Have you heard this line: The time to make up your mind about people is never. I saw The Philadelphia Story in my early teens, and it is still a favorite.
This works in real life and in fiction. While there are certain groups that I’d like to label with some lovely satisfying insult–and sometimes do in spite of myself–this doesn’t do much to help understand anyone or the world. I want believable characters, don’t you? How do you do that if you can’t get in the head of your hero, your villain, and all the people in-between? Where’s the mystery and the joy of discovery?
Near the end to of the film–without spoiling it too much–the characters have something of a “did they/didn’t they” debate. They don’t spell out what they are talking about, but everyone knows what they mean. I love how they talk around things and still say so much.
They leave the idea to the imagination.
I wish I could write such dialog. If you don’t write it well, you’re being vague and cryptic. I’m an expert at vague and cryptic.
Dialog. Must sound real but not be real. Clever, but not too clever. Convey meaning, but not be info dump.
Of course with film, the right actors can save a lot of dialog–saying a ridiculous thing with the right tone and the right gesture. Words on the page must work for themselves.
Now, if I could get Hepburn, Stewart, and Grant to read for me…