55 Steps (2017) Script

[♪♪♪]

4 00:00:48,613 --> 00:00:49,812 No! Calm down!

No, I don't wanna!

No, I don't wanna!

I don't wanna!

I said, I don't want it! You're giving me too much!

Too much! You know that.

No! No, I'm not going to.

No! Grab her legs. Grab her legs.

No!

Take it easy, Eleanor. No, I don't wanna go in there.

No, I don't wanna go in there. No, I don't wanna go in there.

No. No. Settle down.

Please. Please. Please, don't hurt me.

[YELLS]

[PANTING]

[YELLING]

NURSE: Okay. It should be fine now.

[PANTING]

MAN: All right. She's gonna be all right.

All right.

Yeah, okay.

You good? Yeah.

Okay. Let's go.

NURSE: Okay, get back into your room.

MAN: All right.

[???]

[GASPING]

[TALKING INDISTINCTLY]

Hello? Let... Let me out.

Yeah.

I-I need to go to the-the bathroom.

I need to... I have to go... The bathroom.

Please, somebody.

Somebody, help.

Come out. Help me.

Please, I... I need help.

[CRYING] It really hurts.

Oh, no.

Oh, no, it hurts. Sorry.

I'm sorry.

Oh, Mama.

[SOBBING]

[URINATING]

ELEANOR: I need to use a telephone!

I... I want to use a phone!

I-I need to use a telephone!

I heard you so.

Don't you wanna clean up first?

No, I... I wanna use a phone.

Okay. Okay.

[DIAL SPINNING]

[SINGING SOFTLY]

WOMAN [ON PHONE]: Hello♪

Is...?

Is this Patients' Rights?

WOMAN: Yes, it is.

My name is Eleanor Riese.

And...

I want a lawyer.

[???]


MAN: We're hoping we can get her out by the weekend.

[PEOPLE CHATTERING INDISTINCTLY]

Hi. Hi.

I'm here to see Eleanor Riese.

I'm her lawyer.

May I see your ID?

[SIGHS]

You can wait there.

Okay, but I'm only gonna wait five minutes.

Then I'm gonna call the state board of hospitals and complain that you won't let me see my client.

I'll see if I can find a nurse to show you up.

Thank you.

[DOOR CREAKS, SLAMS SHUT]

All right, sweetheart. Now drink up.

Take a little pill. That's it.

I want you to know you're dealing with a very explosive patient.

Thank you.

ELEANOR: You don't need to touch me. Don't touch me.

Ms. Riese?

I'm Colette Hughes.

We spoke on the phone. I'm here to help you.

Yeah, everybody's here to help me.

Yeah, that's why I need help.

You can talk here.

Thank you.

I'm sorry. I only speak to my clients in privacy.

[PEOPLE CHATTERING INDISTINCTLY IN DISTANCE]

I don't like lawyers.

Why not?

Why not?

'Cause of the un-defending defender.

That's what I call a public defender.

And you-you wanna know why?

'Cause he doesn't defend me.

When they tried to keep me here, I told him:

"I don't wanna stay here."

And he said I didn't mind.

He didn't listen to me.

He didn't listen to me at all.

If I represent you in this lawsuit, I will listen. You have my word.

Aw. I know how you think about me.

Yeah, like I'm crazy. Yeah.

People, they don't care about their word with crazy people.

Tell me I'm not right.

Just tell me I'm not right.

You don't know how I feel about you. We just met.

And I do keep my word with everyone.

How long have you been a lawyer?

Two years.

Aren't you kinda old to be a lawyer only two years?

I mean, what are you, slow?

[CHUCKLING] No.

I'm not slow.

I was just doing other things before becoming a lawyer.

Like what? Belly dancing?

How'd you guess?

[CHUCKLES]

[GROANS]

Yeah, why do you wanna help me?

Because I want the same thing you want.

I want doctors to respect your rights when you're in the hospital and not give you medication without your permission.

What about money?

I can't pay you.

If we win, I'll get paid for my time.

If we don't, I won't.

If we win, you'll get money too. But only a little.

This won't be a damages case.

There's something else you have to know.

I can pursue getting you released now.

But if you want me to proceed with a suit, if I get you released right away, the court might dismiss the case because they would say that you weren't in harm anymore.

But if you prefer, I can just concentrate getting you out.

Well, so...

So if I sue the hospital, you can make sure they can't give people any drugs they want to?

No matter what it does to them?

If we win the case, no hospital in the state can do that to people on 3-to 17-day involuntary holds just because the hospital wants to.

You would be representing 150,000 people with this case.

You know, I-I like your clothes.

But your hair... gotta change.

Are...

Yeah, you're hired.

[MUSIC PLAYING INDISTINCTLY]

No "hello" or anything?

Oh, sorry.

I forgot you were coming over tonight.

[PHONE RINGING]

Hungry?

Professor Cohen, it's Colette Hughes.

I'm sorry to call so late.

I think I got the plaintiff for a case for informed consent for medication.

She's at St. Mary's. Her name's Eleanor Riese.

And she's been exposed to medication without her consent over numerous hospital stays.

ELEANOR [WHISPERING]: Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou among women.

Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

[???]

[WOMAN CRYING IN DISTANCE]

WOMAN [CRYING]: Please help me.

Please.

Help me.

Help me, please!

Please.

Help me, please.

Please, help me.

Please!

Here.

Please, help me. God.

No. Karen.

Help.

Hey, hey, I'm gonna get you out.

I'm gonna get you out.

Karen.

No. Karen.

I'm here. No! Help me.

You aren't alone.

She's diagnosed with chronic paranoid schizophrenia with slight mental retardation.

She can be highly mistrustful.

She gets very angry.

She can be loud, but she's not a danger to herself or others.

That's good.

She has extreme panic attacks because she has a fear of dying.

That's why she committed herself.

Because she wanted help for her fear. Mm-hmm.

But when the hospital started doubling her medication, and she started refusing it, that's when they then said that she had a delusion about her medication.

I see. I think she knows exactly what her medication's doing to her, and she's furious about it.

I think she has the will to see this through.

How many patients did you represent in hearings last year as part of your job?

About 200.

Uh-huh, and how many other patients' hearings did you supervise?

Six hundred.

And that job you have in San Mateo um, your advocacy group, how far is San Mateo?

Only an hour. Uh-huh.

If you fly over the cars.

Now, listen to me, I make a good living here teaching.

I can afford to take on whatever I want.

But this case? This case?

This could take years.

And you're not gonna be able to have any private clients.

It's gonna make your job harder.

And, uh, you're not gonna be making a penny.

Plus, which, no court...

Federal, California. ...has ever rendered a decision in favor of a case like this one.

But if we win, we'll get rights for people who, right now have fewer rights about what goes into their own bodies than criminals in prison.

You're right.

And all we have to do is beat St. Mary's and all the associations.

Not to mention the, uh, county councils across the state.

And the researchers and the lawyers St. Mary's is going to hire, and the money they'll spend.

You can't discourage me.

I mean, I'm actually not trying to discourage you.

I just want you to know what you're up against.

I appreciate it.

I'm honored to be working on this case with you, Mr. Cohen.

Thank you. Call me Mort.

Hi. I'm here to see Ms....

I'm sorry, but you'll have to wait.

But I have an appointment.

If you wanna complain to the state hospital board, Dr. Booker said he'd be happy to tell them how busy we are.

We may not be able to let you up to see Ms. Riese this morning or even today.

[DOOR LOCK BUZZES]

Thank you, ma'am.

[???]

I'm trying to talk to my friend, Sister Florence.

Why don't you leave me alone?

You're not supposed to be on the phone.

You're supposed to be in art therapy.

Who wants to make a stupid woolen octopus?

If you won't let me make my rosaries, I'll talk to my friend.

Okay.

[???]

Eleanor.

No.

FLORENCE [ON PHONE]: Who are you talking to♪ Eleanor, we have an appointment.

We don't have an appointment.

We had an appointment at 9:15.

I'm sorry... Yeah, you don't think I got better things to do than wait for you all day.

I told you, I don't need a slow lawyer.

I was on time. I just couldn't get...

Yeah, thought you looked bad yesterday.

You look more like a patient than a lawyer.

That's the idea.

I couldn't get past the desk.

I had to do this, so that I could come and see you.

[MOUTHS] Oh! FLORENCE: I-I-I just can't...

I bet that'll show those stupid doctors.

Yeah, there's no one in here.

I'm looking forward to getting started as much as you are.

Yeah, yeah. I don't want you to start with me.

There is a patient. She's all tied up in restraints.

I told her I had a lawyer. I'll look into it.

Get her out. Her name is Karen Winkle.

Thank you. Yeah.

I want you to get her out. I'll do what I can.

Now I'm here to work with you.

I don't want you to do anything for me. Go do something for her.

It took me an hour and a half to get up here.

We only have 45 minutes.

I'll help her when I can.

No, no, no. I'm not doing anything until you help Karen.

Come on. Let's go.

I told you I'd get you out.

[LAUGHS]

Yeah.

I got a lawyer.

I know I'm late. I had to take care of something unexpected.

Well, you'll have to reschedule the meeting.

With drive time? Two hours?

[SIGHS]

"Whenever I'm held in a psychiatric hospital, "I am given antipsychotic drugs

"such as Thorazine, Mellaril, Navane, Serentil, "against my will, without my permission and invariably without my consent."

Yeah, don't forget how it makes my vision blurry and my feet all swollen.

So it makes it hard for me to walk.

I haven't forgotten. And the hospital staff, they get angry at me, 'cause I'm not doing things right.

I've put it all in here. Really, I have.

Yeah, yeah. And-and-and say that it makes my hands shake and my head twitch, so it makes me look even crazier than I am.

It's here, I promise.

Yeah, and then you have to say how I get scared.

And then they give me more drugs that make me even more scared.

Yeah, sometimes I don't even try and fight them, because if I don't swallow the drugs, then-then they threaten me with needles.

And I don't want needles.

I don't wanna go in the torture chamber.

If you could just be quiet for two minutes, I could read your entire declaration.

You could sign it, and then I can work on getting you out.

Okay.

"The side effects of these drugs..."

One thing:

Can you get some beads, so that I can make my rosaries?

They want me to make a stupid woolen octopus.

But they won't let me make my rosaries.

'cause they think I have a delusion.

But I am a member of a rosary club.

And they gave me an award. Yeah.

I need to make my rosaries.

Okay.

Yeah.

"The side effects of these drugs..."

What religion are you?

I was raised Catholic.

Thank you. You're welcome.

[PEOPLE CHATTERING INDISTINCTLY]

[KEYS JANGLING] [LOCK CLICKING]

Thank you. ELEANOR: Oh, yeah.

I'd call the home.

I'll come back. I'll find you.

MAN: Back inside in five minutes, guys.

Eleanor.

This is Morton Cohen.

Professor of constitutional law at Golden Gate University.

He's the lawyer I told you about.

The one who's gonna be senior counsel on your case.

Hello.

Hi. It's nice to meet you.

This is a very important case. Yeah, I know.

You're representing 150,000 people.

Are you Jewish?

Yes. I thought so.

Yeah, you're my Jewish lawyer.

She's my Catholic lawyer. It's perfect, 'cause I was born Jewish, and then I converted.

I'm now a Catholic.

That reminds me. I...

I got you these. Hope they're okay.

Oh, you remembered.

Thank you.

Yeah. Oh, yeah.

No, they're perfect.

That's my mission. My mission is making rosaries for Jesus and the Blessed Mother.

COHEN: I see. I've been making them since I was 15.

Since you were 15? Ah. Fifteen.

I don't know how good they are, but I'm doing my best.

That's what Father Murray says.

You just have to do your best.

Yeah.

I can make you a rosary if you like.

Well, you'd very much like a rosary, wouldn't you?

Yeah, I'd like a rosary.

Here you go.

You okay with dogs?

Yeah, I'm-I'm okay.

Yeah, that's Bear.

That's a marlin.

I caught that off the coast of Florida.

Oh. Yeah.

And this is a bass.

This is a pike.

Pike. Over here we have a marlin.

Ask me how long it took to reel that guy in.

How long did it take to reel that guy in?

It took me three hours. Have a seat.

You sure you're okay with dogs?

Yeah, I'm okay.

Good boy.

All right. So you've seen the care package that the hospital sent over?

Oh, my God.

Hundreds of pages for a 13-page complaint?

Trying to bury us in paperwork.

I warned you.

They got the money and the medical experts.

So let's split it up.

I'll take constitutional common law, and you take drugs, mental health and statutory law issues.

Okay. Okay?

Can I...?

[SIGHING] All right.

No fishing for a while.

Chope Community Hospital about a Mr. Morris?

Tell them I'll be there at 11 on Mr. Morris's behalf.

Ms. Hughes?

Oh, yes. Just one minute, Mr. Grainger.

She'll be there at 11 for Mr. Morris.

Patients' Rights Advocates.

It's for you.

This is Colette Hughes.

No, today.

I want her released today.

I'll be in later to sign the form.

Thank you.

One moment.

All right. Put that... Put that in that one.

Yeah, and this one. You can put that one.

Yeah. Yeah.

Yeah, you can put that in... No.

Okay, but be careful. I don't...

All right. Oh, wait. Wait, wait, wait.

Hang on. Hang on. Look.

I made these for you.

Oh, they're... That's beautiful.

I made them with the rainbow colors.

You see how they sparkle?

Yeah, you'd never know they were plastic.

No, you wouldn't. Thank you again.

You wanna see the other ones I made? I made five of them.

Eleanor, don't you want to go home?

Oh, yeah.

Yeah. Got everything? Yes.

Okay. Yeah.

Bye. This is my lawyer. You're gonna be sorry.

Yeah.

Oh, wait, I got something for you.

Yeah. Yeah.

Hang on.

Here. You're nice. [GASPS]

Yeah. I'm not suing you.

[CHUCKLES] Thank you, Eleanor.

Oh, yeah.

They got an elevator here. I'm glad.

Steps are horrid for me.

[BIRDS CHIRPING]

Why do you keep looking at your watch?

Because I'm on a schedule.

Do I turn on the next street?

Yeah, but we're not going home right now.

Why not?

'Cause... 'cause I phoned my friend, Sister Florence, and I asked her to join us for a picnic.

Oh, I'm sorry, Eleanor, but I don't have time for a picnic right now.

I thought you said I was your most important client.

Well, you are, but I have a lot of other things I need to do too.

Don't you want to celebrate with me 'cause I got out?

Of course, but I... I have a very...

You're a big-shot lawyer.

I'm mentally ill. So I don't know anything.

I never said that.

Gonna ruin my whole day.

Yeah, no, I planned this picnic.

Yeah, Sister Florence already bought food for you.

I'm sorry, but you never told me about a picnic.

You're like everybody else. You don't care.

I do care about you.

And I said I'm sorry, but I can't go to the picnic.

But I'll be happy to drop you, so that you and Sister Florence can celebrate.

[PEOPLE CHATTERING INDISTINCTLY]

COLETTE: Are you sure you'll be all right?

Yeah, I'll be fine.

Sister Florence will drop me off at my apartment on the way back to the convent.

Are you sure?

That's right.

We can take the bus.

Yeah, we'll just take the bus.

I've been taking the bus for years.

Well, I'll call you later. Nice to meet you, Sister.

Oh, it's nice meeting you too.

Eleanor tells me you're Catholic, but you don't practice anymore.

Why are you still here?

Big-shot lawyer with more important things to do.

You think I can't get around on my own?

You know, I got around on my own before I had a lawyer.

[PHONE RINGING]

Hi, Robert.

ELEANOR [ON PHONE]: Who's Robert♪ This is Eleanor Riese.

Oh, Eleanor.

I didn't know I gave you my number.

You didn't.

I looked you up in the phone book.

I'm very good with the phone book.

It says "C. Hughes."

But I know the C was for "Colette."

Is something wrong? ELEANOR: No.

But you said you were gonna call me.

And you didn't, so I'm calling you.

Yeah, I'm sorry. I got busy, and I forgot.

ELEANOR: Yeah, I just wanted you to know I got home all right.

And-and I can see you got home all right too.

Yes, I did.

ELEANOR: Yeah, good.

Good night.

Good night.

All right. Here's what I think we should do:

Start off with the California Constitutional Right to Privacy.

Then just move on to the common law right against battery.

Cobbs v. Grant. That's important.

That set the standard for doctors' obligation to get informed consent for intrusive procedures.

We have to establish these drugs are intrusive procedures.

When the doctor first started giving Eleanor Mellaril, he told her she could take it four, six, eight times a day if she wanted. Okay.

He thought that it would help psychologically. But it didn't.

All it did was damage her bladder and her brain, and make her seizures worse.

And now she has to keep taking it, because if she doesn't, she has more seizures. My God.

There's a notation in her hospital records that I'd like to highlight. Okay.

"She was placed on Mellaril with the reasoning that her bladder was already so damaged that more or less Mellaril would not have an impact on its recovery."

So these people were giving her drugs that they knew were damaging her.

Yeah. I see it all the time.

My God.

This is for Mr. Adams.

RECEPTIONIST: Good morning, Adams...

[WHISPERS] That's her.

Ms. Hughes?

James Adams, counsel for St. Mary's.

Good to meet you, Mr. Adams.

I believe you already know Dr. Booker.

May I help you with something?

Yes. I stopped by to deliver this.

It's our response to your briefing on the medications.

It also includes some information on the adverse side effects of the medications in question, as well as the side effects that they had on Ms. Riese.

[CHUCKLES] Off the record, how did you reply so quickly?

Who's your medical expert?

What do you mean?

Who's coordinating on the medical issues?

I am.

I don't understand.

I was a nurse for 10 years and a psychiatric nurse for five.

With a big firm like yours, I assumed you'd do a background check.

I'm sure we did. I must have missed it.

You were a psychiatric nurse. You're doing this?

You're telling me you were a nurse, you never gave drugs to patients without their informed consent?

No. Never.

I always felt it was my primary responsibility to care for the patient, not manage them for my own convenience.

Gentlemen.

[MUSIC PLAYING FROM ELEANOR'S APARTMENT]

♪ Well ♪

♪ Sugar in the mornin' Sugar in the evenin' ♪

♪ Sugar at suppertime ♪

♪ Be my little sugar And love me all the time ♪

♪ Honey in the mornin' Honey in the evenin' ♪

♪ Honey at suppertime... ♪

[MUSIC CONTINUES PLAYING, MUFFLED]

[KNOCKS]

Hang on.

♪ ...sugar and love me All the time... ♪ Hi. Oh.

Look who's here, it's my big-shot lawyer.

Oh, nice to see you, Sister.

Hope I'm not interrupting something.

No, no. She's gotta go. She's gotta go. Back to the convent.

They treat her like a sixth-grader. Bye!

Yes, nice to see you again, Colette.

COLETTE: You too!

♪ Honey in the mornin' Honey... ♪ You be careful on those steps.

FLORENCE: I will.

There's 25 of them. And outside, there are two more.

I know. You've already told me.

Yeah, there's 27.

Twenty-seven steps.

FLORENCE: Okay. Yeah.

Bye.

♪ ...never, ever... ♪ Sit down.

Go on. Take a load off.

I'll get you a 7UP.

No, thank you. I have someplace I have to be.

Yeah, someplace more important, I bet.

O-okay.

♪ ...is anytime ♪ Yeah, isn't that a beautiful bride?

Yeah, I love weddings, don't you?

Thank you. Not really.

♪ ...just be my honeycomb ♪

♪ Honeycomb ♪ ♪ Honeycomb ♪ What about you and Robert? You two getting married?

Eleanor, I didn't come here to talk about my personal life.

Oh, so I'm right. He is your boyfriend?

Yeah, I'm right. He's your boyfriend.

The hospital called. They have a request.

Yeah, what do they want? They want me to sing a song?

No, I'm afraid not.

They want you to appear in Superior Court for the hearing of the case.

♪ ...ah... ♪ Do you mind if we just turn the music down a little?

♪ Ah ♪

♪ Love me ♪ ♪ Love me ♪

♪ All ♪ ♪ All ♪

[LOUDER] ♪ All the time ♪

[MUSIC GETS QUIETER]

So, uh, so would I have to go up to the witness box like Perry Mason♪ No, there... There won't be a witness box.

You would have to sit in the courtroom and listen to what the hospital's lawyer has to say about you.

Uh-huh.

Um. They want to embarrass you.

They're hoping that you can't just sit there and listen to what they have to say about you.

They wanna try and show the lawyer that you're not fit to make decisions about your own medication.

But it's just a request. You don't have to do it.

Here. You see this?

This is where I write down what medication I'm taking.

The time I take it, how much I take, and what it does to me.

If I feel groggy or it makes it hard for me to do the things I need to do for myself.

And then... And then I tell a doctor. Yeah.

And-and you see? You know why I got all of those?

And those?

You know why? Because I've been writing it down for a lot of years.

Nobody knows more about what that medicine does to me than I do.

Yeah. Tell me I'm not right.

Just-just tell me I'm not right.

You're right.

Yeah, no, I wanna go to court.

[EASY LISTENING MUSIC PLAYING OVER LOUDSPEAKERS]

This place is beautiful.

Yeah, I always wanted to shop here.

We only have half an hour.

Yeah, well, I'm not leaving until I get exactly what I want.

Can I see a navy blue dress, navy blue shoes, and navy blue pocketbook?

You're in luck.

We have an awful lot of navy blue in your size.

ELEANOR: What did you think of the last one?

I told you I like it very much. I think you should buy it.

He's at Chope Community.

No.

Tell him I filed the paperwork.

Psst.

You're not supposed to be on the phone.

You're supposed to be helping me.

Can you tell Mr. Hakamura that I'll get back to him later?

I put it down.

I have to go.

Well? What do you think?

It's fine.

It's not fine.

I look like a balloon.

I know this is important to you, Eleanor, but I wanna get you to the courthouse.

Remember? I told you we're on a schedule.

I want you to see the room, so that you're prepared.

They close at 5. It's almost 5 now.

Yeah, well, I don't care. I'm gonna look the way I want, whether you like it or not. All right.

Excuse me? Do you have any other dresses in navy blue?

In my size, please.

Let me see. Yeah, thank you.

Yeah, you go to court all the time.

You probably have lots of dresses.

I don't.

And don't look at your watch.

You see?

This one's better?

You're right. It is.

Yeah, so now, all I need to find now is shoes and a pocketbook.

But they have to be...

The exact same shade of navy blue.

You're right.

[CHUCKLES]

ELEANOR: Yeah, this is it.

That's it. Wow.

Okay.

Are you all right?

Yeah. Yeah. I'll be fine.

One.

Two.

Can I help you? Three... No.

Four, five.

Six, seven.

Eight, nine, 10.

[SIGHS] All right.

I'm sorry there's not an elevator.

Yeah, no, that's okay.

No. I want everybody to see my new dress.

[???]

Eleven.

Twelve.

Thirteen.

Fourteen.

Fifteen.

Sixteen.

Seventeen.

Eighteen.

Nineteen.

Twenty.

[BREATHLESSLY] Thirty-five, 36.

Thirty-seven, 38.

Sure you're all right? [NORMALLY] Yeah, no.

If you keep asking me if I'm all right, I'm not gonna be all right, all right?

Forty-seven, 48.

Forty-nine, 50.

Fifty-one, 52.

Fifty-three, 54.

Fifty-five steps.

Hello, Mr. Cohen. Good morning.

That's a beautiful dress.

See?

The question here, Your Honor, is:

Who is competent to decide the medication of involuntary-held short-term patients?

Doctors, who as the federal court ruled can be relied upon to use professional judgment?

Or chronic schizophrenic mental patients?

Like Eleanor Riese, who, during her hospitalization, became delusional about the medications, threw objects, and threatened nurses, defecated and urinated on the floor, lying in her own wastes.

These medications are the only effective treatment for acute psychotic patients.

Yes, they can sometimes have side effects, but most are temporary and short-lived.

According to the leading authority on such medications, and I quote, "They're among the safest drugs in medicine."

Your Honor, would it not defeat the very purpose for which hospitals have been set up for doctors not to be able to treat gravely disabled patients like Eleanor Riese with the only medication that would help them?

Thank you, Mr. Adams.

With due respect, Your Honor, I wish to rebut.

"Competency" is a legal term.

It's not a medical term.

Therefore, it is not the doctor's right to determine.

It is the court's.

But the question is...

The real question is whether doctors...

And not just doctors. Doctors, nurses, hospital workers.

Do these people routinely have the right to override the choice of a competent mental patient regarding his or her medications?

That is the real question.

And I also take issue with Mr. Adams' portrayal of these drugs being a panacea for patients with schizophrenia.

Studies show that they are effective, but they are effective at only one-third of the cases.

And the hospital's own records show that these drugs have not always helped Ms. Riese.

And by the way, the hospital records also contradict Mr. Adams' characterization of Ms. Riese's behavior.

While there, not only was she locked in a seclusion room...

Mr. Cohen.

I have read the record.

She was given drugs that made her agitated and sleepy at the same time.

And these people, Your Honor, they didn't let her go to the bathroom.

So, yes, she urinated and defecated all over herself.

And as for her threatening the nurses?

They were forcing medications on her.

Which is what this case is about.

And, yes, she threw... And I want to be specific here...

She threw a plastic pitcher of water...

Mr. Cohen.

Gentlemen. The briefing is heavy and adequate and very well-done.

And that is the reason I'm cutting you off somewhat in the oral argument.

Your Honor, I will shorten my argument, but these are fundamental legal rights.

In Cobbs v. Grant... Mr. Cohen.

Reviewing the file, I do not find anything constitutionally objectionable in the forcible treatment of short-term involuntary mental patients.

And I am not prepared to make a decision granting a constitutional challenge to the position.

Your Honor... Mr. Cohen, as I have said I am not prepared to change the decision.

MAN 1: All right. MAN 2: Excellent.

He didn't wanna hear this case.

It was over before we started.

BOOKER: Thank you so much.

ADAMS: Told you. BOOKER: That was very good.

What do you have to smile about?

Pardon me? No, you got a terrible job.

All right. Let's go. Yeah, coming to court and lying about people. Eleanor.

And telling the judge it's-it's okay for doctors to throw patients... COLETTE: Eleanor.

...on the floor and inject them with whatever they like?

Yeah, I feel sorry. COHEN: All right.

I feel sorry for you. COHEN: Here we go.

[BREATHING HEAVILY]

What good is a judge who...?

Who can't make a decision?

I mean, it's an easy case.

I'm sorry, Eleanor. Why didn't you tell him off?

Why didn't Mr. Cohen tell him off?

Why didn't you tell the judge that he's stupid?

Because you can't tell a judge they're stupid.

I have better things to do with my day than waste it here.

Yeah, I could have been at home, making rosaries.

Yeah, people all over the world, they're waiting for my rosaries.

[GASPS]

No. No, I-I...

I had to sit in court while my bladder hurts, and I had to urinate.

That's all because of those drugs that the hospital say are so good for me.

Well, if they're so good, then why do I have to use this every time I go to the bathroom for the rest of my life?

And how come...?

How come they get to throw me down and pull down my underpants and stick needles into me?

Yeah, if I did that, I'll go to jail.

Tell me I'm not right.

[LOCK CLICKS]

COLETTE: It's not over, Eleanor.

We're not giving up.

We're going to file for an appeal.

[WINCING, WHIMPERING]

[URINATING]

How is she?

ELEANOR: Yeah, park here. Here. This is good.

Thank you.

Yeah, you know, I don't just give my rosaries to people.

I give them to my church, and they send them to different countries.

And I use them to pray for all the people on my list.

You're on my list. So is Mr. Cohen.

Yeah, you're number eight. Thank you.

My mother, she's number one. She's been very sick.

Goodbye. Bye, Eleanor.

You wanna come in and meet her?

I'd love to.

You may not know this about Eleanor, but she graduated high school when she was 18 years of age with the rest of her class, even though people always said she couldn't.

And she's been living alone for years.

She could have kept living with me here, of course, but she didn't want to. ELEANOR: I told you.

I don't like the weather in this part of town.

You know that.

Yeah, it's never sunny.

No, at like... In the mornings, my living room is full of light.

Isn't that true, Colette? Yeah. Yep, it is.

Yeah, she's a nice person. She is.

And she's a good lawyer.

Yeah, even if she did lose today.

That was a joke, Colette.

[CHUCKLES]

Even if it is true.

[BOTH CHUCKLE]

Honey, it's almost 2. How about coming to bed?

I can't.

You can't keep pushing yourself like this.

If I don't do it, it won't get done.

[SWITCH CLICKS]


One.

Two. Three.

I'll be there for your hearing tomorrow at 3, Mrs. Hayes. Yes.

I will. No, I...

I will.

Okay, at 3 p.m. tomorrow. Bye.

Hi. Eleanor.

You didn't have to come all the way to my place.

I'd have been happy to stop at yours.

That's okay.

I wanted to see where you live.

Here. Let me get the page for you to review and sign, so we can file the appeal.

Um, here, sit down. I'll...

I'll get you a pen.

Those shoes are too big for you.

Are they Robert's? Yes.

So you do have a boyfriend.

Yes.

Does he sleep here with you? Eleanor.

Yeah. I've never had a boyfriend.

Yeah, I'm too shy. Here.

I have this page right here for you to sign.

Yeah, I'm not signing anything until you read it and explain it to me.

Explain what happened to you at St. Mary's?

It's the same thing we described in your declaration...

No, I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about the rest.

Like all of this.

Cobbs v. Grant, Bouvia v. Superior Court.

Everything. Read it.

Yeah, and don't look at your watch.

Here, this lists the cases we're citing.

This is Bouvia v. Supreme Court.

It says that in California, people have the right to refuse medical treatment, but it's never been applied to people with mental disabilities.

So... Wait a minute.

I need to get my pad, so I can make notes.

MAN [ON RADIO]: Why are you taking this case to the State Court of Appeal♪ Because I believe what happened to Eleanor Riese was a form of chemical rape.

That's kind of strong, don't you think?

Not in my opinion.

Look at the force they used to administer the drugs to her.

Look what the drugs did to her.

What is that if not a form of rape?

So more mental patients should be released?

Aren't there too many on the street already?

The last thing we want is more people on the streets.

We want people to get the services they need and want.

Mm-hm. When people are in the hospital let's have the doctor do the doctor's job: explaining the medications, possible risks and benefits, and have the competent patient do the patient's job of choosing.

But isn't that an oxymoron?

How can someone who's considered mentally disabled be competent enough to make decisions?

Mental illness does not affect all areas of functioning.

There are many people with mental illnesses who are highly competent in areas not affected by their illness.

Look at Eleanor Riese. She didn't refuse medication.

She refused too much medication.

A sign of her competency to understand the medications' side effects.

In every other branch of medicine, unless a patient is in a coma or experiencing a life-threatening emergency and is incapable of voicing a decision, it's always the patient who makes the decision.

Only in a mental hospital is it always the doctor's choice.

And if the patient refuses, violence is used to enforce the doctor's choice, as it was on Eleanor Riese.

You're famous, dear.

Yeah.

Yeah, I'm representing 150,000 people.

Yeah, I'm gonna be as important as Bouvia v. Superior Court and Cobbs v. Grant.

Oh, that's nice.

[ALL CHEER]

ALL: Happy birthday. Okay.

Oh, happy birthday.

One good thing about my case taking so long is I have birthday parties with my lawyers.

Yeah. Just a little bit?

And one of them brought me flowers.

Well, it's my pleasure.

And I get to speak properly to Colette's boyfriend.

Yeah, so Colette tells me you're a doctor.

Yeah. How come you're not against us?

Because I think you're right.

Ah! Yeah, he... You must be pretty smart.

Yeah, I wouldn't let this guy get away.

And you're not getting any younger.

Eleanor.

It's nice to have one doctor on our side.

Yeah.

Yeah. Oh!

You know what?

I'm gonna have this with Colette's birthday present for me.

Dreyer's vanilla ice cream. It's my favorite.

Everybody else can have some. FLORENCE: I like ice cream.

It goes so well with wine and cake.

You want some? Mom, do you want some?

Thank you. No, thank you.

Eleanor, I have a present for you too. For me?

Thank you, Robert.

Thank you. That's sweet of you. You're welcome.

I'm excited.

[GASPS]

It's the McGuire Sisters.

Oh, nice. How'd you know?

Oh, I love it. I love it, I love it.

Thank you. Thank you, Robert.

Yeah, look. Oh, I see.

I haven't got this one.

Oh, lovely. See, Mama?

Ah, I'm gonna put it on right now.

Ooh!

Dear. Oh, gosh. ELEANOR: You got the springs.

Move on. I forgot.

You always forget. You know what?

When we win this case, there will be shopping trips to the Emporium because I could really use a new sofa.

Yeah, okay.

All right.

Thank you, Robert.

[CLICKS]

[VOCALIZING] [GASPS]

♪ He can turn the tides ♪

♪ And calm the angry sea ♪

♪ He alone decides Who writes a symphony ♪ You know what? This song is so romantic.

Do you two wanna dance?

[CHUCKLES]

♪ ...the darkness bright ♪

♪ He keeps watch All through ♪

♪ Each long And lonely night ♪ Okay, now it's your turn.

[CHUCKLES]

Your turn. Your turn.

Oh, no, not me. Yes, you.

No, no. I'm not. I don't dance. Yes, you.

I can't.

[LAUGHING] Come on. Come on.

You sure? COLETTE: Absolutely.

All right.

Put your hand here. All right.

♪ ...to see the way we live ♪

♪ He'll always say ♪

♪ I forgive ♪

♪ He forgives ♪ I wanna include a First Amendment argument about these drugs interfering with a person's freedom of speech.

Mm-mm. That's not a good idea.

No one who speaks to people in mental hospitals can't say these drugs aren't interfering with their personality, their thoughts, emotions, expressions. Okay, here's what I've done.

I have put in the California Constitutional Right to Privacy, but with the hospital's new reply brief, we have a lot to answer. I think we're fine.

St. Mary's wrote in Eleanor's record that they medicated her for being sarcastic.

If that isn't interfering with her freedom of speech, what is it?

Anytime anyone has put in a First Amendment argument in a case like this, they've lost.

No, it's too risky.

Let's go to work. We have 50 pages.

[???]

[ELEANOR SCREAMING]

Oh, no.

I don't want it! No, I don't want to go in there.

I don't want to go in there!

You're giving me too much! Too much!

Too much. You know that.

[PHONE RINGING]

ROBERT: It's the phone.

Hello? ELEANOR [ON PHONE]: I need you.

I need you! Please come!

[LINE DISCONNECTS]

[ELEANOR WAILING]

Eleanor.

I'm here now.

Yeah. I feel like I'm being spanked.

Yeah, I'm being spanked. But no...

You're a nurse and a lawyer.

Why can't you stop it? Nobody's spanking you.

No. Yeah. No.

No, I know. Are you in pain?

Yeah. Okay.

I'm... I'm scared. Okay.

I'm scared. What are you scared of?

I'm scared... What are you scared of?

I'm scared of...

I'm scared of dying.

I'm scared of dying.

What if I haven't been good enough? No.

What if I don't go to heaven?

You're not dying. I don't get into heaven.

You're not dying, and you're a very good girl.

I don't know. Shh.

Can you take a breath? Shh.

Okay, now talk to me. Talk to me.

What? Can you tell me why you think you're dying?

My stomach.

Okay. My... My stomach hurts.

It hurts so much.

Would you like me to make an appointment for you to see a new urologist?

Well, yeah, I...

If... If you'd come with me?

Yes. Of course I'll come with you.

I'm sorry, I get scared. Okay.

It's all right. It's all right. No.

It's all right.

[SNIFFS]

When I was in Catholic school, around fifth grade, the teachers, they hit me.

And then, some of the kids, they said... that my seizures were the work of the devil.

Like...

I was bad.

You don't think my seizures are the work of the devil?

No. Absolutely not.

You have seizures because you have a damaged nervous system.

It's not because of anything you've done.

Eleanor, you're a very good person.

A very, very good person.

Thank you.

[???]

[ELEANOR SNIFFLING]

[???]

Divine master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console.

To be understood, as to understand.

To be loved, as to love.

For it is in the giving that we receive.

And it is in the pardoning that we are pardoned.

And it is in the dying that we are born to eternal life.

Amen.

You put the First Amendment argument in for five pages.

Why didn't you tell me you were doing that?

I didn't see the point of talking about it anymore.

I'm sorry?

What did you say?

I didn't see the point of talking about it anymore.

Uh-huh.

This is teamwork.

We're a team.

COLETTE: Would you tell the court, Mr. Cohen, how you respond to the hospital's statement that these drugs are among the safest known to medicine?

Yes, Your Honor, I'd be happy to.

The side effects of these drugs, according to Gaughan and...

COLETTE: LaRue.

And who? LaRue? Mm.

The side effects of these drugs, according to Gaughan and LaRue are as varied and serious as any... pharmaceuticals being manufactured in the United States today.

What specifically are the side effects, Mr. Cohen?

I have no idea, Your Honor.

Neuroleptic malignant... Neuroleptic malignant... syndrome. Start with tardive dyskinesia.

Let me get neuroleptic malignant syndrome first.

Neuroleptic malignant...

You've been around this language. I haven't.

All right? So take it easy.

You told me to train you like a boxer.

I did, but you don't have to strangle me with the ropes.

You have to know this stuff cold.

Oh, I have to know this cold.

You know, you're not the only one who cares about this.

I care about this.

Why is tardive dyskinesia so significant?

Because it is.

Recent literature shows that tardive dyskinesia has a prevalence rate of up to 50 percent in patients who are using these drugs. Next question.

[???]

Are you made up for the circus or Court of Appeal?

Aren't you coming? Oh, no. I can't.

I'm... I'm too tired.

I didn't sleep well last night.

If you knew you weren't coming, why didn't you call me and let me know?

I wanted to wish you luck.

I'm sorry.

You... You said I didn't have to be there, so why are you so upset?

I guess I'm just a little nervous.

I know you and Mr. Cohen are gonna win this time.

I hope so.

Yeah, you are. 'Cause you're gonna do your best.

JUDGE: The hospital contends that the side effects of these drugs, such as tardive dyskinesia are not at issue in this case because the treatment period for short-term involuntary patients is just...

...three to 17 days. Would you address this?

I would be happy to address that, Your Honor.

And they certainly are an issue. Ahem.

As Dr. Harvey Dondershine of Stanford Medical School has said, it is the cumulative effect of these drugs to which patients like Ms. Eleanor Riese are repeatedly exposed during numerous short-term admissions that make each dose so dangerous because no doctor can tell when even the smallest dose can send a patient like Ms. Eleanor Riese over the edge.

Recent literature has shown that tardive dyskinesia has a prevalence rate of up to 50 percent.

Fifty percent, Your Honor, in patients who use these drugs.

And it's a devastating disease.

It causes facial distortions.

It causes involuntary movement of the tongue and the lips and the jaw.

But it's worse than that, Your Honor.

It affects your breathing. You can't...

You can't breathe.

It puts you on a respirator.

It makes your tongue hang so far out of your mouth that sometimes they pull your teeth, so you won't bite your tongue off.

And it's not only tardive dyskinesia, Your Honor.

These drugs can cause neuroleptic...

[MOUTHING] Malignant syndrome. ...malignant syndrome.

It kills you.

Yes, the issue of consent is important, Your Honor.

JUDGE: Are you asking for informed consent in the case of emergencies?

No. No. Obviously, in the case of an emergency immediate care is needed, so patients won't harm themselves or others.

No. We're not asking for informed consent.

But for acute patients, who are competent yes, we are seeking the right to have a dialogue with their physicians about medication, about the right of choice.

This is not about refusal.

This... This is about the right to refuse.

And in that right, there's a negotiation.

There's a communication between doctor and patient that does not exist today.

We are asking that the physician inform their patients about the medication, which in most cases the patients are going to accept. Why?

They wanna get better.

They wanna be helped.

So this will help doctors better perform their true role... as healers.

Thank you, Your Honor.

JUDGE: Thank you.

How'd it go? Better than Superior Court.

ELEANOR: Uh-huh. Much, much better.

I know there are 27 steps, but you don't look so good.

You should sit down.

No. I'll give you a 7UP.

COLETTE: I'm okay, thank you. Hello, Robert.

Hi. Were you there this morning?

Yeah, the argument went very well.

I wish I had heard Mr. Cohen arguing with the judge.

I bet he really yelled at him.

He doesn't really argue with him.

That's just what they call it when you speak in court, "oral argument."

Oh, well, I bet he was good anyway.

COLETTE: Now we only have to wait for their decision.

Yeah, I've been thinking:

When we win, there's gonna be a shopping trip to the Emporium because I really need to fix this place up.

What's that on your face?

Nothing. Is this for me?

Yeah. Thank you.

Are you ready?

COLETTE: I can't believe it.

The hospital's saying the mental-health statutes are...

I don't want to hear about mental-health statutes.

I want you to rest.

Court won't give us a decision until we turn in this supplementary briefing.

It's my job. I'm a doctor, and I've told you how serious this is.

Your doctor has told you how serious it is.

You know you can die from shingles.

Rarely. Rarely do people die from...

Rarely do people have it as badly as you do and ignore what everybody tells them!

I admire your commitment, Colette, but you're not indestructible.

You have to tell Mort how sick you are.

You can't keep pretending you're not.

You need to rest.

Hi, Eleanor. I don't know what to do for her.

She just won't listen.

[DOOR CLOSES]

Yeah, you look lousy.

I brought you some chicken soup.

Thank you.

And I came here to bring you a new rosary I just made but you don't deserve it because you're not resting.

I am resting. I'm not at the office.

No, I heard what Robert said.

He said you shouldn't be working at all.

Okay, he's a doctor, but doesn't mean he's not right.

I'm okay.

I know what it's like to be sick, Colette.

I don't want you ever to be sick.

I just want you to get better. I'm gonna rest, I promise.

I'm gonna pray for you.

Thank you, Eleanor. Yeah, you're welcome.

[DOOR CLOSES]

[???]

[???]

[PHONE RINGING]

[ANSWERING MACHINE BEEPS]

ELEANOR [ON ANSWERING MACHINE]: Hello. This is Eleanor Riese.

722-3529.

I just want to make sure you don't forget to have your chicken soup.

I'm doing my best, and I hope you're doing your best, which means resting.

You don't have to call me back.

[ANSWERING MACHINE BEEPS]

[???]

[SIGHS]

Here it is.

We won?

We won.

Eleanor won.

[LAUGHS]

What?

They mentioned the First Amendment argument.

It's in a footnote.

[CHUCKLES]

[EXHALES]

Well done, well done, well done.

Well done. Come on. Come on, come on, come on.

[COHEN CHUCKLES]

WAITER: Do you want a drink? No.

But my lawyer is bound to have at least one.

I'd like a merlot. Thank you.

Where are we?

We're in a Chinese restaurant. We won my case, remember?

That's what I thought.

Can I recommend the house special, duck?

I don't know, can you?

It depends how you like your duck cooked.

You're the restaurant. Don't you know how to cook it?

The duck would be perfect. Maybe some vegetables too.

How did I get here?

We came with my Catholic lawyer, Colette.

Thank you. I'm gonna need this.

I'd like one too. Yes, of course.

Can I have a 7UP?

[INDISTINCT CHATTERING]

ELEANOR: So just 'cause she's old, they want to send her to another convent.

She doesn't wanna go there.

Do you, Sister? What?

You don't wanna go to the new convent.

I don't know. Maybe it would be nice.

No, it wouldn't. It'd be terrible.

That's why I want you to sue 'em.

Sue who? The convent.

I want you to sue the convent.

I'm not about to sue the Catholic Church.

Why not?

Because I'm not, heh, heh, Eleanor.

No, I'm... I'm just not.

I'll walk you upstairs. No, please, don't bother.

Sure you don't want me to walk you up?

Sure I'm sure.

Big-shot lawyer, who's too afraid to sue the Catholic Church.

I'm moving you down my prayer list to number 23.

The last position.

You know, Eleanor, you're not gravely disabled.

You're gravely obnoxious.

[LAUGHING]

That was a good one.

I'm still not suing the Church.

Oh, well.

You can walk me upstairs anyway.

[???]

[???]

What do you think? I like it.

Yeah?

[PHONE RINGING]

[PHONE CONTINUES RINGING]

Colette Hughes. COHEN: Hi, it's Mort.

Hi.

I got bad news. We just got notification.

St. Mary's petitioned the State Supreme Court.

And the court has agreed to review the decision.

What? The hospital's gonna go after every doctor in this country to send in amicus briefs to support their position.

So we have to round up as many experts as we can to file for us.

Oh, God. You know how much doctors hate testifying against other doctors and pharmaceutical companies.

You've got to look at it like fishing.

We just keep casting our lines... hoping we get a tug.

Oh, uh...

Could you tell Eleanor, please? I can't. She's at mass.

But I'll see her tomorrow.

She invited me over for Christmas.

Okay, good night.

[PHONE BEEPS]

Merry Christmas.

[WOMAN SOBS]

WOMAN: No! No! No!

Help me!

Help!

Help me!

[???]

[CAR BRAKES SQUEAL, ENGINE STOPS]


[KNOCKING]

ELEANOR: That's Colette...

Thank you. ...and Robert.

Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas.

Is that for me? Yes.

Let me guess. Let me guess what it is. Uh...

Beads for my rosaries. How'd you know?

Merry Christmas, Colette. Merry Christmas, Sister.

Where's Robert? He's with his brother's family.

ELEANOR: Uh-huh.

What's the matter?

The case isn't over.

What?

But I thought the judges said we won.

We did.

But the hospital asked the state Supreme Court to review the case to see if they agree with the decision.

And if they don't, then they could say that the hospital was right after all.

["JINGLE BELLS" PLAYING OVER SPEAKERS]

Give me your coat.

Everyone... this is Colette, she's my Catholic lawyer. Uh...

Yeah, she's upset because she says the court could change its mind.

This is Noni. Hi there.

Nice to meet you. This is Gabriella.

Nice to meet you. Same here.

And you know Karen. You got her out of restraints.

I wanted to thank you. COLETTE: I'm glad I was there.

Yeah, you... Sit down. I'll get you a 7UP.

Yeah. It's Hungry Man fried- chicken dinners for everyone.

Yeah, it's Christmas. You can't let this ruin Christmas.

No, we mustn't.

It's Christmas. It's a time of hope.

That's when our baby Jesus was born.

Hey, did you brush your teeth?

Yeah. Why did I buy you a toothbrush for?

Go back. Brush your teeth. Go on.

Eleanor likes to help people. Yes, she does.

ELEANOR: Yeah, you won once.

You'll win again.

You gotta have faith.

COLETTE: I'm glad I reached you, doctor. I hope you got my message about supporting us in the Eleanor Riese case.

DOCTOR: I did read it. I'm not interested.

I see.

No, I see. Thank you. Thank you for your time.

WOMAN: Solvang Clinic.

Hi, I'd like to speak with Dr. Brown.

Who's calling♪ Colette Hughes.

I left a message yesterday.

Sorry, Dr. Brown doesn't have the time.

I understand. Goodbye.

Thank you.

WELLS: Hello.

Dr. Wells, hi. This is Colette Hughes.

I'm one of the attorneys on the Eleanor Riese case.

I'm familiar with the case.

Oh, great, I'm calling you because I wanted to ask you...

Are you aware St. Mary's asked me to write a brief for them?

No, I... I didn't know that.

But please, Dr. Wells, if you would just... let me send you our papers. Once you read them...

I'm not sure I have time.

Please, Dr. Wells.

COLETTE: Good morning, may I speak to the doctor, please?

WOMAN [ON PHONE]: Who's calling♪ COLETTE: Colette Hughes.

Dr. Wells is busy at the moment.

COLETTE: Tell him I called again.

I wanted to make sure he got the package that I sent him.

Please ask him to call me back. Will do.

Thank you. Bye.

[PHONE RINGS]

Dr. Wells? No.

But I have a tug on another line.

[ELEVATOR DINGS]

You're experimenting with the Riese decision with your short-term patients?

We are. We've seen a definite improvement in the therapeutic relationship when doctors and patients work out treatments together.

I have some figures for you here.

After a patient leaves the hospital, they only keep taking their medication if they trust their doctors. There's a garbage can outside where I've seen patients throw away medication on the way out. I don't want that to happen.

Would you... be willing to write that for us?

Yes, I would.

[???]

Hey, look what I found. Right from the horse's mouth.

The American Psychiatric Association.

You want to cite an authority?

They recommend informed consent for antipsychotic drugs.

And they talk about tardive dyskinesia and cumulative doses.

This is wonderful. Yeah.

More, more.

[BOTH LAUGH]

Hey. How about going out for dinner tonight?

I'd love to, but the amicus briefs are starting to come in.

It's Sunday night.

And tomorrow's Monday. I have to get this done.

[???]

You got a message from a Dr. Wells.

WELLS: What made me decide to write a brief for you, was that one of the psychiatric organizations supporting the hospital wrote the court that you're trying to tie doctors' hands over abstract issues. The side effects of these medications are anything but abstract.

Especially to people like Eleanor Riese, who take them.

What are you prepared to address in your brief?

The hospital keeps saying the drugs need to be given immediately.

They neglect to say that immediate administration of these drugs can interfere with diagnosis, because the side effects can be mistaken for psychotic symptoms.

Now that we got Dr. Wells, how does the case look?

It's better than yesterday.

But it's a conservative court, and we actually don't know why they decided to hear this case.

And we're not gonna know till they hand down the decision.

What's going on? What are you thinking?

About my father.

He experienced a lot of obstacles for being part American Indian.

When we were writing our briefs for the appeals court and talked about the First Amendment argument, and I didn't keep arguing with you, that was the American Indian part of me.

In that culture, the way my father raised me, you don't argue about things.

You just present what you feel is right, and everyone's opinion is weighed equally.

And if it has any merit, it's assumed you'll do it.

I didn't mean to offend you. You didn't offend me.

I'm glad he raised you to be stubborn.

It's good for the case.

Where have you been? I've been calling you.

You knew I was going out of town.

We were meeting with a doctor to support your case.

What happened?

My mother died. Oh...

I'm so sorry.

[ELEANOR SOBBING]

She died. Oh, I'm sorry.

The man at the funeral home, he was... He was so mean.

He looked at me funny, and he yelled at me.

And he said I couldn't ride in the limousine.

He treated me like I was nothing.

Like I was a nobody.

And then... And then... And then Father Murray, he came.

He came and he told them.

He made them let me ride in the limousine.

I'm so sorry. Yeah.

I wasn't here for you.

She's gone.

I'm sorry.

Eleanor, I'm so sorry.

COLETTE: It's terrible how they treat her.

ROBERT: You got her a new urologist. You got her a new psychiatrist.

You've done as much as you can right now.

You are sending in the Wells brief.

You don't have anything else to do, so I'm taking you to Mexico.

I got us a suite in a nice little hotel on the ocean.

We'll just be away seven days.

You can take a week vacation, Colette.

I bought the tickets.

When I wanna take a vacation, I'll take a vacation.

And when I do, I'll pay for it myself.

I can... I can take care of myself.

How am I supposed to deal with you?

What is that supposed to mean?

You're not your regular run-of-the-mill workaholic.

You're a workaholic for an important cause.

How can I be mad at you for working so hard for something so noble?

It's like criticizing a saint.

I never said I was a saint.

I said I didn't want to take a vacation with you.

Since the night we've met, I've played by your rules.

Now I'm asking you to do something my way.

This isn't about Eleanor or the case. It's about... you and me.

You're going to have to decide if I have a place in your life.


Yeah. Thank you for letting me come over.

I didn't want to be on my own today. I don't know why.

You got any 7UP? Let me see.

You finally unpacked. Congratulations.

[ANSWERING MACHINE BEEPS] ROBERT: Hi, Colette.

If you change your mind doing Mexico, please call...

[ANSWERING MACHINE BEEPS]

That was Robert, wasn't it?

Yes, he...

He wants you to go to Mexico with him?

Yes, but... I can't believe...

Why aren't you going with him?

All we're doing is waiting now. You can go tomorrow.

I don't wanna talk about this, Eleanor.

Why...? Why not?

Because you're so perfect?

No. No, no, I get it.

I'm the one who's supposed to have the problems

'cause I'm the mental patient. What about you?

Are you so perfect because you're a nurse and a lawyer?

Of course I'm not perfect. You say that.

You don't mean it. Of course I do.

I'm always telling you what I'm scared of.

You never say you're scared of anything.

I'm scared of lots of things.

Really? Like what? What are you scared of?

I'm scared of...

I don't wanna talk about it.

Why not?

'Cause I'm not smart enough?

No.

Because...

I'm scared of...

...letting people down.

I'm scared of making a mistake by not seeing something in my research.

I'm scared of not doing enough.

That no matter how hard I work, I could never do enough.

Colette, you couldn't work harder if you were a machine.

I've just worked so hard for so long, putting myself through nursing school, putting myself through law school.

Working 16-, 18-, 20-hour days.

I...

I just don't know how to be a person.

I don't know if I ever knew how.

Don't you think Robert knows how you are?

Don't you think he likes you anyway?

What good does it do if you win my case, you make other people's lives better, but you don't live your own life?

You've done your best.

You deserve to go.

Tell me I'm not right.

Just tell me I'm not right.

You are right.

One thing.

When you two get married, you're inviting me to the wedding.

I promise you.

If Robert and I ever get married, you'll be the second to know, right after me.

Good. You got any ice? It's not cold enough.

Colette. Yes?

They took Eleanor. What happened?

MAN: They landed right out there, these red lights and yellow lights, and their funny clothes, these electronic voices and...

Oh, boy, they took her. COLETTE: Who took Eleanor?

They did. Who's "they"?

They took her in an ambulance. St. Abbon's Hospital.

Right. COLETTE: St. Abbon's, thank you.

[???]

Ms. Hughes. Dr. Donnelly.

Where's Eleanor? You can't see her.

She's sleeping. What's wrong?

Psychologically, Eleanor is Eleanor, but medically she's very weak. It's her old problem.

Her bladder and her kidneys.

When she got to the emergency room, they saw she'd been a mental patient and sent her here.

She should be in the medical wing, but they don't like mental patients.

We're doing the best we can. Can I see her?

She'll be okay tonight. Come back in the morning.

[AMBULANCE SIREN WAILING]

Hm.

[DOOR CLOSES]

Hm.

I hope you like the flowers.

Yeah.

You have to get better soon.

I found out that you're getting an award from the mental-health advocates.

They're gonna have a dinner, they're giving you a plaque.

Yeah, Colette, I'm really scared.

I know. I need you to get me out of here before I die. You're not going to die.

You just need to get your blood stronger.

No, I'm gonna die.

I'm gonna die, and you have to arrange for my funeral.

I'm not arranging for your funeral.

You're gonna get better.

I want a Catholic funeral. And I want a lot of flowers.

I don't wanna hear this. A lot of flowers.

Dr. Donnelly said that you need to get your blood stronger.

I wanna be laid out in an open coffin with a statue of the Blessed Mother looking over me.

And I want my blue crystal rosary in my hand.

And make sure they do my makeup right.

I don't want it heavy, like yours.

[???]

I'm out of practice praying.

But I know you're not out of practice listening.

Please... watch over Eleanor.

Please, heal her.

Please... ease her pain.

[???]

ELEANOR: The attendants lost my keys.

COLETTE: I know.

They're not supposed to lose your keys.

When you leave, they're supposed to return your property.

It says so in the form when you sign it. I wanna sue them.

I thought we had this resolved.

We're gonna borrow your landlord's keys.

Yeah, but what they did was wrong.

I know.

I want you to at least threaten them.

No, I'm not gonna do anything.

What? You don't care.

You're right. I don't care.

Okay, that's it. You're fired.

I'm Eleanor Riese.

There are hundreds of lawyers who'd wanna work for me.

You can fire me if you want, Eleanor, but I'm here as your friend.

Yes. I am. Come on.

Colette, stop. Stop.

Where? What? Let's go.

Let's go to the wedding. You wanna go to a wedding?

Yeah. Come on.

I don't know them, but nobody minds if you just go in and watch.

[ORGAN PLAYING SOFT TUNE]

Yeah. Let's sit over there.

Over here. Just here.

Yeah. I always choose the side that doesn't have as many guests.

Yeah. That way, the bride or groom will feel better.

Isn't it beautiful?

It is beautiful.

[ORGAN CONTINUES PLAYING SOFT MUSIC]

[PHONE RINGING]

This is Colette Hughes.

Yes, Ms. Hughes. I think you wanna check if your mail's arrived yet.

Was there any mail for me? Um...

Uh, there's one from the Supreme Court of California.

Where are we going?

No. Come on, you gotta tell me. You'll see.

No, come on. It's unfair. You gotta tell me.

What?

Tell me. Tell me. Tell me.

Why are we here?

The Supreme Court, they decided not to review the case after all.

We won. You won.

I won? Mm-hm.

We won.

[COLETTE LAUGHS]

We won!

We won! We won. We won. Let's shop.

We won. We won! Come on.

We won! Yeah!

Yeah! Let's... Let's shop!

Sofas! Yes, sofas! Yes. Yes, sofas.

How do you think it looks?

Perfect.

Yeah, I wish my mother could see it.

♪ And love me all the time ♪ Do you hear something different?

♪ And swear by the stars above You'll be mine forever ♪ Just the McGuire Sisters.

Yeah, but on my new hi-fi from Mr. Cohen. It's a present.

♪ Be my little sugar ♪ Hey. Did you bring the camera? Yep.

How about you take a photo of me on my new couch... Good idea.

...listening to my new hi-fi.

[ELEANOR CHUCKLES]

♪ Be my little sugar And love me all the time ♪ Is that okay? Perfect.

Okay. Hang on.

♪ So be my little honey And love me all the time ♪

Father Galluzzo was the first person who bought me Dreyer's vanilla ice cream.

Yeah.

Yeah, I was 10.

And I was in a Catholic hospital, and he bought it for me.

Mm.

He had this beautiful, thick, white hair. It was white.

Like the ice cream.

When I have it, it reminds me of him.

And it makes me feel good... because he was so very kind to me.

And I always buy it in a half-gallon container... just like the one he bought for me.

That was when they put the shunt in my head... to drain the water off my brain after I had spinal meningitis.

Yeah. Before that, I wasn't retarded, and nobody called me mentally ill.

I was just like everybody else.

I know.

Do you remember when you were 10?

[COLETTE CHUCKLES]

Yeah. Yeah?

Yeah.

When I was 10, my little sister was really sick...

...and she died.

And I...

I loved her very much.

We didn't have enough money to afford a stone for her grave.

And the only one who could console me was my grandmother.

And she was a wonderful woman.

She was friends with everybody.

All different kinds of people from all different races.

And... she was very artistic.

She wore lots of bracelets and a big necklace, earrings.

Lots of color.

And I loved being with her.

But sometimes...

...she'd get depressed, so my parents would have to put her in a hospital.

But I never...

I never loved her any less.

And I really miss her.

You have a lot of love in you, Colette.

Thank you.

So do you, Eleanor.

[SIGHS]

[???]


[CHUCKLES]

Mr. Young. There's a phone call for you.

Please take a message. They say it's urgent.

I'm sorry, will you wait just a moment? Thank you.

She'll be right with you.

[PHONE RINGS]

This is Colette Hughes.

Yes.

[???]

[EXHALES]

Oh, no.

Thank you.

[???]

[???]

This is yours.

The decision from the Court of Appeal.

You were a brave woman, Eleanor.

[SNIFFLES]

I better wipe off some of that makeup.

I wouldn't want you to have to come back and tell me off.

[???]


COHEN: We are here tonight to honor and to celebrate...

Eleanor Riese.

Accepting this award in Eleanor's honor... is my colleague Colette Hughes.

[CAMERA SHUTTERS CLICKING]

Um...

[SIGHS]

I... I first met Eleanor Riese...

Excuse me.

I first met Eleanor Riese as her lawyer, but soon because...

Eleanor was Eleanor, she became my friend.

And soon, heh, because Eleanor was Eleanor, she became my protector, my guardian, my worst critic, and my greatest support.

She constantly reminded me through her presence in my life, that we weren't just working on a case.

That this wasn't just about law. It was about people.

The human right to be respected, and the human duty to treat each other with respect.

Even though Eleanor wanted passionately to win, she had a profound knowledge that I didn't have... which was... we could only do our best, as she could only do her best.

Eleanor was in pain every single day of her life.

It astounds me that she could ever think about anybody else, but she did.

All the time.

That was Eleanor.

She walked up... the 27 steps to her apartment every day without complaining, and every day she found something in her life... to enjoy, something to be grateful for.

But, as Mort said, she won the fight she wanted to win.

The Riese decision will affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of people for the better.

People who might one day find themselves in the hospital like she was.

People who will need their voices to be heard.

Sometimes when I find myself... overwhelmed by how much there still is to do, I'll see those big eyes of hers and that mischievous grin, and I'll think she's still looking down at me.

I better sit down and have a 7UP.

And I'll hear her say:

"Tell me I'm not right. Just tell me I'm not right."

[???]

[???]


♪ He can turn the tides ♪

♪ And calm the angry sea ♪

♪ He alone decides ♪

♪ Who writes a symphony ♪

♪ He lights ev'ry star ♪

♪ That makes The darkness bright ♪

♪ He keeps watch All through ♪

♪ Each long And lonely night ♪

♪ He still finds the time ♪

♪ To hear A child's first prayer ♪

♪ Saint or sinner call ♪

♪ And always Find him there ♪

♪ Though it makes him sad ♪

♪ To see the way we live ♪

♪ He'll always say ♪

♪ I forgive ♪

♪ Ah, ah, ah, ah ♪

♪ Ah, ah, ah, ah ♪

♪ Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah ♪

♪ He can touch a tree ♪

♪ And turn the leaves To gold ♪

♪ He knows every lie ♪

♪ That you and I have told ♪

♪ Though it makes him sad ♪

♪ To see the way we live ♪

♪ He'll always say ♪

♪ I forgive ♪

♪ He forgives ♪

[♪♪♪]


[♪♪♪]