Every screenwriter has heard it thousands of times, “Grab ’em on the first page!” It can become so ingrained in your head that the pressure to open your script with a hook strong enough to grab your reader’s interest right out of the gate can be paralyzing. But not every movie should begin with a dynamic action sequence ,like Indiana Jones retrieving the idol in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK or the bank robbery that opens THE DARK NIGHT, though it’s tempting to want to write something big and flashy.
One of my favorite openings is in the film ALL THE REAL GIRLS. In a sustained two shot that lasts nearly four minutes, writer/director David Gordon Green, delivers an opening that does everything perfectly, as far as I’m concerned. It introduces our two main characters and, while it doesn’t present a clear goal for the rest of the film it does create a sense of wanting to root for these people. It sets the tone, presents some questions and even manages to start in a place few romances would – the first kiss.
It’s not an opening you would say “kicks ass” but the intimacy of it works to make us care about these people or at least predisposes us to caring. I watch this quiet, vulnerable moment and I’m in, ready to sit back and see where these filmmakers are going to take me.
Take a look and see what you think.