I am working on a Sci-fi thriller and was trying to explain why the underlying personal conflict has to be universal for the film to be really emotionally satisfying.
We talked about why Source Code was more satisfying than Inception - The "back story" in this film is about an unresolved argument between father and son and was more universally relevant than the convoluted wife/suicide story in Inception. Source Code had a more accessible mission that was timely.
My suggestion is always to keep the emotional journey simple, so your audience has enough time to feel along with your characters.
I particularly like this scene: