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by Edward Bloor

Analysis: Three-Act Plot Analysis

For a three-act plot analysis, put on your screenwriter’s hat. Moviemakers know the formula well: at the end of Act One, the main character is drawn in completely to a conflict. During Act Two, she is farthest away from her goals. At the end of Act Three, the story is resolved.


Tangerine actually breaks down perfectly into three acts, since it's written in three parts. What a coincidence! Part 1 tells the story of Paul's family's move to Florida, with all the angst and problems that come along with such a big change. And just as things are settling down, a gigantic sinkhole sucks down part of Paul's school, so he is forced to change schools again.

Talk about the "point of no return"—nothing says "get out of here" quite like a sinkhole!


Part 2 takes us through Paul's re-ignited soccer career at his new school. Soccer helps him make friends, and even leads him to discover his love of citrus trees. But in spite of all his success in soccer, his parents still won't pay much attention to him, and his memory is as cloudy as ever.


In Part 3, Erik finally goes too far, and someone dies. He and Arthur are exposed for their crimes, and must face the consequences. Paul, on the other hand, can finally remember what happened to his eyes, and gets to confront his parents with all kinds of truth—we got truth busting out all over the place here. He starts over at a new school with a fresh outlook on life.

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