Okay, I get it that the movie is a dramatized version of Kaufman's own struggle with the script. But if we are to view the fictional events of the movie as their own objective reality? What the heck, Charlie? He indirectly caused the deaths of his brother and Laroche, got Susan arrested — and presumably, her career ruined in this fictional world. Then what? He angsts about it for about two minutes and merrily proceeds to finish his script — based on the very events he has just experienced, which in the movie-verse are real and tragic. What. The. Heck.
The one thing Charlie wanted to do was be faithful to the book, without lowering himself to relying on any of the Hollywood movie tropes. In the end, he does "lower" himself, and it doesn't bother him to have done so.
I had a little bit of a moment of Fridge Brilliance, which made me think the movie is not supposed to (solely) be viewed as its own subjective reality. Did you notice that both Charlie and Donald Kaufman were credited for the writing of the screenplay? They both represent entirely different schools in the writing of fiction; the one being realist/cynisist who doesn't care much about suspense and "solving" the problem as much as simply portraying it (crushingly) realistically (comparable, I would say, to Kafka in the literary world). The other being the entertainer, stylist and structuralist - he wants a fast paced plot, a problem and a solving of it. He Plays tropes straight, even though it damages the realism - they are understandable to the masses (compare Dan Brown, perhaps). Now this, as the troper above me rightly noted, is reflected in the movie - first we have the crushing, depressing realism, then suddenly the fast paced (albeit kind of unrealistic and 'cliché') plot with the love affair and the drugs. And of course it ends on a positive note, with Charlie having transgressed a positive development in an unlikely scenario; Charlie wrote the first half, Donald the second. This is ofcourse in itself a deconstruction of the [[supertrope]] Plot — what should we expect from it? Entertainment, soul-searching or realism? Whoa, what a fantastic film.
Okay, I get that. Symbolism, metaplot, yadda yadda. My objection is to what happens if we view the events of the movie as real (real within its fiction). Because then it turns disturbing. And you can't just sidestep the issue by telling me I'm "not supposed" to do that. That's not how fiction works.
In fact, the change in the movie's orientation towards more conventional hollywood themes comes right at the point when Charlie asks Donald to help him out.
It is hardly Charlies' fault that Susan Orlean is a murderous drug addict, that Donald is a bit reckless and gets them both into trouble at the end, and that Donald dies because Orlean and Laroche were trying to kill them. As for him "getting over it", that really depends on how you look at it- he is devastated at the loss of his brother and while he is proud of the finished script, it is the sense of accomplishment that comes at the end of a long, hard struggle- and he gets to do it in memoriam of his dead twin, who helped him finish it. He doesn't angst for "about two minutes"- there is a time-skip (of indeterminate length, but presumably several days if not weeks) between the crazy stuff that happens in Florida and Charlie finishing the script. I doubt any court of law would find Charlie responsible at all- and nor should they. Susan Orlean and John Laroche were the criminals here, however sympathetic they may be at times, and their crappy lives don't justify trying to murder two innocent men just for snooping to cover her own ass.