[Tipster] On Hallmark Movies and “Lady Chatterly’s Lover”

tipster post Dec 15, 2022

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Except for those schmaltzy Hallmark movies.
People call my bluff when I say my husband is the one who watches them. It’s true. If the World Cup isn’t on this December, a Hallmark movie will be.
My husband says he likes them because they’re predictable. He can do a handful of other things while the movie plays in the background and not miss a beat when he re-engages.
I may be in the minority, but that’s the very reason I loathe Hallmark Christmas movies.
The characters are one-dimensional.
The plot is predictable.
And the themes are simplistic (“Christmas is made for forgiving, new beginnings, and love.”).
I needed a break last night. So, I tuned into Netflix’s “Lady Chatterley’s Lover.”
As an English lit major, I’m not sure how I didn’t read D.H. Lawrence’s scandalous novel. But the movie made me regret my lapse.
The story is everything a G-rated Hallmark movie isn’t.
The Character Arc

Lady Chatterley’s character arc, ironically, is a bit like a Hallmark female protagonist’s arc—the big-city girl falls for a small-town, good-lookin’ fella in a flannel.
Simply, Lady Chatterly is a London aristocrat who moves to the Chatterley family’s country estate and falls for the groundskeeper.
It’s the same … but different.
Because the stakes are much higher.
In having an affair with the groundskeeper, Oliver Mellors, Lady Chatterly risks everything: her marriage, her status, her financial well-being, her future.
Why would she risk it all?
I don’t want to spoil the story for you, but the multiple answers to that question reveal what really matters to Lady Chatterly. It reveals her vulnerabilities, flaws, and her evolution.
More importantly, Lady Chatterly’s questionable decisions allow Lawrence to offer new ideas around modernity, sexuality, and love.
The character arc becomes the vehicle for exploring deeper themes.
Writing Your Complex Character
If you’re writing a complex character, raising the stakes is a good place to start. Each choice a character makes must have consequences—some positive, many negative.
It’s those negative consequences, and your character’s reactions to them, that not only create tension (the essence of plot) but also invite the reader to put themselves in your character’s compromised position.
Readers sink into your story.
They wonder if they could (or would) make the same decision.
They dread the loss.
They anticipate the consequences and read to find out if their hunches are right.
Maybe that’s why I’m not a fan of a Hallmark Christmas movie.
I’m not invested in it. I know the outcome before the movie starts. The stakes aren’t high. The loss never is consequential. It doesn’t challenge my assumptions.
It certainly doesn’t wake me up in the morning and prompt me to write a Tipster—because I can’t stop thinking about it. 
But “Lady Chatterly’s Lover” did.
And that is the result of great storytelling.



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