Golden Exits (2017) Script

NAOMI: ♪ Many years since I was here

♪ On the street I was passing my time away

♪ To the left and to the right

♪ Buildings tower into the sky

♪ It's out of sight

♪ In the dead of night

(HUMMING)

♪ I'm back, back in the New York groove

♪ I'm back, back in the New York groove

♪ I'm back, back in the New York groove

♪ I'm back, back in the New York groove ♪


ALYSSA: Is everything okay? NICK: Yeah.

Yes.

He's on edge.

You seem on edge, Nick.

Let's just let this whole affair be simple.

"Affair"? What a horrible choice of words.

Okay, Gwen, just please, don't gang up on me, okay?

Are we doing that? NICK: Yes.

Yes, you both are.

Apologize, sister.

You apologize, sister.

NICK: Okay, I would love a situation without torment or turmoil and I feel that's within reach.

How many assistants does this make, Nick?

One per semester. Summers without. Uh...

I may be off, but I believe Naomi will be my sixth.

Eighth. NICK: Eighth?

You're forgetting what's-her-name and that one guy.

Well, there were two guys.

Two guys. Six ladies.

Do women make better archivists, I wonder?

NICK: Yeah, there is a certain meticulous quality to the work that...

Yes, I believe women tend to excel at it more naturally.

I prefer to employ women to assist me in my work.

You work in documents.

"Materials." You know the word is "materials."

The "materials of your father."

You asked me to archive the materials of your father.

If you want your father's materials to be appraised by the end of the year, you're gonna have to accept that I need a second pair of hands.

(KNOCK AT DOOR)

(DOOR OPENS)

NICK: Hey. NAOMI: Hi.

NICK: Hi, come on in.

Uh...

Alyssa, Gwendolyn, this is Naomi.

That's my wife, Alyssa, and her sister, Gwen.

They're Timothy's daughters.

Oh. I'm sorry, come on in.

Thank you, I will.

ALYSSA: Talk soon. GWEN: Soon, soon.

I can help.

No need.

Nice time?

Yeah.

Yes, thanks. Did you?

Yeah, it was nice.

Very nice.

Are you still okay to go out with Gwen early next week?

I'm sure that'll be just fine.

What did you think of Naomi?

She seemed great.

Is that all? Uh-huh.

I mean, I think it's great that you're working with students on your work again.

You just said "great" twice and "work" twice in the same sentence.

Is there something wrong with the way I speak?

(SIGHS) There's not.

You have this all sorted.

Excuse me, I'm not feeling my best. I'm gonna lie down.


(DOG BARKING IN DISTANCE)

Where does Naomi stay while she's here?

(CLEARS THROAT) What? Um...

I don't know. Um...

Somewhere nearby, I suppose.

In our neighborhood? (GRUNTS)

I don't know. I put her in touch with Jack and Dorothy since they're spending Jack's sabbatical traveling.

You knew that, right?

That she's staying down the street?

No, that Jack and Dorothy are traveling.

I don't really know them.

Yeah, you do, we see them all the time.

They're your friends. I don't know them.

(NICK SIGHS)

We've been to their house. They've been here.

We eat together.

All right, fine.

Do I need to be worried about Naomi?

(SIGHS)

Can you stop?

(HORN HONKS)

(INDISTINCT CHATTERING)

NAOMI: Does it bother you at all?

NICK: No. No, actually, the pursuit of solitude and isolation is what initially drew me to archiving and appraising.

The hassles come from when people don't know exactly what it is I do.

Like Gwen, my sister-in-law, kind of reminds me, you know, what the time in this room is all about, you know.

See, there's always a Gwen.

What I mean is there's always a widow or a daughter or a son, or...

Um... Well...

Well, I'm just very eager to learn from somebody with so much experience.

There's not really that much of this kind of thing in Australia.

Oh. Why do you think that is? Um...

I don't know. Lack of sentiment, maybe.

Stunted relationship with the past?

I feel like people mostly just throw stuff away and forget about it.

NICK: Hmm.

Interesting.

Yeah, but, um, I am excited. I am really excited to see what you have to show me over the next few months.

Okay.

Okay. (CLEARS THROAT)

Well, I like to begin with memos and correspondence. Mmm-hmm.

It's a voluminous part of the process, so I just get it out of the way.

I like, uh... So, okay.

So we start with these... Mmm-hmm.

...and then that goes in here, and this, and these become the chronology.

And we're definitely going to need that throughout.

All right, great. Okay.

(CLEARS THROAT)

I really liked meeting Alyssa and Gwen the other night.

I hope that we can do that kind of thing again.

Yeah, sure.

Does Gwen have kids?

Uh, no. Timothy, I think, was secretly disappointed he didn't have grandchildren.

I mean, he never told them that, but...

Obviously, they both have their own opinion about it.

I guess the bloodline's dead. (CHUCKLES SOFTLY)

Yeah, you could say that.

It's far more exciting than what we're talking about.

Well, they both seem like really interesting women, so I'd like to get to know them.

(NAOMI SIGHS)


(HORNS HONKING)

NICK: Sorry this place doesn't have that much.

It's just my place, right here.

You know, I never really thought about where to bring somebody

'cause they usually use this time to, you know, meet friends or generally get away from me.

Mmm. Well, seeing as I don't really know anybody here, I hope you don't mind.

No, I just feel bad, it's just not an exciting spot.

It's exciting to me.

I'll think of somewhere else for us that's close by.

No, no, because you like routine.

I can tell.

Repetition, you point to that a lot.

I suppose it's true.

I mean, the work is pretty similar, day to day.

Does that not get to you at all?

Oh, no, it's quite the opposite.

It's thrilling.

It would have to be, you know, for me to be down there, you know, that in the end, that it all fits inside a room.

And I can internalize it and...

It's just always appealed to me.

I don't know, I guess I moved around a lot.

I was never in the same place for very long.

And my parents moved a lot, too, so I just never really felt like I got the chance to accumulate the kind of stuff that these sort of people have, you know?

So being close to it kind of feels like, I don't know, kind of like a fantasy or something, you know.

I'm worried that when I'm gone I won't really leave much stuff behind to be taken care of, you know.

Well, then what's the end game?

Well, um...

I know that I'm good at what I do and you know, I understand the work, as you probably feel as well.

I would like to write nonfiction accounts of ordinary people.

You know, dramatize them in a way that makes them compelling.

Maybe see if I can get them turned into films.

People never make films about ordinary people who don't really do anything.

They're out there.

I can take you to some.

Sure. That'd be great.

How's the day going? BUDDY: Hmm.

Are you staying?

(SIGHS) I think I have to.

Otherwise, it's just dragging on.

Are you leaving?

Uh, hoping to. Sam wanted to get together. So...

Oh. You'll meet up with her, then I'll just see you at home whenever.

Yeah. Sure.

I should go finish before I lose the thread.

Tell Sam I said hi. Mmm. I will.

Oh. Sorry. Before I forget, I was going to mention this before.

My mom called. One of her oldest friends from college's kid just moved here and doesn't know anybody.

She asked me to hang out with 'em.

Okay, you said you still had work to get done, right?

I know. I feel bad because I'm probably gonna have to cancel on her.

It's a her. Sorry if that was unclear.

So are you working, or are you going out, just not going out with me?

That's the thing. I'm not sure yet.

Either way, it'll be pointless.

I met the girl once when she was something like five.

I'm sure she sucks now.

What am I supposed to do, say no to my mom?

You could try.

No.

Tell Sam I said hi.

(DOOR CLOSES)

WOMAN: I'm fine. I'm just fine.

Just babysitter stuff.

Let's talk about it.

No, it's not really doctor-patient stuff, it's just logistical hassles that I've been dealing with since I went back to work, which I, um...

I don't know if I should have done that for another few months.

Mmm. There we go.

WOMAN: No, it's not like that, it's just...

I guess it's about finding balance in the home.

Does that make sense?

It's just now we've got this little lumpen creature throwing off the balance, you know?

What else?

Everything's fine. I mean, it's the same as last I saw you...

(CONTINUES SPEAKING INDISTINCTLY)

I was gonna ask...

Oh, no, I'm sorry. Oh.

What were you going to say? Oh, um...

I was gonna say I know I paid for my lunch today, but I was wondering if you could maybe pay for it from this point forward, or maybe provide a stipend... I'm sorry, I should've paid today.

I'll reimburse you. No, please, no, today is fine.

It's just, you know, normally I wouldn't even go to lunch, just to save money.

I got it. Great, thank you.

Sure. (CLEARS THROAT)

Um...

Sorry, you're actually not doing this right.

These haven't been scanned yet and so you can't do it properly once they're in the plastic.

NAOMI: Oh, okay. Sorry.

No, I'm sorry, I just...

Learning curve.

Yeah. Yeah.

Oh. All right. (CHUCKLES)

NAOMI: Is it nice to, uh, to live so close to where you work?

Some people would find it stifling or, you know, contained, but I love it.

It's thrilling. For my whole life to exist in one small zone?

It's great.

Oh, so, do you like the place?

Yeah, it's really, really great.

Thank you so much for helping me set it up.

And, um, for paying the difference.

Of course. Cool!

Well, I had a great day today and look forward to more tomorrow.

See ya.

NICK: Yeah.


I got you this.

I hope you don't have one already.

I don't, but I'd been thinking about getting one for a little while.

(GLASSES CLINK)

So what are we talking, like nightmare or just a Tuesday?

She's great. She's great.

She's great.

She...

(SIGHS)

I'd rather... She's a great person to work for, for me to be...

For me to be working for right now.

My goal is to discern what I'm getting into

before I get into it.

Sister date.

(GLASSES CLINK) Ideal.

(SIGHS)

(KEYS CLATTER)

(SIGHS)

You only visited once?

Maybe twice.

How do you even remember that?

I can barely remember that and I'm five years older than you.

Well, I remember that because you and your friends were the greatest boys I'd ever laid eyes on.

American boys are such a novelty.

I couldn't wait to get home and tell my friends about you.

I'm sure the story was thoroughly exciting and retold many a time over the years.

It was, actually.

My American stories were very popular.

It was Grand Canyon, Disneyland, and you.

Wow.

Me and the Grand Canyon. I'm flattered.

And what was the sport that you played again?

Lacrosse. Lacrosse, that's it!

You and your jock friends.

Cutest boys I'd ever seen in America.

Key distinction, "In America." You had better ones at home.

Yeah, but, you know, they wanted to play AFL and not lacrosse.

Hmm.

(UPBEAT MUSIC PLAYING ON SPEAKERS)

My mum is going to be really happy that we found one another.

Mine, too. Mine, too.

You didn't have to do it within, what, three days of getting here, though.

Well, what else was I gonna do?

Yeah, sure, okay.

What, um... What does your wife do?

Uh, a few years ago, I started a sound studio.

We mix, record, engineer, everything.

And we hired a young, efficient girl to come in and run the place, so later I married her.

That's the long version. (CHUCKLES)

So you work together, then?

Yeah. Well, we spend a lot of time around one another.

Well, you're her boss.

Who's the Boss?

Do you have that show? Hell of a program.

No. I've never seen that show.

We had very limited telly options when I was growing up.

"Telly"?

Oh, fuck, we're gonna need a translator.

Is anybody here a translator?

I bet they don't hear that call to duty as often as doctors do.

(LAUGHS) Is there a translator in the premises?

I got a girl here and she is trying to tell me something.

I don't understand what it is.

So, how many times am I gonna be able to milk the mother's favors before you stop hanging out with me by virtue of guilt and obligation?

Two more, but one of them can be me introducing you to other people.

Some of the other guys from work, if you're interested.

I don't know where your head's at during this trip.

Oh, my head is interested during this trip.

I'll keep that one in mind.

(SIGHS)

(KEYS CLATTER)

(SIGHING)

(DOOR OPENS)

You're back late.

JESS: Yeah, Sam had this big saga playing out with her boss.

BUDDY: Who doesn't?

Did you finish the mix? I did.

They're gonna come get it tomorrow.

How was, um, what's-her-face?

Naomi? She's cool. I don't know.

What do you say to someone you haven't seen since you were 15 and had no idea even existed until a week ago?

So what did you say?

Hmm? What did you guys talk about?

Boring stuff. I was only there for a little.

It took me a while to finish things up anyway.

She's fine. She's young.

I don't really know how to talk to people younger than me.

Except for you.

I don't know if three years is really a valid age distinction.

What have you been up to since you got back?

Drinking some beer, listening to some records.

Also I called my mom, got credit for my good deed.

What a good, good guy you are.

That's what I'm always saying, but nobody ever listens to me.

I listen. I believe you.


(EXHALES) Thanks for meeting me here.

Field trip a-okay.

Oh, hey, man.

How long ago did you start working on this?

Three years. It's a long time coming.

Wow. Yeah. Oh, this is Naomi.

She's working with me on my dead father-in-law's shit.

This is Mike. He put the whole donation to this place together.

So the work we're about to see, the guy, the filmmaker, before he was a filmmaker, he had some photograph published in Timothy's magazine, so that's why we're here.

Cool.

Cool.


GWEN: I see no happiness in them. NAOMI: Huh.

I don't give a shit what Aly says to me. I'll never not suspect that she's lying.

She's always been a liar. She was a liar even when she was young.

Are you telling me you can't tell that Nick's a deeply unhappy man?

I'm not sure. I don't really know him that well.

This is why I thought it would be best for us to talk.

I don't want him poisoning your mind thoroughly.

I don't think he's doing that.

In a manner of speaking.

The normal existence of him and my sister makes me lose my appetite.

You're lucky I was able to keep it under control the other night or I would have been sick right there at the table.

I love Alyssa.

But I told her 10 years ago that I thought getting married was foolish and though I guess Nick is fine,

I'll never not suspect that she was reacting to our father.

I'm sorry. I didn't bring you over here to unload and then interrogate you.

No. No, it's great.

I think Nick wanted to eat lunch alone anyway.

Oh, of course he did.

What a loser he can be. (CHUCKLES)

Oh, it's all right. I kind of like him.

Give it time.

You'll see soon enough, if you haven't already, that he's weak.

It's okay. Most people are.

Especially men.

My husband was weak.

Got rid of him.

You never wanted to remarry?

Please.

I think my father wanted an heir.

Probably that's what pushed Aly into Nick. Or Nick into Aly, more accurately.

But what do I know?

I just didn't want a god-awful, stifling home life.

Yeah.

Yeah, I think I feel drawn towards...

I don't wanna say "not settling down." Exactly. Exactly.

You get it.

It's just hearing you, call it what you will, but a young, beautiful woman who understands that the option is there to just say "fuck it" actually gives me hope for the future.

Be your own woman.

Don't let anybody talk you out of it. Let me talk you into it.

That sounds great.

Aly chose a lifestyle.

I devoted my life to continuing our father's work and legacy.

You tell me which is the more admirable choice.

I just felt that she suppressed the woman she was meant to be in order to be the woman she wanted to be.

Does that make sense? Mmm-hmm.

A woman devoted to work and a strong sense of ambition and a healthy sexual appetite isn't something to be ashamed of.

You're on the right track.

If it wasn't obvious from the way Nick was staring at you all through dinner, I would have figured it out the minute you opened your mouth.

Good on you.

I don't think he was staring at me.

Oh, yes, he was.

Nick's been a bad boy in the past, not recently, that I know of.

Though I don't think Aly's been completely honest with me about that anymore.

It's ancient history.

But it took them years to find a path back to being normalish.

How long are you here for?

Um, just a few months.

Promise me you'll make the most of it.

Make the most of it how?

How old are you?

Twenty-five.

(SIGHS)

Twenty-five-year-old piece of gold.

Fuck your way through this city like I did.

Then you won't have to deal with the shame of living in it forever.

Everybody thinks it's so easy to be all alone and young and beautiful.

I was.

Like you.

Maybe even more so. (CHUCKLES)

No offense meant.

(INAUDIBLE CONVERSATION)

(CHUCKLES SOFTLY)

It's just...

(LAUGHING)

NAOMI: You really don't get lonely?

I... I don't get lonely?

Yeah. I mean not like in life. Like here, at work.

Do you get lonely in here?

No. I...

When I meet somebody, you know, when they or their family brings me in to begin the work, I am the grim reaper.

Do you understand?

I'm the last new person someone forms a meaningful relationship with before they die.

That's if, obviously, they bring me in before they die.

In any event, it's...

It's the children that make my life miserable.

You understand? Like Gwen, my sister-in-law.

She verges on this. She's...

She's duplicitous. She's a liar.

And I don't believe anything that comes out of her mouth.

Huh.

What did you think of her?

Well, I don't know. I don't know. I just met her that one time.

Yeah, well, she's a real nuisance to myself and Alyssa.

Actually, we've been longing for a day where she's less of a presence in our lives. It's like...

She carries on this judgment of Timothy that Alyssa's been trying to get away from for years and now it just like carries on in this new face.

Never mind. (CHUCKLING)

It doesn't matter because I have no opinion on it.

No, not at all. (CHUCKLES)

Yeah, um...

Let me get back to work. Mmm-hmm.

These are...


(NICK MUMBLING INDISTINCTLY)

(GRUNTS) (EXCLAIMS)

NICK: Don't do that. Easy, man.

I thought you heard me coming in.

Hello. I didn't know anyone was going to be here.

Yeah, Greg, this is Naomi. She just started working with me.

Nice to meet you.

That is a beautiful accent. Thanks.

Let me guess where it's from.

New Zealand?

Uh, Australia, actually. Argh.

I've never been. I'm thinking of going. Should I go?

NAOMI: Yeah, sure, if you want to.

How's the surfing? We've always wanted to learn to surf.

Um...

I don't know, it's not really my thing.

But I hear it's lovely, apparently.

Greg, what are you doing here?

GREG: Ah, just passing by.

Everything's all set for tonight.

NAOMI: What's tonight?

NICK: Oh...

Today's my birthday.

What? Happy birthday.

Yeah, it's not a big deal.

GREG: Oh, he's wrong. It's a huge deal.

We're throwing a little celebration.

You're invited. No, she's not invited, Greg.

I thought you said it was a night with the fellas tonight?

Yeah, and what better way of celebrating with the fellas than having a beautiful woman?

Even the Rat Pack had Shirley MacLaine. Don't say "Rat Pack."

I just, I don't understand why you're here.

I can see you're not excited about tonight.

No, I'm excited about tonight. I'm just, obviously, I'm working...

Try to do something nice for your buddy...

Don't be a sissy, man, okay? Just... We're at work!

Bye.

(DOOR CLOSES)

I'm sorry. My friends just can be kind of irritating sometimes.

No, he seemed great.

(LAUGHING) Yeah, well...

You haven't been in New York long enough if you think Greg is great.

He's your friend, though, right?

Yeah, he's my friend.

I'm sorry. I'm not doing a good job explaining what's going on right now.

No, no. I think I understand.

This is your space.

Exactly.

Yeah.

So, um, will Gwen and Alyssa go tonight?

No, no, no, it's a night with the fellas.

It's just gonna be a bunch of dads. It's not going to be exciting.

Greg is the only one who expects it or wants it to be.

Hmm.

Why don't you and Alyssa have kids?

Sorry.

That's not an appropriate question. It's none of my business.

It's a common question.

And once you turn 40, you'll get asked it every few weeks.

I mean, unless you have kids already and then they'll ask you some other question.

Look, I'm sorry, if...

If you want to come tonight, of course you can come.

It just really is just gonna be a bunch of dads and a couple of assholes in the form of Greg and myself.

Well, I don't know about that but, um, I mean, if I'm going to be the only...

Like if Alyssa's not even coming, then I don't think it would be very decent of me to show up.

GWEN: Do you know if Sam sent him anything for his birthday?

He said he didn't want to do anything.

Now somehow he has this night out with the guys?

I wasn't invited.

We'll do something later over the weekend, maybe.

We've never really been into that kind of thing anyway.

Ten years ago, we would have forced some sort of effort.

A weekend trip?

(SIGHS)

I don't quite recall when we stopped bothering.

Funny, it just happens.

How are things going with Nick and Dad's stuff?

He doesn't talk about it?

(STAMMERS) Good.

I guess.

But you know, I thought we should have hired someone else.

I just... I mean it would have been cleaner outside the family.

But he's doing fine.

He must talk about it sometimes.

Everything's moving.

He's had offers for a job or two once this wraps.

I think we decided not to blabber on over endless nonsense regarding what is, might, or could be going on.

You lose the ability to feign interest in those things after a decade or so.

I think I appreciate his restraint.

I hope he does mine.

Happy birthday to Nick.

SAM: There are irrelevant tasks and I'm okay with a mild amount of tedious tasks, but birthday shopping for in-laws should cross the line, right?

I wouldn't know. Maybe, yes?

I should give notice.

I will give notice.

Cut-your-losses situation.

I should cut my losses.

I wanted to be upward. Instead I am a glorified personal assistant.

I look at women like her, we do, our age does, and what should we see?

Aspirational ideals.

Examples of a lifestyle that you believe in.

So she is unmarried.

That's great, right?

And you are married.

Also great, right?

I don't want to feel adrift in some nebulous middle ground.

Where am I?

Okay? So...

Where am I?

Not

early-30s, not 40s, just

wasteland in the middle.

Heavy-handed and dramatic, minus five points.

What a delight it must be to function as my sole outlet for a never-ending barrage of introspective blather regarding the choices that I've made.

I didn't know I had a choice. Do I have a choice?

I should go.

When is Buddy coming back?

Stay. He's gonna be gone a little while.

Where is he?

Um...

A friend of a friend's birthday?

I don't know. He was scant on the details.

You sure he's not out with what's-her-face?

Why would you say that?

GREG: All right, so I show up at the kid's office here.

First of all, he reacts like an asshole.

Second of all, he's acting like I'm interrupting his nap time.

I did not reach like an asshole. "React." "React."

NICK: Does anybody like being startled at work?

I have headphones on!

So he is employing now this very beautiful, young, ripe, delicious...

This is a human being we are talking about, okay?

Whatever. Where is she from again?

She's from Australia. She's this Australian girl.

So he has this little Australian girl, she looks like a trapped princess, and he looks like a fucking ogre!

That's an absurd exaggeration of what was going on.

Look, I got her number all figured out.

Yo, Jessie, shots. She's the young type.

She's the poisonous girl who exudes sweetness, but she's dangerous.

She's like a fang dripping with honey.

She's the death trap to losers.

Like us. Dude, speak for yourself.

You can lie to yourself all you want.

You put this girl in a room with any man only one thing that's gonna happen.

Yeah, work, research and a proper database.

And we're building a chronology for...

GREG: Wrong again!

MAN: Here we go. I hate them.

Dude, you gotta see my new piece.

She's got the most luscious cooter.

And Nick, of course, has never lost a battle of the wills in circumstances like these.

Treacherous, marriage-destroying...

Happy birthday, Nicky boy. NICK: Yes, we get it.

You guys are lousy friends and this is not a fun birthday.

MAN: That's not fair. GREG: Oh, shit, that's Buddy!

Dude, I invited a couple dudes over here. Hope that's okay.

Buddy, get in here, you! (GRUNTING)

So these are the guys.

You got Jake here... I'm Buddy.

Nicky boy, turn around.

This is my friend, Buddy. Buddy, Nick. Nick, Buddy.

NICK: Buddy? It's short for "Arthur."

GREG: Like the movie. NICK: How does that work?

It doesn't. It's just always been.

(BALLOON POPS) (GREG LAUGHS)

(EXCLAIMING)

(IN HIGH PITCHED VOICE) Let me catch you up here.

Nick here has employed this really beautiful girl.

And they work side by side in a very tiny office. Phew.

Any fun?

ETHAN: A situation not to be trusted.

BUDDY: Well, I did that once and I married her.

See? Buddy gets it!

I'm not marrying her. I'm already married.

It's different, I'm sure. NICK: It's very different.

What a power addiction it is, though. I get it.

Like because you wield some authority and you could hire them, you could force them to be around you all the time.

That's not why I hired her.

What's her name? I hired her sight unseen, okay?

She sent in her CV and she was the most qualified...

Gimme a break! You hire a 25-year-old foreign girl.

Of course she's the most qualified! BUDDY: She's foreign?

Yeah, you knew exactly what you were doing.

GREG: Call her. NICK: No.

No. GREG: Call her. Call her.

Stop giving me a shoulder rub...

Karen, tell him to call her, please.

...and stop talking about calling her.

Look... I ask for nothing.

GREG: Please. I'm not calling her! No.

All I want is a call. Do I ask for anything?

I ask for so little. Greg loves to talk on the phone.

Just a little talk on the phone.

Come on, Buddy, tell him.

Don't look at me. I'm a married man.

Yeah, me too.

Oh, come on, Buddy, you've been a bad boy!

BUDDY: The past is the past.

MAN: The past is the past.

Bad Buddy.

Are you serious?

Am I the only guy here that could still fuck a 20-year-old?

BUDDY: Those days are behind me.

Yeah, and me as well.

BUDDY: The past is the past. NICK: Yes, thank you.

It's a rotten sign of maturity right here.

Happy birthday, Nick.


(DOG BARKING IN DISTANCE)


(INTERCOM RINGING)

NAOMI: Hello?

Uh, it's Nick here.

What are you doing here?

Today's my birthday.

Come down and wish me a happy birthday.

Hi. Hi.

NICK: Um...

Can I come in?

Let me in. Yeah. All right, sure.

(NAOMI CLEARS THROAT)

One second.

(CLEARS THROAT)

Today's my birthday.

Yeah, I know.

Um...

You know, actually, I don't really think that you should be here.

That's silly.

You just made the decision to let me in a minute ago. I did.

Yeah, but I've changed my mind, and I think you should go.

Um, because, you know, we still have weeks of work to do together and I feel kind of...

And I mean, you live...

Um...

You live, like, just around the corner with your wife, as you know.

Yeah.

I mean, what if that was all different?

You know, I could fire you.

We'd just be people. Yeah.

You could fire me. Um...

But then I would lose my visa and I would have to go home.

That's not good.

Can't have that, so you're unfired.

Great.

You know, this is just really not a path that I want to go down again.

Naomi, it's not a...

Naomi.

NAOMI: ♪ Naomi

♪ You came and you gave without taking

♪ But I sent you away, Naomi

♪ You kissed me and stopped me from shaking

♪ And I need you today, Naomi ♪

(MUG CLATTERS)

This is silly.

(SIGHS)

NICK: So Greg brought some people.

A couple of guys I don't know, but it was definitely no big deal.

No one's gonna tell any stories about tonight.

That's nice.

Okay.

(SNIFFS)


(INDISTINCT CHATTER)

(DOOR BELL JINGLES)

Sorry I'm late.

(SIGHS)

I did a little drinking last night.

Everything's slow today, including my acceptance of sudden surprise invitations.

My boss is hungover as well.

Hungover boss, very pathetic.

How old is this guy?

Early 40s.

Hell, no.

That is a sad age to still be incapable of moderation.

Oh, really, you've licked that problem already, have you?

There's a phrase you don't hear very much anymore.

Yes, I have licked that problem.

I may be slow, but I'm functional today.

It is Wednesday after all, right?

Well, thank you for showing up, whatever the reasons.

It's not like I have many other people clamoring for my company.

I wouldn't say I'm clamoring.

Clam... Clamoring.

Does your wife clamor?

She does not clamor. Mmm.

If you guys work together, how did you... How did you slip away?

Who says I slipped away?

Well, where does she think you're eating lunch?

I mean, I assume you guys usually try to make an effort to eat together.

Mmm-hmm. We do, but, I am supposed to meet somebody in the area later.

Got it.

So, maybe I got a little loose with the times. Mmm-hmm.

Is that a crime? No.

You gonna put me under citizen's arrest?

(CHUCKLES) No, no.

Um, I am getting together later with some guys if you'd like to come.

I don't know how much else you have going on yet.

Nothing. Not very much of anything.

Maybe.

Just guys? It's hard to say. Probably.

Well, I'll think about it. Okay.


(DOOR CLOSES)


Sorry. Thing ran long.

Hi. I'm Buddy. Kevin.

Have you met Jess?

We had the chance to talk for about half an hour until our meeting began and you finally showed up.

As I said, the thing ran long.

What "thing"?

The thing, the lunch thing with the guy that I was telling you about.

What can we do for you, Kevin?

Uh, Kevin is going to make a record here.

That's wonderful. When? How big are you guys?

I mean how many are you, not how famous are you.

Although maybe that matters, too.

We actually worked it all out. And, um...

Well, Kevin was just about to leave.

But we're done, and I handled it on my own.

Oh, of course you did.

Well, great to meet you, Kevin, and can't wait to start work. See you around.

(FOOTSTEPS RECEDING)


I'm really sorry about the short notice.

I'm just not feeling well at all today.

Oh, it's fine. Don't worry about it.

I'll comp you next week.

End of this week.

End of this week, right. I don't know where my head is at.

It's really not a big deal. Stop apologizing.

It's going around, a bug in the family. My husband has it, my sister has it, now I have it.

It's really okay.

I know it's unprofessional. I shouldn't be going on like this.

I'm sorry. I apologize.

(KEYS CLATTER)


JESS: So what's the fear?

SAM: I want to see contrasts between myself and somebody fifteen years my senior and there are shockingly few.

I spend all day interloping with this family, and with your family, and when I get home all I can ask myself is, "What's the holdup?"

It's a familiar feeling, sadly.

Why don't I have that which makes somebody else as happy and fulfilled as can be?

JESS: All of Buddy's friends are married.

None of mine are. Including you.

Downgraded from sister.

My point is you aren't in some isolated state of arrested maturity.

Just because you spend most of your time with a woman in her 40s doesn't mean that you are, too.

Let me give you an example.

So Bud's hung around with this daughter of his mom's friend.

It's a highly tenuous connection, right?

They met once, 20 years ago.

And this girl, he says, younger than you, is totally alone.

She's here for several months and she has no meaningful relationships at all.

But see, I look at that as a freeing situation.

Young.

Travel.

You see a version of that as desperate.

Alone.

Subjectivity.

The grass might be greener.

The grass is dead and covered with salt.

(CHUCKLING) Okay. Um...

Well, worst-case scenario, five years. Go.

(SAM SIGHS)

It's nothing. I don't have one. (SNIFFLES)

I shouldn't have kept you so late.


(MUNCHING)


(NICK SIGHS)

(PAPER CRINKLING)

We need to tighten the noose on Nick.

Don't you think he should be more productive now that we hired an assistant?

He should be more productive.

Have you tried calling him?

Try calling him again.

First, nobody picked up, and when I called back, his assistant picked up, she said he was running behind.

She didn't say why.

That seems inexcusable to me.

Doesn't it? I mean, it's not like his job is so hard or, God forbid, he has to travel that far to do it.

Do we have to hold his hand through everything?

Try calling him again. (PHONE CLATTERS)

(PHONE BEEPING)

(LINE RINGING)

Oh, Nick? Hey, it's Sam.

(MOUTHING WORDS) I am good. How are you?

Yeah. I'm just...

No, I'm just checking to make sure you're in.

I think we wanted to stop by today and check on things.

Is there a time that would work best?

Yes, now, now should work great.

We'll be by shortly.

Okay.

Okay. Okay.

I mean, how hard can it be?

You have siblings, right, Sam?

I have a sister and two brothers.

Would you put up with any of this bullshit on behalf of them, or not them specifically, but their spouses?

Wait, are they married?

Yeah, everyone except my youngest brother.

So you understand me, right?

I think so.

With me and my sister, it's different...

Why do we have bonds to siblings?

What does a brother or sister-in-law mean to me anyway?

My father liked Nick.

I think he would have approved of my hiring him.

He always said he wanted him to be involved in his appraisals, what have you, his materials, but I think that's because he thought he'd be around to do it with him.

I'm sure if he knew I had to deal with it all by myself he'd want me to choose the person.

I'm sorry, did you... Did you want to say something?

No.

No, it's not important.

(DOOR OPENS)

GWEN: Nick.

I've been thinking.

July would've been Dad's 85th birthday.

I think that's a reasonable time to have this all wrapped up, no?

July?

I'd said September... I know we said something else.

But to be clear, you want to move on to other projects.

This isn't holding your attention.

My only options as executor would be to bring someone new in and start over, or just encourage you to push through.

This is, after all, why we hired her.

Yeah, but I can't work miracles. Naomi's a huge help but we're talking about a raise, obviously.

A raise? Yeah, a raise. I mean, we have...

The sooner you finish, the sooner you can move on to other jobs.

Work with Sam if you want to.

I can loan her as needed to help expedite things.

How about taking it for a spin right now?

I have a thing, but, Sam, you don't need to be there, so maybe just stay here and, uh...

And get a feel for things.

Nick, two beautiful ladies, enough motivation for you to quit being a wimp and power through?

(STAMMERS) I don't know if I can...

GWEN: You'll be fine.

Make Sam feel welcome and part of the team.

And, Nick...

I don't know what to say.

(DOOR CLOSES)

NICK: Widows and daughters. What did I tell you?

I don't know if I really want to get involved.

Oh, don't worry about her.

I can't imagine dealing with Gwen full-time.

How long you been working with her?

Almost two years.

This poor child.

What does she say about me? NAOMI: Maybe we should get to work.

No, we will. Forget her.

Yeah, I don't know, just this gossip, you know? Talking about someone as soon as they leave the room kind of makes me feel ill.

I don't really go for it, either.

This is unheard of.

Two ladies refuse to gossip with a man in the prime of his life waiting for the inside scoop?

Two years, huh? That's...

You must hold the record.

You took over for Deidre, right?

SAM: I think her name was Amanda.

Right, Amanda.

I forgot about her.

The turnover in that job is unfathomable.

Why does she need an assistant anyway? SAM: Why do you?

No offense.

No, none taken, until you said "no offense." (CHUCKLES)

All right. If I left, I'm sure you guys could figure it out.

I don't think so. I'm not... I don't really know exactly...

I don't think I have much left in me today so, I'm gonna call an audible and I'll just let you bring Sam up to speed. Okay?

Great. So, could you...

SAM: Oh, yeah.

NICK: Thank you. My pleasure.

Bye.

(CHUCKLES)

Okay.

NAOMI: I don't know, reading, exploring, going for walks.

So, nothing really. Um...

It's kind of lonely, but I think maybe that's really good for me right now. Um...

I just came out of a really intense relationship and I kind of needed a break.

I wanted some time just to be by myself, you know.

I never traveled or anything when I was at uni and...

You know, I just...

(SIGHS) How do I say... It sounds kind of silly.

I wanted to see how much and how quickly I could grow as a person, I suppose.

Um...

I feel like the most difficult part about being as transient as I have been for a while is just how vulnerable I am to infatuation, you know?

I go to a new place, and I want to move there and then I meet somebody and I fall in love with him, and, you know, I want to be with him all the time, and...

Then a week passes and then two weeks pass, and then I just want to leave, you know.

Are you there yet, now?

"There yet, now."

No, I'm not.

I mean, if only, you know, because this is all so boring. (CHUCKLES)

There's not really anything to fixate on, you know.

And I say that as a very positive thing.

This family is fucked up.

Take it from me, do not fixate.

Yeah, I don't know.

I kind of like Nick. I know he's a bit sad.

I really like Gwen. (CHUCKLES)

Get to know them better.

Let the luster fade.

Well, we're sitting in a basement office surrounded by piles of documents.

I'm not really sure to which luster you refer.

It's hard to articulate this competitive nonsense, the unwilling resentment we apparently feel without warning, for our family.

You see it between Gwen and Alyssa.

It's the same for me and my sister.

Love, jealousy and deficiency, all wrapped up in a genetically-bonded inability to ever express the concurrent depth of these feelings. Hmm.

What a mess a dynamic like this can be.

Between strangers, you, me, Nick, Gwen, or whatever, it should be cleaner. Maybe it is.

My problem is that personal dynamics ebb and flow.

Most of them have an endpoint that we are never not moving towards, but it's not so with family. Hmm.

There is no destination and no hope for a clean getaway.

You aspire for your time here to end well, to leave head held high, a trail of positivity behind you.

I'll leave Gwen someday and hope for the same.

Out on a high note.

A perfect final moment.

Family doesn't afford that endless optimism for a happy ending.

BUDDY: I had to get out of the house.

I know it's short notice, possibly weird, I hope that you don't read anything into it.

If you couldn't make it, I'd probably just be sitting here alone anyway.

No offense.

Why does everybody keep saying that to me today?

Saying what?

Do I seem extra offended today?

You must be finding yourself in apologetic company.

Well, don't apologize.

Sorry.

My mum was very happy about the fact that we caught up the first time.

I think it maybe makes her feel like I'm less far away or something, like she has some slight ancient connection to your family.

I don't know.

It'll make her day when I call her tomorrow, which it already is in Melbourne.

So where's the wife tonight?

With the sister.

That guy over by the bar is checking you out.

Don't look.

Give it a second, then a quick glance.

Are you ready? One, two, three, now look.

What should I do?

(CLEARS THROAT)

I'll play wingman.

Let's get you laid. Oh, goodness.

I didn't know we were allowed to talk to each other like that.

BUDDY: Hey, man.

What's your name? Uh, Peter.

Peter, this is sister-in-law, Naomi, visiting from Australia.

G'day, Naomi.

G'day, Peter.

(UPBEAT MUSIC PLAYING ON SPEAKERS)


(SNIFFLES)

It's just about lunchtime in Australia right now so I will call my mum as soon as I get home and let her know that I saw you again and she will be thrilled.

Positively thrilled.

That's great.

I love the way it smells here.

I've never really experienced springtime like this.

You know, in Australia, the trees bloom in September.

Hmm. It's the other way around.

I've fallen in love on so many nights like tonight.

Um...

I need to get home. And so do you.

NAOMI: Okay.

(FOOTSTEPS APPROACHING)

(DOOR OPENS)


ALYSSA: Actually, everything at work is great.

Clients, problems, money...

GWEN: You're forgetting I can read your mind.

Cut the shit.

It's nothing, there's nothing.

If we're not going to talk about anything, why'd you ask to come over?

I just wanted to be in your house, I think, someplace devoted to one person's life.

I remember feeling so sad, so sad that Dad had to live alone after Mom died.

It would have been ridiculous for him to live any other way.

He wasn't going to have roommates and we weren't going to live with him.

He was capable and independent.

Every time I saw him, I knew that he was going back to that big, empty house and be bouncing around in there completely by himself and it destroyed me.

He never showed any signs of ever feeling anything but fully satisfied.

He was a truly content and happy man.

Maybe it's just that Mom seemed to leave no void, is my issue.

(SCOFFS)

Either way, I come over here and I admire you.

Excuse me if half of my old problems have transferred onto you.

The last few years with Mom felt that way.

Seeing them out at a dinner or an event, knowing that they were sleeping in separate rooms by then.

They put on that performance, not just in public, for us, as though we were the public knowing that they'd come through the door at night and then they probably wouldn't speak to each other again until morning.

That crushed me. So, I felt relief in the worst possible way, when Mom died.

That was devastating in its own way, but hopefully you understand my point.

It was a relief not to see him living that isolated existence anymore.

Now he's just a mountain of boxes in the basement with Nick.

And he's down there with him.

You know, these feelings are fleeting.

It's all gonna be forgotten.

Papers, documents, archives, that's Dad now. And Mom.

Nick's been showing me how much Mom is in there.

It's not just his work.

It's our mutual life.

It's kind of sweet, actually.

Of course it refutes your opinion. I probably won't show you any of it.

Please don't, in that case.

What do you think he does down there all day?

Obviously, I know what he does. The work gets done.

But I can't seem to shake...

I can't seem to shake it, though, that the two of them, five feet apart.

Nine hours a day. Naomi's not the problem.

Is there a problem?

If there is a problem, she isn't the problem.

She has a good head on her shoulders.

How do you know that about her? You met her once for two hours.

In two minutes, I could tell. The other 1:58 confirmed it.

(CHUCKLES SOFTLY)

I can come so close to believing you, but...

He hurt me in the past and...

There's no way I can ever give him the benefit of the doubt ever again.

I wish he would earn it back, you know?

After years of penance, being a strong, great partner.

But he hasn't. I don't know why.

He's a completely different man now.

He accepts what his life is.

Do you believe he's in a head space to jeopardize things?

I never believed it.

Even when I found out, I didn't believe it.

Do you have any evidence that this is anything more than a nagging hunch?

No, there's nothing.

I know it's stupid.

You'd tell me if there was, right?

Would you tell me if you thought Naomi was untrustworthy?

I'd tell you anything, if you asked me. Would you do the same?

If you asked me what was going on, I would tell you.

(PEN SCRATCHING ON PAPER)

(PAPER CRINKLING)

(PEN CONTINUES SCRATCHING)


(KNOCK ON DOOR)

Hi.

Uh, do you mind if I go to lunch?

Why would I?

Hey, I'm Peter.

(KEYBOARD KEYS CLACKING)

WOMAN: It's not the kids' fault.

It's just the winter had so much travel throughout it, the time at home just became sort of this war zone.

It's a matter of balance, really...

The importance being placed on that time was just so disproportionate to the actual experience of it.

It weighed too heavily against itself.

(CONTINUES TALKING INDISTINCTLY)

...because of all these unspoken issues that I blamed on work and Mel blamed on me.

And it was really only when things settled down that we were able to talk about it in any reasonable way.

Well, that makes sense.

The thing that balances it out, though, ends up being all about the kids.

We can only put our own bullshit aside and consider a reasonable resolution when what's on the table is them.

Having that as an anchor is valuable.

(WOMAN CONTINUES SPEAKING INDISTINCTLY)


ALYSSA: Ever since Naomi started, I've been feeling nothing but rotten.

NICK: There's no reason to think about that situation in those, or any terms.

ALYSSA: Hmm.

You'd tell me if there was, right?

I mean, you'd say what the thing was if there was a thing?

I would.

ALYSSA: You haven't been all that sharp, either.

Is she not working out?

She's fine.

Then what is it?

It's nothing. I don't know.

Is this really something so serious or is it just misdirected from somewhere else?

I just wanted to mention a feeling. I wasn't sure why it's so strong.

I've come to know that this is what I want.

I don't want anyone else to be a part of it.

It's important to me and I don't want anything else to change it.

(MUSIC PLAYING ON SPEAKERS)

I'm really glad that you were able to sneak away again.

What did you say?

I said I'm glad that you were able to get away and see me.

That's not what you said. You said "sneak."

I don't want to be a sneak.

Well, is this going to be an issue or can we just relax and spend time together?

I think it's time for you to not contact me.

It's peculiar and confusing and also inappropriate.

How so, and why?

Where's what's-his-face?

He took me to lunch.

Where do I fit in?

I wanted somebody to take me out for a cocktail.

If you say so.

Is this all I get? (SIGHS)

To be your evening's entertainment? I have a wife for that, already.

But I thought you liked catching up with me.

Yes, and we've caught up and there's nowhere else to catch now but down.

You're very cute when you're angry.

(SIGHS)

I'm really glad that we got to connect for my time here.

Just trying to do the right thing.

By what standards?

This is a situation in which I no longer know how to make myself comfortable.

Well, I want to spend time with you.

I don't see what's so wrong with that.

And I don't know anybody else here.

A lot of guys would love to hear me say that to them.

I'm not a lot of guys.

I want you to stay.

I'm sorry.

I have to walk away. I hope you understand why.


You okay?

Yeah.

I missed you.

I'm sorry it took me so long to come back.


Obviously you know your way around to take care of things when I'm gone.

At this point, I do.

So, there's nothing more to show you.

You've had two years to learn it.

Five more minutes isn't gonna make a difference.

I wish you'd come with me. That'd be fun, wouldn't it?

Though, I guess that defeats the purpose of travel.

For me, anyway, travel alone is one thing, travel with somebody else is different.

But also the next few months are meant to clear my head.

For whatever reason, with you around that doesn't work.

Not you, specifically. Just anyone.

For someone with no substantial roots, it would seem I'm free to do whatever I want.

You have your sister. I suppose I have mine, too.

Bet they're alike, our sisters.

They have to make decisions based on two people instead of one.

What a drag that must be.

SAM: It's unlikely, though, that either of us would feel the same sense of gratification that they do.

I wonder if when she's your age, or I am, we'll find ourselves looking forwards or backwards at the decisions the other one or the other made and thinking, for one day, we would want to switch places.

It's unlikely, but you never know.

GWEN: I'm gonna go wait for my car.

I wonder if the next time we see each other one or the other will have met someone who makes us feel or desire something we don't currently feel or desire.

Desire.

That's a novel concept.

(DOOR OPENS)

(DOOR CLOSES)

I need to give the key back to you before I leave tomorrow.

I think they just said to leave them under the mat before you go.

No, I meant the office keys.

Oh, yeah, I'll take those.

I'm applying for this work-study program in Sydney and I was wondering if maybe you could write a letter of recommendation for me.

Yeah.

Sure. Great. Thank you. (CLEARS THROAT)

I, um... (CLEARS THROAT)

I hope that I've been helpful to you over the last few months and that Timothy's materials are in a better shape now than they would have been without me here.

I believe they are.

Good.

And I wanted to thank you for introducing me to your family and inviting me into your home.

I don't think many people would blend work and family like that and I think it was very classy of you.

Um...

And...

I hope that we can stay in touch.

You know, if I... If I come back here, maybe when I'm done with my studies, we could perhaps work together again.

Yeah, sure.

Great.

NICK: It's okay, she's gone anyway.

I'm without assistant.

I thought she left last week.

No, today.

You stopped mentioning her.

What's to say? She was a boring person.

I know Gwen wanted to spend some time with her.

I wonder if that ever ended up happening.

Um...

She started seeing some guy.

He came to pick her up for lunch.

Anyway, he stopped coming like a week or so ago.

Anyway.

I don't know what happened with that, she...

She got sloppy, and the work suffered, so that's...

That's that.

Everything okay?

I don't know.

Finishing a job can't help but make me feel miserable about the state of my own work.

It's dead and irrelevant.

I don't know.

Lifetime after lifetime...

Catalogued, packed with gloves, packed up, shipped away.

Is that all there is?