When I get an idea for a Cinematic Chiasmus, I get excited about it because it’s a chance to look at a film in a way that no one has ever done before. A few months ago, the good folks at Latter-day Chiasmus featured one of my Cinematic Chiasmus articles on their Facebook page, and then they asked me to take a look at a certain film to see if it works as a chiasmus. That film is What About Bob?
I had never done anything like that before. I had never tried to analyze a film that I didn’t have a good feeling about. I figured this would be a good example to see if I could actually force this model to work on any film or if it could be objectively shown to fail to work on most films.
I’m going to do something really different this time. Spoiler alert: What About Bob? is not a chiasmus. It has a few parts that match up nicely, but not enough to get anywhere close to a perfect chiasmus structure. And so it winds up looking really weird and disjointed when I try to impose this type of analysis on it. For this reason, I have set up a color coordination for it to show the four ways in which individual scenes match up (or fail to match up):
Green – The two events on both sides of the film match up perfectly.
Red – The event does not correspond with anything else.
Orange – One event matches up with another that’s out of order.
Blue – One event matches up with another that’s on the same side of the chiasmus.
I’ve also included some helpful commentary below many of the points, especially in the first half, to explain my reasoning for my use of the colors and what to expect further on. With all of that said, let’s see how What About Bob? stacks up. Continue reading