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Whiplash Analysis: Themes of Obsession

The Who & The What #006

Whiplash Analysis: Themes of Obsession

Check out my Whiplash analysis in this deep-dive video essay, which explores the script’s character development and themes of obsession. 

Whiplash analysis Andrew Neiman drumming

In “Whiplash,” the theme of obsession is explored through the relationship between Andrew Neiman and Terrence Fletcher. Andrew is a young jazz drummer who aspires to be one of the greats, while Fletcher is a demanding music instructor who pushes his students to the limit.

As Andrew strives to meet Fletcher’s high expectations, his obsession with achieving greatness becomes more and more extreme.

Andrew’s fixation with success drives him to practice for hours on end, pushing his physical and mental limits.

His dedication becomes so all-encompassing that he loses sight of his own well-being and the joy of playing music, which ultimately causes him to sacrifice personal relationships in his life.

whiplash anaylsis fletcher class band

Fletcher’s obsession with perfection is equally intense. He believes that greatness can only be achieved through relentless discipline and pushing oneself to the brink.

His teaching methods are harsh and unforgiving, and he shows little empathy for his students.

His obsession with perfection leads him to manipulate and abuse his students, believing that it will ultimately lead to their success.

A constant power struggle marks the relationship between Andrew and Fletcher, as Andrew tries to please Fletcher while also questioning his methods, a conflict which gives the screenplay so much depth.

The clash between the two primary characters’ obsessions is both destructive and captivating, which layers the story with constant interpersonal conflict.

Overall, “Whiplash” portrays the theme of obsession in a compelling and thought-provoking way. It highlights the toll that an all-consuming desire for success can take on a person and how it can be both motivating and destructive.

The film also explores the line between healthy ambition and destructive obsession, showing that the pursuit of greatness can come at a cost.

Whiplash analysis Fletcher

Watch this Whiplash analysis from a professional screenplay to learn how the story’s theme is interwoven through the primary characters.

Click the button below to check out the rest of my video essay series.

Nick Fore Script Doctor / Script Consultant

Nick Fore is an experienced script consultant who reads screenplays for the British Film Institute.


He has written comprehensive coverage on over 1,000 scripts and has helped screenwriters get their work into development with production companies such as Imagine Entertainment and Screen Ireland. 

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