One True Thing Script - Dialogue Transcript

Voila! Finally, the One True Thing script is here for all you quotes spouting fans of the movie based on the book by Anna Quindlen and starring Renee Zellweger, Meryl Streep, William Hurt, etc.  This script is a transcript that was painstakingly transcribed using the screenplay and/or viewings of One True Thing. I know, I know, I still need to get the cast names in there and I'll be eternally tweaking it, so if you have any corrections, feel free to drop me a line. You won't hurt my feelings. Honest.

Swing on back to Drew's Script-O-Rama afterwards for more free movie scripts!

One True Thing Script


             Stop it. Stop it. Stop it.

            Let go! Let go! Stop!

            Damn. Richard Ellespeare died.

            - He was a professor of mine at Harvard. - No!

            - He was a novelist, humanitarian. - Hey, hey, back there.

            - Published eight novels, including the best seller... - Stop it! Quit it!

            Hope's Way, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize.

            - What kind of man was this? - A man who pursues excellence and nothing less.

            - Dad? - Yes?

            I have to go to the bathroom.

            Can't you hold it till we get there?

            Mmm, yes. I guess...

            I can practice mind over matter.

            Atta girl.

            Oh, look at the baby cows, Ellie!

            Oh, my God! Look at them.

            I'm reading, Mom. And baby cows are calves.

            I was never close to my mother growing up.

            ls that something Mr. Best is going to use against me?

            Ellen, the D.A.'s not going to use anything against you.

            Mrs. Best, his wife, was a friend of my mother's.

            Do I need an attorney?

            Nobody in this office is accusing you of anything.

            We're well aware that this kind of thing happens...

            all the time with terminal patients.

            It's... It's a small town. People talk.

            The D.A. wants to be able to say that he looked into it...

            and he can put it to bed.

            What can I say? It's an election year.

            Anyway, were you aware that an autopsy was being performed on your mother's body?

            Yes, uh-huh, at her request.

            Uh, actually to find out the source of the disease.

            Primarily for my benefit.

            Mm-hmm. Where are you living now?

            In New York. I've been there since I finished Harvard.

            This living in the suburbs is going to kill me.

            Hey, Tweedy, the Bearstone Ladies predict a stock market crash next month.

            - Finish the captions on the junk shot, Casey. - They're antiques.

            - I've got a     pulse. I've got to check this again. - Tweedy.

            This story is too good.

            Senator Sullivan, youngest guy ever to be elected to the Senate.

            His father was a drug dealer, he overcomes that... excuse me...

            is on his way to big things, possibly the presidency...

            - until he crashes his car into a tree, kills everyone inside... - That was actually final draft?

            while he's on cocaine.

            I mean, this is not just good. This is great.

            Shakespearean. Sins of the father revisited on the son...

            - etcetera, etcetera. - We've got no interview. He's not talking.

            - I can get him to talk. I promise you. - He's checking into rehab.

            Some people in town are describing you as...

            cold and insensitive.

            Um...

            Ambition is Ellen Gulden's religion.

            - She's condescending. She's remote, whatever. - I can get him to talk.

            Well, I was ambitious.

            I stilI am.

            My father taught me to work very hard at everything I do, and I always have.

            I'm not tired.

            - So you were living a pretty normal life in New York? - Uh-huh.

            - Apartment? - Uh-huh.

            - Roommate? - No. No roommate.

            - Boyfriend? - Boyfriend.

            - Honey, please let me explain. - Jordan, just get out of here.

            - I don't want to see you anymore. - Come on. I got...

            I'm standing out here. I got wine, candles. I got the whole kit.

            Just go away, Jordan.

            El, can I just talk to you for five minutes, please? I'll explain everything.

            - Go away! - We were together...

            since senior year in college.

            This one was the last time, okay?

            Well, not together. We, uh... We took breaks.

            You know, a lot of breaks.

            That's mean. That's not funny.

            - He just needed some space. - Space named Linda.

            I'm sorry. Was that her name? Lori? I don't remember.

            - Oh, you're so mean. - ls that not her name?

            - That... You're so mean. - Don't get me wrong.

            I like him.

            Of course, it was, um, Jules, my best girlfriend...

            who, uh, came home with me to celebrate my father's birthday.

            Jordan, um, as usual, had something he had to do.

            Oh, this ought to be good.

            "Come as your favorite literary character". I don't know why...

            my mom can't just throw a normal birthday party.

            Ellie, it's going to be perfectly fine.

            Thank you. Thanks.

              - Hey! - Whoo-hoo!

              - Hi. - Hi.

              - Oh, good hat. Uh-huh. - Really good hat. Really good everything.

              Thanks. What'd you guys come dressed as?

              The Sylvia Plath twins?

              - Brian, you know I can't do costumes. - Why?

              - It's just so... Mom. - Human?

              - So what have you guys been up to? - God!

              - Ooh. Mm-hmm. - It's writing and deadlines.

              Take me away.

              - Okay. - Oh, wait!

              Somebody just finished summer school, didn't he? Congratulations!

              - Actually, I didn't finish. - That's great!

              What?

              I, Brian Gulden...

              son of Mr. American Literature and the romantics, failed American Literature.

              You're serious?

              - Yeah. - Well, way to go.

              - How did you do that? - I blew the test, Ellen.

              Brian.

              Did you tell Dad?

              No.

              Just 'cause I'm failing doesn't make me a moron.

              Yoo-hoo! Hi!

              - There she is. - Hi, Mom.

              Your dad's not here. The coast is clear. Gimme! Gimme!

              Gimme! Hi, Jules.

              Hi.

              - Hi. You too. - Good to see you.

              - Let me get your... - Oh, no, no, no. I got it.

              - Are you sure? Okay. - Yeah, yeah. Thanks. Oh, thank you.

              - Wow. - Thank you.

              You got a cab? I would have sent Brian to come and pick you up.

              - You should have told me. - Oh, that's okay.

              Come in. Come in, come in, come in.

              - God, this must have taken you days. - Oh, well, yes.

              - Jules, you look wonderful. - Oh, thanks.

              - I just cut my hair. - Oh. lt looks gorgeous.

              - And your hair looks great too. - Oh, thank you.

              Oh, this... It's yarn. Look. Guess who I am.

              Hmm? Oh!

              Oh, wait! Clue.

              - Oh... If I only had a brain - A heart

              A brain and whatever else

              Oh, well. You're right, as usual.

              - So, let me see. Who are you? - Uh...

              - Don't tell me. Let me guess. - Actually, you know what? We-We kind of forgot.

              But is was only because we were trying to hurry...

              'cause, of course, we wanted to be here on time, so...

              - God, that cake looks so good. So, we're just us. - Oh.

              That's okay. That's okay, Ellie. That's...

              Ooh! But I have an idea.

              I do have a Thanksgiving costume upstairs.

              - That's okay. - I could whip something up for you. It's a turkey!

              - No, really. It's okay. It's all right. - It's really...

              - Can I help you with anything? - Oh, yes, thanks.

              - You could take those dishes, put them in the buffet. Umm... - Sure.

              And Ellie... Ellie?

              You can... keep-keep, uh, slicing the bread...

              - with this knife, okay? - Thank you.

              I read your piece on Geraldine Ferraro.

              My brilliant daughter.

              I was so... proud of you.

              It's no big deal. It's just a little follow-up piece.

              Back and forth. Saw on it.

              - Do you think that Dad read it? - Oh, I'm sure he did.

              You know your dad. But he doesn't talk shop with me.

              Fuck.

              Nope. It's okay. It's okay. It's not even bleeding.

              - It's fine. It's really fine. - Wrap it up.

              - Okay. Thank you. - Brown paper. There's something in it that stops the bleeding.

              - Did you know that? - Really? - Okay, thanks.

              - Oh! Oh, dear. - Sorry.

              - No, I'll get it. - That's all right. Don't throw the pieces out...

              - because I'm going to use it in my mosaic table I'm making. - Don't worry.

              - We got it. - Keep your finger up and wrapped in the bag.

              Hello? There's no place like home.

              - Thank God. - Are we the first ones here?

              - Ellen! Oh, it's good to see you. - Oh, yeah.

              - You're lookin' tired. - Ellen.

              - Now, who are you supposed to be? Who? - Oh, I'm Lizzie Borden.

              You know, Lizzie Borden: "Took an axe...

              gave her mother    whacks.,,

              - Help! Ellen, I just saw Dad. He just turned the corner. - Oh! Hey!

              Jules! Jules! Come help. Come help.

              Okay.

              - So, um, Snow White, explain. What was that? - Oh.

              Mrs. Best, the D.A.'s wife, she's in my mom's cult.

              The Minnies, yeah.

              They're named after some local do-gooder...

              who used to decorate Christmas trees in the town square.

              - And, um, they're a cult? - Woman's group.

              - Right. Right. - You know, bake sales, tag sales, all of that.

              - Come on. You be nice. - Do-good stuff.

              - No. Hi. - You must be Ellen. I'm Harold Simpkey.

              - I teach music over... - Harold, could you, um...

              He's here! Hurry up! Hurry up!

              Hurry up! Here he is.

              Everybody, get-get-get down!

              Shh! Ralph, move your... Shh!

              Quiet!

              Kate?

              Kate?

              - Kate? - Surprise!

              Happy birthday!

              No. Look at all of you.

              Kate.

              How did you pull this off? Bravo!

              Come on, Dad, speech.

              Speech! Speech!

              I'm quite out of breath with walking home. It's only in going uphill...

              that you realize you're headed downhill.

              Thank you. Thank you. Thank you all for coming.

              I'm really... I'm really very touched.

              I'm very touched.

              So, I guess this is the...

              last class of the semester.

              Thank you for taking this journey with me. It's been a lot of fun.

              And have a great summer.

              There it is.

              The National Book Award.

              Oh, wow. He knows Oliver Most.

              Yeah, they went to Harvard together.

              Come see this. Come here.

              It's his novel, Comeback lnn.

              He's been working on it for years.

              Took Milton ten to finish my favorite poem.

              Oh, here's his collected essays.

              I read this first chapter.

              - Yeah? - Uh-huh.

              And?

              - It's great. - Uh-huh.

              So, uh, what-what'd he say about your article?

              Oh, I don't believe it.

              You didn't ask him, did you?

              Ellie. Tsk.

              - That's what they called me. - Did they now?

              You know, having the dubious distinction...

              of having been called "Big Al" when you were this diminutive...

              package is a challenge to confidence...

              but you have obviously survived it, have you not?

              - Yes. - So here you have in front of you a living example...

              of-of everything you're trying to achieve.

              I would just say get an ice breaker and break out of it.

              - I'm havin' a lot of trouble. - Listen...

              a writer calls his friend, he says, "I've just finished writing a story.

              "It's not very good. In fact, it's terrible.

              The worst part of it is it's the best I can do.,,

              The writer is John Steinbeck. The book is Grapes of Wrath!

              - Hi! Hi. - Hey! Hi.

              - Happy birthday. - Thank you.

              I'm afraid with    staring at me in the face...

              I'm developing inflammation of the sentence structure...

              and a definite hardening of the paragraphs, but...

              - How are you? - Oh, no. How are you?

              You knew all about this little thing, didn't you?

              - Huh? - No, actually, I didn't.

              Hmm.

              Well, did you get a chance to look at my latest piece?

              Yes. Yes, of course.

              The Minnies seem to get their literature from Disney.

              I know.

              - Hey! - Oh, my God, they're everywhere.

              Enemy forces at  :  . Danger, Will Robertson. Danger.

              - It's Robinson. Robinson. - Oh, Robinson.

              Safe.

              Safe for the moment.

              That was better. That was better. Now I'll show you...

              About your article...

              - Hmm. - I don't want to interfere, you know.

              - You are doing just fine. - Oh, no. Come on.

              Come on. You know your criticism, it helps me so much.

              I really appreciate it.

              All right.

              Writer to writer.

              - Less is more. - Hmm.

              Your approach is a little overemotional at times.

              lt needs to be more succinct. The word choice needs to be more muscular.

              Ellen, you've got a great talent, but it's not enough.

              You have to reach, goddamn it.

              When I was    years old working at the New Yorker...

              I would spend a whole day working on one sentence.

              I mean, Lord knows I could...

              Wait a minute. It's your best work to date. It's...

              It's not your fault. It's like the problem is that editor, damn it.

              - What is his name? Uh, Tw... Twimpy? - Tweedy.

              Yeah.

              - George? Well, see ya. - He's a fool as far as...

              - Hey. - Yeah? We're hiding.

              I know. Come inside. It's time to blow out the candles and make a wish!

              Oh, I wish we were... alone.

              Well, we're not yet. So hurry up. Come on. Everybody's waiting.

              Man, that's solid.

              Brian, how's Harvard treating ya?

              Can't complain. We beat Oxford in the Prentice Cup.

              I was referring to your courses.

              Summer school was all right?

              Uh, fine.

              Yeah? You didn't have any more problems, did ya?

              Nope. Everything's fine, Dad.

              I'd be glad to help by talking to your professors.

              - I'd be glad to look at your... - I said everything's fine.

              Well, good.

              Good.

              - He's had a few, huh? - It's his birthday.

              Good night! Good night, Mary!

              - Good night, guys. - Good night... What's his name?

              Hewitt.

              Hewitt. That's...

              Don't do anything. I'll do it in the morning, honey.

              Well, thank you, thank you one and all for a...

              a beautiful birthday.

              - Happy birthday. - Happy birthday, Dad.

              Happy birthday, darling.

              - Good night. Uh-huh. - Good night?

              You're not going to bed. You're not going to sleep, anyway.

              - Oh, God. - I have to get up early, you know.

              I have Dr. Cohn in the morning.

              Shh!

              Oh, do you like Bette Midler?

              Oh! You.

              Come on. Come on.

              Just one.

              I don't care about that.

              I knew my mother was going to the doctor, but, uh...

              I didn't really know what for.

              So you didn't ask.

              No.

              What poem begins, "'Twas the night before Christmas"?

              Uh, it's not called, "'Twas the night before Christmas".

              It's called, uh... I can recite the whole thing. Does that count?

              Anybody need any coffee?

              - We just need the title. No, thank you. - No? Okay.

              - I'm gonna go through the whole thing. - Don't let him cheat!

              Please!

              Oh, my God. "A Visit from St. Nick".

              Oh, man! Don't I get the point?

              Hey!

              - Where's Mom? - They're going to keep her overnight.

              She's going to have to have surgery.

              Surgery?

              Yes, they're... They're going to try to take it out.

              It's cancer?

              - Are they sure? - I'm going back out there to spend the night.

              ls she going to die?

              No, she's not going to die.

              After the operation, she may need radiation or chemotherapy.

              The doctor said that that can be very debilitating...

              in which case she would need somebody to take care of her during the day.

              Actually, I...

              I want you to-to move home...

              to take care of her.

              Move home?

              - Brian is at school. - Dad, what about my job?

              Well, you can freelance from here.

              She's going to need help during the day.

              Well...

              Maybe you could take sabbatical. I mean, it's been four years since...

              - you took one for the novel. - A sabbatical is out of the question.

              I have a department to run, and I have to make a living.

              As you well know, the advance on my novel was spent years ago...

              on yours and Brian's education.

              Dad, I have to do my interviews and my research in New York.

              I may never catch up again. lt could ruin my career.

              - We can get a nurse and I will come home every weekend. - A nurse?

              We're not getting a nurse. Your mother didn't get a nurse when you had chicken pox.

              A nurse. You know she won't tolerate having strangers in this house.

              - But, Dad... - Your mother needs you, Ellen. Jesus Christ!

              You've got a Harvard education, but where is your heart?

              Excuse me.

              - Honey? Hi. - Hey.

              -So sorry I'm late. Sorry. Hey, Jules. -Hi. Bye.

              - Okay. Hi. Mmm, kiss. - Hi.

              You okay?

              Here, give me your bag.

              - What's the matter? She's what? - My mom is sick.

              Ellen, a sick mother means three weeks off...

              and a very nice arrangement of flowers sent by the staff.

              Yeah, still holding. You're doing great here.

              If you leave there's no guarantee. All I could offer you is some freelance work.

              Okay, but I'm still going to finish the Sullivan piece from home.

              How are you going to do that?

              - Actually, Casey said that he has a way into Sullivan too. - No.

              This is my piece. I can do it.

              Okay. I know what this is about.

              You want an upgrade.

              Well, you got it. I don't know what it is yet...

              but it's yours.

              You really think that someone would come in here...

              and say that their mother has cancer for a promotion?

              Ellen, this is New York.

              Ellen Gulden.

              Hello, sweetheart. It's Dad.

              Hi, Dad.

              - You okay? - Yeah, I'm fine.

              - Listen, I'm really sorry. - I'm sorry too.

              Don't forget to make an extra set of keys...

              - in case you need to get in. - I know. I know. You know what I need to do?

              - I've got to disconnect the phone. - Yes, by Wednesday.

              - By Wednesday. - Okay. I'll call then.

              - When is she moving in? Saturday? - Thursday.

              - Okay. What are you gonna do? - Call you when I get there.

              - You always forget, then I worry. - I won't forget. I promise.

              Thanks. Okay.

              Sweetie, I'm all nervous.

              I've never asked anybody to live with me.

              - I'm gonna miss you. - I'm gonna miss you too.

              Ellie?

              - You're home! - Mm-hmm.

              I was just... I was remembering when I moved these plates from Princeton.

              - Oh, yeah. - Remember? And Brian was practicing juggling.

              - So, how are you? - I'm fine. I'm fine.

              - Good. - I just have to take it easy.

              My oncologist, who is... you'll love this...

              a woman, says no upholstering...

              no furniture refinishing.

              Oh, no. What are you gonna do?

              Can you stay the whole weekend?

              Uh, didn't Dad... Oh, he didn't...

              Well, um, I'm home for a while.

              I took some time off from work.

              Home where? Here? Well, what about your job...

              and your little apartment and everything?

              Well, I'm gonna work from here, so...

              - Oh, don't worry about it. - Oh, no.

              - Tweedy said that it's fine. - Oh, no, no, no.

              Not to play nursemaid to me.

              - Oh, no. That's not... - Oh, I don't need...

              Man, you'll hate me. I'll just make you some dinner.

              No, I want to stay.

              At least until you feel better.

              I mean, it's the right thing.

              For who?

              - Whose idea was this? - Mine.

              Dad, and... Well, it was both of ours.

              He shouldn't have asked you to do this, honey, because he knows you.

              - He knows this will never work. - No. Now, I told Dad...

              that I want to do this and I'm going to.

              So, that's final. Okay?

              Okay. Okay.

              Okay. Oh, my girl.

              I'm gonna make you some cinnamon toast.

              And I'll get you a cup of tea too.

              Okay.

              I'm glad you're home. Thanks.

              She didn't know I was coming.

              Well, you know how your mother is.

              If she'd known...

              she probably would've redecorated your entire bedroom.

              What's that smell?

              Um, that is an old writer's trick.

              Schiller believed that his body sabotaged...

              the attention of his mind while he was writing.

              So, he engaged his body...

              with a simple stimulant, apples...

              to free his mind.

              So far, all it's done for me is make me hungry for apple pie  la mode.

              So, what have you been working on recently?

              My interview with James Sullivan.

              - Senator Sullivan? - Mm-hmm.

              That's impressive. That's a big story.

              You know, I've been meaning to ask you.

              Random House has been asking me who I'd like to write...

              the introduction to Volume Two of my Collected Essays.

              It's coming out in the spring.

              Feel free to say no, but if you had the time...

              how would you feel about writing the introduction?

              - Are you serious? - Mm-hmm.

              - I would love to. - Great. Great.

              They envision some biographical sketch or interview perhaps.

              - I'll help you write the questions, if you want. - Okay.

              Here's some literary criticism...

              in case you haven't seen any of that recently.

              And two, three examples of my work in case you don't carry that...

              around in your bags with you wherever you go.

              And, wait.

              Wow.

              Could you wash these for me? No starch.

              And this pocket needs to be stitched.

              Thanks for taking care of this.

              Ellie! Tell Dad dinner's on the table.

              Sweetie, later on tonight, I'm gonna run you a vanilla bath.

              That'll help you go to sleep. Okay?

              - Morning. - Good morning.

              Good morning Mary sunshine

              Did you wake so soon

              - Remember when we used to sing you that? - Nope.

              I see the decorating season has officially begun.

              - Our quarterback is suiting up. - Mmm.

              Oh, George. You love it when...

              the Minnies decorate the Christmas trees.

              You just pretend to be Scrooge.

              - Mm-mm-mm. Bye-bye. - Bye-bye.

              Good day. Don't forget you have a staff meeting at  :  .

              - Oh, yeah. I'lI see you gals tonight. - Okay.

              Mmm. I wish I had redone this kitchen years ago...

              when I had the money to do it.

              - You okay? - Yeah, I just...

              I'm a little tired.

              I have my big Minnie luncheon today.

              Just the thought of all those Minnies is tiring.

              - I can make the lunch. - You could make the lunch?

              Yeah, I'll call out for Chinese...

              - or make some tuna fish sandwiches. - No, no.

              This is the steering committee lunch where we plan the Christmas trees.

              It's very important. I'm gonna make chicken paillard...

              zucchini soup, and my heavenly chocolate cake.

              Well, that's what I'll make then.

              You can make chicken paillard and zucchini soup and chocolate cake?

              Yeah. Just show me how. lt can't be that hard.

              Crap.

              Oh, shit! Mom!

              Can you come here, quick?

              No, I saw it on Donahue.

              This woman said a UFO landed and took away her husband.

              - A UFO? - And the UFO's name was probably Jennifer or Sophia.

              Yeah, but she saw something, you know...

              and I think there are things in this world that are mysterious and unexplainable.

              Yeah, like remember when they had one calorie Tab.

              I was always wondering why the need for that one calorie at all.

              Oh, there you are.

              Ellie made the lunch.

              Since Ellie made the lunch, let's make her an honorary Minnie.

              Oh, yes, honey.

              - Come on in and sit down. - I'm going to the library. I have work to do.

              - Oh, come on. - Let's make Ellie an honorary Minnie.

              Come on in. Come on. Bring the cake when you come.

              - A cake. - She did all this by herself.

              - She made a cake? - That is dear.

              - And I slept on the couch all morning. - That's really nice...

              but I really have to finish my article.

              And I couldn't be a Minnie. There's really nothing Minnie about me.

              - Oh, don't be silly. - I don't even like Christmas.

              Oh, Ellie. Ellie can help Kate with her Christmas tree.

              Welcome to the Minnies.

              Now moving on to other Minnie matters.

              lt was... lt was awful.

              lt was awful.

              - Mmm. - I guess that that world...

              it, um... it just felt small to me.

              And, uh, and sometimes I felt like I was going crazy.

              But since my mom was so good at decorating...

              and doing those creative things around the house...

              I suggested that she do something with her talent...

              like, uh, like decorate professionally.

              Start her own business.

              - You're kidding. - No, it would be fun.

              Ellie, this is the Minnies' busiest season. You know that.

              We have the Halloween festival for the kids.

              We have Thanksgiving, a benefit for the older people...

              and then we have to decorate all the Christmas trees in the town square.

              Okay.

              Well...

              - Why-Why... You gonna make coffee now? - Uh-huh.

              How are you gonna get to sleep tonight if...

              lt really doesn't affect me.

              Mm-hmm.

              We could do, um...

              a project.

              - A project? - Mm-hmm.

              You and me. Something we could do together.

              - Together. - Yeah, something different...

              that you would like, like...

              - a book club. - A book club?

              Why do you keep repeating everything I say as if it's...

              - the most remarkable thing that you ever heard? - I'm sorry. Okay.

              - No, a book club. That's good. Who else should we have? - No one.

              - No one? - There you go again.

              - Okay. A book club. - Mm-hmm.

              - I hate what Jane Austen does in this book too. - What? What?

              Well, she...

              The way she makes Jane, the sweet...

              and domestic one, the good one.

              She makes her second fiddle to Elizabeth...

              the one who's the outspoken and smart one.

              They do it at the college too... women professors.

              They say, "Oh, you keep house. That's terribly interesting".

              - Yeah, but I don't see... - There's another book that does that.

              Little Women. Yes, the writer's sister, um, she puts her...

              in opposition to the other one that has babies.

              - But, what... - Meg.

              So, you wanted to get back to New York?

              - Right. - You felt like you were wasting your time?

              Sort of. She seemed okay.

              - Your anger and resentment were building up. - Yes.

              Well, I mean...

              No, um...

              The one thing that I never wanted to do...

              was to live my mother's life, and there I was doing it.

              Oh, this is my favorite!

              No! Not Bette Midler, Mom. Please.

              Oh, you like this one.

              It's just every time we get in the car...

              I'm gonna get me some of them

              Cause you got to have friends

              Ba, ba, ba, ba ba, ba, ba, ba

              Friends

              -Harmonize with me! -But you're doing so nicely on your own.

              Friends

              I'm talking about friends

              - Mom, when are we gonna turn around and head home?

              I told you. We have to go get yarn, sweetheart. Remember?

              -Thank you, Kate. -Okay, sweetheart. Come sit up with me.

              I'lI see you next week, if I'm spared.

              Thank you again. I love your mother!

              Bye!

              Oh.

              Well, I think she had fun though, don't you?

              No idea.

              Honey, give me a pill, will ya? In the...

              Yeah. Look, we've been driving around for hours...

              - There's a thermos down there too. - wasting time.

              You don't feel well and I need to meet Dad.

              - Okay? - Mm-hmm.

              - You know where we are? - Canada.

              We just dropped Clarice off at her mother's house.

              That's because she's been living there for four months...

              since her husband left her, and she hit rock bottom.

              And she stays inside all day with the shades drawn.

              Every day.

              So, one of us comes up once a week...

              and takes her out to have some fun, you know.

              Have some laughs.

              And that's what we did today.

              I hope.

              You could always do work study.

              Right, and do what?

              You can work in the library. That's easy.

              He's not here.

              So, who's he doing now?

              Probably Celine, his new T.A.

              You mean "T and A".

              I'd do him.

              Not me. He's way too critical.

              I mean, can you imagine?

              "You have real talent, but you must reach, goddamn it".

              - Hello? - Hi, Kate.

              - Uh, George wanted me to give you a call. - Harold.

              - Yeah, hi. - Oh, hi.

              Yes. Ellie, is that you? I have it.

              Sorry.

              So, when you worked with James Sullivan...

              - would you say that he was driven? - Oh, absolutely.

              Uh-huh. How about voracious?

              What about his drug use back then?

              - Did you find it? - I'm coming... now.

              Thank you very much. You've been really helpful.

              - What? - Coming. Could you come now, please?

              What?

              - What is it? - I've given her two, um, Percocets about an hour ago...

              but they don't seem to be taking an effect.

              - I...I can't give her any more. - No, absolutely not.

              - What's going on? - Well, I can't find the-the heating pad.

              I need it. I need the heating pad.

              - We didn't find it. - You want the heating pad? Okay.

              She's in horrible pain. She hasn't slept all night long.

              - You woke Ellie up. I told you not to wake her. - I'm sorry.

              I think I... Oh, I hung it...

              Ellen, please.

              Here, here, here. Here we go. Now I just have to plug it in.

              - Has she got it? - Turn it on. Yeah.

              Yeah, she got it. It's good.

              - You can go now. You can go to work. - You think?

              - Yeah. Go to class now. It's okay. - All right.

              - What else now? What else? - I'll wait for Dr. Cohn to call.

              And, um, I'lI cancel the reservation at the Porchlight tonight, Kate.

              Yeah, that's good.

              - Shit! Jesus. - Go.

              Go.

              - The pilI didn't work yet, baby. - Just wait a little longer.

              ls it getting warm?

              Yeah, somewhat.

              Yeah.

              I'm giving her Dilaudid for her pain.

              lt may make her a little groggy.

              And she shouldn't drive. Her speech may be a little slurred.

              Even though you may see some transient periods of improvement...

              she still shouldn't drive while she's on this medication.

              Okay.

              I want to send a nurse to monitor her vital signs.

              In fact, this afternoon.

              No, we don't need a nurse. I can handle this.

              I insist. Your mother's in a great deal of pain.

              She needs someone she can be open with about it.

              Well, she can be open with me.

              Can she?

              - Still beating? - Loud and clear.

              Now, what can I do to help you, Mrs. Gulden?

              Tell me about your pain. ls it constant?

              Mm-hmm. Pretty much, yes.

              But, um, this medication's really helping me now.

              Okay. Are you having trouble bathing and dressing?

              Well, sometimes I have a little trouble...

              getting in and out of the tub.

              You didn't tell me that.

              Why didn't you tell me that?

              Oh, Ellie. There's so many things for you to worry about.

              Well, let's go upstairs.

              I can show you some easy ways to get in and out of the tub.

              Okay.

              Mm-hmm.

              Are you having problems with anything else?

              Uh-uh. No. Everything's, uh...

              Sometimes bending down.

              You know, it's hard. Hard to get my trousers on sometimes.

              - Mm-hmm. - And, um...

              But my bed is nice and high, so I have no trouble getting in and out of there.

              - All right. Kate, I have a surprise. - Hi.

              You have to close your eyes.

              - Oh. - And keep them closed. Please, no cheating.

              - Ellen, you too. - What are you doing?

              -What have you... -No, no. Don't open your eyes just yet.

              - Ready? Open. - It's so...

              Oh, it's so...

              If you can't go to the Porchlight, the Porchlight comes to you.

              It's...

              fabulous.

              Oh, my.

              I don't believe it.

              Here.

              Mmm. Oh.

              It's so beautiful.

              And after dinner, I've rented your favorite movie.

              You awake?

              - Go back to bed. - I can't go to sleep.

              Go back to bed.

              Whatcha got in the box?

              Nothing. Go back to bed.

              I guess she doesn't need her pill.

              No. She's looking a lot better now.

              She's gonna be just fine.

              - Dad? - Yeah.

              I was just thinking that maybe...

              you could cut back on your classes, help out a little.

              Ellie, I'd like to...

              but this is the busiest time of the semester for me.

              I've got midterms, which means I've got evening tutorials.

              Didn't you see her this morning? She's getting worse.

              No, she's not. Don't you ever say that again.

              - But, Dad... - Ellen.

              Look, I have essays to grade.

              And I've got a deadline.

              Dad, if I don't finish this article...

              I'm never going to get my job back.

              - Don't you realize that? - Ellen, enough. Midterms.

              I can see why people would think that I didn't care.

              But I just didn't know what to do.

              My mom would have a couple of bad days, and then she'd be fine.

              And, uh, she was still doing the things she'd always done. So...

              I was just wondering if you could tell me...

              when he's gonna be released from rehab.

              I'm just trying to be a friend, which I'm sure that he needs right now.

              ls a friend of yours in trouble?

              I'm-I'm sorry. Can you hold on just a second?

              Anyhow, the reason why I'm asking is because I'm sure that he's gonna...

              - Are you... Are you gonna get ready soon, because... - I'm sorry.

              Um, I'm kind of in the middle of something.

              It's kind of important.

              Okay. So anyhow, I need to know because I think...

              You don't have to come if you don't want to, you know.

              - You really don't have to come. It's fine. - I'm sorry. Just a second.

              You do know that this is exactly what the Moonies do?

              They take your shoes, your clothing, your identity.

              You sure the Minnies aren't just an offshoot of the Moonies?

              Well, at least you're wearing your favorite color.

              Next goblin, please.

              Come on.

              Look! Two more Madonnas.

              - Hey, Kate. - There's Clarice.

              Go back to work. Go back.

              - Louise, give me a pie. I got to go first. - Oh, no.

              You stand over there. Stand over there. Stand over...

              Shh. Kate, don't make me laugh.

              - Home? Good. - Yes, darling.

              - Hang in there. - Let me see. No. Maybe I'll...

              Oh, my God! Evelyn.

              - You know, I really should get home. - Okay.

              We'll go... pretty soon.

              I just want to go around one more time.

              Okay. One more time.

              - But only once. - One more.

              Okay. One more time.

              Okay.

              - Whew. - Whew, look at the little leaves.

              Like they're in a big hurry to get somewhere.

              Those Minnies go all out.

              - Yep, they do. - They go all out.

              Very creative women, huh?

              - Yes. What? - More is more.

              - You know, your dad always says less is more. - Mm-hmm.

              To me, more is more.

              Oh, I love walking in Langhorne.

              Uh-huh.

              It's a beautiful night.

              Are you okay?

              - Mom? - Uh-huh. You hear that?

              - What? Hear what? - That.

              What?

              Why, I guess it's the rumble of the furnaces or something.

              You know, Langhorne kind of, I don't know, hums.

              It's... Even in the summertime you can hear...

              Maybe it's the air conditioners...

              crickets, or the bees.

              Hmm.

              No, I think it's something more. You hear it?

              No.

              You can feel it.

              Trick-or-treaters. Oh, my gosh.

              They're gonna beat us home. You go get your dad up at the college.

              - Tell him to hurry up. - Are you sure?

              Yeah, I know he's doesn't want to miss this fun.

              Trick-or-treat. Trick-or-treat.

              Dad.

              - Hi. - Hi.

              Well, you missed all the trick-or-treaters.

              They were so cute.

              Remember when Brian dressed up like a dice?

              And he tipped over and you wouldn't help him up...

              because you were so busy laughing at his little legs...

              scrambling around in the air like a bug.

              -Did you find your dad? -His secretary said he had a late class.

              Oh. That's too bad.

              You okay, Ellie?

              - Uh-huh. Great. - Good.

              I love this movie.

              Do you think about politics much?

              And if so, what do you think about politics?

              You know how some of these meetings can go. Some of the faculty...

              - Uh-huh. - You know, one of the students had a little...

              - Oh. - So he, uh, he just wanted me to call.

              - Okay. - He thought you... Yeah, he thought you shouldn't...

              He didn't want you to worry.

              - All right. Thank you, Harold. - It's just...

              Yeah, it's just another one of those meetings.

              Ellen?

              - Ellen? - Hmm?

              I was asking about your father. You haven't really mentioned him.

              - Was he not around that much? - No, he was around.

              Um, he was busy with his classes...

              but-but he managed to spend time at home.

              I looked at my American Express bill one January...

              and went into ring failure.

              I was so opposed to name tags that once when a women slapped a gummed label...

              over my left bosom that said, "Hello, my name is Erma..."

              I leaned over and said, "Now what shall we name the other one?"

              What are you reading?

              Aunt Erma's Cope Book:

              How To Get From Monday To Friday In Twelve Days.

              - Hey, guys? - Up here.

              - Shall I put it away? - You'd better or else he'll call the thought police.

              And they'll come in in tweed jackets...

              and pummel us with rolled up New York Times.

              Whoa! ls this dissension in the ranks?

              Should I do my reading from this tonight?

              No. No readings this Thanksgiving. Nobody even likes the readings.

              - It's just gonna be us. - And Jordan.

              Wait a minute. You're gonna buck    years of tradition?

              You're gonna take away Frost and Whitman and all those other exciting dead guys?

              - Are you feeling all right? - Shut up.

              You are not going to believe who is downstairs with Harold.

              Oliver Most...

              poet laureate, in our house.

              - What is that book? - Oh, it's mine.

              Ellen, could you put up, like, some hors d'oeuvres or something for them?

              Are they staying?

              Yeah.

              - Hmm. - Uh-huh. Great.

              - Dad? - Yeah.

              lt was just supposed to be Jordan and us, just family.

              Well, I mean...

              They have no place else to go. Oliver is down from Harvard for a book-signing tour.

              He's all by himself. Come on. You know your mother loves Oliver Most's work.

              You promised.

              Well, I can't very well disinvite them now, can I?

              And we could all use a little holiday cheer around here now.

              Couldn't we?

              Get up!

              - Okay. Thank you. - Oh, Ellen. You did this?

              - Oh, Ellie. - You don't have to be concerned with things like that.

              - There's plenty of time. - I have to pay my father when I get back.

              - I don't know if I feel good about it. - Would you like some wine?

              Well, you know, there is plenty of time.

              A writer writes something. He calls his friend. He says...

              "I'm finished writing a little something, and it's not very good.

              In fact, it's terrible. The worse part about it is it's the best thing I can do.,,

              And that was Steinbeck, Grapes of Wrath.

              Your father tells me you write literary reviews from time to time.

              - Mm-hmm. That's right. - That's interesting. Like father, like daughter.

              Tell me, have you ever had the opportunity to review any of my work?

              Um...

              - I want to say grace now. - Oh, good.

              Uh, no, George, I want to say my own grace.

              Of course.

              Thank you for the world so sweet.

              Thank you for the food we eat.

              Thank you for the birds that sing.

              Thank you, God, for everything.

              And thank you, Ellie, for making such a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner.

              Sure.

              - Bravo. - To Chef Boyardee.

              - Shut up. That's terrible. - Well...

              to our great surprise and delight...

              tonight has become a night to go down in our family's history books.

              We have the honor to have with us Oliver Most, who...

              whose work means so much to me...

              and who was the first to encourage me with Comeback lnn.

              He's agreed after dinner to read to us from his new book...

              for which I...

              I'm very grateful.

              Well, George, I'm happy to oblige...

              but you're gonna have to remind me.

              What in the hell is Comeback lnn?

              lt sounds as if I've encouraged you to invest in some sort of...

              uh, roadside motel.

              Honey, would you pass the vegetables around?

              Yeah. You want some carrots, sweetheart?

              That's my novel.

              - My novel. - Yeah.

              Well, Jesus, George. I'm sorry. I forgot.

              As Thurber says, "With    staring me in the face...

              "I've developed inflammation of the sentence structure...

              -a definite hardening of the paragraph.,, -Everything looks beautiful.

              Up in my blue room

              Fools rush in and not to bed

              I am the rich of the real dead head

              Sure am gonna love you one more time

              Little bit of whiskey Little bit of my mind

              Well, you don't know the things I see in here

              Hey, did you see my dad tonight?

              He just kills me.

              You know, he doesn't say one word to me about dinner...

              and then he just goes off to his study.

              Like we're servants there to serve him or something.

              Hello? Another round.

              - What are you, Janice Joplin? Take it easy on the sauce, okay? - No. No.

              - I have not been out in two months. - I know.

              - I deserve another drink. - I know.

              I deserve another drink...

              especially since it's been like that since the beginning.

              Do you know he doesn't do anything?

              He really doesn't. He doesn't do anything. I do everything.

              - I do. I do everything. - I realize that.

              But I think in situations like this, you have to...

              be sympathetic with people.

              I mean, everybody has to deal with bad stuff in their own way, you know.

              What?

              Whenever you guys say that people deal with stuff in their own way...

              it means that you don't deal with it at all.

              We deal with it. We make the meals...

              and we clean up the messes and we listen while you guys...

              talk about how you're gonna deal with stuff in your own way.

              Well, what way is that, Jordan? Hmm? What way is that?

              What way?

              See? No way.

              - And what the fuck are you looking at? - Hey, hey.

              - Huh? - What are you doing? What are you doing?

              - No, no, no. Oh, I'm sorry. I'm being rude. - What's the matter with you?

              Well, you know what I think is rude?

              - I think it's rude... - Hey, stop it. I'm trying to talk.

              - when Little Miss Delta-Delta-Delta over here... - Stop it. Stop it!

              - Is trying to pick up on my boyfriend... - Stop it. Stop it.

              - In front of my face. - Why don't you just lay off of her?

              - Your sister's losing her mind. - Do you think I look invisible?

              I am not losing my mind!

              I am not losing my mind! I am just tired, Jordan.

              - I am tired. I am tired. - Ellen, let's go.

              Being my mother is very tiring.

              Oh, come on. There's nobody more different than your mother than you.

              - Come on. Let's go. - That is the stupidest thing that you have ever said.

              - Okay. Great. - That's the stupidest thing you've ever said.

              Oh, God.

              - Ellie. - Yeah.

              - You all right? - Yeah, I just have a headache.

              - What happened to Jordan? I heard Brian go upstairs... - Yeah, yeah.

              He has to go to work tomorrow, so he just took the train back.

              Hmm. You sure you're all right?

              How do you do this...

              every day, all day in this house...

              and no one notices?

              Doesn't that drive you crazy?

              But this is my family, Ellie.

              These are the people I love.

              Maybe it's time for you to start thinking about going back to New York.

              Maybe you should go back to the city...

              to your work and your writing and all those things that you like to do.

              That's what's important, sweetie.

              You know, we can get somebody to help out around here. That's not...

              But you did a great job tonight. You should be proud of yourself.

              Night-night, sweetheart.

              Good night.

              Hello.

              Mr. Tweedy, hi.

              A press conference? Where?

              The next train is not till  :  . Shit.

              - Then Casey... - No, don't send Casey. I'll be there.

              - Excuse me. - Yeah.

              Excuse me. No. I'm sorry. Excuse me.

              Excuse me. I'm sorry.

                Too late is unacceptable. You said you'd get the story.

                And I will. I'll find him.

                Look, I've got a contact at Sullivan's office. He's getting on a plane at  :  .

                No, no, no. I've worked on this thing for three months.

                - He's staying at the Plaza Athene. I can check it out. - Anyone can figure that out.

                No, I will meet him there. I'll meet him at the Plaza Athene before he leaves.

                This is my story, goddamn it!

                This is my story.

                Good night, sir.

                Taxi!

                Hey, don't I know you?

                - I don't think so. - Yes, we went to Harvard together.

                Ellen Gulden. You were a couple of years ahead of me.

                I wrote for the women's magazine, Peeved Eves.

                I remember Peeved Eves.

                - Well, it's nice to see you. - Yeah, yeah. Nice to see you too.

                Got to get to J.F.K in time for the last commuter shuttle.

                It's my daughter's birthday today.

                If you're going to J.F.K, I can give you a lift.

                I moved to Seattle a couple of months ago to get away from all the cameras...

                my ex-wife and my ex-kids.

                Yeah, you know, I think I saw something about that on television.

                - How horrible. - You know what's strange?

                - One minute you're in school and the next minute you look up... - Mm-hmm.

                and your life's all turned around and screwed up.

                - Yes, I know. Yeah. - You try and you try to get ahead.

                Somewhere in it all you just...

                You lose yourself.

                - And you never know when it's gonna come. - Mm-hmm.

                Comes out of nowhere. Bang. It's just...

                - Your life is a disaster. - Yep.

                Oh, I just hope I can make it up to my wife and kids.

                You know, that's all that counts. That's all that counts.

                Yeah, you're right.

                They're the ones who love you. That's what counts.

                I'm reading, Mom. And baby cows are calves.

                You're right.

                G.A. Tweedy here. Leave a message after the noise.

                Mr. Tweedy, it's Ellen.

                Uh...

                Listen, I waited for Sullivan...

                outside of his hotel, and, uh...

                Well, he never showed.

                Damn.

                Here we go.

                They're several reasons why I asked you here today, one of which...

                - Hi, John. Peter. - George.

                One of which is to ask you...

                why you were so hostile with me...

                at Thanksgiving.

                I know this is not the best situation for any of us.

                But I'm trying, Ellen. I'm trying to be patient.

                I have some questions that I'd like to discuss with you.

                - I don't think I want to talk about the interview. - I do.

                Okay, Ellen.

                How come Mom waited so long?

                Why didn't she go to the doctor sooner?

                - What are you talking about? - Was it because you didn't want your world disrupted?

                Because you needed her to keep your life running smoothly?

                Like you need me now?

                - What the hell are you doing? - Because she can't do it all?

                Well, do you have any idea what it takes to keep your life...

                - running so smoothly? - Ellen, have you lost your mind?

                - Maybe. - Keep your voice down.

                - This is inappropriate. - It is appropriate!

                Everything at our house has changed, but you don't know about it.

                Because you're behaving as though life goes on as usual.

                Well, life as we know it is done! This is real life!

                Fuck fiction!

                Less is not more!

                You have taken sabbaticals for the great American novel.

                Why not one for Mom?

                Why won't you participate in the most important thing...

                that has happened in your life?

                She needs you.

                Why is it always more important for you to hear...

                what some writer has to say than me?

                And Brian?

                Hey.

                Hey, what other tricks do you use besides your fucking apples...

                to get your writing juices flowing, Dad?

                Cheating on Mom, is that one?

                I will hire a full-time nurse. You are going back to New York.

                What other tricks?

                Several people have mentioned...

                a heated argument that you had with your father...

                outside the campus cafe.

                It was shortly after Thanksgiving.

                Do you recall the incident?

                Uh-huh. Yeah, I remember.

                It was a stressful time...

                and there was a lot to do and it was hard.

                So, there was no problem between you and your father?

                No.

                Or your father and your mother?

                My mother and my father?

                Of course not. lt was a busy time.

                I mean, I was a full-fledged Minnie.

                I remember we were making the, uh, ornaments...

                the craft ornaments with the feathers and the sequins...

                for my mother's Christmas tree in the square.

                And, uh, I would climb up the ladder...

                and she would tell me where to put them.

                lt was a lot of fun.

                Yeah, it's really not that bad.

                Yeah, it's okay.

                You know, I always used to try to get you to go see Santa.

                For years and years. And then when you were   years old...

                you got in line and you went to the very front, pulled his beard off...

                - Pulled his beard off. - and yelled, "Fraud!"

                Your dad was so proud of you.

                Well, guess what?

                - I'm getting in the line. Yes. - Oh, now you want to.

                - Uh-huh. - Good girl. Go on. Be good.

                - Ellen Gulden. - Hello.

                - Hi. - I know what you want:

                a new computer and Diane Sawyer's job.

                I'm here, okay? Okay, here we go.

                Nothing for me, Mayor.

                Santa.

                I guess maybe it is for me.

                I really... I...

                Mom!

                Mom!

                Excuse me, is there a phone that I can use?

                Sure.

                This line right here. Press nine to get out.

                Answer the phone, Dad.

                Ellen?

                Mom's in the hospital.

                The cancer has progressed much more quickly than we had expected.

                I'm sorry, but I think it's best to stop the chemotherapy.

                Uh, you know what? Um, I'm not ready to stop the chemotherapy.

                I'm afraid there's no more we can do.

                We alI need now to focus...

                on helping her through this next part.

                I'm putting her on morphine.

                You'lI need to give her one tablet twice a day for the pain.

                They shouldn't be chewed or crushed because they might become toxic.

                I am sorry. I'll get you the prescription.

                So, what do you think of the wheels?

                Oh, they look wonderful.

                - You like 'em? - Oh, gosh, it's like what we used to do...

                - to the bikes when you were kids. - Uh-huh.

                - You look beautiful. - Oh, Brian.

                You do.

                - No coat? - No, I don't need one. I'm layered, honey.

                I just wanna show off my new sweater.

                Oh, I love Christmas!

                I love it.

                - Hey! - Hey, folks! Merry Christmas.

                - Merry Christmas. - Hi!

                - Oh, everybody's out tonight. - Are we late?

                They should shovel that, you know. They should shovel that more carefully than that.

                - Well, honey, you should do it. Hey! - Hey, you guys!

                - Merry Christmas. - Hello.

                June Fortier.

                Get up here, you.

                Clarice Mitchell.

                - There she is. - Oh, great!

                - Hi, Kate. How are you? - Hi, Ellen. How are you?

                - Hi, Brian, George. Kate. - Melissa Jamison.

                Well, you just look wonderful. You look wonderful.

                - Well, thanks. Don't go get mushy on me. - I just love the sweater.

                - Oh, thanks. - Evelyn Best.

                Kate Gulden.

                And Ellen Gulden.

                We see you, Ellen. You can't hide. Come on.

                - We need all the Minnies up here. - Come on, now.

                And now for the moment we have all been waiting for.

                Happy holidays, Langhorne!

                Silent night

                Holy night

                All is calm

                All is bright

                Round yon virgin

                Mother and child

                Holy infant

                So tender and mild

                Sleep in

                Heavenly

                Peace

                Sleep in

                Heavenly peace

                Silent night

                Holy night

                Shepherds quake

                At the sight

                Glories stream

                From heaven afar

                Heavenly hosts

                Sing alleluia

                Christ the Savior

                ls born

                Christ the Savior

                ls born

                Having trouble juggling everything.

                Gee, I haven't dropped one yet.

                I couldn't help it. lt was a reflex.

                Oh, here...

                - Oh, hi! - Oh, my God!

                - Whoa! - Hi.

                - Nice hat. - Oh, thank you.

                - You didn't tell your mom? - How could I tell her?

                She's never known about my dad's little flings.

                God, he's still doing it, you know? He's got this friend...

                this fucking Harold guy, who calls and makes excuses for him.

                And this woman, she dropped him off right in front of the house.

                - God! - Oh, God. Why won't he answer?

                This is the third time I've tried to call him today.

                The red and gold one is ours.

                - Oh. Hey, it's beautiful. - Mm-hmm.

                My mom says with a tree that size, the key is "gaudy".

                - More is more. - What are you doing? Ellen, don't call him again.

                I don't want him to worry.

                He's still really upset about Thanksgiving and I think that...

                he was afraid to come and visit me for the holidays.

                - Oh, please! - No, I'm serious.

                - I was really, really hard on him. - Ellen!

                - Hello? - Hi. ls Jordan there?

                Yeah, he's paying for the Chinese food. Do you wanna hold on?

                No, that's okay.

                Some girl answered and said that he was paying...

                the Chinese delivery guy.

                Okay, uh, Chinese food at home.

                - It's New Year's. - Shit!

                - Shit! - Shit! Don't call him again.

                El!

                Come on, Jordan, just pick up the phone.

                - Answer. - Hi. This is...

                - Oh, puts the answering machine on. - Okay, good, then hang up.

                Hi, Jordan. It's me. Just calling...

                to say happy New Year's and to tell you that...

                I've really been thinking about what you said...

                about how we needed to talk about our plans.

                And yeah, we do need to talk.

                I just...

                I-I wanna talk.

                And, uh...

                if you get a chance, uh, call me.

                Okay?

                And I really hope that you have a happy New Year.

                Okay.

                Sorry.

                ls everybody ready?

                Uh, would you... Kate? Darling?

                - Here we go. - With what?

                - It's almost time for the big moment. - New Year's resolutions.

                - Okay. - Another great Gulden family tradition.

                Can't dwell on the negative. Gotta talk about all the great things...

                - that we're gonna accomplish next year. - Ellen.

                - Please. - Wouldn't it be a lot easier if we could just admit...

                to our failures, the things that we fucked up on.

                - Ellen, would you not use that word in the house, please? - Sorry.

                Used the "F" word.

                Failure isn't allowed in the Gulden house.

                You know, maybe-maybe we should break tradition this year.

                And since I've got a hell of a good list of failures, I'll start.

                - I think it's not a good idea. - No, no. Come on. Come on. - I don't think so either.

                - I'd like to. Yeah, I'd like to. - You'd like to.

                Uh, lost my desk at the magazine.

                Uh, really fucked up the Sullivan interview.

                - have, uh, really ruined... - What are you talking about? Why didn't you say something?

                my relationship with my boyfriend, so...

                - There we go. Happy New Year. - I failed my English class last semester...

                I'm on academic probation, and I got kicked off the tennis team.

                - Happy New Year. - Jesus Christ, Brian.

                - I could get a tutor. I could help you. - What's this?

                Mom, I got a job at the Cambridge Racquet Club.

                - Oh. - And I don't wanna go back to school.

                You got a job? That's great.

                - lsn't it? - Ten, nine, eight, seven...

                - You like it? - Yeah, I love it.

                - That's wonderful. That's what you should do then. - six, five, four, three...

                - Good God, you only live once. - two, one... and we're into     !

                The holidays seemed to take a lot out of my mother.

                lt was right after New Year's when her health really started to decline.

                And this guy in my class was going on and on...

                about how selfish she was and how...

                of course, she would leave.

                So my professor, who's a woman, said...

                "Anna Karenina would have left her husband for her lover...

                "but would never have left her son.

                And had Tolstoy been a woman, he would've understood that.,,

                - What do you think of that? - I haven't been reading Anna Karenina.

                No more whipping. That's enough. Just drain the cherries.

                You have two hours till Brian leaves.

                You know I wanna have his pie ready for him when he goes.

                I think the crust is probably ready too.

                - You better check that. - lt should probably bake a little longer, but I can...

                I can't read anything anyway.

                My eyesight's gone like an old lady. Let me see.

                - Uh, I don't think... - Let me see. Let me...

                Goddamn it! I hate this stupid chair.

                I hate it. I hate it. I wish I could...

                just roll it down the street right through Evelyn Best's front window.

                She pet me like a cat at Christmas. Did you see that?

                Don't-Don't do that. Just leave it. Get-Get another pie plate.

                There's another one over in the left-hand cubby.

                Have time to make another.

                - Left, left-hand cubby. - No, actually.

                I put them in here. And you know, Mom, there's handicap access everywhere.

                I am not handicapped!

                - Oh, God, I'm not! - What are you doing?

                - I am not an invalid! - Stop that!

                I am not! I am not! It's my house, you know.

                You can't tell me what to do. I'm still a mother.

                Still a mother here.

                Mom, I know that.

                - Hello. - Ellen, I'm going to be working late tonight.

                -Sorry I didn't make it home for supper. -Mm-hmm.

                I'll get there as soon as I can.

                Yeah, I'm sure you will, Dad.

                - Who was that? - lt was your husband.

                Seems he's working late again.

                Well, it's a tough job running that whole department.

                - Not that tough. - Whatever you're doing, stop and come here.

                Right now!

                - Yeah? - What has happened...

                - between you and your father? - What do you mean?

                You've been so angry at him ever since you came home.

                I don't know. I mean, there's some stuff that...

                I mean, it doesn't have anything to do with you.

                - Pretty soon he's all you'lI have, you know. - Please, Mom, stop.

                No. You stop.

                He's gonna need you. You're gonna need each other.

                My God, you used to be so close. What... The two of you are so alike.

                - Please don't say that. - Why?

                Because he's not perfect? Because he's not the man...

                you thought he was?

                No, I... No, I can't... I can't talk about this with you.

                - Come back here. Come on. I want you to sit down here. - I can't.

                I want... I want to talk to you. You sit there.

                Now you listen to me because I'm only going to say this once...

                and I probably shouldn't say it at all.

                There is nothing that you know about your father that I don't know.

                Nothing.

                And understand better.

                Okay?

                You make concessions when you're married a long time...

                that you don't believe you'll make when you're beginning.

                When you're young, you say, "Oh, I'll never tolerate...

                this or that or the other thing.,,

                But time goes by, darling.

                And when you've slept together a thousand nights...

                and you've smelled like spit-up from the babies when they're sick...

                and you've seen your body droop and get soft...

                and some nights you just think, "Oh, God, I'm not gonna put up with it another minute".

                But you wake up in the next morning...

                and the kitchen smells like coffee...

                and the kids have their hair brushed all by themselves...

                and you look at your husband, and no...

                he's not the person you thought he was.

                But he's your life.

                And the kids and the house and everything that you do is built around him.

                And that's your life. That's your history too.

                And if you take him out, that's like cutting his face out of all the pictures.

                lt just makes a big hole and it ruins everything.

                You can be hard, Ellen.

                And you can be very judgmental.

                And with those two things alone you're gonna make such a mess out of your life...

                you wouldn't believe, and I wanna be able to tell you these things in ten years.

                And when I think how most of what you learned so far came from your dad...

                - it just hurts my heart to think how little... - No. No.

                - I have gotten done. - Mom, don't, um...

                - Yes, yes. - Just, let's not talk about that. Can we...

                I wanna talk. You let me talk. Now, look. Let me talk.

                You're dad won't let me talk because he says I'll upset myself.

                And you won't let me talk. "Oh, Mom, please don't talk".

                Brian's the only one that let's me talk. He's never here.

                I wanna talk before I die.

                I do. I wanna be able to say the things...

                - I wanna say the deep thoughts... without you shushing me... - Okay. Okay. What?

                - because what I say hurts you. - Oh, Mom.

                Tired of being shushed.

                What do you wanna say?

                I already said everything I wanna say.

                Except I'm sad.

                - Why? - I'm sad that I won't be able to plan your wedding.

                So promise me that you won't have a ring bearer...

                or a flower girl, because those kids always just misbehave...

                and then they distract from the bride.

                And don't invite too many people.

                - Well, you know, I might not even get married, so... - Whatever.

                If I knew that you would be happy, I would close my eyes now.

                I would.

                It's so much easier to be happy, my love.

                It's so much easier to choose to love...

                the things that you have.

                And you have so much...

                instead of always yearning for what you're missing...

                or what it is that you're imagining you're missing.

                It is so much more peaceful.

                Thank you. That's very nice. You're-You're too kind. Stay that way.

                You know what it is? I found out today it takes six months...

                What time is it?

                I can't see the clock. What time is it?

                - It's   :  . Uh-uh. - Did Harold call yet?

                Ellie, I need you to go get your father and bring him home.

                Where?

                Can I get another beer?

                Okay. Yeah.

                Dad?

                Tsk. Who's that?

                Tsk. You weren't supposed to see this.

                You shouldn't have, uh...

                I, uh... I...

                He didn't, uh... I mean, he didn't even remember my book.

                Didn't even remember it.

                The narcissistic son-of-a-bitch.

                Thinks just 'cause he teaches at Harvard, right?

                He didn't even remember it.

                - Let's go home. Mom's waiting. - Ellen...

                the first time I saw your mother...

                she was so filled with light.

                She lit up everything around her.

                Even me.

                I just can't imagine the light going out.

                I can't imagine it.

                -I think it's time to go home. Come on. -Let me get...

                Okay. Yeah.

                Okay.

                Harold?

                Ellen. I-I- I was gonna bring him, but...

                I was just gonna call.

                Here. Let me. Let me.

                lce-cream monster.

                - The ice-cream monster! - The ice-cream monster!

                Good day.

                Your brother was back at his new job in Cambridge...

                and your father was back full time at the college.

                Right.

                So, you were responsible for giving her her medicine?

                Yeah.

                Teresa! Teresa!

                Teresa!

                Mom! The nurse isn't here. It's me. Are you okay?

                - Oh, I'm fine. - Well, do you need me to get you...

                I said I'm fine.

                I need you to help me.

                I can't get up.

                Oh, God!

                Okay.

                Okay, come on.

                Put your arm around me. Up. Ready?

                Ready?

                Okay, lift. Put your arm around me. Put your arm around me.

                Good.

                Good. Okay, good. Here we go. Here we go.

                Okay.

                Okay.

                Okay.

                I need a pill, Ellie.

                It's not time yet. Can you wait?

                No.

                No. Please.

                Oh, I don't wanna live like this.

                Here.

                lt'll be better tomorrow.

                No, I won't. This is not living. This isn't living.

                Why can't... this be over, baby?

                Please help me. You help me.

                You're my girl. You help me, please. Ellie, promise me...

                you'll help me.

                Please. Please. Please.

                We all made this for you, honey.

                See, it's got our names all over it, embroidered.

                - Oh, it's beautiful. - I hope you like it.

                What's that smell? It's that lndian summer potpourri, isn't it?

                Mm-hmm. It's your favorite.

                Who's making a racket out there?

                She brought the baby.

                You girls do good work, you know?

                Are you available next Tuesday?

                - Oh, here he is. - He says, "I want Kate".

                - Where's Kate? There she is. - Oh, I thought I never...

                - Oh, hello, little man. Oh, my gosh. - Can you sit down for me?

                Oh, gosh. Who's that cute baby?

                Ellen, I...

                I'm so sorry. I know it must be very hard...

                for you seeing her like this.

                It's okay.

                lt'll be over soon.

                I have a bib too.

                I do remember telling Mrs. Best...

                that it would all be over soon.

                But everyone knew that.

                Ellen...

                did your mother ever ask you to help her out of her pain?

                Mm-hmm. Yeah, I gave her her medication every day.

                No.

                Did your mother ever ask you...

                to help her take her life?

                If she did, Ellen, I can say with some assurance no one in this office...

                I did not help my mother take her life.

                Where was your father on that last night?

                He had a class.

                He didn't come home until she was already sleeping.

                - George. - Yeah.

                - You came home so early. - They cancelled my class.

                Oh.

                Hi, you pretty girl.

                Did you miss me?

                Oh, no.

                I want to talk to George now.

                Did you feed her?

                No one should have to live like that.

                No one.

                Mom said that.

                She was right.

                Hey.

                I finished the table.

                Love you, Ellie.

                I love you.

                I knew that.

                I always knew that.

                Take care, sweetie.

                El?

                - Hey. - Hi.

                Hi.

                I'm so sorry.

                I don't know what else to say.

                I'm so sorry.

                How are you?

                Yeah. You okay?

                Never knew I could miss someone so much.

                Oh, God.

                I know. I missed you too.

                I know this isn't really a good time to talk, but...

                you know, when you're ready, we should...

                we should figure out what we're going to do this year, you know.

                that you just don't understand.

                And I'm sorry, but I don't think you can understand.

                What? What are you talking about?

                - Thank you for coming. - El?

                Ellen...

                your mother died of an overdose of morphine.

                Can you think of any possible explanation for that?

                Do you think your father might have some idea how it might have happened?

                I really don't know how he could.

                Like I said, he didn't come home until she was sleeping.

                Have you discussed any of this with your father?

                No.

                Well, only because I went back to New York right after the funeral.

                And I really haven't talked to him since then.

                I've been really busy. New job.

                - You're writing again? - Mm-hmm.

                Feature writer for the Voice.

                Hmph. Congratulations.

                Thanks.

                I may want to speak to your father.

                Anyway...

                thank you.

                Sure.

                I'm sorry for your loss.

                Thank you.

                How long have you been here?

                Not long.

                I can smell the lilacs and the hollyhocks under the soil.

                Your mother used to say she could do the same thing.

                How'd it go today?

                All right, I guess.

                He's gonna want to talk to you too.

                Ellen, I just want you to know how much I admire your courage.

                And I wish I'd done it.

                What?

                I wish I had.

                I would've.

                Couldn't.

                Dad, I didn't do it.

                I didn't do it. I thought that...

                All this time, I thought that it was you.

                - Oh, my God. - No.

                - It's impossible. - Oh, my God.

                She was too helpless. She was too frail.

                The pills.

                How could sh...? Jesus.

                Ellen, I...

                I love your mother.

                I don't suppose I'm ever going to stop loving her.

                But because she can do anything...

                run the house, run our lives...

                keep everything so beautiful and so warm...

                I only thought of what she meant to me.

                My... muse.

                My... lovely wife.

                My one true thing.

                Of course she did it.

                Who else would've had the strength?

                No, you have to go deeper than that.

                You have to go four inches.

                - Four? - Yeah.

                Yeah, so that they don't rot in the snow, or so that the animals don't get them.

                Uh-huh.

                And then four inches apart so that the roots don't tangle...

                and they'll just look prettier.

                What are these plants?

                Daffodils.

                - These are daffodils? - Yeah.



 
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