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Posted on August 14, 2013 by kierandonaghy


This EFL lesson plan is designed around a short film called Inseparable by Nick White and the theme of relationships. Students practise using prefixes, predict a story, watch a short film, write 2 short conversations and a narrative.



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Language level: Intermediate (B1) – Upper Intermediate (B2)

Learner type: Teens and adults

Time: 90 minutes

Activity: Predicting a story, watching a short film, 2 short dictations, speaking and writing a narrative

Topic: Relationships

Language: Prefixes, adjectives and narrative tenses

Materials: Short film

Downloadable materials: inseparable lesson instructions

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Step 1

Write prefix on the board and ask your students if they know what a prefix is. If necessary explain that a prefix is placed before the beginning of a word to modify or change its meaning. Give some examples such as impossible, unhappy and independent. Tell students that prefixes are sometime used to give the opposite meaning of an adjective as in the three examples.


Step 2

Write the following adjectives on the board:

important    consistent   mature  

available    polite       offensive

healthy      intelligent  partial

capable      considerate  personal

decent       likely       probable


Pair students and ask them to match the prefixes im, in and un to give the opposite meaning of each adjective. When they are ready go through the answers.


Step 3

Write separable on the board and ask students which prefix goes with it to create its opposite. Write inseparable on the board and ask students what or who can be inseparable.


Step 4

Tell students they are going to watch the start of a short film called Inseparable. Ask them what they think the film will be about and what images they will see.


Step 5

Show the film and pause at 03:00. Pair students and ask them to discuss the following questions:

Were your predictions correct?

What story does the film tell?

Who is the man in the film?

What has happened to him?

When students are ready get feedback from the whole class.



Step 6

Now ask students:

What do you think is going to happen next?

Show the film until 03:46 and discuss if the students’ predictions were correct. Now ask the following questions:

Who is the man Joe talks to on the phone?

What is the relationship between Joe and Charlie?

What type of person is Charlie?


Step 7

Tell students you are going to play the phone conversation again and that you would like them to write down what they hear. Play the conversation as many times as necessary. Ask students to compare their conversations and then write up the conversation.

Joe: Charlie, it’s me, Joe. Are you alright?

Charlie: Yeah, you know me, never better. I could do with some more pocket money though.

Joe: How much?

Charlie: Too much.

Joe: Charlie, I got the results. We need to meet.


Ask students to discuss the following questions:

Why do you think Charlie says he wants more “pocket money”?

Why does Joe say they need to meet?


Step 8

Ask students what they think is going to happen next?

Play the film until 05:07

Check students’ predictions.


Step 9

Tell students you are going to play the short conversation again and that you would like them to write down what they hear. Play the conversation as many times as necessary. Ask students to compare their conversations and then write up the conversation.


Joe: Are you hungry?

Charlie: No, I had a liquid lunch. If you’re worried about the fee, don’t be.


Explain that liquid lunch is a colloquial expression which means that somebody has drunk a lot of alcohol but eaten no food at lunchtime and is probably very drunk. Ask students what Charlie means when he tells Joe not to worry about “the fee”.


Step 10

Ask students how they think the film is going to end. Show the rest of the film. Put students in small groups and ask them to discuss the following questions:

Why does Joe’s wife react the way she does?

What does Charlie mean when he says “it’s gonna be alright”?

Why is the film titled Inseparable?

Does the film have a message?

How does the film make you feel?


Step 11

Dictate the following sentence stems, or write them up on the board and ask the learners to copy them:

• I liked …
• It reminded me of …
• I felt confused/excited/surprised/unhappy/frightened when …


Step 12

Tell the students their task is to respond personally to the text, and complete the sentence stems in a way which is true for them. Give the learners a time limit of five minutes, to complete their sentences.


Step 13

Put them into groups of three or four, and ask them to compare their responses to the text.


Step 14

Conduct a feedback session with the whole class, based on their responses.


Step 15

Now assign each group with one of the characters: Joe, Charlie, Joe’s wife or Joe’s son. Ask each group to write a narrative from the point of view of their character in 10 minutes. Go around the class helping each group with vocabulary.


Step 16

Ask a member of each group to read out their narrative and invite the other groups to comment on them.


I hope you enjoy this English language lesson.

Support Film English

Film English remains ad-free and takes many hours a month to research and write, and hundreds of dollars to sustain. If you find any joy or value in it, please consider supporting Film English with a monthly subscription, or by contributing a one-off payment.

Monthly subscription

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38 thoughts on “Inseparable

  1. I saw this video a few days ago on Vimeo, and while watching it I was wandering if it could be a good one for film English, and now here’s your lesson! incredible! well done as usual!

    • Hi Marina,
      Thanks a lot for commenting. Great minds think alike ;-)As soon as I saw the film I knew it’d make a great lesson. I hope you enjoy it 🙂
      All the best,

  2. Great film and activity, again! I can’t wait to use this with my students! In fact, I CAN wait ;), but it will be nice to know that I’ll have this fantastic activity when I go back to work 🙂
    Thanks for sharing, Kiaran!

    • Hi Maria,
      Thanks a lot for commenting. I hope you’re enjoying your holidays and your students like the lesson when you get back to work.
      All the best,

  3. Thanks for these wonderful film lessons. I don’t know why Charlie says not to worry about the fee? Could you please explain this to me? Thanks.

    • Hi Jan,
      I’m really happy you like the lessons so much. I think we can only speculate why Charlie says “if you’re worried about the fee, don’t be.”. Why is Joe paying money to his brother? Is he paying him in case he gets ill and wants his twin brother to replace him? We don’t know, but it’ll lead to lots of specualtion by students and generate a lot of discussion and language. I hope this helps.
      All the best,

      • Hi Kieran,

        The line is actually “Don’t worry about the FIT”…

        Hope this helps your students make more sense of it!

        Glad to see the film going to good use.

        Kind regards,

        Nick White

        • Hi Nick,
          Thanks very much for getting in touch and letting me know the correct sentence. Does “the fit” refer to the brother’s clothes? I love the film and I’ve had loads of really positive feedback from teachers and students. Congratulations!
          All the best,

  4. Great film, really thought-provoking. I have twins so this really hit home! Excellent class activity which I look forward to using. Thank you very much! Sara

    • Hi Sara,
      Thanks a lot for commenting. My Dad’s a twin as well so I can relate to it too. I’m really happy you like the lesson.
      All the best,

  5. I’m a twin and a great fan of Benedict Cumberbatch. The film is awesome. It works for all kinds of students. The lower ones aren’t challenged with a lot of unknown language and the higher can be challengedto talk about themselves. Great job!!! 🙂

  6. Great short film and an excellent lesson. Can you believe my students didn’t realise that Benedict Cumberbatch played both Joe and Charlie?! Overall, they really enjoyed the film especially when they found out he was Sherlock and learnt loads. It generated lots of discussion. Thanks very much.

  7. Hey Kieran,

    Your site and lessons are brilliant! My teenager students are super demanding and they think everything around them is boring but your lessons always work! Adult classes seem to enjoy as well. Thank you for the great job you have been doing!

    Warm Regards from Rio de Janeiro. 🙂

  8. I always try to catch up with your wonderful suggestions and lesson plans . this video was particularly mesmerising, did the wife feel something was not right? I’m glad you explained that part about the fees because I hadn’t really got it! wondrful lesson with a lot to say. congratulations !

    • Hi Elsa,
      Great to hear from you again. Thanks for the kind words about the lesson. You’re right – the wife does seem to realise something is wrong.
      All the best,

  9. This lesson has already created quite a variety of discussions with my students – one group concentrated on the bond between twins and how different they are from ‘regular’ (?) siblings whilst another group discussed the moral and ethical questions raised: did the wife know this would happen? Was she involved in the decision? Shouldn’t the child be allowed to deal with his Dad’s death and to grieve for him? This works on many levels – well done!

  10. Thanks for this! I trimmed this down so it would fit into a 50 minute lesson and it worked really well. My students were really enthusiastic about it, in part because they all love Benedict Cumberbatch!

  11. this is a really great short film. I love your work. 🙂 well done. I’m a freshman in university, and this was supposed to me a assignment for us from our professor. I’m glad he chose this as our work.

    i almost cried when i watched the film. it touched me. and i like to share this film with my friends :)I really like it 🙂 Great work !!

  12. I am so fortunate to have been told about your site. I am using it in ESL classes. Thank you!

  13. Thanks for this great lesson! For my higher-level students I added to the last assignment that they had to use the adjectives from the first assignment. They came up with surprisingly good sentences like: “It’s very likely that the child will one day found out that he’s not his real father” and “Charlie has a very immature lifestyle”. Thanks again, will definitely continue using your lessons in the future! Best, Rufus

  14. Hi Kieran,

    I did the subtitle project for Inseparable on Vimeo, and here’s the note I gave to all the translators to explain the ‘fit’:

    The ‘fit’ here refers to being a good match, like when your shoes fit and they’re comfortable. There are no problems.

    Here, the guy is talking about whether or not he’ll be able to substitute for his brother not just physically, but in every aspect of life–as a husband, a father, at work, with friends… The ‘fit’ is how well, how perfectly everything aligns.

    It’s like if you get a new job, but then two months into it, you’re not really that happy. Maybe you do excellent work and your boss loves you, but everyone in the office is very outgoing and everything is a group project, but you’re accustomed to working very independently, and you find the group mentality overwhelming and distracting. You’re not miserable per se, but you know you could find a job you like better. It’s like the office is a big puzzle and there was one piece missing, so they hired you. You had the right degrees, experience–everything–and yet, it still wasn’t the right ‘fit’. You didn’t ‘fill the space’ well.

    I hope that helps!


  15. Hi! At the moment my partner and I are just starting our careers. I’m an ESL teacher in Chile and my student LOVE your work. We live with just enough money to get by. As soon as we find ourselves in a stable financial situation, I will be donating to your page. Sorry I can’t do it sooner.

    • Hi Rachel,
      Thanks a lot for commenting nad for the kind words. I’m delighted that you and your students love Film English 🙂
      Good luck with your teaching career.
      All the best,

  16. Thank you so much for your website. I can watch the video though. It says “password required”. =(

    • Hi Juliana,
      Yes, if you want to watch the film you have to pay the film-maker. The film was free but the film-maker has decided to charge for it now so you’ll have to pay if you want to watch it.