Monday, November 07, 2011

What if Rhett Butler HAD Given a Damn? by Diane Kelly

A while back, I wrote a manuscript that included some characters from Ireland. To get a feel for their language and culture, I loaded my Netflix queue with Irish movies and watched as many as possible. My family was patient for a week or two, then they tired of me hogging the DVD player. They rebelled and logged into the Netflix account, rearranging the queue to add some zombie, action/adventure, and chick flicks to the mix. Thus, my selection Rory O’Shea was Here, was pushed far down the list.

Slowly the movie worked its way back to the top, and last weekend it appeared in my mailbox. I’ve long since finished the manuscript with the Irish characters, but figured I’d go ahead and watch the movie anyway. It was here, so why not?

The movie was touching and poignant, even funny at times. The plot involves two disabled young men in their early twenties, both of whom are wheelchair bound. One has cerebral palsy, and the other, Rory O’Shea, suffers from muscular dystrophy. The two live in a home for the disabled. Rory has difficulty dealing with the loss of independence and strives to find a better life for himself and his new friend.

I don’t want to spoil the movie for anyone who might see it, so I won’t give specifics about the plot. But after I watched the movie, I noticed my TV screen displaying the option to watch an alternate ending. I clicked on it and watched.

The alternate ending was more uplifting and pulled the themes together more fully. But it also tied up everything very neatly and didn’t leave the viewer with as much to think about afterward as the original ending did. If given a choice, I'd have to say I preferred the alternate ending, though both endings had their own merits and were satisfying in their own ways.

Have you ever read a book or seen a movie that you wished had ended differently? How would you have ended the story? We’d love to hear about it!

Diane Kelly is the author of the humorous Death & Taxes romantic mystery series. Her debut novel, Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure is in stores now. Visit Diane at


krisgils33 said...

you mention Rhett Butler and, as that is my all time fave movie, I have often wondered if the book/movie would have been so awesome if they had the happy ending. i happen to love a happy ending, but i also think GWTW might not have been as good with one.

Diane Kelly said...

Great point! Sometimes a not-happy ending is the best ending. Or perhaps two people realizing that things just will never be quite right between them is satisfying, even if not necessarily happy. The movie "It's Complicated" was like that, too. Alec Baldwin and Meryl Streep really weren't right for each other and it was better that they didn't reconcile at the end.

Christie Craig said...

I gotta have me a happy ending. You can put me through the ringer but at the end, I want all to end well.


Robin Kaye said...

Great post, Diane - I was the one who wanted ET to stay and not go home. I had a whole story in my head of what would have happened. It probably wouldn't have sold all that well though...