7 Story Elements in 7 Minutes: Le Mans 66 (Or Ford v Ferrari)

Each week I post a breakdown of a new movie in 7 minutes. Either you’re a screenwriter or you’re just interested in how movies work! The movie I saw this week was Le Mans 66 (Or Ford v Ferrari, depending where you are in the world). A bit of a slow start and some scenes were acted out with bizarre British accents. Those same accents are disarmingly endearing though and ensured I cried buckets at the end.

Here are the 7 story elements:

*Spoilers will be coming, don’t read if you still want to watch it!*

The Hero: Ken Miles (Christian Bale)

The Flaw: He’s not a people person. He doesn’t know when to stop (That’s what wins him the race and eventually kills him)

Enabling Circumstances: He throws hammers around, wins races but then doesn’t get paid. He knows his passion but he has the garage instead. He is ready to get a real job. He lives with a wife and kid that he needs to support. 

The Opponent: Ford. Though Ford offer him the opportunity to race in Le Mans 66, they throw curve balls at him every step- well, the vice president does. The vice president despises everything that Ken Miles is: a ‘beatnik’, unruly and not the typical ‘ford’ man. Ken Miles fucks up his relationship with the VP the first time they meet each other, in the car show room for the launch of the new model. 

The Hero’s Ally: Shelby. He’s his best friend and the person who comes back to him again and again with opportunities. Ken fucks it up in the first ten minutes of the film when the German’s want him, but goes all in when Shelby comes back with Ford’s offer. Ken’s wife is also the Ally- she persuades him to take the job, and not to give up on his dream.

The Life Changing Incident: When Ford ask Shelby and Ken to takes part in Le Mans 66. This is everything that Ken has ever dreamed of. Shelby can take Ken to the top…if only Ford will warm to him, and if only Ken will stop pissing people off. 

Jeopardy: This is what Ken thinks his son thinks of him. ( I think). At the start, Shelby asked Ken if he brought his son here just to watch him be an asshole. Ken lobs a wrench at Shelby, but it misses. Then, we see the son and father get closer and closer, culminating in when Ken nearly dies practicing. The son is very worried after that. In fact, it is not just losing his son’s respect- it is losing his son either physically or in this way. (At the end of the movie when Shelby gives the son the wrench it is a nod to this sentiment. And we are told that perhaps they could never lose each other.)

Leave your comments below about what you think the 7 elements were, and if you think differently!

Published by toobusytowrite

My page is called “too busy to write” because we all think we are. Where you’ve been and who you’ve met may be nothing but something to fall asleep on now, but in 40 odd years they will be the stuff you try and remember.

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