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Mothers Instinct (2024) | Transcript

Housewives Alice and Celine are best friends and neighbors who seem to have it all. However, when a tragic accident shatters the harmony of their lives, guilt, suspicion and paranoia begin to unravel their sisterly bond.
Jessica Chastain in Mothers Instinct (2024)

Mothers Instinct (2024)
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Director: Benoît Delhomme
Stars: Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Anders Danielsen Lie, Josh Charles, Caroline Lagerfelt

Plot: Alice and Celine live a traditional lifestyle with successful husbands and sons of the same age. Life’s perfect harmony is suddenly shattered after a tragic accident. Guilt, suspicion and paranoia combine to unravel their sisterly bond.

* * *

[ominous tones]

[dramatic music]

[pensive music]

[car engine rumbling]

[keys jingling]

Oh, hi!

Hi! How are you?

How’s the little kangaroo?

Oh, hopping.

[Celine gasps]

Oh, can we meet tomorrow?

I have some ideas for the carnival layout.

Shoot, tomorrow I can’t but how about a day after?

Oh, perfect.

Noon, cafeteria?

See you then.

Great, bye.

[pensive music]

Hi, Mama!

Oh, hi.

I was trying to surprise you.

Look what you left in our garden.

[gasps] Oh, thank you.

You’re welcome. Ready to go?

Mm-hmm.

Yep.

Oh, those are beautiful.

Thank you.

♪ Did you ever see a lassie ♪

♪ A lassie, a lassie ♪

♪ Did you ever see a lassie ♪

♪ Go this way and that ♪

♪ This way and that way ♪

♪ Go this way and that way ♪

♪ Did you ever see a lassie ♪

♪ Do this way and that ♪

Wait, is it “do this way and that,” or is it “go this way and that?”

I think it’s “do this way.”

“Do this way?”

Yeah, “do this way.”

Got the door? You got the door?

[Theo] Nope.

[Max] Yep, we got it.

Thank you.

[Max] Too bad this one isn’t open ’cause we’re gonna get there first.

You’re gonna get, oh!

Nuh-uh, I’m gonna get there before you.

You just…

[boys giggling]

Oh!

Fine, you win.

Whoops. Can you help out?

[Max] We’re heading upstairs.

[Celine] No nuts.

Yeah.

OK, don’t forget to wash your hands.

[Max] OK.

[ominous tones]

[all] Happy birthday!

[all laughing]

You! You little sneak.

You know I hate a fuss.

You liar.

[Celine gasps]

What? I thought you had that conference in Pittsburgh!

I got back just in time.

Daddy!

Oh, there’s my man.

Come here.

[Damian groans]

Did you sell lots of medicine?

Enough to buy you a new toy.

[laughs]

Were you surprised, Mama?

I was so surprised.

[lips smacking]

[Celine] Oh, wait. Granny Jean’s here.

Hello!

Oh, darling.

[Celine] I’m so happy to see you!

Oh, well someone had to make the cake.

[both laugh]

Well, I may not bake cakes,

but I can pour drinks.

[group cheering]

Thank you so much.

[all laughing]

Thank you, everyone!

What a surprise!

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

All right, everyone.

Oh. This is from all of us.

Thank you. Thank you.

It’s too much.

[Alice laughs]

[Celine laughs]

Here, try them on.

This is something only a grandmother…

[Celine laughing] Oh, gosh.

That’s so fun! Show us another one, Granny!

Oh.

Wait, wait.

Ah… voila!

[gasps]

I’m gonna take my pill now.

[boys giggle]

[Jean whispers] Keep myself nice and healthy.

You’re so lucky!

[Max] Let’s bury the treasure.

You take a pill with your champagne?

Oh, honey, the pills make me sleepy.

The champagne, uh, perks up the old ticker.

Oh, come on. Don’t worry about it.

[Theo] Let’s go see the tunnel.

Just don’t tell my son, OK?

Excuse me. I’ll be right back.

Theo?

Darling, where are you?

Theo!

Theo?

Alice?

What’s going on?

Uh, the boys have Max’s cookies.

OK, OK. Well, Theo knows he can’t have one.

But he’s seven. He’s just, he dreams of trying them.

Theo!

Uh, no more cake for them.

We’re over here!

[chuckling] What’s that?

Our secret tunnel.

Where are the cookies?

Uh, just back there.

[Max] Ow-ee.

Did you eat any?

No.

[Celine chuckling]

When I call you, you answer me, OK?

OK?

Theo, say “Yes, Mom, OK.”

[Theo] Yes, Mommy.

OK, OK.

Thank you.

[suspenseful music]

I’m sorry. I was just scared.

[lips smacking]

[Alice chuckles] OK.

Go have some cake.

[Celine] Go wash your hands.

Did he have any?

Did he have any?

No, but just one could kill him.

And he knows that.

I’m a terrible mother.

You’re a wonderful mother

and you’re a wonderful friend.

[Alice] Maybe I need a glass of wine.

[Celine] Mai Tai interest you in something stronger?

[unsettling music]

[adults laughing]

♪ Don’t take me for granted ♪

♪ Or think I’ll always stay ♪

♪ ‘Cause the time you start believing ♪

♪ Well that’s the day I’ll walk away ♪

♪ I’ll walk-a, walk-a, walk-a ♪

♪ I’ll overlook lots of little things ♪

♪ An argument or two ♪

[Damian] Whoa!

[loud thud]

[all laughing]

♪ That’ll always stay with you ♪

♪ Don’t think I’ll always be there ♪

♪ While you go kicking around ♪

We’re lagging behind.

We need a president who understands

that the space race is a matter

of national security.

[Damian] Yeah.

I just don’t think he’s qualified to handle Soviets.

He’s just a kid.

[Alice] Just a kid.

Another round for the birthday girl.

Yay!

It’s getting late. No?

Baby, it’s her birthday.

Exactly. You want her gift to be a headache in the morning?

No, no, he’s right, he’s right. I’ve had enough.

But you haven’t had hardly anything.

[Damian] How old is he, son? How old is he, 43?

He’s too young.

I could be president.

[Alice] Teddy Roosevelt.

Some would say

the country’s best president.

Not only did he create The Square Deal,

[Celine laughs]

he kept inflation low over two terms,

finished the Panama Canal, and he won the Nobel Peace Prize.

He was 42-years-old.

Age got nothing to do with it.

[applauding]

But don’t let it bother you too much.

We all know that Jackie’s the one who’d be running things.

I do believe she’s bested you, darling.

Mm-hmm, again, always.

My favorite journalist.

[Damian] Given how much she just pissed me off,

I can tell she’d make a damn fine journalist.

Thank you, Damian.

Hey, speaking of Jackie Kennedy…

[Alice] Mm-hmm.

You know she’s having another baby?

[Alice] What are you going on about?

Well, if they can in the middle of a presidential campaign,

I’m just saying if we can have one by accident,

it can’t be that hard to have one on purpose.

[upbeat jazz music]

Well, we all heard Damian.

Maybe I should call my old boss at The Gazette.

[chuckles]

Why is that funny?

Because there’s a lot of pressure at a daily paper.

I’m sure when Alice worked at the paper

she handled the pressure just fine.

Simon, your drink’s empty. I mean, I think,

I think we all know I’ve had enough,

but would you like a little bit more?

Say when.

[Simon] Fill it up.

[Celine] Fill it up? Oh.

[Simon] Yeah.

[water splattering]

[distant chattering]

[Simon] No, thank you.

No, you all right?

[Simon] Thank you, though.

[Damian] Think about the symbolic values.

Is it enough for you, this life?

I would’ve loved a sister for Max, but…

but I’m happy with what I have.

Mm-hmm.

Alice, I think if you wanna go back to work, you should.

No, think.

I’ll help with Theo.

I’ll help with your house

or we’ll get a girl to help with your,

I don’t know, but just do it.

Do it.

[Simon and Damian] To us.

I just want you to be happy too.

[Celine giggling]

Shh.

[thudding on stairs]

[Celine and Damian laughing]

[Alice] How could you be so insensitive?

What did I say?

You rubbed their nose in the fact

that it was so easy for us

to conceive Theo.

[sighs] OK, I wasn’t thinking.

No, you weren’t.

Hey.

[Alice chuckles]

[Celine laughs]

[Damian] Happy birthday, my love.

Let’s make another baby.

Hmm?

So, because Celine…

Nuh-uh.

It’s not about Celine.

She was happy to stop being a nurse.

[Alice sighs]

Well, why do you want a job anyway?

I’m head of accounts now.

I, I make good money.

You don’t need a job.

I wanna work again.

If you still got such a niche to be a reporter,

uh, why not write something for the school paper?

Huh?

Hurry up.

Now have a good day at school.

Work hard. Do good.

OK.

Here, honey.

Hair of the dog in there?

No, no. Plain black coffee.

Listen, last night, too many Mai Tais.

Hi. Sorry, sorry, sorry.

Max isn’t feeling well.

Oh no. Poor baby.

I’m gonna keep him home, let him rest.

Max isn’t coming?

Oh, no, sweetheart.

But if he’s feeling better you can play with him after school.

OK?

OK.

Bye. Have a good day.

Bye.

Alright, bye.

Ow.

[creaking]

Max?

Get down.

Max, get down. It’s not safe.

You could slip.

[Max] The birds need their house.

Max. Go inside! You could slip.

[Alice pants and grunts]

Max! Celine!

I can’t get it.

Celine!

[vacuum whirs]

Celine!

Celine!

Alice?

Max.

Oh, god.

Alice?

Max?

Ma…

[Celine cries out]

[Celine screams]

Max! Max!

[surreal music]

[Celine sobs]

Shh.

Shh.

[doorbell rings]

[door creaks]

[Simon] I’m so sorry, Damian.

Damian, my heart’s breaking for you.

Can we see Celine?

The family will be here soon.

We need time together.

Yeah, of course.

Please let her know we’re thinking of her.

And we’re here for both of you. Anything at all.

Thank you.

[Celine screaming]

[ominous music]

[radio announcer] On this fine morning

we’re just ready to rock with DJ Herbie.

[upbeat music]

Theo?

[radio announcer] We’ve got the cool and crisp

fun folly coming up next. Straight from our…

Yesterday when you were at school, Max was sick and, uh…

Um… Theo, Max had a serious accident.

He’s, he’s gone.

He died.

Do you understand what that means?

They’ll bury him in a hole and we won’t see him again?

Uh, well, yes.

[radio announcer] Shoppers, have we got a deal for you.

Every time you buy Vienna potato chips…

You wanna stay home from school today?

[radio announcer] For 25 cents, that’s half off

potato chips every time you shop at…

I don’t know if he understands.

But he’s in shock, you know?

Yeah.

Everyone deals with tragedy in their own way.

He’ll come around.

[unsettling music]

[engine cranks]

[doorbell rings]

Theo.

Theo.

[Theo] Are you sad?

[Celine] Yes.

[Theo] Where’s Max?

[Celine] At the hospital.

[Theo] Will we bury him?

Yes.

Will he go to heaven with the angels?

Theo. What are you doing? Come back over here.

What are you doing? Why are you going through there?

Look how dirty you are. Get in the house.

Go change your clothes.

Celine.

I tried to visit you.

Are you avoiding me?

Celine! Celine!

I should have kept my eye on him.

I could have gotten to him sooner.

It’s my fault.

No, Alice.

It’s just a terrible accident.

My bunny. I left it next door.

We need to go get it.

It’s too late.

We’ll get it tomorrow. OK?

But I can’t sleep without him.

You wanna sleep in our bed tonight?

You’re crying.

No. I’m just tired.

Come on, honey.

Snuggle up.

[priest] Lord, your mother Mary was at the foot of your cross

and she was losing her child.

Remember her grief and observe ours.

May Max’s brief life continue with you, Lord.

May his grace and your prayer give us strength.

Amen.

[all] Amen.

[sad music]

Maxwell. Max.

It wasn’t easy bringing you into this world.

And now, now you’ve left it too soon.

You changed us.

You made us better.

I saw my wife become…

an incredible mother.

And in me, in me…

you opened up a love stronger than I…

ever imagined.

Would you like to say goodbye to him?

Yeah.

Bunny!

What are you doing?

Bunny’s mine.

No, no, no, no, no.

No, Bunny’s mine.

No, no!

Shh, shh.

Bunny’s mine!

Hey, hey! Stop it.

Bunny’s mine!

No, no! Bunny’s mine!

No, Bunny!

Bunny! Bunny’s mine!

He’s mine!

[Celine sobs]

Bunny!

No, Bunny!

Bunny! Bunny!

Shh!

Do you realize what you did? Huh? Huh?

Your best friend’s funeral.

Shame on you.

Hold on. Calm down.

He misbehaved, I know, but it, it’s his toy.

Celine knows that. So why did she do it?

[pensive music]

[energetic music]

[carnival guests chattering]

Fish for that one.

Celine.

Hello.

You, you’re here.

Of course.

But I thought you were… away.

How is the little kangaroo?

[mother-to-be] Sorry.

I have to find Bobby before the concert.

Of course. Good to see you.

♪ Ever see a lassie, a lassie, a lassie ♪

♪ Have you ever seen a lassie go this way and that ♪

Feeling better?

Oh, uh…

Sorry.

I’m so embarrassed.

Don’t be, it’s… don’t be.

Celine, why’d you come here?

It just makes it worse.

I don’t know.

The house was so quiet.

So I, I was there alone

with my thoughts.

And… Alice, I don’t remember much

from after the…

but I think I pushed you away.

I, I know that things can’t be…

the way they were, but I,

please forgive me.

I’m, you’re…

I’m sorry. And I need you.

Of course.

[children singing Did You Ever See a Lassie]

Go.

Mm-mm.

You’re gonna miss the recital. Go on.

♪ A lassie, a lassie ♪

♪ Did you ever see a lassie go this way and that ♪

♪ Go this way and that way ♪

♪ And this way and that ♪

♪ Did you ever see a lassie ♪

[sad music]

[doorbell rings]

Hi. Welcome.

Thank you so much for coming.

Oh!

It’s coconut cream.

Oh, it looks delicious.

Thank you, darling. Come in, come in, come in.

Have a seat.

I will put this into the kitchen

and see what’s keeping Damian.

Hmm. Not yet.

Just one?

Wait.

[Damian] Celine, I know, I know!

[door slams]

I told you it was too soon.

We need to be here for them.

Damian isn’t feeling well enough to join us.

He sends his apologies.

Of course.

Theo. Come here.

[gasps] Bunny!

Oh, thank you.

I owe you an apology, Theo.

I didn’t want Max to be alone,

but it was wrong of me to take Bunny

without asking your permission.

I’m so sorry.

It’s OK.

Thank you.

Mama, look.

You play with anything you like.

How was the recital?

It was good.

Yes?

How did Theo do?

Oh, he sang well. Yeah.

Thanks to you and all that practice.

Oh.

I’ll be happy if I never hear that song again.

Maybe we should come back another time

when he’s feeling better.

I haven’t even served cocktails yet.

Please stay.

[Celine whimpers]

[Alice] What are you making?

Uh, well, mint juleps, I was thinking.

I only need three.

So, will you do the pouring?

Mm-hmm.

Great. Sugar?

You’ve done a beautiful job tonight.

It’s very good of you to come.

Thank you

[Theo] Mom.

Dad needs a matchbox.

Oh, here you go.

Will you have another baby?

No, darling.

Why not?

I can’t.

Why can’t you?

Well, I’ll tell you what I told Max.

When babies are born, the mommy goes to the hospital

and give her a magic potion, which puts her to sleep.

And when she wakes up, the doctors say, “Here’s your baby.”

But when they put me to sleep,

they noticed something was broken inside of me.

So they fixed it.

And then when I woke up they said,

“Here’s your one and only baby.”

Did you bleed when you broke?

[Alice] Theo.

That’s enough. Don’t…

Here we go.

[Simon] Thank you so much.

[Celine and Simon chatting quietly]

[door squeaks]

[door creaks]

Oh! Sorry.

Do you miss him?

[Alice gasps]

Do you, Alice?

Do you miss my son?

Of course I do.

[crickets chirping]

[object clatters]

He blames me.

I’m sure that’s not true.

He doesn’t say it, but I can see it

in the way he looks at me.

It was an accident. Wasn’t your fault.

It doesn’t feel real.

It’s like I’m walking around in a cloud.

I try to pull myself out of it, but I…

Need to go slower.

If I go slow, I’ll cease.

You know, when my parents died…

I can’t, I can’t even compare that, I know.

I felt like I should’ve done something.

I was there in the car and I…

I survived.

I felt, I feel so much guilt about that.

That’s when the anxiety started.

I thought I had a handle on it until…

I thought it went away, but then Theo came

and it didn’t go away.

It was just asleep and then when it woke up…

I never told anyone this.

When Theo was born,

I couldn’t even hold him.

For months.

I just was afraid I was gonna drop him.

Simon had me talk to a psychiatrist

and, um, they had me spend some time in a hospital.

And I came to understand

I’ll always have a big hole in my heart,

I’ll always miss my parents.

And I learned to separate

the grief from the guilt.

What guilt, Alice?

Your parents died in a car crash.

You were asleep in the backseat. It’s not the same thing.

I know.

I wasn’t watching my child.

I failed him.

No, no.

Without him, I’m…

[Alice] No.

[birds chirping]

[engine rumbling]

[Celine] Hello.

How was school?

He had a good day.

[Celine] Hmm?

[Theo] I got an A on my reading test.

Super duper.

Can Theo come over for a little bit? I have a surprise.

I, I’m…

Oh, Damien’s at a conference.

[Theo] Please?

Just for an hour.

Theo has schoolwork.

An hour? All right.

Thank you.

Mm.

So what did you read for your test?

The Cat in the Hat.

Ah.

“And something went bump!

How that bump made me…”

[Theo] “Jump.” What’s the surprise?

[Celine] You’ll see.

[water pouring]

[birds chirping]

[ominous music]

Theo.

What are you doing? Get inside!

Theo, get in the house!

What are you doing?

[Alice grunts]

[hedges rustling]

Theo! Theo!

Get off the balcony! Go!

Get!

Alice, what’s wrong?

What’s wrong? You leave my son on that balcony?

No. No, no, no.

I didn’t. I was right here.

We were playing with Max’s toys…

[ominous music]

[Theo] Mom, look! She’s giving me this!

I’m sorry we scared you. We’ll be right down.

[Alice] She’s not well.

It’s like she set up the exact situation just to test me.

Test you on what?

Darling, I got through the hedge today to get to Theo.

I saw the look in her eyes.

She thinks that I should’ve saved her son too.

Is that coming from her or you?

You think I’m imagining things?

I think it could be dangerous for you if you believe this.

You’re right.

God knows I can get carried away sometimes.

[footsteps pattering]

Mom?

[Alice] Hmm?

There’s no breakfast.

For Pete’s sake. Sorry, darling.

Toast.

[toaster clattering]

We should make a list for your birthday party.

Have you given any thought?

Celine?

Uh-huh.

[orange juice pours]

Good morning. Oh, what about your other friends?

Surely, you wanna invite some of them?

Celine’s my friend.

Um, Granny Jean?

And Celine.

Mm-hmm.

[plate clattering]

Do you want eggs?

Yeah. Thank you.

[birds chirping]

[children chattering]

[gentle music]

♪ Happy birthday to you ♪

♪ Happy birthday, dear Theo ♪

♪ Happy birthday to you ♪

Woo, woo-hoo.

Make a wish!

More, more, more.

Ah!

Ah, you did it!

Woo-hoo!

[group applauding]

[Alice] Happy birthday, baby.

[Jean] Ah, good.

[group murmuring]

You don’t have to do that.

Enjoy yourself.

[plates clattering]

All right, who wants cake?

[Simon] OK, boys, it’s time for the treasure hunt.

And we got lots of hidden treasures out here, so you gotta look closely.

Oh.

[Simon] All right? OK?

Here’s your tea.

[Simon] You ready?

Thank you, my dear.

Three, two, one, go!

Come on!

Please don’t ruin the garden.

Come on, come on, come on, come on,

come on, come on, come on.

Celine.

Hmm?

It was so nice

that Theo wanted you here.

Yes, it was very sweet of him.

But children don’t always know what’s best.

It helps me a lot being here.

[Theo] Found one!

[Simon] You found it? Fantastic!

[Jean] I hurt for you, for your terrible loss.

We all do.

I’m just not sure that this is the best way to deal with it,

for you or for my family.

But you always said I was like family.

This is difficult for all of us, but it’s Theo’s day.

This should be a happy occasion.

It’s just not appropriate.

It’s not fair to him.

Excuse me.

[dishware clattering]

Hey, there. Have a couple more.

Thank you.

I don’t understand. Did I do something wrong or…

Oh, sorry, am I…

Um, your garden can’t take much more of this,

so I’m taking the boys to the park to play ball.

All right.

Mm.

Have fun.

Thanks.

Bye, Celine.

Bye.

[door opens]

[door closes]

Did you put Theo on that balcony…

to test me?

Do you think I’m capable of something like that?

Celine.

It helps me to spend time with Theo, and it helps him too.

He’s lonely, Alice.

He’s like a ghost without Max. Can’t you see that?

And that I use him to test you?

I would never…

Sorry, I’m sorry.

I’m sorry, I just…

I feel terrible for getting there for Theo and not for Max.

I’m very sorry.

Please forgive me. Please.

[birds chirping]

[ominous music]

Jean, are you all right?

Jean!

[Alice panting]

Jean?

Someone help!

Granny Jean?

[hand tapping]

Mr. Bradford?

I’m sorry to disturb you.

I need to ask for your help with some paperwork.

Uh, can my wife handle it?

There’s one thing I don’t really understand.

How could she have a heart attack

if she took her pills regularly?

Anything could happen at her age.

Yes, but the pills she was taking,

they should’ve worked.

Yes, I would’ve thought so.

These are typically quite effective.

My husband would like an autopsy.

An autopsy?

This is very hard for him.

He and his mother were extremely close,

so he would like to understand.

See a pattern…

Wait, good.

[door closes]

[Alice] Theo?

We’re in here.

Hi.

Theo, what’s this?

Max’s birdhouse. We’re fixing it.

Celine said I could.

[objects clattering]

I wasn’t sure it was a good idea,

but he begged to mend it.

He’s awfully low.

I know it’s sad, sweetheart…

but you be strong.

Remember all the happy times with Granny Jean.

Can I tell you a secret?

Where Granny Jean’s gone, Max is there too.

I bet he’s showing her around right now.

I wouldn’t be surprised if she was showing him

a few new magic tricks.

They’re in a better place, Theo.

And they have each other.

Alice?

Hmm?

I’m so sorry about Granny Jean.

She was like family to me.

How you doing?

I’m OK. Thank you.

Mm. Call me if you need me,

for anything.

[door closes]

[gentle music]

[gentle music continues]

[door opens]

[gentle music continues]

Simon! Simon, Theo’s gone!

I thought I heard someone downstairs. I’m sorry.

[Simon sighs]

[Simon] I’m tired, Alice. Go to sleep.

[light switch clicks]

Mr. Bradford isn’t with you?

Mm. He asked me to come.

Her doctor confirmed her medication,

but there was no trace of it in her blood.

What does that mean?

That means she wasn’t taking them.

But that’s impossible. I saw her taking them diligently.

My husband saw her…

Mrs. Bradford, I can assure you

there was no medication in her blood strain.

Whatever you and your husband saw her taking,

it wasn’t her heart medication.

[drawer opens]

[objects clattering]

[Alice heavily breathing]

[elegant music]

[footsteps treading]

Some snacks to take the edge off.

[Alice] Mm-mm.

Oh, I’m sorry, honey. Those have peanuts in it.

I made you some carrot sticks.

I don’t want carrot sticks.

Well, take a look in the kitchen.

I’m sure you’ll find something on the drain board.

No.

No, you stay here. Dinner will be served soon.

[Theo] Dad, I’m starving.

[Damien gasps]

[Damien] Sorry.

Just didn’t wanna burn him.

How you holding up?

[Simon sighs]

Alice, I didn’t mean to contradict you with Theo.

It’s OK.

You sure?

It’s fine.

I’d like to propose a toast.

Well, not a toast as much as an acknowledgement

to say I appreciate you, your friendship.

And despite your own terrible loss,

you’ve been there for me,

and I just wanted to thank you for that.

Thank you, Simon.

[glasses clinking]

We’re so sorry.

[glasses clinking]

Oh.

[glasses clinking]

[Theo wheezing and coughing]

Theo? What is it?

[Theo wheezing]

What’s wrong?

[Simon continues wheezing]

[Simon] Oh, my god. Gotta take him to the hospital.

[cookies clattering]

[box clatters]

[footsteps pattering]

[door slams]

We need a doctor.

[Theo wheezing]

He can’t breathe. I think he’s having

some kind of allergic reaction.

He had a peanut cookie,

so he can’t breathe.

How long has it been going on?

Twenty minutes. His name’s Theo.

Theodore.

Theodore?

Bradford. He goes by Theo.

He can’t breathe.

How old’s your son?

He’s eight years old.

[door closes]

[footsteps clicking]

Can I help you?

[Celine] I’m looking for…

Oh, Alice.

What the hell are

you doing here?

You wanna kill my son?

Stop!

Stop!

You do, you son of a bitch!

Alice, you need to go.

You do!

Let go of me!

I’m so sorry. Just please go.

[Alice grunts]

[door opens]

[Celine crying]

Think about it, the only kid

who goes to her house now is Theo.

[Alice panting]

So she sent him in the kitchen. She set the whole thing up.

No, no, I sent him to the kitchen.

No!

No, she told him to go in there.

“Oh, I’m sure you’ll find something on the drain board.”

Remember? She said that.

“You’ll find something.”

Alice, Jesus. Please.

She planned the whole thing.

She manipulates people.

That’s just, that’s what she does.

And you don’t even see it.

Do you see, honey?

She killed your mother.

OK, that’s enough.

No, listen, just listen.

Stop it.

Please.

We both saw Jean take her pills all the time. Right?

Both of us saw her…

Yeah.

Yes.

Take them all the time.

Yes, but…

OK, how’s it possible

that the autopsy showed no trace

of the medication in her system?

What autopsy?

What are you talking about?

Celine swapped the pills

with a placebo.

She has access to everything

because of Damien’s job in pharmaceuticals.

Because your mom didn’t get her medication,

she had a heart attack.

[Alice exhales]

You had an autopsy done? On my mother?

I knew something was off. I was right.

So I hid Jean’s pillbox, so I could have the pills tested.

But then Celine stole it, so now it can’t prove it.

OK, so you’re saying Celine stole

my mom’s pillbox…

Yes.

From our house?

I hid them in the nightstand.

Uh-huh.

And you remember I heard someone in the house.

Who else could get in?

Celine has a key. It was her.

Honey, don’t you see it?

She wants us to pay for Max.

What are you doing? Simon!

[Alice groans]

Simon. You’re hurting me.

[Alice groans]

[panting]

[car door opens]

[car door closes]

[glove box opens]

[objects clattering]

[pills rattling]

Is this what Celine stole?

Is this what she stole?

That’s not possible.

I found it in the garden,

exactly where my mother dropped it.

I found it.

You found it?

No, you’ve been raving for weeks, Alice.

You’re losing touch with reality.

Our son is in intensive care right now. OK?

Nothing else matters.

OK.

We’re not going down this path again. You hear me?

It almost destroyed you, both of us.

I won’t let it destroy Theo.

[car door opens]

[car door closes]

It’s not possible.

I found it in the garden.

[Alice heavily breathing]

I put it in my drawer.

I know I did.

I know I did.

[gentle music plays]

[gentle music continues]

[announcer] Mr. and Mrs. Simon Bradford,

please report to the nurse’s station.

[doctor] We were able to neutralize the allergic reaction,

so he should be feeling back to normal in no time.

[Simon] Thank you very much, Doctor.

Such a relief.

Hello, sweetie.

How are you feeling? Better?

[Simon] Theo, what happened?

Why did you eat the cookies

when you know how sick they can make you?

Huh?

[footsteps treading]

We need to move.

No, you need to get some help.

I’ll make an appointment for you first thing in the morning.

Darling, I’m sorry. I’m sorry.

I know I should’ve included you on the decision.

It was for your sake.

[Simon] I should have you committed again.

[door slams]

[car door closes]

[engine rumbling]

[Alice whimpers]

[gentle music]

[blocks clattering]

[car door closes]

[engine rumbles]

[door opens]

[key jingles]

[gentle music]

[keys clattering]

[lock clicking]

[door opens]

[Celine sighs]

[light switch clicks]

[keys clattering]

[Celine sighs]

[ominous music]

[footsteps treading]

[chain rattling]

[tense music]

[door closes]

[keys jingling]

What are you doing in my house, Alice?

I was looking for Max…

Theo thought he left his…

[Alice exhales]

Where are they?

What are you talking about?

Grandma Jean’s heart pills, where are they?

I know you swapped them out

with something from Damien’s stash. I know that.

And then you broke into my house and you stole her pills

so that I couldn’t prove it.

So where are they, Celine?

I know they’re here. I know.

You killed her.

What’s wrong with you?

I just lost my son, my only child,

and you’re sneaking around my house accusing me

of being some kind of monster.

I’m the monster?

I’m not imagining things.

[keys jingling]

Get outta my house.

Get the hell outta my house!

[door slams]

[gentle music]

I’ve been thinking we should do something fun as a family.

Take a vacation. Would you like that, huh?

How about the ocean? You love it there.

We could fly a kite and roast marshmallows. [laughs]

Light a fire.

[engine rumbling]

[Theo] A present!

Who’s it from?

[Theo] Celine!

It’s for me!

Wait! Mom, no!

What are doing?

Mom!

Keep your pointless gifts!

[box clatters]

Leave my family alone!

[Alice panting]

Keep going.

[door opens]

Theo?

Theo. Darling?

Theo?

Theo?

Theo? Where are you?

Honey?

Theo!

[Celine] What is it now, Alice?

Where’s my son?

I don’t know.

He’s here.

No, he’s not.

Alice. Alice, please stop. Alice, stop it.

Stop it.

[door closes]

Theo.

Theo!

[Celine] Theo?

Theo? Oh, my god!

Theo! Theo!

Get down right now! Get down.

Stay away.

[Alice] Honey, stop it.

I’m going where Max and Granny Jean went.

Nobody’s mad at each other where they are.

Nobody fights.

Please, please, please get down.

Please get down.

Don’t come any closer.

[Alice heavily breathing]

It’s a better place, you said so.

Theo, honey, Theo, we’ve made a lot of mistakes since Max has been gone.

Our hearts have been so hurt that it’s been hard to think straight.

Like keeping the cookies that could hurt you, that was my mistake.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry.

Your mom was right to worry. All right?

We’re not gonna fight anymore, sweetie.

No.

OK?

We’re not gonna fight anymore.

OK?

[tense music]

[Celine] OK?

We’re not gonna fight anymore.

[Theo gasps]

[Alice and Celine screaming]

[Alice heavily breathing]

OK, baby, go to your mama. Go to your mama.

[Alice] Theo.

[Celine] Go to your mama, honey.

I’m so sorry.

I’m so sorry.

Thank you.

[Alice sighs]

[soft music]

He’s finally asleep.

You’re right, I need help.

I found a house we can rent.

A colleague is leaving.

So, we can move in two weeks.

It’s best for Theo.

Yeah.

Thank you.

[Alice] There’s no excuse for my accusations.

I’m taking medicine now, and I’m seeing a doctor.

Oh.

Alice, I was wrong too.

I did blame you for Max.

I’m sorry.

We did the best we could, under the circumstances.

Theo can’t stay here…

Not with everything that’s happened.

We decided…

We move in two weeks.

Of course.

Of course.

Of course, we have to do what’s best for Theo.

Alice, we both know it can’t continue like this.

No, it can’t.

No.

No.

[somber music]

Hi.

Hey.

Thirsty?

Sure.

[somber music continues]

I made you another.

[somber music continues]

[Damian groans]

How was your day?

The same.

Actually, I had tea with Alice today.

She told me they’re moving.

[Damian chuckles]

Is that funny?

What did you expect?

You’ve been clinging to Theo ever since.

I can’t say I blame ’em.

[scoffs]

Theo and I understand one another.

It’s amazing to me how quickly you forgot my son.

Our son.

Listen to me…

I want to leave Alice and Simon alone.

And I don’t want that boy in our house again, you understand?

I understand.

[Alice breathing heavily]

[somber music]

I wanna have another child with you.

[soft solemn music]

[Celine exhales sharply]

[Celine straining and panting]

[soft solemn music continues]

[siren wailing]

[soft solemn music continues]

Excuse me, sir.

What’s goin’ on?

We live right next door.

The man took his life.

That’s not possible.

I’m sorry, ma’am.

Oh my God, Celine.

Oh, my God. [breathing heavily]

You can stay in our spare room.

I’ll take you upstairs.

[soft solemn music]

[car engine roars]

[Alice] “Underneath the root of a very big fir tree.

‘Now, my dears, ‘ said old Miss Rabbit one morning, ‘you may go into the fields or down to the lane, but don’t go into Mr. McGregor’s garden.'”

Hello.

Oh.

Daddy.

Baby.

Hey.

Hey, darling.

Here, let me take this for you.

[Simon clears throat]

How is she?

I’m gonna put Theo to bed now.

Yeah, sure.

Good night, Theo.

Good night, Daddy.

[Alice] All right, go up, darling.

No, Theo, what are you doing?

I wanna go say good night to Celine.

Honey, she’s asleep.

She needs her rest.

Come on.

I’ll finish the story.

[man on TV] New factories are going up, while the insurance they carry has increased prosperity.

New homes are under construction to meet the demands of new families moving in.

It’s so quiet in here, so I just needed… [sighs] some noise.

Yeah.

[TV continues indistinctly]

Is she still here?

Mm-hmm, she hasn’t left that room all day.

I should’ve seen it coming.

I, I knew he was hurting, but I…

[man on TV] Not unique, of course, in the pattern of American communities, but comforting to these fathers and mothers who live here…

You couldn’t have known.

We just need to be easier on ourselves.

A change will be good.

[Alice yawning]

We’ll be in the new house soon.

Mm.

[man on TV] …through a day of normal activities, one gets the feeling that…

She can’t go back home now, not after everything that’s happened.

[man on TV] Perhaps grow old in the kind of a place you…

I’m gonna go next door.

Grab some things.

What? Now?

You know she didn’t bring anything with her.

She’s sleeping in the same clothes.

Mm-hmm.

[TV continues indistinctly]

[Damian sighs]

[knocking on door]

You’re not sleeping.

Neither are you.

I just wanted to say good night.

[door clicks and creaks]

[TV plays indistinctly]

[music plays on TV]

This is a magic potion, it helps everybody sleep.

[snickers] Even children who aren’t sleepy.

[Theo] What makes it magic?

You’ll have to try it to find out.

[soft solemn music]

[tense music]

Do you wanna try the magic potion?

Yeah.

OK.

[soft solemn music]

[soft tense music]

[soft tense music continues]

No!

[Alice panting and jabbering]

We have to get her away.

Simon?

Simon, we have to…

[soft solemn music]

Oh, no.

[TV continues indistinctly]

[Alice breathing heavily]

[Alice moans and screams]

[tense music]

[Celine grunts]

[both straining]

[Celine breathing heavily]

[Alice gasps]

[Celine grunts]

[tense music continues]

[both straining and grunting]

[Celine screaming]

[Alice yelps]

[Celine groaning]

[moaning]

[Celine groaning]

[Alice groaning]

[soft somber music]

[Alice groaning]

[soft somber music continues]

[Alice sobbing]

[soft somber music continues]

[Alice sobbing]

[soft somber music continues]

[Alice gasping and groaning]

[TV plays indistinctly]

[water trickling]

[Celine straining]

[pipe clanks]

[gas hissing]

[Celine grunts]

[window frame rasps]

[gas hissing]

[commentator on TV] …Durban Chief of New Zealand, third, in this mile and a quarter event.

Trotters from many lands with $50,000 prize money awaiting the winner.

Italy’s Tomaci holds the early lead.

[crowd on TV cheering, applauding]

Shh.

Shh.

[tense droning]

Shh.

Shh.

[attorney] The facts of this case are cut and dry.

A presumed household accident has taken the lives of two beloved members of our community.

An absolute tragedy.

Here with us today, Mrs. Jennings, a woman who has lost everything a wife and mother can lose.

In the wake of such tragedy, your honor, what would you do?

Perhaps this is the silver lining.

What an unexpected gift.

A mother without a son, and a son without a mother.

[judge] This court recognizes this unusual predicament.

And I must ask your decision, young man.

In the absence of surviving family members, do you accept Mrs. Jennings as your adoptive mother?

Is Mrs. Jennings Celine?

Yes.

Would you like Celine to be your adoptive mommy?

Does that mean yes, son?

Yes.

[ocean droning]

So, what should we do?

You could fly a kite.

Or build a sand castle.

I know how you feel.

It’s like there’s a big hole in your heart.

Theo, listen to me.

We have each other.

[somber music]

We’re going to get through this together.

We’ll love each other, and maybe someday… the hole won’t be so big.

[somber music continues]

[Theo mutters, chuckles]

[Theo chuckles]

[somber music continues]

[somber music continues]

[somber music continues]

[somber music continues]

[somber music continues]

[music fades]

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