The Sweet Hereafter

Emotionally heavy, yet thematically rich and fulfilling.

Rich, thematic narrative built upon a solid storyform. By setting the engine to a Tragedy that focuses on a horrific past and a Main Character who refuses to back down, the Dramatica theory of story predicts that Mitchell (Ian Holm) would be motivated by Chaos--namely his daughter's random and upsetting phone calls.

Mitchell has no idea when his daughter will call, and it is that Chaos that drives him forward throughout the entire story. It motivates his Understanding of the world and an Interpretation of events that he tries to force upon others in his role as Protagonist.

As far as Desire as a Problem in the Objective Story is concerned, an overwhelming sense of Desire weighs everyone down. Those behind the suit want a better situation, they want retribution and revenge. Those against the suit share a lack of Desire, a lack of wanting things to be better. They've given up and essentially stew in their own lost Desires.

If the townspeople were somehow Able to bring their children back (Objective Story Solution: Ability) or at the very least Able to make someone pay, then perhaps they could get over the Past.

But they can't.

And the Consequence for all of this are the Memories of those they lost. Their refusal to collectively move past their Desires forces them to face the consequences of Memories they cannot escape.

Desire as a Problem also appears in the incestuous relationship between father and daughter--a Desire that set a tragedy every bit as devastating as the loss of a bus full of children into motion. Nicole's act of revenge, when she is finally Able to remember the events of the day, represents her Changed Resolve. The children have become every bit as predatory as their parents.

For a more detailed account of this analysis and the group discussion that led to the storyform, please visit a group analysis of The Sweet Hereafter