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Film / Overnight Sensation

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Overnight Sensation is a 1984 short film (28 minutes) directed by Jon Bloom.

George Peregrine (Robert Loggia) is a professional photographer who shoots advertisements. His wife Evie (Louise Fletcher), who apparently was previously content to be a homemaker, has written a book, When Pyramids Decay. George is not abusive and he's not unfaithful, but he's casually dismissive of Evie as a person and certainly doesn't take her writing seriously, at one point calling her an "amateur".

So it's a little bit of a shock to George when the book is a huge bestseller and Evie becomes famous. George gets steadily more irritated when Evie's professional success overwhelms his own. But George, who hasn't even bothered to read Evie's book, gets a lot more upset when he's told what it's about. Namely, it's about a middle-aged couple whose marriage has gone stale...and how the wife had a passionate affair with a younger man.

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Based on a short story called "The Colonel's Lady" by W. Somerset Maugham.


Tropes:

  • Accidental Misnaming: Evie chose to write her book under her maiden name of E.K. Hamilton. So George seethes with quiet rage when the bartender at Evie's book party addresses him as "Mr. Hamilton".
  • Bathroom Stall of Overheard Insults: It isn't a bathroom but the dynamic is the same. George wanders up to the bar at Evie's book party and hears two women talking about him with clear disdain, wondering how his wife stands him.
  • Chick Lit: In-Universe. "They say it's a woman's book," says one of George's acquaintances. The plot summary of a lonely wife having an affair with a handsome young man certainly sounds like Chick Lit.
  • Dead Sparks: George and Evie's marriage. Evie regrets this intensely while George hasn't even noticed. She pronounces their relationship "a habit".
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  • Drowning My Sorrows: George goes drinking at a bar when he finally reads Evie's book and becomes convinced that she had an affair with a younger man.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: George is portrayed throughout as a selfish, thoughtless prick who doesn't care about his wife and is jealous of her success. But he's kind of right to be mad about her writing a book about their relationship and holding him up as a Jerkass for the world.
  • "Metaphor" Is My Middle Name: George's own Stock Phrase, "X is my middle name!", always used when he's spouting bullshit. So at the end of the film when he tells Evie he can change and says "Change is my middle name!", she knows he'll never change.
  • Revealing Hug: George's "X is my middle name!" line is always a sure sign that he's not serious. Evie's empty stare when they embrace after he says "Change is my middle name!" Reveals that she knows this full well and she knows nothing will change.
  • Two-Person Love Triangle: George is crazed with jealousy over the realization that Evie wrote a book about a passionate love affair that she had. He's shocked to learn that the dashing young lover Evie wrote about is George from 25 years ago, back when he cared about her, and she was imagining falling in love with that version of George again.
  • Wham Line: George finally confronts Evie about the book. He is screaming with rage, demanding to know who Evie's lover was. Finally she says "He was you, George!" It turns out that the dream lover Evie wrote about is George from 25 years ago, when he and Evie were young and in love.
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