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May December (2023) | Transcript

Twenty years after their notorious tabloid romance gripped the nation, a married couple buckles under pressure when an actress arrives to do research for a film about their past.
May December (2023) Julianne Moore and Natalie Portman

May December is a 2023 American drama film directed by Todd Haynes and written by Samy Burch, based on a story by Burch and Alex Mechanik. The film stars Natalie Portman, Chris Tenzis, Charles Melton, and Julianne Moore.

Synopsis: Set in the picturesque town of Camden, Maine, May December delves into the complexities of love, truth, and the power of storytelling. Elizabeth Berry, a renowned actress, embarks on a personal journey as she prepares to portray the controversial life of Gracie Atherton, a woman who fell in love with her teenage student and served prison time for their relationship.
As Elizabeth immerses herself in Gracie’s world, she becomes increasingly drawn to the enigmatic woman and her complicated past. The lines between actress and subject blur as Elizabeth confronts her own desires and the impact of her role on Gracie’s life and family.

The film premiered at the 76th Cannes Film Festival on May 20, 2023, and was released in select theaters in the United States on November 17, 2023. It started streaming on Netflix on December 1, 2023.

While May December doesn’t have an official MPAA rating, it is generally considered to be a mature film and may not be suitable for all audiences. The film deals with themes of love, loss, and the complexities of adult relationships, and it contains some scenes with mature content.

* * *

[birds twittering]

[leaves rustling]

[dramatic piano music playing]

[birds continue twittering]

[marching band playing]

[people chattering]

[woman] Yeah, it’s, uh, quaint.

It’s really hot.

Yeah. [chuckles]

[faucet running]

Just had some lady talking my ear off the whole time.

How’s your day?

[man talking indistinctly over phone]

Oh.

[curtains rattling]

[man continues talking]

[woman] Yeah. Uh-huh.

[man] If you’re distracted I’ll call you later.

[woman, exasperated] I’m listening.

[teens chatting in distance]

[girl] Oh my God. I hope you guys fall in.

[teens laughing and chatting]

[barbecue lighting]

[woman] You just don’t know.

I told you what happened when I met Judge Judy.

That’s true.

Oof, these Hollywood types.

[girl in distance] Mary, come on!

[man] Rhonda.

Hey, Joe.

[girl in distance] Please be careful.

[bottle opening]

That’s two.

Honey, can you take the plates and the cups out? They’re over here.

All of this. Take those, and…

And these too, if you can get them all.

Mm-hmm.

All I ask is that she’s polite.

You know, not just sitting there with her big movie star sunglasses on.

Like, too good for everything.

If she’s here, I want her to participate.

[teens laughing loudly]

I’m sure she will. I mean, look at this beautiful day.

Hey, where you going?

Uh, the roof.

I’m not calling anybody’s mother to say someone broke their neck and died.

We’ll be so safe.

Come on.

Charlie.

[boy] Come on.

Charlie.

[girl chuckles] There’s steps. Oh my God. Let’s go.

Keep an eye on things for me, okay?

[teens chattering indistinctly]

Honestly.

[dramatic piano music playing]

[music fades out]

I don’t think we have enough hot dogs.

[meat sizzling]

[man] I saw a movie she was in.

A pretty weird one where she gets naked.

And does, like a…

blood ritual. I couldn’t really follow it.

Where’d you see it?

Just on TV.

All right, I looked up “Elizabeth Berry naked.”

[girl screaming]

[dog barking]

I think that’s you.

[tense piano music playing]

[piano music continues]

[teens chattering]

[doorbell ringing]

[piano music continues]

[piano music ends]

[water splashing]

[Elizabeth] Hi.

Just one little second.

It’s such a pleasure to meet you.

You are so sweet.

We’re so happy to have you.

Welcome.

Thank you.

I thought you were taller. You look…

You look taller on television, but we’re basically the same size.

We’re basically the same.

I can’t thank you enough for doing this. It’s so generous.

My gosh, well, I want you to tell the story right, don’t I?

That’s… That’s all I want. I want you to feel seen and known.

Those are my dogs. That’s Zeus, and that’s Dutch.

And, uh, ignore that pool.

It’s a work in progress.

Always.

Oh. This was on your front steps.

Joe!

You’re not gonna believe this.

Hi. Nice to meet you.

Hi.

I’ll get a garbage bag.

I have a sixth sense about these things. God, I knew it.

[Elizabeth] What is it?

Uh, it’s a box of S-H-I-T.

We haven’t had one in a while but it’s just par for the course.

Don’t look so shocked.

Do you know who sent it?

Some sicko who probably wasn’t invited to any barbecues.

You want?

[Elizabeth] Sure.

Oh, Sofia, let me help you with that.

[Sofia] Don’t worry.

Okay, so make yourself at home, look around, talk to people, do what you have to do, and get yourself a hot dog.

Great.

[airplane flying overhead]

Right here!

[all shouting excitedly]

[man] Touchdown!

[boy] Nice, dude.

[woman] Charlie!

[girls whispering]

[Mary] Okay, okay, okay, okay.

[girl] Well, we’ll just support you.

[Mary] I know, just… Okay.

[clears throat]

[girls giggling]

Hi.

Oh, hi.

You’re Mary, aren’t you?

Yeah.

You’re one of the twins?

Yeah.

My brother’s around here somewhere.

Our older sister’s at college.

[girl giggling] Hi.

[Mary] I’ve never met anyone who’s on TV before.

Well, your parents.

Yeah, but, like… for real.

Do you live in Calabasas?

No. [chuckles softly]

[boy] Dude, yo, look at this.

[teens continue chattering]

[waves gently breaking]

[Rhonda] They’re sweet, aren’t they?

Very.

They’re a very beloved part of this community.

[Elizabeth] I can see that.

So…

[inaudible dialog]

[Elizabeth] What is it you love most about Gracie?

[Rhonda sighs] She always knows what she wants.

She’s unapologetic.

[melancholy music rising]

My son’s been out of the house for a while now and it’s quiet, but…

I can always call up Gracie and say, “What are we doing today?” And… there’s always an answer.

It really feels like things just settled down, and… now y’all are making a movie.

It’s…

It’s a very… complex and… and human story.

Just… be kind.

[tense piano music playing]

[dogs panting]

[Elizabeth, softly] Eyes round, pointy.

Closed when they’re open.

Pink lipstick.

[tense music continues]

Slight pout.

Bird-like, but steely.

Mechanical.

Or just removed.

[tense music continues]

[presenter on TV] The award goes to Elizabeth Berry!

[crowd cheering]

[Elizabeth on TV] I’d like to thank everyone who voted for me.

It means the most coming from you. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Clean.

Fresh.

You.

Clean.

Fresh.

You.

Clean.

Fresh.

You.

[music fades out]

[blankets rustling]

[Joe exhales]

[Gracie sniffing deeply]

You smell like charcoal.

[Joe] Smoke.

[Gracie] Excuse me?

[Joe] We have a gas grill, so you just must be smelling smoke.

[Gracie] Yeah, well, it’s stinking up the sheets.

[Joe] Do you want me to shower?

[Gracie] What I want is for you to have showered before you get in.

[Gracie, voice breaking] Still smokey.

[Joe whispering] Sorry.

[water splashing]

[hands rubbing]

[Joe] Okay?

[Gracie crying]

Okay.

[Joe whispering] Everything’s fine.

[Gracie] Okay.

[Gracie sobbing softly]

[kissing]

[dramatic piano music playing]

[birds twittering]

[dramatic music continues]

[scissors snipping]

[camera clicking]

[keypad clacking]

[notification sounding]

[notification sounding]

[keypad clacking]

[dramatic music continues]

[keys clattering]

[door squeaking open]

[women chatting]

You start with your greens as a base, and then you choose your focus flower.

How’s that?

Like that?

Yes.

Yes.

I don’t like this part.

[chuckles softly]

So, my brother, Scott, is a Rear Admiral in the Navy, and he says that order is its own reward.

[chuckles softly]

Well, that is so pretty.

Oh.

Thank you. Yeah.

You set a date?

No, we’ve been so busy.

We’ll figure it out down the line when it feels right.

Mm-hmm.

I see.

Beautiful, ladies.

Oh. Thank you, Lydia. This is Elizabeth.

She’s playing me in a movie, so I’m trying to show her a good time.

[all chuckle]

That I don’t doubt.

Why do you want to play me?

Uh…

When they sent me the script, I just thought… now here is a woman with a lot more to her than I remember from the tabloids and our… cultural memory.

Um… I don’t really think about all that.

You don’t ever dwell on the past?

[laughs]

I have my plate pretty full.

Mm.

I mean, I know that for me, personally, the past weighs on me.

You know, decisions I’ve made, or relationships.

So you just sit there and you think about your history and your behavior.

Yeah, sometimes.

[chuckles awkwardly]

Thank you so much for having me here for dinner in your home.

It really… It means a lot.

[dogs barking]

[Gracie] Oh. [scoffs] ‘Course.

It’s a shame that Mary couldn’t join us tonight, but she’s at her friend’s.

[quietly] I don’t want this.

There you are.

Mama…

Charlie, sit.

[Gracie clears throat]

He’s got a severe calcium deficiency, don’t you?

Mm.

This is delicious.

It’s an Atherton-Yoo specialty.

Mm.

Is it squab?

No, quail. I brought them home myself.

You shot and, um… fried the quail yourself?

Mm-hmm.

Gracie hunts all the time.

My daddy taught me.

I started going with him and my brothers when I was young, like four or five.

Amazing. This was in Virginia?

Um, Tennessee.

Tennessee, and then Illinois, and then Montana, and then Virginia.

Charlie, eat.

I’m really not hungry. I had a late lunch.

What, your little gushy treats?

How old do you think I am?

I want you to look strong when you go to college.

You need your nutrients. They’re gonna think you skipped a grade or something.

Can I be excused?

Boys are hard. [laughing]

[chuckling awkwardly]

So what was it like moving all the time, having to uproot your life, and…

It was just my life. I was used to it.

I made friends wherever I went, I was very close to my brothers.

Hmm.

I think my childhood was exceptional.

[door slams]

[door barking]

I have a lot of questions for both of you, but please…

Please tell me if this is not the best time.

It’s as good a time as any.

[footsteps stomping]

Great.

Thank you.

I wanted to ask you about the box. The package.

What about it?

I mean, is that a routine occurrence? [laughing nervously]

It’s a lot less than it used to be.

Mm.

Did you ever consider leaving town?

Why should we be the ones that leave?

[pop music playing upstairs]

Yeah, our whole family’s here. My dad. Gracie’s kids.

Mm.

[music volume decreases]

Do you remember when you first met?

[Joe] I don’t really.

[Gracie] I don’t know. Let me see.

I met Joe…

Um…

Well, I remember knowing of his family.

They were the only Korean family in the neighborhood.

Half.

Yes.

And my son Georgie was in the same year as Joe at school, so technically I would have met him there, but I don’t have any memory of that.

[Elizabeth] Right.

[Gracie] Um…

The… Everyone’s pretty close-knit here on the island, and you kind of recognize everyone.

There was a point when he was friendlier with Georgie, but I didn’t really meet him until he came to the pet store looking for a job.

[Elizabeth] That was summer after sixth grade?

[both] Seventh.

And then he started working there after school and on the weekends.

[Elizabeth] And…

what’s it like with Georgie, your friendship?

I haven’t really talked to Georgie much since then.

Georgie’s very sensitive. He always was very, very sensitive.

What’s your relationship like with him and your other kids?

How is that relevant?

Um… [chuckles awkwardly]

It’s my understanding that the movie takes place between 1992 and 1994, am I wrong?

So why would you need to know anything that happened after that?

Well, um…

There are things that exist inside people that don’t necessarily come to head until later and I try and look for the seeds of those things.

Um…

Mm-hmm.

Of course I talk to Georgie.

And to Billy. And Cassidy. I’m their mom.

[Joe] Cassidy was just here last…

What was it? And we’ll see everyone at graduation.

The twins are in the same grade as Cassidy’s son Peter, my grandson.

So we’ll all be at graduation together, which you’re welcome to come to, if you’re still here.

Thank you.

I hope that you are saving some room for dessert, because I did make something very special, right?

[Joe chuckles]

[dogs barking]

[Elizabeth] Goodnight.

[Joe] Yeah, see you.

[Elizabeth] Actually, I wanted to ask, um…

How would you feel about me coming to visit you at work one of these days?

Fine. Yeah.

Great.

That’s great. Thank you.

It’s no problem.

I just realized we’re basically the same age.

Yeah?

Yeah, I’m 36.

[laughs] Yeah, we…

Funny, I… I’m just now starting to think about having kids, and you’re almost sending yours off to college.

Yeah.

I can’t imagine.

I think it was almost, uh… I think I… I didn’t know what a big deal it was, in a way, because, you know…

Um, but, anyway…

[sighs]

I’ll text you, and we can schedule a time for me to drop by.

Maybe, uh, write Gracie about… She’s better at that stuff.

All right, well, yeah, get home safe.

Yeah, you too.

Mm-hmm.

[laughs] I mean…

[sighs]

It’s strange, even after everything she did…

[man on phone] Uh-huh.

…and how public it was, she doesn’t seem to carry around any shame or guilt.

[man] Yeah, that’s probably a personality disorder.

All right, forget it.

[man] I’m not trying to be glib. It’s in the TV movie you showed me.

But isn’t it kind of radical?

I mean, clean slate every day.

No doubts. No regrets.

[man] Meaning what?

Now you have all these doubts?

No.

Oh God, someone’s calling me from the network, I should probably take this.

Love you.

[man] I love…

[phone clicks off]

[tense piano music playing]

[sighs]

[tour guide talking]

…by someone who was seeking wealth, political power, fame…

In England in those days, if someone owed money and could not pay bills…

Hey!

[Elizabeth] Hi.

[laughing]

Hi.

Tom Atherton.

Hi. Elizabeth.

Thank you so much for doing this.

My pleasure. I got you a coffee. It’s regular drip. I hope that’s okay.

Oh, thank you. I appreciate it so much.

I’m sure this isn’t your favorite topic of conversation. [laughs]

[Tom] You know, actually, I don’t mind.

I think sometimes talking can feel good.

That’s great.

So I guess we will just… dive in.

[Tom] Want something to eat?

No, I’m fine with just coffee, thank you.

Hey, Carla!

[Carla] Hi, Tom!

Yeah, that’s my dental hygienist. Anyway, sorry.

Yeah.

So, maybe we can start with… you telling me about what Gracie was like when you first met.

Uh…

She was beautiful. You know?

She was…

And we met at a party.

And I was drunk. [laughs]

Like blotto drunk.

And she took care of me.

And…

We started dating after that.

She was in high school, I was in college.

She graduated, I graduated.

I proposed and…

that was it. A, B, C, D.

You were happy?

[Tom] Yeah.

I felt very happy.

I know later she said that things weren’t working, but I gotta tell you, at the time, I felt like everything was normal. Um…

I mean, look, couples fight sometimes, but our lives felt good.

Yeah, we had a… We had a great family, I thought.

Mm. You know, so it was a… I was shocked.

Shocked.

And then when I found out with who…

That must have been really hard.

[Tom laughs sardonically]

It was just so, uh… weird.

It was like…

Like I didn’t even know Gracie.

Like, what would make a 36-year-old woman have an affair with a seventh grader?

Beats me.

How’d you find out?

I found out the way everybody found out, when they got busted in that stupid stockroom at the pet store, and she got arrested.

Then, here comes the cops at the house!

“Tell me what’s going on.” And I’m like, “What?”

Oh, I’m so, so sorry.

Yeah, it’s… Like, you know what? It’s okay.

And…

I’m happy now.

I don’t see them very much, but her and the boy, you know, they seem happy, so… what do I know?

[man on radio] Sneaks down the left side for a base hit.

He goes the opposite way with it, one run comes around.

[curtain rattling]

Oh, isn’t that perfect!

Oh, that’s really pretty.

[Mary sighs] I feel like a bride.

You look youthful.

Like the first day of spring.

I just feel like everyone else is gonna be wearing more, like, summery dresses.

Who cares about everyone else?

Me. I am saying I don’t like it.

Oh, okay. Okay. Okay.

Just… Then try on the others.

Okay.

Will they not be wearing robes?

Yes, they’ll be wearing robes.

This is for under the robe.

Ah.

I heard you saw Tom.

Yes, for coffee.

How was he?

He’s handsome.

Oh yes, he’s very handsome.

I could see how being in a relationship with him, in a marriage, would be isolating.

Precisely.

Why’d you marry a man like Tom?

[clicks tongue] I was young and he was…

He seemed perfect on paper.

It was a different time.

My father used to say, “You’re eith…” [laughs] You’re either leaving this house in a veil, or in a box.”

No!

[both laugh]

Isn’t that funny?

That’s wild.

Oh!

So cute!

Oh, it’s lovely!

I love the fabric.

[happily] I love it.

I love how it flows.

Oh Mary, I wanna commend you for being so brave and showing your arms like that.

That’s something I always wished I could do when I was your age.

Just not care about these unrealistic beauty standards.

You’re different than me.

You’re a modern woman.

I’m gonna go try on some of the other dresses. I really like this one. Um…

I think it’s just too similar to the one Molly has.

Okay. Whatever you want.

Okay.

[curtain rattling]

So, it’s not my business who you talk to, I mean, you can go through the phone book for all I care, but I just, um…

Just let me know ahead of time so I don’t have to lie to my neighbors.

Understood.

I, um… [clears throat]

brought you something. Um…

It’s… If it’s helpful…

It’s just a loan.

[gasps] Oh!

Wow, these are great.

[Gracie] That was from our wedding, which The Insider did.

Which really helped us with the house.

[Elizabeth] Gorgeous.

[inhales sharply]

[Gracie] Ah, how sweet is that!

Really sweet.

You like it?

I love it.

Very in.

[camera clicking]

[Elizabeth] How long have you owned this place?

[man] It was my mother’s.

[birds squawking]

She opened it in 1972.

[Elizabeth] Hm.

[man] So we had a good run.

[Elizabeth] Yeah, beautiful store.

So, was she the one that hired Gracie?

Oh. Well, my mother’s health was in decline, and Gracie had been a loyal customer after they opened that Kmart around the corner.

This was what year?

Uh…

It was after my mother’s fall.

Mm. 1990. October.

At first, she was just watching the store, then she took on more and more responsibilities.

Balancing the books, orders.

[sighs]

Very organized. I’ll give her that much.

Were you the one who hired Joe?

Oh no. No, no, no.

Gracie asked if she could hire a part-time helper at minimum wage.

That was summer, ’92, and mother said yes.

We were really surprised, to say the least, to be a part of… what all happened.

This… pretty much sums it up.

Oh, wow.

Anyway, I should probably get back to work.

One more thing.

I’d love to see the stockroom.

[birds squawking, animals chittering]

[water filters trickling]

[sighs]

Just… don’t touch any of the bait.

Will do.

[tense music slowly fading in]

[bird hooting]

[panting softly]

[dramatic piano music playing]

[soft panting continues]

[breathing deeply]

[dramatic music continues]

[laughs softly]

[dramatic music continues]

[music fades out]

[on TV] Hi, I’m Bob Vila. Welcome to This Old House.

As you can see, work is underway.

In this program, we’ll be looking at some exterior repairs that have to be made, as well as listening to an energy audit, looking at some interior demolition, and discussing our kitchen plans, which we haven’t made yet.

First, let’s go up and talk with Norm Abram…

[keypad clacking]

…who’s already tackling some of the problems we looked at earlier, rot.

[notification sounding]

Hi, Norm.

[Norm] Hi, Bob.

[Bob] Wonder if you could talk for just a minute.

Wanna get a closer look at the eaves.

[Norm] Sure.

[notification sounding]

[Bob] Let’s see how bad things are.

What have you found so far?

[Norm] We found a lot of rot.

[keypad clacking]

Yes, and that’s caused the majority of the problems.

[notification sounding]

[Bob] You’ve taken the gutter and fascia board off.

[Norm] Right. I got your boards and all these blocks.

And we found that the way the gutter was installed, that it…

[Gracie] Joe, where’s the step stool?

One sec.

Thank you.

Did you ask your father how he’s getting to graduation?

I was gonna drop some groceries off this week.

I’ll ask.

What are you gonna do with your bugs?

Um…

I’ll figure it out.

Just not in the bedroom again, okay?

Okay.

[dramatic piano music playing]

[music fades out]

[clears throat]

Okay.

[coughing]

[machine whirring]

[breathing deeply]

Hi, everyone. I’m Tyler Ko.

I’m 5’6″, I’m 13 years old, I was born on April 20th, 2002.

[Elizabeth] 2002? Jesus Christ.

[machine continues whirring]

Do you need any help?

[woman] That’d be great, Joe. Thank you.

What should I do?

[woman] You wanna get the box of pinkies in the back?

For feeding the snakes.

Live mice?

[woman] They’ve been in the freezer, so I don’t think they’ll feel anything.

Benny Kim, five foot, 13 years old, and I’m with Coast to Coast.

[Elizabeth] How’d he do it?

[Joe] Skateboarding off the roof.

[Elizabeth chuckles]

[Joe] Birthday party.

[Elizabeth whispering] Are there any pictures?

[Joe] Yeah.

[Elizabeth laughing softly]

[Elizabeth] Oh.

Only 13.

So small.

Yeah.

Mm.

Ah. It’s peaceful in here.

[Joe] Mm.

A lot different than a movie set, I would think.

True.

Backstage during a play,

it’s kinda like this.

[Joe] You act in plays?

Sometimes. I should do it more often.

Got my start in the theater.

[Joe] I’ve seen your TV show.

Oh God.

[Joe] Very intense.

I’ve been very lucky to have it, but I kinda wish no one ever watched it.

[chuckles softly]

Yeah, I, um… I saw one where you had to operate on an elephant.

[Elizabeth] Oh God. Now I’m really embarrassed.

Now I’m gonna have to jump off the roof with those boys. [laughs]

[inhales sharply] Thank you for having me.

[Joe] Yeah, you think it’ll help?

Yeah.

I… I already have an idea of what it must’ve felt like.

[Joe] What what felt like?

Sneaking around with you.

[whispering] I probably shouldn’t have said that.

You won’t tell anyone, will you?

No worries.

[inhales sharply] Well, it’s, um, kind of lunch time now, so…

[door opening]

[voice calling over intercom]

[band playing “Baby, I Love Your Way”]

[people chattering]

♪ Shadows grow so long before my eyes ♪

♪ And they’re moving ♪

Oh my God.

♪ Across the page ♪

[girls giggling]

♪ Suddenly the day turns into night ♪

[man] I must say you evoke her.

You really do.

[Elizabeth] Oh. Thanks.

What specifically?

[man] A… You just have a… a loveliness, a… a brightness.

Like there isn’t an angry bone in your body.

[both laugh]

That’s very sweet.

All right, so…

[song continues in background]

When did you meet Gracie?

Well, my wife and kids and I had just moved down from New York.

I’d been doing a lot of very high-profile cases, defending some pretty despicable men, as it were.

And, um, Sharon finally had had it.

She said, “I’m moving down to Savannah. Feel free to come with.” [laughs]

So…

And it’s funny, really, because for all the rapists, murderers, frauds, hitmen, never did I end up on the front page of the New York Times.

But for Gracie, I ended up on the front page of the New York Times.

Wow.

[man] Down in Slow-vannah.

Thank you.

Anyway, I get a call one night after dinner

to go down to the station.

And sitting there in her floral blouse is Gracie.

And what I said was, “I think I know you.”

She said, “I’m Gracie Atherton, I’m your neighbor.”

“I brought you a blueberry pound cake.” [laughs]

And of course it was.

So, I said, “What can I help you with?”

And that’s when she told me.

What did she say exactly?

[chuckles] She said, “I got caught having an affair.”

And I said, “Gracie, forgive me, but that’s not illegal in this country, and if it were, there’d be a lot of people in serious trouble.” [chuckles]

And, um… then she started to cry.

She said, uh, “We’re in love.”

“I didn’t mean for it to happen, but we fell in love.”

So she was in denial, you would say?

[man] Oh, absolutely.

She, uh… She didn’t think she did anything wrong.

She was head over heels.

It was a good-looking kid.

But she had no conception. I mean, prison? Pshh. [laughs]

She thought she could just explain it all to the judge and that’d be that.

It was a little… A little Romeo and Juliet.

A little bit starry-eyed.

When did it sink in?

Has it sunk in yet?

[singer] Jesus Christ, can we play this any slower?

I apologize for this being the slowest version of this song ever.

It’s the drummer’s fault.

[audience gasping]

[drummer] What the hell?

[singer] Fuck you.

Have you met Georgie yet?

[drummer] Fuck you, Georgie.

That’s… That’s Georgie?

Yeah.

I’d hoped things would work out better for him.

Holy shit.

[man] He was a very sweet boy.

Very sensitive.

[band continues playing]

Well, hey, look what the cat dragged in.

[man] Yeah.

How you doing, Georgie?

[Georgie] Hey.

[man] This is Elizabeth Berry.

Oh, I know who this is.

I know perfectly well.

The actress.

[Elizabeth] The son.

How much they paying you for this? Is it a lot?

Are they paying her?

No?

It’s an independent movie.

[man] We don’t mean to interrupt your show.

Georgie, you…

Why don’t you…

look me in the eye

and tell me how selfish I am.

I’ll tell you if it’s a match.

All right. Let’s get the check.

I’m glad this happened. I really wanted to meet you.

Oh, really?

Yeah.

What have you heard?

I’ve heard you’re really creative.

And sensitive and sweet.

Well, they would say that. [chuckles]

Well, what are you then?

I’m a phoenix rising from the ashes.

I’m just a ghost.

‘Cause of what happened?

Well, uh, it ruined my life.

Of course.

And, um…

do you remember the first time you found out?

Yes.

Yeah, Billy sat me down in my room and told me.

And, um, I just thought he was trying to make me upset.

So I went and found my dad, and he said it was true.

And he’d slammed his fist down on his desk so hard that he’d split his hand open. It was bleeding everywhere.

And all this happened, like, right before my birthday.

So everyone forgot to cancel my party.

But only one guy showed up anyway, and we just, um, hung out in my room, and I ate so many Warheads that I threw up.

And, um… we just watched TV until the sun was almost up, then I gave him a hand job, and then he never spoke to me again.

[laughs sardonically]

[band starts playing “Tight Rope” by Leon Russell]

Jonah, you can’t fucking sing this!

Oh my God. I gotta go.

It was really nice to meet you.

Yeah, you too.

Later.

Step away, bitches.

[man] It’s all good. Don’t worry.

[Elizabeth] Ooh.

[man chuckles] As you can see, the situation is not without its casualties.

From what I’ve seen, she seems to be pretty well-liked in the neighborhood, and she’s busy with her baking, and…

You might want to check the names on those orders.

It’s a handful that keep repeating over and over.

My wife’s one of them.

So people are just ordering things to keep her busy?

Yeah. It’s a kindness, you know.

But, uh, how many pineapple upside down cakes can a family eat?

♪ Well maybe you’re just Too blind to see ♪

♪ I’m up on the tight… ♪

[tense piano music playing]

[keys jangling]

Hello?

[man coughing]

[man grunting]

[Joe] Hey, Dad.

[dad] Hi.

[music ends]

[plane engine whirring in distance]

[Joe] Gracie wanted to know how you’re planning on getting to the graduation.

[dad] I’ll drive myself.

It’s close.

I can’t believe the kids are gonna be at college in the fall.

An empty nest.

You’re gonna have more time to focus on other things.

[Joe] Yeah.

[clears throat]

[tense piano music restarts]

[music fades out]

[students chattering]

[teacher] We’re glad you’re here. Okay, settle.

Cameron.

This is the first time in my experience, I’ve worked here 20 years, that a Juilliard-educated actor has sat in this theater.

[boys laughing]

Cameron, quit it.

It’s an incredible opportunity, so let’s ask some great questions, shall we?

[boy giggling]

Yes?

[Cameron] Have you acted in sex scenes?

[students laughing]

[teacher] You are staying late.

Yes, I have.

You don’t have to answer…

No, it’s fine. I have.

And it’s a strange part of acting.

Like what?

Hm. Well… sometimes it’s really mechanical, like a choreographed dance, you know, where the only thing you can focus on is where you’re supposed to be, and when.

And then sometimes there’s real chemistry between two people and you start feeling like it’s real.

In a strange way. You’d never admit it to one another, but you’re wearing practically nothing and you’re rubbing up against each other… [whispering]…and sweating… [normal speech]…and it’s for hours, and you start losing the line of, like, am I pretending that I’m experiencing pleasure, or am I…

Am I pretending that I’m not experiencing pleasure?

And the whole crew, they’re almost always all men.

You feel them watching.

And you feel them, like… [deep breath]…holding their breath.

[whispering] And they try and hide it when they swallow.

[sighs]

[normal speech] You give in to the rhythm, you know, every time.

Tension never breaks.

Kimme, yeah.

[clears throat]

Uh, how… How do you choose your roles?

[Elizabeth] Hmm.

Well, when I’m lucky enough to choose my roles, I… I wanna find… a character that’s… That’s difficult to… to, on the surface, understand. I want… I want to take the person, I want to figure out why are they like this.

Were they born, or were they made?

And that can run the gamut from the more notorious to the…

Just anyone.

Why would you want to play someone who you think is a bad person?

Are you kidding? I mean, pick any great role.

Medea or Hedda Gabler, or…

[Cameron] Tony Soprano.

[scattered chuckling]

Precisely… Cameron.

It’s the complexity. It’s the moral grey areas that are interesting, right?

Hm.

[melancholy music playing]

I’m so sorry you’re not feeling well.

[engine shuts off]

[drawer opening]

[objects clattering]

Now this is silly.

This is actually very serious business.

[scoffs] If you say so.

Um…

[drawer closes]

Okay, um, so this is, um…

[objects shuffling]

[clicks tongue] This is the foundation that I use. Um…

I have… I have some on now, so I’m not gonna… I’m not going to put on anymore.

Can I, uh…?

Thank you.

Um… And… this is the blush that I like.

[lid pops open]

And I use a, um… Use a sponge to put it on, and… here’s my favorite lip color.

It looks like that. Um…

I’ll just…

put a little of this on.

You know, I think that it would be better if I just did this to you.

[Elizabeth breaths deeply]

Okay. [sniffs]

Bet you’re used to this.

[chuckles softly]

So did you always want to be an actress?

[chuckles softly]

Always.

I wanted to be on Broadway.

[laughs, inhales sharply]

And when I told my parents, I was nine or ten, they were so disappointed.

They said, “Honey, you’re so much smarter than that.”

[snickers]

What did you say?

Are you smarter than that?

[laughs loudly]

[laughs]

I don’t know.

I don’t know.

[tense music softly fading in]

What do your parents do?

They’re academics.

My mother wrote a pretty respected book on, uh… [whispering]…epistemic relativism.

[chuckles softly]

My mother wrote a great recipe for blueberry cobbler.

What was your mother like?

She was beautiful.

[makeup bottle snaps shut]

[tense music fades out]

[dramatic piano music playing]

[man talking indistinctly on TV]

[Gracie] Knock-knock.

Sweetie, I was hoping you could clear your bugs out of the living room.

I wanna get the house ready before Honor gets home.

And, um, could you pick up some takeout for dinner tonight?

I’m swamped.

[Joe] Sure.

[dramatic music fades out]

I can help.

Okay.

[Elizabeth] Oh, I love them.

[Joe] Hm. They’re hungry this year.

How long have you been doing this?

A few years.

I read this article about how the monarch population is dwindling, and they mentioned that people help raise them.

[Elizabeth] Oh.

I’m not the only one who does this. Gracie makes it seem that way, but…

[Elizabeth] How do you do it?

[Joe] You just keep your eyes open.

Mm-hmm.

[Joe] And look for the eggs.

Take them inside.

Protect them so they have a chance to grow.

We’ve had an actual impact. The numbers are way up and…

Huh.

…I’m a part of this, uh, Facebook group.

Hm.

Anyway, I know it sounds really dorky.

Not at all.

My friend Michela, who’s in the group, she lives in Durham…

People put milkweed in the cages for them to attach to, but she also puts these sticks in for them to climb ’cause some of them attach to the top part of the mesh when they form the chrysalis, and hang upside-down.

That’s fascinating.

So, um… we have to grab these from the bottom.

Mm-hmm.

Be very careful because of the chrysalises.

All right.

Yeah.

Here you go.

[birds twittering]

This is a beautiful place to live.

Yeah. It’s been really nice.

You okay?

[Elizabeth grunting]

Yes. Thank you.

So, it’s hard to tell what you actually think about all this.

Well… I think you have a very nice family.

And you’re both interesting people.

Okay.

I don’t know. What do you think?

I think it’s hard to trust that. You know?

That you’re going to represent things as they were.

Or…

I’m gonna try.

I don’t know. It’s hard to feel.

People… they, like, see me as, like, a victim, or something.

I mean, we’ve been together for almost 24 years now. Like…

Why would we do that if we weren’t happy?

Right.

I was different than the other kids.

The people around me.

Mm.

And girls were never…

But she was so…

She saw me.

Yeah.

I wanted it.

I don’t know.

What did your parents say?

We never really talked about it.

My dad was always so focused on his work, and my mom passed away when I was 20, so we never got to really look back on it.

Well, I’m sorry.

No, it’s…

It’s hard to imagine what that conversation would have been, honestly.

I mean, you were so young to have so many eyes on you.

[whispering exasperatedly] Fuck.

[distant sobbing]

[sobbing continues]

[Joe] Gracie?

[Gracie sobbing]

[Joe] What happened?

[sniffling]

Joyce in Mercer called and cancelled her order, and all future orders.

[Joe sighing]

[whispering] I’m sorry.

And I told her that I’d already made it, and she said that she would pay for it, but that she didn’t need it. They were leaving town.

Where are they going?

Her sister is sick or something.

[angrily] It doesn’t matter. I wasted hours that I could have used.

You couldn’t have known, Gracie.

[sniffles] I just… I hate things like that.

[sobbing] And now I have this cake that’s going to go right in the garbage.

You don’t have to throw it in the garbage.

[sobbing loudly]

[tense piano music playing]

[sniffling and panting]

Where were you?

I took a walk.

Showed Elizabeth the neighborhood.

Ugh.

Elizabeth.

[grunting, sniffling]

She’s getting on my last nerve.

[Joe] Why?

She’s just everywhere I look.

And for what?

For the movie.

So people can see it, and understand more.

And maybe it’s more easier for you?

For me?

[whispering] For us.

The both of us.

Okay?

[Gracie whimpering]

[crying softly]

I don’t know.

She’ll be gone soon.

Mmm.

So good.

[inhaling sharply]

[Elizabeth] I’m telling you, it’s going great. It’s really, really helpful.

[director] I’m very happy to hear this. I think it’s very good.

But I wanted to ask because you’re over the number of days that we budgeted for.

Well, I guess that means the crew-wrap sweatshirts have become crew-wrap mugs.

[director laughing]

Look, I know you trust me.

[director] Of course I do.

And I feel like I’m getting really close to something true.

Something honest.

[director sighs] Okay. To Friday.

[Elizabeth] Thank you.

[director] But that’s it. I’m serious.

[Elizabeth] Uh-oh, he’s serious.

[director] I am.

How’s your wife?

[director groans] Elizabeth…

What?

[director] You’re reckless.

Is she home?

[director] No, but you had no idea.

She got hired in a televisions series back in Rome, so… she won’t be on set.

Good.

[director laughs]

[director exclaiming in Italian]

Did you watch the tapes?

I did.

Look, I know, I’m sure they’ve seen lots of people, but… [sighs dramatically]

…has it just been LA?

Because the kids, they’re cute, but not, like, sexy enough.

You’ve seen him. I mean, he’s got this, like, quiet confidence.

Even as a kid, I’m sure.

[director] I think… you need to come home.

[plane engines whirring]

[car door closing]

[giggling]

My God, it’s so good to see you.

[laughing]

[Honor] My God, you’re as tall as me now.

You look great.

Let me grab this.

Oh, I missed you.

[Honor sighing]

[Joe] How’s the roommate?

[Honor] It’s all good. We got over it.

[Mary] Good.

[Joe] I knew you would.

How’s Mom?

Great. Busy.

How’s the actress?

[Honor and Mary laughing]

What’s so funny?

[tense piano music playing]

[woman on TV] Joey?

[keypad clacking]

[notification sounding]

[keypad clacking]

[notification sounding]

[woman on TV] Are you in there?

[boy on TV] You scared me.

[keypad clacking]

[phone dings]

[keypad clacking]

[notification sounding]

You don’t look scared to me.

[snake hissing]

[music fades out]

[window opening]

Hi.

Hey.

It’s okay. You can come out.

How’s it going?

Fine.

Are you excited about tomorrow?

Sure.

I can’t believe you and your sister are leaving.

Yeah, I try to picture what it’ll be like, but… I can’t.

Yeah.

Are you nervous?

About what?

College.

Leaving home.

I can’t wait to leave home.

That’s good.

Yeah, I think that’s good.

So, you gonna be out here a while, or…

Should I not be?

Uh… I was just gonna…

Oh…

You should… Yeah, you should go ahead.

Mm-hmm.

You sure?

Mm-hmm.

Yeah.

Okay.

[lighter clicking]

[blowing]

You want?

No. Thanks.

Uh…

I’ve never…

I’ve never done that.

What?

No, Dad, that’s crazy.

[both laughing]

Um… Here.

You definitely don’t have to.

Yeah.

You don’t…

[inhaling]

[coughing]

[laughing]

I’m fine.

[both laughing]

I’m fine.

[coughing]

[groaning]

This is nice.

Yeah.

[knocking on door]

[footsteps approaching]

Well, don’t you look nice.

[Elizabeth] Thank you.

Hey.

You’re early.

Am I?

You ready to bake?

This is my brother Bill’s favorite cake.

Is this for him?

No, he’s in Minneapolis. He works for the Twins.

Which twins?

It’s a professional baseball team.

Oh, of course.

Mm-hmm.

He was captain of the baseball team in high school, and then he played college ball, and now he’s a professional pitching coach.

I’m gonna spread it around in the bottom like this.

He was always so protective of me growing up, even though he was younger.

Whenever boys would get near me, he’d throw them up against the locker, and say, “What are your intentions?”

What were their intentions? [chuckles]

Okay, now, you are going to put the cherries at the bottom of the pan… like this.

And do it nicely, because it really does matter how it looks.

[spoon scraping on bowl]

[spoon scraping on bowl]

That’s very nice.

Thank you.

[Gracie] You know, Joe’s been with more women than I have men.

Is that right?

Nobody seems to remember that.

I’d only been with Tom.

But Joe’d been with two girls before me.

When he was in the seventh grade?

He led a very different life than me.

His father was always working, so he was the man of the house, and he took care of his little sisters pretty much on his own.

One of them had terrible asthma.

He grew up very quickly.

And I was very sheltered.

[mixing spoon clattering]

I wanna show you something.

Um… Joe gave this to me back then.

I think it’s lovely.

[Elizabeth] “Peace is sitting on a lake in the summertime.”

“Peace is a Coca-Cola on a hot summer day.”

“Peace is being with you.”

The assignment was “What is peace?”

You’re such a special person.

Dad, please, stop. This is so weird.

I really mean it.

[Gracie] Are you boys up there?

Yeah.

Garibaldi’s said they can take us at 7:00. How does that sound?

That sounds great. Thanks, Mom.

[grunting]

[Gracie and Elizabeth] Joe!

[Joe laughing]

[Gracie] Are you all right?

[Joe] I’m okay.

I was just thinking, what if…

I had…

[Gracie] Honey, I.. I can’t hear you.

…to take my own X-rays.

I can’t hear what you’re saying.

[Charlie] Everything’s fine. We’ll meet you down there in a second.

[Joe coughing]

[Charlie] Maybe this wasn’t the best idea.

[crying] I feel like everything’s so fucked up.

[Charlie] It’s not, Dad. It’s all right.

I just want you to have a good life.

I will.

Because…

Because… [crying]

…bad things, they happen.

And we do bad things also.

And we have to think about those things.

If we try not to think about it, there’s this…

Do you know what I mean?

Yeah, I know, Dad.

God, I can’t tell if we’re connecting or if I’m creating a bad memory for you in real time, but I can’t help it.

No, we’re connecting, Dad. It’s okay.

It’s okay.

[Joe crying softly]

Don’t worry about me.

[Joe] It’s all I do.

[dramatic piano music starts and ends]

[Gracie] I’m so glad that Honor was able to finish her finals in time to come home to watch our beautiful Mary, and our gentle Charlie walk across that stage tomorrow.

I couldn’t be prouder of both of you.

And to Joe, the man of my life, here’s to entering this next phase together.

As our little ones fly away from the nest, they know they can always come home.

[glasses clinking]

[Honor] Cheers.

[Gracie] Cheers.

Cheers.

Cheers.

You forgot someone.

[Gracie laughs]

Elizabeth, we’re so happy you could be with us at this very special time.

Thank you.

Cheers.

[Gracie] Mm. This is delicious.

[Elizabeth] Mm.

Honor, when we get home, I’ll show you what we got your sister for graduation.

Is it a scale?

[Gracie] Excuse me?

When I graduated, you got me a scale.

That was just part of setting you up at your new place.

You know perfectly well that wasn’t your graduation present.

[Honor] It came wrapped in a bow.

We got her a necklace with her birthstone in it.

Just like we got your sister. But I see you’re not wearing yours.

When do you start shooting this movie?

In about three weeks.

It’s soon. Hm.

Wish you weren’t doing that.

Honor.

I can understand that. Of course.

I hope in the end that you’ll feel it had something to say, and that we captured something true.

True like how it isn’t awkward at all that you’re at this graduation dinner?

Joe, can you…

What?

Can you do something?

Like what?

Thanks for your help.

Um, Honor, I got you that scale, as I told you at the time, as a tradition, because that’s what my mother got me when I graduated from high school.

You try going through life without a scale. See how that goes.

[woman] Mom.

Hi.

[Gracie] Cassidy. Hi.

[man] Hi, Mom.

[girl] Hi, Grandma.

Hi. Oh, hello. Hi.

Oh, hi, sweetheart. Oh, you look so pretty.

Oh my goodness. Peter, congratulations.

Billie, Tyler, Georgie, hi. Everyone’s celebrating of course.

[Tom] Yeah, it’s just the best.

Very nice to see you again.

Yes, you as well.

Tom.

Okay, I think we’ll head over to our table.

Yeah, we’re in the back with the old families.

[boys laughing]

Georgie.

Yeah.

[Gracie] See you at graduation.

All right, bye.

Uh, I’m a really big fan of Norah’s Ark.

Thank you. That means the world.

Firmly frozen by now.

[sighs]

[water running]

My brother Mark, he still lives in Richmond.

He always says, “Keep your expectations low, and you’ll never be disappointed.”

And I always forget that.

How many brothers do you have?

Four.

Two older.

Two younger.

But I think you know that.

So… what were your expectations? [scoffs]

Uh, that tonight would go well.

That my children would love me.

And my life would be perfect.

That was a little naive.

I am naive.

I always have been.

In a way, it’s been a gift.

Is it all right if Joe drops us off first?

I think the girls need a minute.

I can just walk from here.

Mm-mm. He’ll drive you.

[door closes]

[sighs]

Could I bum another cigarette?

Yeah.

There you go.

[tour guide] Alice hung from this tree…

[girl] They said they’re in the back.

…for three days, before she died.

Come this way. We’ll show you the exact tree…

[Georgie] Good evening.

[tour guide] They went to go find her body.

Has she broken your spirit yet? [blows smoke]

[sighs] No, just tired.

[coughs]

Did you crack the case?

Do you mind blowing your smoke in the other direction, please? Thank you.

Wanna know my theory?

Sure.

Childhood trauma.

Which one?

The big one.

What do you mean?

Her older brothers…

[Elizabeth] What?

Yeah.

Started when she was 12.

On and off.

[girls laughing and chattering]

Just don’t mention it to her, obviously. She doesn’t talk about it.

I read it in her diary, but this was, like, way before.

That’s…

Explains a lot.

Why does she still talk to them?

Lady, she’s messed up in the head. That’s what I’m trying to tell you.

Oh, God.

Listen, actually, I had an idea.

I was looking up how y’all make movies.

Mm-hmm.

And… I read about this job of, um, music supervisor.

Yeah?

I could do this job.

Pick out songs for movies? I would pick great songs. [laughs]

What are you asking?

So, what if… in exchange for my memories, my consultation, my willingness not to go to the press and talk disparagingly about it and you and her, you give me this position of music supervisor.

On this movie.

Um…

[car approaching]

I’ll look into that for you.

Thank you.

[tense music playing]

And I think I’ve outstayed my welcome here.

[clears throat]

[coughing]

[breathing deeply]

My sister had really bad asthma.

Did she?

Yeah, she was always having to do that breathing machine thing.

Yeah, nebulizer.

Right.

I actually

have one with me here.

A new one, and I can’t figure out how to get the,

you know the mouthpiece thing, to snap on.

It’s so stupid.

I’d really like to use it. [laughs]

That’s irritating.

You just sort of have to

get the top, and…

Could you…

Do you… Do you have a second?

[distant sirens passing]

[car doors closing]

They haven’t changed this machine since the ’80s.

[both chuckling]

[breathing deeply]

Thank you.

You saved my life.

Sure.

I… wanted to give you something.

It’s the only one I could save.

Oh my God.

[Joe inhales sharply] Don’t read it now.

Thank you.

[kissing]

[whispering] You’re so young.

Believe me.

You could start over.

And do what?

Anything.

[both breathing deeply]

[Elizabeth moaning softly]

[kissing continues]

[Joe moaning]

[both grunting]

[Joe grunting loudly]

[Joe moaning]

[Joe breathing deeply]

I’ll get us a towel.

[footsteps approaching]

Thanks.

[Joe] Let’s get in bed.

Wow. [chuckles]

That was crazy.

Yeah.

Have you ever done that before?

Right. ‘Course.

[laughs] What about you?

No.

I mean, I’ve had crushes on people.

I think that’s allowed.

I don’t know.

Um, any of it.

It would, uh, kill her.

You know, she’s very loyal.

With me.

Listen… whatever happens, she’s gonna be okay, People like Gracie…

No, she won’t.

No. You really don’t know her.

Okay.

Let me tell you something.

Your responsibility, ultimately, is to yourself.

Grace…

Elizabeth, I think it’s a little more complicated than that.

You’re gonna do what you’re gonna do, but… [scoffs]

…stories like these…

Stories?

Stories?

You know what I mean.

Instances.

This is…

Severely traumatic beginnings…

[angrily] This isn’t a story! This is my fucking life!

Jesus.

No need to get so worked up about it.

[emotionally] I thought you… actually liked me, and that we had a connection.

I like you.

Then what was this about?

This is just what grown-ups do.

[scoffs]

[door slams]

[dramatic piano music playing]

[water turns off]

[music fades out]

[Gracie inhaling deeply]

[sniffling]

You’re lucky I’m not jumpy.

[Joe] I’m sorry.

[Gracie] Why are you sitting there?

[Joe] I’ve just been thinking.

Okay.

[Joe] I think there are a lot of things we haven’t talked about in a long time.

Maybe ever.

What kind of things?

Things about our relationship.

Well, I’m not gonna cross-examine you, say what you wanna say.

I’ve just been remembering things.

What brought this on?

What does it matter?

[Gracie] Is it the actress?

[voice breaking] Maybe.

I don’t know. I don’t see what difference it makes.

[sniffles] It’s how… What I’m feeling.

[Gracie] Come and sit by me.

Okay?

Come on, baby.

What’s making you feel bad?

It’s not…

I don’t feel bad, like…

I’m just trying to say…

[swallows]

What if I wasn’t ready to be making those kinds of decisions.

Then… Then what?

Because the kids.

What would that mean?

I don’t understand what you’re saying.

I’m saying, what if I was too young?

Well…

[scoffs]

You seduced me.

But I was 13 years old.

Don’t give me that.

But I was.

I don’t care how old you were.

Who was in charge?

What?

Who was the boss?

Who was in charge?

Who was in charge?

I’m just trying to talk about something…

I think that this movie is…

…and you’re not listening!

…dredging up all this stuff.

Driving Elizabeth around.

[shouting] It’s not about the fucking movie!

No!

I’m very sympathetic, but you’re starting to upset me.

You have not been sympathetic. Why can’t we talk about it?

If we’re really as in love as we say we are, if we have that rare…

Shouldn’t I be able to talk about this with you?

“If we’re really as in love as we say we are?”

Gracie, you know what I mean. I’m begging you.

No! “If we’re really as in love as we say we are?”

[stammering] I need you to help me. Please.

“If we’re really as in love was we say…” I… It’s graduation.

[tense piano music playing]

[music fades out]

My love… after you left tonight, I thought about the kind of life we could have if things were different.

If I’d been born later, or you long ago.

But who knows what we would have been like then.

Or where.

What tragedies we’d have to face along the way.

What bad luck.

This is not what I ever would have wanted.

But I’m so… grateful that our paths led us to this road.

No matter what the cost.

I think about you all the time.

And the feeling I get when we look each other in the eyes.

Do you feel that too?

[inhales sharply]

I know you don’t have much to compare it to, but… let me assure you it is rare.

I’ve gone my whole life without it.

And now that I’ve found it, I can’t imagine going back and pretending.

Sometimes I wish we’d never met, or that you didn’t get the job in the pet shop at least, because I know that our lives will be forever changed because of this.

No matter how it all turns out. [swallows]

I know that my husband and my children… [voice breaks]

[shuddering] I…

I know that… this will affect them too.

[sniffles]

My hope is that we can… keep our secrets long enough until at least we’re in no danger from the law.

[sniffles]

Maybe by then I’ll have enough time to end things cleanly, and to make sure that the children know that I love them. [crying]

And maybe by then we’ll have figured out what to say.

When this first started…

[deep shuddering breath]

…I didn’t know what to think.

[sniffles]

I knew that we’d crossed a line, and I felt in my heart that we would cross it again.

But now I think… I’ve lost track of where the line is.

Who even draws these lines?

All I know…

is that I love you and you love me.

And you gave me so much pleasure tonight.

I hope I did the same for you.

I’ll see you Saturday.

Please burn this. You know what could happen to me if anyone ever found it.

Your… Gracie.

[ragged breathing]

[deep exhalation]

[woman on radio] This is River Street, downtown Savannah.

The rain is moving in from the west and taking over.

And as Lee was talking about, we want the rain to come down.

It cools off the environment, it cools off the atmosphere, and that helps to bring in more stability.

So that these thunderstorms that have been so nasty and so strong, will actually start to get weaker.

Let’s go right to our radar because it’s a huge storm system…

[footsteps]

[leaves rustling in the wind]

[bird cawing]

[birds twittering]

[inhaling sharply]

[softly] Hey.

Oh, hi.

[zipper unzipping]

[footsteps approaching]

Hey!

Wow.

You look so great.

Thanks.

[Mary sighs]

[Joe] Are you hungry?

No.

Maybe a coffee?

Coffee?

[Honor laughing]

That’s new.

[Honor] Happy graduation.

[Mary] Yes. So exciting.

Look at you.

Mm. Mom’s gonna hate it.

[Mary] No, she’s gonna love it.

[Honor] No, she’s gonna love this. Did she pick this one?

[Mary] She did.

Big day.

[Charlie] Yeah, it is.

[coffee pouring]

[Mary] What time is it?

[Joe] Uh, we should leave in 20-25 minutes.

I’ll go up and get changed.

[clicks tongue] Um, where’s Mom?

[Joe] I don’t know, honestly.

Maybe she had a beauty parlor appointment.

[fox calling]

[fox calling loudly]

[tense music fading in]

[fox calling]

[music fades out]

[joyful music playing]

[students chattering]

[boy] Yeah!

[Joe] All right, this is it.

I’ll park and find your mom.

[Mary] Okay, see you after.

[Charlie] Thanks, Dad.

[girl] Hey! How are you?

Hey, you made it!

[car horn honking]

[valedictorian] To my fellow graduates of the class of ’15, go Sharks…

[all cheering]

…while it hasn’t always been smooth sailing, I know that our futures are bright.

And with that, I present to you the 2015 graduating class of Wilson Healy High School.

[crowd cheering]

Christopher Roy Adams.

John Anderson.

Maurice James Abercrombie.

[dramatic piano music playing]

Braden William Atkins.

Madison Diane Aldrich.

Charles Brennan Atherton-Yoo.

[Honor whooping]

Go Charlie!

[principal] Mary Jinae Atherton-Yoo.

Go Mary!

[whooping]

[principal] Joshua Ryan Atkins.

[sniffles]

[laughing emotionally]

[principal] Orlando McKinley Atkinson.

Congratulations to the class of 2015.

Go Sharks!

[all cheering loudly]

[music fades out]

[all chatting happily]

[girl whooping in distance]

That was beautiful, wasn’t it?

It was.

Well, heading to the airport now.

That’s probably for the best.

I wonder if any of this will have really mattered for your movie.

I think it will.

You understand me?

I do.

I hope you didn’t think that disgusting brother thing was real.

What?

It’s disgusting.

I don’t know what he’s doing telling you these things.

He told you?

I talk to Georgie every day.

Insecure people are very dangerous, aren’t they? [chuckles]

I’m secure.

Make sure you put that in there.

[dramatic piano music playing]

[alarm bell ringing]

[man 1] Settle in, guys. Here we go. Pictures off.

[man 2] Cameras on!

[man 3] Here we go.

Hold board.

[man 1] Just bring it up a little. It’s a little dark.

Thank you.

Settle in, guys. Very still. Very quiet.

[woman 1] Very still, please.

[man 4] Forty-two, take one, sound, speed.

[man 1] Okay. Marker.

[man 5] A-camera, mark.

[clapboard clapping]

[man 1] And bring in the snake.

[man 3] And set.

[man 2] Set.

[man 1] And we are set.

[man 3] And action.

Are you scared?

No.

It’s okay to be scared.

I’m not.

She doesn’t bite.

How do you know?

She’s not that kind of snake.

[director] Okay, I think we go again. We do a series…

We’re gonna find something.

[man 2] Guys, let’s go back to one.

[director] Back to one. Places, please.

I got it.

[man 6] Stepping in.

[crew chattering]

[man 1] Is that all?

And…

[man 2] Get set.

[man 1] We are set.

[man 3] And action.

Are you scared?

No.

[softly] It’s okay to be scared.

I’m not.

She won’t bite.

How do you know?

[whispering] She’s not that kind of snake.

[director] Good. Reset.

Back to one.

[crew chattering]

[man 1] Okay, very still. Very quiet, please.

Very quickly, guys. Clearing.

[dramatic music slowly rising]

[man 2] And set.

[man 1] We are set.

[man 3] And action.

[whispering] Are you scared?

No.

[softly] It’s okay to be scared.

I’m not.

She won’t bite.

How do you know?

[in soft sultry voice] She’s not that kind of snake.

[director] Beautiful. I think we got it.

Wait, can we… Can we do it again, please?

Please? Just for me.

[man 2] Lizzie…

Please. Wait, it’s getting more real.

[man 2] We’re going again.

[director] Good. Reset.

[man 2] Back to one.

[man 1] Very quickly, guys.

[dramatic music rising]

[man 3] Set.

[man 2] And action.

[dramatic piano music playing]

[music fades out]

[tense piano music playing]

[music fades out]

[upbeat piano music playing]

[music fades out]

[dramatic piano music restarts]

[music fades out]

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