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YMMV / The Green Mile

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • The look of absolute horror on Percy's face after Coffey pushes the "disease" into his mouth, and the tear that rolls down his face just before he shoots Wharton could theoretically indicate that, rather than John forcing him to shoot Wharton, Coffey used the contact to show Percy everything Wharton had done, and Percy shot him of his own volition. Percy, a small, sniveling, vicious, cowardly man was so broken by seeing true evil that he not only had to seek immediate retribution on Wharton, but spent the rest of his life catatonic from sorrow at just how evil the real bad guys could be. Look at his face during Del's execution. Can he not watch it because of how gruesome it is, or because he honestly didn't think it would be that bad and was having a "My God, What Have I Done?" moment?
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    • The other guards' protectiveness of the inmates, to the point of borderline contempt of anyone wanting to punish them for their crimes. Do they possess so out of a unflappable belief in redemption and forgiveness, or are they desperate men willing to enable murderers just to soften their lonely, miserable jobs? Similarly are the people they are willing to Pay Evil unto Evil before because they don't show the same remorse, or simply because they harmed people they cared about, compared to the anonymous strangers harmed by the inmates they befriend (as observed when Paul's view of Wild Bill alters completely after seeing his actions through Coffey's vision). Or perhaps they are treating them softly, because if they tried to treat them harshly, they might crack and kill them? Or, most likely, is it a bit of all?
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  • Catharsis Factor: John basically killing two birds with one stone by giving Melinda's brain tumor to Percy and brainwashing him into killing Wild Bill.
  • Complete Monster: William "Wild Bill" Wharton is awaiting execution at the Cold Mountain Penitentiary for murdering three people in an armed robbery, one of whom was a pregnant woman. When he first appears in the prison he manages to convince the guards he's in a drugged stupor, only to attempt to strangle Dean Stanton to death when his guard is down. Failing in that, Wild Bill contents himself with causing as much mischief as he can before his eventual execution. Eventually it comes to light that Wild Bill's worst known crime was the rape and murder of the two little girls who John Coffrey was accused of killing. In order to stop the girls from calling for help, he told them that if one of them screams, it's her sister that he'd kill.
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  • Draco in Leather Pants: Both Delacroix and Percy are often treated this way with mutual exclusivity in comments either overlooking the very legitimate reasons the former was sentenced to death to begin with, or using said reasons to excuse the latter's blatant cruelty, respectively.
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: Everywhere to say the least, not helped considering John Coffey's initials.
  • Fridge Horror:
    • If John Coffey's statement that he can feel the ugliness the world over is intended to be taken literally, he can feel something very ugly going on in 1935 Germany. To say nothing of Stalin's Russia, the European powers' colonization over the world, and the Empire of Japan's conquest of the Pacific and Southeast Asia. Or he just feels it constantly.
    • John Coffey made Mr Jingles a near-immortal by mouse standards in an accident, and quite generously extended Paul's life so much that he's quite fit for a 108-year old man (hell, he's a lot more healthier than even an average eighty year old person). How old is John exactly? How much of the world's events was he personally witness to? Possibly why John just goes along with them arresting and sentencing him for execution, as he has grown terribly tired from living very long in this world.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Percy's constant homophobic slurs to Delacroix can be this for people who know that Michael Jeter was gay in Real Life.
  • He Really Can Act:
    • Portraying John Coffey showed the world just how much range Michael Clarke Duncan was capable of.
    • There are still people who can watch this movie and not recognize Sam Rockwell as Wild Bill, because that's how well he plays a filthy, obnoxious, sex-crazed rapist-murderer.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Wharton doesn't like just little girls... he also likes annoying jerkasses like Percy Wetmore.
    • Although it is ambiguous whether Wharton enjoys a real screw, or just a Mind Screw: his goal was not to have sex, but to watch Percy panic, and he's successful - Percy pisses himself in fear, much to Delacroix's amusement. Given one of the many nicknames for sadistic prison guards, one could say that Wharton enjoyed screwing with the screws.
  • Love to Hate: Wild Bill is a shit-tier human being, but his actor is just such a riot (at least before The Reveal) that you can't help but enjoy whenever he's on-screen. Fans easily consider him more entertaining than Percy.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "Dead man walking. We got a dead man walking here."
    • "I'm tired, boss. Dog tired."
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Percy's sabotage of the first execution he's put in charge of causes the condemned man to die a horrible, agonizing death. The worst part? It was done out of petty revenge just for being embarrassed.
    • What Wild Bill did to the two girls, physically and emotionally. ("If you make noise, it's your sister I kill, not you.")
  • Older Than They Think: Believe it or not, this film (or novel, rather) borrows the plot from the Amazing Stories episode, "Life on Death Row", except that near the end of that episode the executed magical inmate is brought Back from the Dead with help from the friends he has healed.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Gary Sinise is only in one scene, but the obvious connections with Tom Hanks put him in the trailer. His cameo was also in reference to being in The Stand, another Stephen King adaptation.
    • While Harry Dean Stanton does show up for some other scenes, he only has any real lines in one scene, which ends up being a major Crowning Moment of Funny.
    • Graham Greene has only one major scene lasting slightly over a minute, but he gives a wrenching monologue that's one of the most moving things in an already very sad movie.
  • Signature Scene: John Coffey's execution is easily the most iconic scene in the movie and is considered one of, if not the saddest scene in film history.
  • Squick: Paul's urinary tract infection is described in nauseating detail, including him noticing chunks of pus in the toilet.
  • The Woobie:
    • John Coffey. He feels that he lives in a world that is full of too much pain and suffering, and is perhaps the true ageless person in this movie. As such, he considers his inevitable execution to be a Mercy Kill.
    • Subverted with Delacroix, as, after all, there was a reason he was sentenced to the chair. But no doubt he regretted what he did, and how he died was, to say the least, excessive. Even if it qualified as Laser-Guided Karma; he was an arsonist and murderer, and burned to death in the chair. In the novel, one of the guards even comments that when other townspeople hear of the botched execution, instead of being horrified they'll all wish they'd been there to see it.
      • Del is slightly more Woobie-ish in the book. As well as the main event, King also describes the minutes before Del's execution. He hugs Brother Schuster, the priest, who agreed to pray with him in Cajun French. While Del cries throughout the prayer, he's also visibly comforted and by the end, feels that he's right with God. Despite the horrific crime he committed, Del is still one of the more likable characters.
    • Paul, once the full impact of the epilogue kicks in.
    • Dean, getting strangled and everything. Then four months after the story takes place, he gets stabbed to death. He also has two kids who are going to spend the rest of their adolescence without a father.
    • A rare example of a Woobie prison warden, though he's more of an Iron Woobie: Hal Moores, who personally disarmed a prisoner with a shank, sees his wife become terminally ill. When Coffey heals his wife, he breaks down sobbing.


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