying to write on his lap.
- Captain America (who is also being judged by Tommy Lee Jones as he tries to join a different secret government agency) has more valor inside him than everybody else, even when he’s tiny. This is revealed when Jones tosses a dummy grenade into a group of soldiers. Everybody else scatters except our scrawny hero, who jumps on the grenade.
- In Margin Call, Zachary Quinto’s stock analyst character has more compassion than the others: Only he gives a heartfelt farewell to Stanley Tucci’s fired risk assessment officer, so only he gets tipped off about the doom awaiting the firm.
- In both Vertigo and Rear Window, only Jimmy Stewart’s characters would have uncovered the crimes that are central to the story, because the natures of the crimes happen to tap into the characters’ festering neuroses.
- In The French Connection, only Popeye, with his self-destructive “never trust anybody” ethic, could have spotted the well-hidden drug ring.
- In Silence of the Lambs, only Clarice, with her sheltered rural background, could have gotten this reaction out of Hannibal Lecter. That background also proves to be the key to solving the mystery, because Clarice has a unique understanding of the type of town where Bill lives.
The 40 Year Old Virgin
YES. Very much so.
Only slightly. She’s the most loyal to protocol and the company, until she realizes that Ash isn’t worth being loyal to.
YES. David clearly kindles a spark of rebellion that was already in her.
YES. Very much so.
YES. He’s a natural leader, and only he could triumph in this situation.
YES. Very much so.
The Bourne Identity
YES. both before and after his amnesia: seeing Wombosi’s kid caused an unexpectedly volatile reaction, not just the coincidence of getting hit in the head.
YES. It triggers her suppressed rage and self-loathing.
YES. Very much so. His cool exterior finally cracks.
YES. He’s particularly offended at having been duped.
YES. His extraordinary self-control allows him unprecedented success, but it threatens to destroy him.
Do the Right Thing
YES. Very much so, he surprises himself and us when he throws the garbage can through the window.
YES. On the inside, she’s having a volatile reaction, but she suppresses it all the way through the end of the movie, which is very non-western.
YES. He’s ready to snap when the movie begins.
YES. She finds love, betrayal, etc.
Not really. He reacts less than the average person would.
YES. His story with his mom makes the sunken place especially horrific for him.
YES. …But it takes a while. He does everyman reactions as long as he can, until he finally realizes that this really is about him.
How to Train Your Dragon
In a Lonely Place
YES. Everybody is shocked by how strongly he reacts to his captivity.
YES. From the first scene, we see how volatile she’s become as a result of the stresses in her life.
YES. His first instinct when things go wrong is to rob another convenience store.
YES. He’s not a very volatile guy on the surface, but we sense a quiet fury lurking under the surface of Oyelowo’s performance.
YES. Very much so, especially for Jack and Danny.
The Silence of the Lambs
YES. Lecter is determined to get a reaction out of her, and does.
YES. It begins his spiritual awakening. We sense that Han could never power a lightsaber, for instance.
Not really. He under-reacts to the horror of his situation, right up until his death (even after that, in his nonchalant postmortem narration). He doesn’t even noticeably react to being shot.