Originally Posted by dog678
So if he's addicted to sex and comes to a realization about it, can the audience forgive his odd behavior and believe the main character can truly redeem himself through the eyes of someone else?
The answer is yes, because we can engage emotionally with just about any type of character for a variety of reasons. Because they're vulnerable, because they've been wounded, because they're funny, smart, etc. Not every film is about change and redemption, but if that is yours, then you just have to make the character arc believable. Someone who gets caught jerking off at the office is not a heinous character, he's usually found in raunchy comedies. So that is certainly not enough to dislike him. I take it this is more of a serious dramatic portrait of a character with this kind of problem, so yeah, you have to make the arc believable, and you have to give us a reason to care.
But I'm going to be totally honest. If he's ugly in the script, then he better have a damn great personality
Or something else really interesting about him... I mean hell, women fall in love with serial killers and write to them in prison and propose marriage because they think they're hot. There has to be SOMETHING about this guy that makes him watchable for 90 minutes. Because an unattractive creepy guy, well, you don't have to go too far in the real world to find that. Films do for the most part tend to center around fairly attractive characters. If they're not attractive, then they have money, or power, or a fascinating life story, or something that elevates them above the tedium of the everyday.
Re. what nikee said, Woody Allen (although he is now 70, not 40
), was not attractive, but he was funny and smart and so audiences did engage with him and believed it when he hooked up with hot actresses and then their daughters
It's been a while since I've seen Leaving Las Vegas (how many films can Nic Cage make that take place or end up in Vegas??), but to my recollection he never expresses any remorse about what he is about to do. But we still love him. Find something attractive about your character and make the audience see it. That's where the battle is won. IMHO.