How an Effective Story Can Be Told in a Film Without the Main Character Undergoing a Life Changing Arc

In a cinematically defiant video essay, Sage Hyden of Just Write explains why, despite common teachings, a good story doesn’t have to require the main character undergoing a life-changing arc. Hyden backs it up with a number of popular films that prove the point including Gladiator, Star Wars, Inside Out, Back to the Future, The Hunger Games and Paddington. Each of these films feature a strong main character who remains the same throughout the film, even if the characters around them change.

A common piece of writing advice is that your main character must have a character arc. Today, I take a look at a number of well-regarded films where the main characters never change, and why these stories are still compelling.