I’d say the movie LITTLE (starring Regina Hall and Issa Rae) is a “Buddy Love” movie. In this kind of movie, the buddies hate each other at first, but the movie’s circumstances make it clear they need each other—which leads to all kinds of conflict. Usually, the buddies will break up at the All Is Lost moment—until they finally realize that they need each other. Often one character is the hero who will do most of the changing.
LOGLINE for LITTLE: Jordan is a take-no-prisoners tech mogul who torments her long-suffering assistant, April, and the rest of her employees on a daily basis. She soon faces an unexpected threat to her personal life and career when she magically transforms into a 13-year-old version of herself right before a do-or-die presentation. Jordan will now need to rely on April more than ever -- if April is willing to stop treating Jordan like a 13-year-old child who has an attitude problem.
In LITTLE, Jordan becomes a successful businesswoman, but she has no friends or meaningful attachments at all. Her employees fear and even hate her, and she refuses to acknowledge that anyone but her can have good ideas.
1. Opening Image: Thirteen-year-old Jordan has just attempted to demonstrate how awesome her knowledge of science is at a talent show and she ends up being ridiculed and bullied. Her parents’ attempt to assure her that things will all work out when she’s grown, but their words don’t really find purchase in Jordan’s heart.
2. Theme Stated: This is a rare case where the theme is stated by the main character. When the theme is put this way, it’s usually an “opposites” situation. The MC says what THEY believe the theme to be, while the reader knows, they have it all wrong. In this case, Jordan interprets her parents’ words to mean that when she’s grown, she should bully others before they bully her. Obviously, we, as the viewer, knows that’s not at all true, and not at all what her parents meant. No one, not even bullies should keep someone from living their best life. Now the rest of the movie will be spent trying to disprove Jordan’s core belief.
3. Setup: We see Jordan as a successful businesswoman, who has every luxury a woman could want—except for friendship. She bullies her assistant April, assuming April’s only goal in life is to serve her.
However April has dreams of her own. She’s just as smart as Jordan, having graduated from CalTech. Working for Jordan is extremely difficult and makes April insecure and nervous.
4. Catalyst: Jordan’s biggest client is leaving them, unless she can entice him to stay with a Big New Idea.
5. Debate: Jordan listens to pitches from her employees, but hates them all. When April has the chance to pitch her idea, she chickens out. Everyone debates what they’re going to do if the company closes.
April tries to pitch her idea to Jordan in private, but Jordan refuses to listen.
Jordan yells at a little girl, who wishes Jordan were little so that she could kick Jordan’s butt.
6. Break into 2: The next morning, Jordan wakes up as her thirteen-year-old self.
7. B Story: April now has to take “guardianship” of little-girl Jordan and she’s going to enjoy having the tables turned.
As you can imagine, a lot of silliness ensues. Jordan has to return to the very same middle school she attended as a child, where she finds nothing much has changed. She thinks she can just confidence herself into a leading role, but quickly finds herself relegated to the rejects table, unable to do anything about it, just like in her past.
April’s now the boss and she discovers that it’s not as easy as she thought it would be. She thought she could be nice and that would be the key to success—the opposite of Jordan. But that doesn’t work for her, either. She has to find that Big Idea for the client or else she and all her friends will lose their jobs, but it turns out she doesn’t have all the answers even when she’s given the opportunity to try.
Jordan and April bond over girl time, and start to develop a real friendship.
9. Midpoint: The Big Client shows up a whole day before the deadline and the threat to the company and everyone becomes very real. The clock’s been ticking all along, but now everyone can hear the tick of the second-hand.
10. Bad Guys Close In: Jordan accuses April of trying to steal her company and her client, while April tells Jordan that she’s nothing but a bully and that’s why no one likes her.
11. All is Lost: April quits and Jordan overhears the employees saying they hope she never comes back.
12. Dark Night of the Soul: Jordan looks at a TikTok video sent by her nerdy middle-school friends and sees how her advice has stopped them from living their best lives. She realizes she was the one who stopped them from being true to themselves.
13. Break into 3: Jordan goes to the school’s talent show to convince her young friends that they should participate.
14. Finale: a. Gather the Team Jordan encourages her young friends to do their routine by risking making herself look silly—which she does. Her friends sing and dance and they’re good. Jordan feels a real connection for the first time in a long time.
b. Execute the Plan The girl who wished Jordan little shows up, and Jordan is quick to point out how much she’s learned. She demands to be returned to her normal size.
c. Hightower Surprise The magic doesn’t work. Jordan proves she really hasn’t learned everything because she tries to force the girl, then force the magic to do her will.
d. Dig Down Deep Jordan accepts she’ll never become big again. She apologizes to April. April admits she does want her moment to shine.
e. Execute New Plan Jordan wakes up grown the next day—but she’s not the same girl, inside. She supports April’s pitch, even when the Big Client walks away from it.
15. Final Image: Jordan is finally making real connections—with friends and with her man who’s waited for her to open up to him for a long time. April also gets her man—now that she has the courage to ask for what she wants. April and Jordan are best friends, understanding, finally, that you can’t let anyone stop you from living your best life, which is the true theme of the story.