The Flick Summary & Study Guide

Annie Baker
This Study Guide consists of approximately 33 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Flick.
This section contains 532 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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The Flick Summary & Study Guide Description

The Flick Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on The Flick by Annie Baker.

The Flick is a Pulitzer Prize winning play by Annie Baker. It is set in a theater named The Flick that is being upgraded from using a traditional projector to a contemporary digital system. Just as the theater is going through changes, so are the lives and relationships of the the play's three diverse characters, Sam, Avery, and Rose. Each has an inner need for a change in experiences, perspectives, and dreams.

The play begins with an introduction to Avery and Sam. Long term employee Sam is teaching the new hire Avery the best techniques for cleaning up The Flick after messy patrons have left. During this opening scene, it is apparent that Avery has deep seated troubles. Over time, as he becomes comfortable with his job and his co-workers, the issues behind his woes come to light. Experiences such as coming from a broken home and relying on his wealthy father led to a past suicide attempt. Sam’s inner-life is conflicted by his longing, unfulfilled love for Rose, the outspoken projectionist who is oblivious to anything except her own random life.

During a succession of frequently silent scenes, the play reveals further secrets of the characters, hinting that Avery has had an experience of being sexually abused. Also, Sam has a developmentally delayed brother whose unconditional happiness he resents. Then, there is Rose who is more attracted to Avery than she is to Sam, who is very attracted to her. This last secret is revealed in a scene in which Sam confesses his feelings for Rose, without actually looking at her while doing so. This leads Rose to conclude that even though he says he loves her, Sam’s feelings are, in fact, “fake”. The theme of "fake vs. real" returns later when Avery, who is seeing a therapist, confesses that not only does he feel that he's a fake, but he also thinks that everyone else is fake as well.

Eventually, the theater is sold to a new owner, who completes The Flick's transition from film-based projection into digital equipment. Movie buff Avery is not happy with the new method and tries to get the decision to do away with the old way of projection reversed. The new owner discovers a somewhat dodgy profit-skimming scheme practiced by several years of employees. He triggers a confession of involvement in the scheme from Avery, who then asks Rose and Sam to share the guilt. Rose leads the refusal, saying that the scheme was compensation for the fact that she, Sam, and the employees that have gone before aren’t being paid enough. She adds that unlike Avery, who is only part time and is supported by his father, she, Sam, and other employees rely on this job for their entire income. She firmly refuses to do as Avery asks. Avery is fired, but Sam and Rose keep their jobs.

Sometime later, Avery returns to collect the now-dismantled old film projector and some reels of movies that have been left behind. He says that he plans to start a “classics” cinema at the college he’s attending. When he leaves, a very contented Sam resumes cleaning the theater.

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This section contains 532 words
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