Thesis: Can the Eldest escape from her tyrannical family?
Inciting Incident: Eldest becomes friends with Christina.
Father keeps his entire family behind a fence, out of sight from the outside world. His children, all in their twenties, have the very demeanor of arrested development.
His Eldest is a young woman that takes competition among her siblings very seriously. Catching toy planes thrown from windows. Holding her breath underwater better than the rest can. Her sister, Younger, is playful, and very much a young girl. Her younger brother, Brother, is tense at all time, uneasy with his limbs that have outgrown that of a child.
Father has a woman for hire, Christina, that has sex with Brother every so often. She’s the outside world embodied, and that world creeps in when she makes friends with Eldest. Christina in a very large way, is the catalyst for the eventual unwinding of the family’s world.
Threshold: Eldest gives Christina cunnilingus.
After Christina has had a bout of mechanical sex with Brother, she goes to Eldest and asks her to lick her. She persuades Eldest with a hairband. When she reaches for it Christina retracts, asking –
“What are you going to give me?”
‘Licking’ becomes a litmus test. Throughout the film it becomes a key indicator of the unnerving sexual nature within the family. Eldest goes on to trade licks with Youngest, even when there’s nothing to barter. It becomes solely about the act. The threshold breaks here because an aspect of the outside world invades the physical language in the family – the one thing that Father can’t repurpose.
Midpoint: Eldest tells Christina that she’s been lied to by her.
The headband didn’t sparkle like Christina told her, and in exchange for licking her, she wants tapes of American films. She pushes the matter by telling Christina -
“I’ll tell my Dad that you made me lick your keyboard.”
And she gives in.
This is the first time we see Eldest tell someone that she’s been lied to, make them pay for their words. It’s the midpoint because it’s the beginning of Eldest starting to believe that there’s much more to the world that her family is hiding from her. That she’s being lied to.
Low Point: Eldest is forced to have sex with her Brother.
Eldest after watching the tapes begins to play them out religiously. She does the Rocky Balboa routine, with red dye spurting from her mouth on every strike. In one reenactment she attacks her brother in the pool,
And whether she was told on, or done in by her own convictions. She gives the tapes and is beaten over the head with them by Father. Christina is banned. Eldest takes her place and is manipulated into having sex with her brother.
Climax: Eldest smashes her dogtooth out of her mouth.
Father says –
“Only then (when your dogtooth falls) is your body ready to face the dangers that lurk”
Ready to leave their home. In this act, Eldest smashes a weight against her mouth, severing the dogtooth. She’s made her decision in the climax of the film and destroys the tie that binds her to the family.