“That would never happen in real life.”
Have you ever caught yourself or a friend using this phrase whilst watching a film? There are times when even the cynics amongst us can get swept away in a cinematic moment, the dramatic music tends to help. Many people still can’t resist the urge to draw comparisons between fictional characters and day-to-day life, especially when a storyline is inspired by true events.
Sometimes part of the fun involves coming up with an alternative ending right there on the spot. Even if the living room narration drives aunt Sally mad.
It has come to our attention that some mischievous characters and their storylines are misrepresenting the legalities of people management. And because “I saw it in a movie” won’t hold up in court, we wouldn’t want you to get the wrong idea. So for a bit of a festive twist on our usual HR advice, stay tuned for our own alternative endings to some popular films bound to be on your screens this Christmas. Get the popcorn ready.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
SPOILER ALERT: In the magical glass elevator ride at the end of the movie, Willy Wonka tells Charlie that he has chosen him to be the heir of his magnificent Chocolate Factory. Oompa Loompa liaison is included.
Alt ending: What Wonka fails to mention is that he is embroiled in a huge employment tribunal after failing to process “right to work” checks and contracts for the Oompa Loompas. One of whom tragically slipped on some spilt Chocolate and broke both his legs! Wonka signs the factory over before making a disappearing act, leaving poor Charlie and his Grandpa Joe with a lifetime supply of chocolate, but an expensive HR and health and safety disaster to clean up.
SPOILER ALERT: The president of the United States is visiting the UK and makes a move on Natalie, an employee of the prime minister, who also has eyes for her. His solution is to have Natalie transferred and to stand up to the president by challenging some of his policies in their next joint press conference. Much later, the prime minister and Natalie rekindle their romance when she no longer works for him.
Alt ending: Natalie, supported by #metoo survivors, blows the whistle on wrongdoing at Number 10 and shares her story with the national press. Whilst the president tries to cover himself with diplomatic immunity and a push on positive PR, the prime minister is left with a very awkward whistle-blowing case and claims of sexual harassment. It’s the law, actually.
A Christmas Carol
SPOILER ALERT: In this Charles Dickens classic, Ebenezer Scrooge is a sullen employer who famously exclaims “Bah humbug!” in response to anything festive. He begrudgingly allows his faithful employee, Bob Cratchit, Christmas Day off to spend with his family, who includes the very poorly Tiny Tim. Scrooge then spends Christmas Eve alone. But his sleep is disturbed by three spiritual visitors, the last of whom warns him to beware a doomed future if he doesn’t change his ways. Scrooge awakens a new man, with a promise to Bob that things are going to improve. All is forgiven.
Alt ending: Whilst Scrooge has been distracted by his own misery, Bob has been headhunted by a law firm opening up the road in the new year. Not only do they offer Bob a competitive wage and at least the minimum annual holiday entitlement, but benefits include private medical insurance for him and his family. Great news for Tiny Tim! Whilst Scrooge is sleep talking with the spirits, Bob is already toasting to Christmas with his new employer. It’s too late for Scrooge who spends the next scene drafting a very urgent vacancy.
Back to business
Alternative endings aside, we hope you enjoy a well-deserved break this Christmas. And although most films are intended to allow a momentary escape from the business of day-to-day life, if a narrative gets you thinking about your own business or people management plan for 2020, just remember, we are only a phone call away.