Interiors (1978) Script

I had dropped out of law school when I met Eve.

She was very beautiful.

Very pale and cool in her black dress, with never anything more than a single strand of pearls.

And distant. Always poised and distant.

By the time the girls were born, it was all so perfect, so ordered.

Looking back, of course, it was rigid.

The truth is she'd created a world around us that we existed in, where everything had its place, where there was always a kind of harmony.

Great dignity.

I will say... it was like an ice palace.

Then suddenly one day, out of nowhere, an enormous abyss opened up beneath our feet and I was staring into a face I didn't recognise.'

"The basic popularity and appeal of Mao for so-called American Marxists."

This is supposed to go in the sequence - in under the sequence in reel two about South Africa.

Um... what we wanna do is get two examples.

But the idea is his style was Marxist-Leninist -

Mao's style was Marxist-Leninist - but that he was accessible to the lower classes because of his use of homilies.

An example would be:

"The hardest thing is to act properly throughout one's whole life."

What the hell does that mean? Or, even worse...

Eve, I wasn't expecting you.

I hope I'm not disturbing you. No, I just couldn't imagine who it was.

Is Joey here? Where's Joey? Joey's in the shower.

Can I get you anything? Oh, just some coffee, if you don't mind.

No, it's no trouble at all.

I think I've found a very nice vase for the foyer.

Uh-huh.

You'll probably think it's an extravagance, but it's not, all things considered.

These pieces are becoming increasingly rare.

Isn't that exquisite?

I hope you like it, because it's perfect for what I have in mind for the foyer.

We already have a vase in the foyer, Eve.

Yes, but this will never look right when we redo the floors.

I've never understood why the floors have to be redone.

What? We discussed all that, Michael. Don't you remember? You agreed.

You know, it costs money to have these things done and redone two and three times over.

But the... It's such a large floor space.

That's why we agreed to the paler tones to make a more subtle statement.

Pale woods would be lovely.

I never agreed about anything, I'm always being told.

I wouldn't put it that way. How would you put it, Eve?

First the living room was finished, then it wasn't.

Then the bedroom needed more work. Now the floors have to be stripped again.

You picked the sofa, then you hated it. It was a lovely piece.

It just was the wrong scale. This is not an exact science.

Sometimes you just have to see it, then you get the feel of it.

You didn't like that in the bedroom? I knew you were gonna say something.

I get better use out of it here.

Well, if you utilised it in here, that's fine. It's meant to be used.

It's just that it was part of what we were trying to do in the bedroom.

It's the shade and the bedspread, they set each other off so nicely.

I thought...

How much is the vase? They're asking $400.

Give me a break, Eve. All right, Michael. I'll return it.

Would you mind closing the window? The street noises are just unnerving.

I hope you two aren't having another argument.

Not at all.

Oh, I love that suit. Unique colour.

Renata calls it "ice grey".

It makes you look very beautiful. Isn't she beautiful, Michael?

Very lovely. I don't feel lovely.

I'm exhausted. I've been running up and down Second Avenue all day.

Oh, wow. Is this for us? It's exquisite.

No, I was just showing it to Michael. It's too expensive, Joey.

Really? Well, that's too bad.

Eve, let's keep it. No, no.

Yeah, let's keep it. It's very beautiful. We'll work something out.

No, I was just carried away by it. I don't know why.

Guess it's because it's so unique. But it is an extravagance.

I'll just look for something along the same lines at a better price.

But I have to point out one thing. This really belongs in the bedroom because it's too insignificant a piece for in here.

The shade is just wrong against all these slick surfaces.

I'll put it back. No, I'll do it.

I just want to try it in a different spot.

I can fix something for you, something more inexpensive.

I've seen some nice pewters. Um, maybe gunmetal.

And I can make the shade in a smoother fabric, if you prefer.

But we should stick with my beiges and my earth tones.

"My beiges and my earth tones". Stop picking on her.

Nobody's picking on her. She's a sick woman.

That's great. Yes, it's nice.

So how do you feel?

I'm fine. I'm just a little tired, that's all.

Coffee. Oh, thank you.

Oh, I tell you, so many jobs. It's just exhausting.

Yeah, I know. I can't get over how you sort of jump right in and do it.

Well, I like it. I like to be busy.

And I think by now I can say that my comeback Is over the shaky period. Wouldn't you say?

I think so, I think your work is better, in fact, than it's ever been.

Do you? Yeah.

Well, I have to admit that I have received some rather special compliments lately.

Oh, yeah? Uh-huh.

Yes. Well, my spirits are high. I'm feeling good about myself.

Not to say that I don't run into an occasional setback, but I haven't really felt so confident in a long time.

I can see it. I mean, you look better than you have in ages.

Oh. Have you talked to Dad lately? No. He's still in Greece.

When he comes back, I hope you'll corroborate the state of my wellbeing.

Of course.

I've certainly pulled myself together in a way that he never thought possible.

I mean, you're really impressive. Oh...

Well, maybe a reconciliation could finally be discussed.

Think so?

Well, it hasn't been that much time.

I really don't... I don't know.

Why are you always so negative about it?

I don't think that was negative.

Oh, you're always reluctant to encourage me. I don't know why.

Mother, I know that you're optimistic, but it's really important for you to be realistic, too.

Is there something you know that you're not saying?

No. Dr Lobel doesn't think it's unrealistic to hope that your father and I might reconcile.

It's just a goal. That's all.

Fine, I didn't say anything to get in the way of that.

You always make it sound as though it's impossible.

Mother, I didn't say it was impossible. Yes, you did. You imply that a lot.

Renata thinks it's going to happen.

I'm sure she didn't say that. She did. She implied that.

Well, maybe you read into it. No, I didn't.

She's just a person who looks on the bright side.

Oh, great. I think that's wonderful.

I just don't think you should delude yourself either.

You don't think there's any chance your father will ever live with me again?

I didn't say that. Renata thinks there's a good chance.

Just wait and see.

You just refuse to encourage me, don't you?

Why don't you discuss it with Renata? I will, thank you. I will.


Mother paced all the time.

She...

Um...

She was an insomniac.

You could always hear her upstairs, pacing in the middle of the night.

But that was more when she... got back from the hospital.

I, uh...

I saw her... the first day that they brought her back. Um...

She'd had all this... electric shock therapy and... her hair looked grey and I couldn't believe it. It was... It was like... she was a stranger.

After that, she was always sort of, um... coming in and... going out.

I guess you... you never knew.

Before her breakdown, she was a very successful woman.

She was very demanding.

She, uh... she put Dad through law school and she financed the start of his practice.

So in a sense, it was like he was her creation.'

We kept getting shuffled around to aunts and cousins and I guess Joey had the worst of it, 'cause...

As a kid, Joey was very high-strung. She was a bright kid, you know? She...

She was very sensitive.

We'd spend some time with Dad, mostly long Sunday breakfasts.

I always resented his relationship to her, you know.

I always felt that he favoured Joey.'

It just seemed that they were very close and that I was left out.

I like Frederick.

He has dignity and promise as a writer.

My own strength is visual.

Your images are visual, Renata.

And in all candour, I much prefer Frederick to Mike. Mike's fine, Mother.

Well, he uses a very strong aftershave.

It permeates the house. I don't wanna talk about it.

Do you think that if I bought him another kind of cologne he would switch?

Can we talk about something else? Well, let me give him some.

Then we won't have to talk about it. It'll just be my gift.

Could we please talk about something else?

Look, I wanna say something, I'm gonna be very direct.

I think the occasion calls for it.

I've done a lot of thinking about this matter and a great deal of soul-searching.

Now that the girls are all on their own, I feel that for my own self, I must come to this decision, though I don't take it lightly.

I feel I've been a dedicated husband and a responsible father, and I haven't regretted anything I've been called upon to do.

Now I feel I want to be by myself for a while.

And consequently, I've decided to move out of the house.

I don't know how I'll feel about it when I finally do it, and it's not irrevocable, but I feel it's something I have to try.

Now, as I say, it's not an irrevocable situation.

It's a separation.

It may be for the best. It may not.

But I wanted to lay it on the table, in front of everyone, so that everything is open and as direct as possible.

Will you please not breathe in so hard?

I'll move out. What does that mean?

I don't want to live in this house anymore. Eve, think about it.

I'll move out! Look, it's not irrevocable.

It's a trial separation.

I can't be alone.

Eve... I don't wanna discuss the details now.

It's a very bad time for me.

My impotence set in a year ago.

My paralysis.

I suddenly found I couldn't bring myself to write any more.

Rather, I mean, I shouldn't say suddenly. Actually, it started happening last winter.

Increasing thoughts about death just seemed to come over me.

Um, these, uh...

A preoccupation with my own mortality.

These... feelings of futility in relation to my work.

I mean, just what am I striving to create anyway?

I mean, to what end? For what purpose, what goal?

I mean...

Do I really care if a handful of my poems are read after I'm gone forever?

Is that supposed to be some sort of compensation?

I used to think it was, but...

now, for some reason...

I can't. I can't seem to...

I can't seem to shake the real implication of dying.

It's terrifying.

The intimacy of it embarrasses me.

What's the matter? You still thinking about your mother?

I can't believe Renata encourages her. She fills her full of false hope.

She's just trying to keep her spirits up.

I wanna quit my job.

Oh, Joey!

I can't keep my mind on it. I can't concentrate.

I sit there all day, reading other people's manuscripts, and half-way through I lose interest.

I get headaches from the words.

Then I'm supposed to sit down and write an opinion.

It's not fair to the authors.

A month ago you said you finally found something you enjoyed.

Well, I was wrong.

I think about going back to acting.

I'm not an actress.

Can't do that again. Flyn's the actress in this family.

Why don't you work with me?

Because political activity IS not my interest.

I'm too self-centred for that.

That's my whole point. It would get you off yourself.

Sometimes I think if we had a child...

Oh, God.

I mean, that really makes me anxious. I mean... it's totally irrevocable.

Whatever happened to your photography?

You have so much potential. You used to be so hot on that.

I hate it. It's stupid.

I feel a real need to express something but I don't know what it is I want to express or how to express it.

It's always so difficult getting Mother a birthday present. It's impossible.

Please, let's not stay forever at the party.

I really wanna get home and finish proofreading those galleys.

Oh, come on, Frederick, really? I really... I hardly ever see Mother.

I hardly ever spend any time with her at all.

Besides, it's not going to be so terrible. Flyn will be there.

Terrific. We get caught up on the latest Hollywood gossip.

Oh, come on, Frederick. You know Flyn likes you.

And don't behave condescendingly, because I think she sort of senses you talk down to her.

No, I don't talk down to Flyn. I love hearing about her hair and her weight and the latest piece of TV junk she's done.

Well, that's her life.

And anyway, you have to admit she is a sexy little girl.

No, Flyn is the opposite of sexy.

Hey, what about a scarf?

Flyn suffers from the same thing my last book suffered from.

She's a perfect example of form without any content.

That's very profound. And you haven't even started drinking yet.

I am profound. But I'm not the award-winning writer.

You're supposed to be giving me insights into sex and other world-shattering phenomena.

Really? Really. C'mon, let's go, Frederick.

You look fabulous, Mother.

But the main thing is that you're feeling well.

Yes, but I tire so easily.

Can I help you with something?

Joey tells me that you're thinking about taking on some decorating projects again, Mother.

Yes, Joey pushes me. But I'm not going to accept anything until I'm sure I can maintain the level that I expect of myself.

Mother, I can't believe this view. It's just beautiful.

I'm getting used to it.

I miss the sea. Yeah.

I can't get over how sexy Flyn got.

Yeah. She looks beautiful, doesn't she?

Your new film is in Arizona? No. It's in Denver.

I leave tomorrow morning. I have to be ready to shoot on Monday.

I have so many lines to learn. But it's just a television movie.

Did you speak to Dad?

Yeah, I've spoken to him on the phone once.

Did he mention anything? He said he visits you.

Just now and then.

Mum?

Nothing to live for any more.

Mum, don't say that. It's true.

You know that's not true. Mother, look... It's all right, Mum.

What's the matter? Nothing. She's fine.

C'mon Mum. Mum, it's a trial separation.

Of course it is, Mother. I mean, we've been through this before.

It just takes time. Everything'll work out.

Renata.

It's her birthday, let her enjoy it.

No, I don't think that's exactly the right way.

Ah! Do you like it?

Oh, now, that's lovely. That's lovely.

That's pretty. It's exactly like yours.

Very nice. Thanks.

Lovely. I'm so glad.

I hope it fits, I think... I'm pretty positive it will.

Frederick has finished what I've already told him is his best work by far.

That's what you said about the last one.

No, but I really feel that this one comes off.

I mean, it's terribly concise. You said the same thing.

Concise. Spare, you said. Well...

You couldn't think of anything you really liked about it, so you had to call it something. Concise. Spare. Pithy. Lean.

OK. OK. Well, you just can't handle a compliment, that's all.

Guess I can't.

We gotta go. Oh, really?

We hardly had any chance to speak.

I know.

So how are you doing? You seem... You look OK.

I'm good.

I read something of yours in a magazine. "New Yorker", I think.

Poem called "Wondering".

Was very beautiful. It's an old poem.

I redid it. And now when I reread it, I find it much too ambiguous.

Nah, I may redo it again.

We're starting our drive back. Can we drop you some place?

I have to catch a plane really early tomorrow morning.

Oh, right. I heard you're shooting a movie in the cold Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

Couldn't be some place like Acapulco. That's my idea of fantasy.

Lie around on the beach. Get waited on hand and foot.

Really? I can't take Mexico.

I always think I'm gonna get shot just walking down the street.

What was that?

"Happy birthday. Love, Arthur."

They're beautiful.

I like white roses better than any other flower on earth.

There you are, Mother. I knew he wouldn't forget.

Mum. And you were worried?

They're a good sign. Don't you think?

Well? Are you getting dressed or what?

Frederick, are you talking to me?

We said everything.

Don't blame me. I've been nothing but understanding.

You don't help by patronising me. I wasn't patronising you.

Your work is great. Who cares what the critics think?

That's easy for you to say. You get nothing but encouragement.

You're just their little darling.

They're lenient with me, obviously, because I'm a woman.

No.

It's because you're so damn good. So are you.

All right. I mean, the book didn't get the response it deserved.

I hate to tell you how often they've missed the boat.

Stop lying to me. I count on you for honesty, not flattery.

I'm not lying. I'm not lying. And who cares what anybody thinks?

They think what I think.

My work once showed promise and I haven't delivered, as simple as that.

Your work's not fashionable, Frederick.

You should be thankful for that, for God's sakes.

I mean, what are you after? The superficial acclaim of some little book reviewer in some room somewhere?

We've always talked about fine work that means something in the long run.

I don't care about fine work!

I don't wanna wait 25 years to be appreciated.

I wanna be able to knock somebody over now!

They're stricter with you because you attempt more.

Don't you understand that? They refuse to take that into consideration.

Stop looking for excuses, all right? I'm not writing for a time capsule.

They won't give me an inch.

And half the stuff that's written, it's garbage, they praise sky-high.

The baby-sitter will be here in a minute.

I told you, I'm not going.

We can't not go. What is the matter with you?

I'm not in the mood for your lesbian friends and a lot of vacuous gossip about New York poetesses.

You stop pitying yourself so much? It's nauseating. I'm going.

Look, why can't you just once in a while consider my feelings and my needs?

I'm sick of your needs! I'm tired of your idiosyncrasy and competitiveness.

I have my own problems!

Then we have a superficial chitchat about the nature of poetry, your symbolism, your imagery, your contribution to whatever.

We never see Marion and Gail. I don't understand. You used to like them.

I can't stand them. They're so enthusiastic. College kids. I get embarrassed.

Oh, well, don't get embarrassed. Don't come.

Stay home and drink yourself unconscious.

That's one of the clichés of being a novelist you have no problem with.

Yeah, I sure can drink.

Yes, you're fine as long as I keep everything going.

What you mean, keep everything going?

You're talking about that cheque that arrives from Daddy every month so that you can write yourself into immortality?

I also raise the family that you wanted. Or the family you thought you wanted.

Hey, you made some noises about experiencing motherhood.

I'm sure you thought it was great potential raw material.

Well, now you got another human being. Three of us.

It wasn't my idea, and I'm not ashamed to be subsidised either.

I turn things out.

Yeah, you do.

You turn things out. You're incredible.

Frederick...

Frederick, you have so much to offer.

I wanna help, not hurt.

I can't go out. I'm not in the mood. I'm liable to kill somebody.

I'm going. Bye.

You look as good as I've seen you in a long time.

And in no time at all you've turned this place into a lovely home.

I saw Joey last week.

I may be working on her apartment.

Mike seems amenable. He isn't really what I had in mind for Joey.

But I'm getting more used to him.

She has no direction.

I expected such great things from her.

She was an extraordinary child.

And how are you getting along, Arthur?

Fine. I'm fine.

Busy. It's important to keep busy.

Did you like the Matisse drawing? It was on sale at Parke-Bernet.

Oh, yes. It's lovely.

So delicate.

Well...

We'll talk, Eve.

Good night.


She's got to go back to the sanatorium, for a while at least.

Oh, poor Joey. Poor Joey.

She spent so much time with her, and... I don't know. What's the point?

We can't watch her constantly.

There's no way you can be with her all the time.

How is Joey?

I worry about her. She seems to be floundering.

I don't know. I guess she hasn't found herself yet.

Couldn't you help her? She looks up to you.

I do, Dad. I try. I try to be supportive. I try to encourage her.

I'm not criticising, but it just seems to me there's always been an antagonism between you two.

Well, you know Joey. She tends to be competitive with me.

Well, you're very successful. I think you kind of hold that over her.

Come on, Dad, That's not true. No, Renata. I'm not blind.

I see what's going on. You seclude yourself in Connecticut, acting out the part of the aloof artist, and no one can get near you.

I don't wanna discuss this right now, Dad. OK?

Can we just avoid the subject. I'm upset. You're upset.

Joey had such potential. And now it's come to nothing.

It's so typical. It's so typical.

As usual, you're obsessed with Joey while Mother is lying in a hospital room.

Now, don't blame me for that. That's nobody's fault.

How's Frederick? Oh, fine.

He's going to be teaching at Barnard. Oh, how nice.

I read something he wrote recently in a "Sunday Times" review, I think.

It was very nasty, but very funny.

It's a giraffe. Enormous. Cory would love it.

It's probably way too much money but I'd really like to buy her one.

She's so cute.

She sits and has conversations with the television set.

She's such a pretty thing.

How's Mike? Fine.

We'd love to get together with you and Frederick.

Oh, well, that'd be great, but it's been sort of a rough week for me.

It doesn't necessarily have to be this week.

I gotta give Frederick a chance to get settled in at Barnard.

Renny, why do you keep pushing me away?

Well, I don't. Yeah. Yeah, you do.

It's like you don't even want me near you. Oh, Joey, come on.

You know, I mean. You know that I've been having some work problems.

I need isolation, I need to be alone.

The creative thing, it's very delicate.

That's great. You hide behind your work.

Flyn's never here, and I inherited Mother.

I see Mother too. I phone her.

Yeah. But you're in Connecticut, and I end up with all the dirty work.

Look, Joey. I can't help it if you feel guilty about your feelings toward Mother.

I mean, you can't seem to do enough to make up for it.

What's that supposed to mean? You know what it means.

You could never stand her.

I don't believe this. My whole life, I've only wanted to be her.

Yeah. Well, for a while there, you were her, weren't you?

I don't know what you're talking about.

Oh, Joey, you know what I'm talking about.

All those headaches every time she'd come home from the hospital.

You never wanted her to come home.

This is incredible. I mean, you twist everything I say. I give up.


You OK?

I just experienced the strangest sensation.

Well, you look kind of pale.

It was as if I had a sudden... clear vision where everything seems... sort of awful and predatory.

It was like... It was like I was here and the world was out there, and I couldn't bring us together.

Could you maybe have dozed off and had one of those dreams?

No.

No, because the same thing happened last week when I was reading upstairs.

I suddenly became hyper aware of my body.

And I could feel my heart beating, and I began to imagine that...

I could feel the blood sort of coursing through my veins and my hands and in the back of my... neck.

I felt precarious, like I was a machine that was functioning but I could just conk out at any second.

You're not gonna conk out.

You gotta put those kind of thoughts out of your head.

Yeah. It frightens me too, you know, because...

I'm not that far from the age when Mother began showing signs of strain.

You're not your mother. You're not. You're not.

You've been under some kind of stress and you haven't been sleeping well.

Things like that. That's all.

What are these? Are these Joey's photographs, these?

Oh, yeah. Let me see.

They're not very good, I'm afraid.

No. She doesn't really have an eye.

She's gonna wanna know what you think, so you'd better get ready.

Poor Joey.

She has all the anguish and anxiety of the artistic personality without any of the talent.

And naturally, I'm put in the position of having to encourage her.

No, tell her the truth. Get it over with. Don't lead her on.

I don't lead her on, but I mean, God, I can't break her heart.

And you know how competitive she is with me.

I always think it's better to level with a person.

Wish you'd done that with me more often. I did.

No, you didn't. You flattered me, and I liked it.

Frederick, you're good, and I've never hesitated to say it.

There's something missing from my work.

I don't know. I don't know if I've lost it or I never had it, or what.

You're capable of being extraordinary and you've stopped for spite.

No, not for spite!

I'll get back to it someday.

You throw everything away to spite me.

Let's not talk about it, OK?

Fine.

What are you gonna say to Joey?

She should just marry Michael and stop her obsessive worrying about being so damn creative.

Sometimes she just annoys me.


'Oh, Jimmy's getting excited. Isn't he?

It's an exciting thing to be a Christian, and I have a gentleman who's a friend of mine, a fairly new friend, but our friendship goes way back to the cross of Calvary.

Roy Schwartz, it's a delight to have you here today.

Now, Roy, you are by birth what nationality?'

- A Hebrew. A Hebrew.

When I was talking about God's chosen people - you're probably very aware, you've studied your history, you're involved in this - what part did the Jewish people and the nation of Israel have in God's timepiece today?'

You're late. I'm sorry.

It's 45 minutes.

The traffic was unbearable, I'm sorry.

You should take that into account. Could we drop this? My head is splitting.

What's the matter? What do you think? I'm pregnant.

Thought you might be. I'm goddamned annoyed!

We'll take care of it. Naturally, we'll take care of it.

You don't think I'm gonna have a kid. I said we'll take care of it.

It's nothing.

I'm so stupid! How can I be so careless?

All right, it happens.

You know, we could have the kid. It wouldn't be the end of the world.

For you maybe. For me, it'd be the end of the world.

I'm sorry you feel that way. Oh, Michael, I've thought about it.

It's absurd. How could we have a kid? I don't even know where my life is going.

Maybe it's not such a great idea. You don't think so either?

I guess not.

Well, what happened to you? Nothing. I'm sorry.

We found something wonderful for the bedroom.

This won't be too expensive, I hope. It's a little more than we planned.

We had this discussion already. Can we not get into a financial dispute?

It's right over here. I think you'll like it.

Your father's back from Greece. Is he?

You know he's back from Greece.

You're having dinner with him tomorrow at Renata's.

Renata told me. Were you not going to tell me?

Yes, I just know how you are on that whole subject.

Will you talk to him, Joey? He listens to you.

He's a grown man. He makes his own decisions.

Yeah, but he puts great store by what you have to say.

If he wants to move back in with you, he will. If he doesn't, he won't.

Why are you so reluctant to help me? Reluctant? I do nothing but cater to you.

Joey, it's as though you don't care if we get back together or not.

You're crazy. Why wouldn't I want you to be happy?

I just think you shouldn't delude yourself.

Will you tell him how well I've been doing?

That my work is finally flourishing again?

That my mood swings are less rapid? He doesn't care.

He just wants to know that I'm on an even keel, that's all.

I'm having an inner tranquillity. Leave me alone.

Joey... Just leave me out of this!

Where are you going?

Joey, maybe it wouldn't be such a bad idea to have a child.

Oh, please. I mean, sometimes just taking...

I can't, OK? You mean you won't.

Why do you stay with me? I don't understand you.

I give you nothing but grief.

I think, you should take the job at the advertising agency, and we should maybe think about getting settled.

Yeah, right! That's all I need.

If I start writing copy and having kids, I'd never get out of it.

I'd be swallowed up IN some anonymous lifestyle.

I wanna do something with my life.

Now I'm guilty 'cause I left my mother standing.

She'll be fine. Oh, a lot you care.

It's your mother that can't stand me.


Well... I hope the cat isn't in the kitchen.

Cory's gonna go upstairs and play for a while. OK, Cory?

I'll see you later, all right? All right. Bye.

I mean, I'll be getting them all out in about a month and a half.

Then you wouldn't have anything left to say. Right?

Dad.

He was so excited when I spoke to him.

He saw that terrible movie that Flyn was in on the plane.

Come in. Nice to see you. Good to see you.

The traffic in this town Is getting impossible.

Hi.

Mike.

Hi, Joey. Hi, Daddy.

Renata. Hello, Dad.

Hi. This is Pearl. Hello.

Hi. I'm Mike. This is Joey.

Glad to meet you. Hi. Hello.

Frederick. Hi.

Um, would you like anything to drink?

Whatever Arthur's having's fine.

Here. Why don't you sit down there?

It's probably the only comfortable place in the house.

It's good to be back.

Well, I'm sure you must have enjoyed Athens.

You can't beat Greece islands for sand and blue water.

And the food! I could eat lamb six times a day.

And this one and his ouzo.

The only problem I had was nobody spoke English.

Oh, it didn't matter. Everybody understood what was important.

Did you get a chance to see any of the temples, architecture?

Oh, yes. It's so wonderful. You're steeped in history.

We saw some great examples from the fifth century BC.

Remember that little island with the temple? Beautifully preserved.

To tell you the truth, I prefer the beaches. She could sit in the sun all day.

That's enough ruins. How many ruins can you see?

But that hot sand, that blue water - that's for me.

I don't wanna rush anyone but maybe we should continue this conversation in the other room.

First time I went to Europe, with my first husband, many years ago, all we saw was churches.

One cathedral led to another.

Don't misunderstand me, they were beautiful but... you see two or three, then enough already. All the day...

Did you know he was bringing someone? Yes. Didn't I mention it?

Give me a good sirloin anytime.

Charcoal. They talk about club steaks and porterhouse?

Sirloin, charcoal and blood rare.

Pearl's husband was something of a chef.

He was an amateur chef.

Actually, he was in the jewellery business, my first husband, may he rest in peace.

Adam, my second, was an orthodontist. How many have you had?

Two. Adam had a massive coronary. Rudy was an alcoholic.

Would you like some more gravy? No, no, no. It's too heavy.

Ah, what are you worried about? It's delicious. Try it.

Where are you from, Pearl? Florida.

Oh, we lived all over the place when I was younger, but I prefer a warm climate.

I even lived in Australia for a year.

With my sister Fay, when Adam died.

I went nuts. It's dead there.

I was in Sydney, Australia, once.

Oh. Was I lying? Did you like it?

It was just a vacation. I was only there a couple of days.

Lucky. It's like a morgue.

Nothing to do at night, no pizzazz. I couldn't take that.

Here's a woman who could go dancing every night.

You know what I say: you only live once, but once is enough if you play it right.

Do you have any children, Pearl? Oh, yes. I have two sons.

Lewis and John.

Lewis is in real estate. John runs an art gallery.

Oh?

In the lobby in Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

It's not exactly a gallery, it's more a concession.

Paintings of clowns on black velvet? That's right, junk.

Oh, I tell you, it's pure junk, but people like it.

They get a kick out of it. He does very nicely.

Pearl collects African art. Oh. Oh, I love black ebony.

I own some statues. Actually, they're from Trinidad.

Oh, I love those real primitive statues with the big hips and the big breasts.

Oh, I even have some voodoo masks. I believe in that stuff.

I could tell your fortune, but I need cards. Later, maybe.

This couple we met were raving about it, so I cabled right away from the office to get two tickets.

I'm glad I did. It was fabulous.

I know. We thought it was very interesting too.

But depressing as hell. I mean, it was pessimistic to the point of futility.

Fashionable pessimism is all the rage nowadays.

When they sentenced those Algerians to death, I thought it was a good ending.

I don't know. You call that fashionable, but it's hard to argue that in the face of death, life loses real meaning.

It is? Well. I mean, I can't argue it succinctly, but I suppose if you've read Socrates or Buddha, Schopenhauer, even Ecclesiastes, they're very convincing.

Well, they should know. I don't read that much.

What struck me was the way the terrorists only killed if they absolutely had to.

Never wantonly, just if they had to, to achieve their own aims.

I was very moved when that Algerian boy said he killed in the name of freedom.

It gave me chills. It's still killing for an abstraction.

Why? You value the life of a single person over the lives of thousands of others?

I don't know. I mean, who are those thousands?

It's another abstraction.

To me, the conflict over the giving of the information between the French doctor and the Algerian was the best part of the play.

I know. The writer argued both sides so brilliantly you didn't know who was right.

I didn't get that. I mean, to me, it wasn't such a big deal.

One guy was a squealer. The other guy wasn't.

I liked the guy that wasn't.

It's a little more complex than that, don't you think?

Why? You liked the squealer? Did I miss something?

That's what made me anxious about the play, I mean, how do you figure out the right thing to do?

How do you know?

How do you know? I don't know. You just know, you feel it. I mean...

You just don't squeal. I don't know.

Anyway, it was a good evening in the theatre for a change.

I'd love another piece of cheesecake but...

Well, have it. What are you worried about?

You'll live to be 100 if you give up all the things that make you want to.

Am I the only one or is it hot in here?

Can we open a window?

OK. Ready?

Uh-huh. OK. Pick a card.

Anyone. There you go.

OK. Put it back. Let me see it.

Any place, any place. All right. OK. Watch.

I'm ready. All right.

Now we shuffle.

Now you... All right.

What? No, nothing. Just go ahead.

Is it that? No.

That?

That? Wrong.

It's none of those three. None of those three.

Not that one.

Not that one. No.

That one. Jesus, that's fantastic.

How did you do that? Oh, what's the difference?

That is a miraculous card trick.

And I was watching really closely. Where did you learn that?

I'm a gal that's been around. I've picked up a lot of useless information.

You tell fortunes. You do card tricks. You do séances, too?

Nuh-uh. Not me. I figure whatever's out there, it's their business.

Besides, you think I wanna bring back my ex-husband?

As soon as possible, Pearl and I are gonna get married.

Oh, God.

That's gonna sink Mother.

She'll have a hard time at first but she'll get over it.

Easy for you to say. It's not easy.

How long have you known her, Dad? Now, a month.

A month? Isn't that a little hasty?

We've spent a lot of time together. That's a lot of time, four weeks?

I expect you all at the wedding.

Flyn, too, I insist that Flyn fly in and meet Pearl and be there when we're married.

I must admit that the whole thing does seem a bit fast.

It's gonna be fine.

She's a nice woman. She's kind. She's affectionate.

Christ, I'm 63 years old. I wanna relax.

I'm happy just to lie on the beach with her.

I like it that she's full of energy and demonstrative and open.

You just met her. She's a widow, and you're a wealthy man.

What's that supposed to mean? She's after my money?

She's not saying that. Why? Is that so far-fetched?

I won't dignify that.

Don't get upset. It's just, a man In your position has to be careful.

You don't know her yet. She's a fine woman, and I love her.

OK. All right but it's going to be the worst possible thing that could happen to Mother.

I can't believe she still imagines we'll get back together after all this time.

Of course, she imagines it because everyone except me leads her on.

I don't wanna hear that old story. It's true.

And from the day you moved out, all that talk about a trial separation.

You were never coming back. I wanted to let her down easily.

She's such a fragile thing. She is not a thing.

I mean, we all treat her like a patient in a hospital. She's a human being.

Your idea of treating her like a human being is always to throw cold water on her hopes all the times.

What hopes? Now, look what's happening.

It was bound to happen sooner or later, Joey.

The most that we could do was postpone it a little bit.

You're all she lives for. Don't give me that...

Now you're abandoning her for this... Joey, don't you go any further.

All right, Dad. Don't get upset. Don't get all riled up.

And don't think I don't notice the both of you looking at her in a very judgmental, superior way.

Now, you're imagining things.

We knew about your affairs when Mother was in the hospital, but your choices were just a little more discreet!

Joey, shut up! Dad, she's upset.

Joey, why do you do this to me?

You know how much your opinion means to me.

She's a vulgarian. Joey, be quiet!

I don't wanna discuss this.

I think you should do as you feel, with our blessing.

Joey, I count on you. I'm sorry. I can't help it.

Will you tell him it's OK? Obviously, it's your approval he needs.

He certainly had no trouble getting yours.

Clearly, it doesn't mean as much as yours.

I want the support of all my daughters!

I'm not just here to make sacrifices and foot the bills.

It's time you thought of me!


I'm sorry to have hurried you through lunch, but I wanted you to get here and see this before the place gets cluttered up with people.

When you wrote from Greece you were telling me about the mosaics in the Orthodox churches.

But look at this, all these mosaics. There, behind the altar.

And in a Romanesque church. Isn't that amazing?

And look at that. And here in New York. It's really incredible.

Quite surprising.

It makes me homesick for our trips.

All those churches, you must have seen a lot when you were there.

Yes.

Be so marvellous to forget everything and take a nice slow trip to the Far East.

It might get us back on the right track.

Eve, I said I had something I wanted to say to you.

What?

I think we should finalise our divorce.

You do?

Yeah. Sooner or later we've got to face reality and try to make new lives for ourselves.

You know, it's very funny, because I thought that's what might be on your mind.

It's not the end of the world. It's not?

I think it's pretty goddamn terrible!

Eve, everything's going to be just fine.

Oh, I know that it's a little... soon perhaps to talk about a reconciliation, but I don't see why we have to finalise our divorce.

I don't see why we can't just go on the way we are.

We should be free to make other plans. Like what? What kind of plan?

Well, in the event that we meet other people. To become involved.

What are you saying? You wanna remarry? Is that it?

I'm not discussing that. Have you met someone?

No. Oh, you're lying.

Of course you've met someone. Why don't you be honest about it?

Yes, I have. But if you're gonna make much...

Oh, never mind. Just don't talk about it. Don't wanna hear any more.

I talked with your doctor. He feels you can handle this.

You talked to Dr Lobel behind my back? Not behind your back. Discreetly.

You've discussed this with Dr Lobel behind my back. It's so humiliating.

Eve, it's your doctor and myself. Now, how private can one be?

And he assured you that I can handle it.

Is that right? How humiliating! You're not humiliated.

Oh, I just wanna die.

Now stop that.

I just hate my life!

Oh, I can't... I can't breathe!


Flyn!

Hi.

Oh. Ahh. Oh, God, it's good to see you.

No, it's good to see you. You look terrific.

You really do. That's a great sweater.

Oh, no. It really is. It's nice.

You've seen this sweater before. No, I haven't. It's terrific.

Are you tanned, Renny? You been somewhere?

Why? Do I have on too much make-up?

You're the one that looks great, Flyn.

Oh, no. I don't. I'm heavy.

No. I've gained weight.

My plane flight was so bumpy, I thought I was gonna die.

I made such a fool of myself with the man next to me. Really did.

Have you met Pearl? Yes. She's not what I expected.

No, God, God, isn't it strange being back in the house again?

Yeah. Have you spoken with Mother?

Oh, yes. We're gonna have dinner one night this week.

How's she holding up? I don't know. Better than we all expected.

Isn't that right, Joey? She took it very badly at first.

But after the initial shock, she seemed to come out of it.

Joey feels that all of her Jesus Christ nonsense is actually somewhat of a help.

Whatever works. Hello, Flyn.

Michael. Gosh, hi. Nice to see you.

It's good to see you, too.

Joey, you have to tell me what you're up to.

Yet another job. At an ad agency.

That's fabulous. No. But it's temporary.

Here we are. I made some cocktail franks and meatballs.

About time too. I'm starved.

There's plenty. We have everything your little heart desires.

Good. Thanks.

Are you and Dad gonna be staying on here or are you gonna take a place in town?

Well, it's a little quiet out here, but Arthur loves it.

Of course, it means redoing so much of the house.

In what way?

Oh, I don't know. There's just the two of us and it's kind of pale.

Besides, I have so much furniture I own and pictures and knick-knacks.

This place'd look like a warehouse.

Would you like to hear some music?

Do I look older?

Older?

Yeah, I mean it. Do you think I look older?

No. Why would you think that?

I don't know, I don't know. I...

I look in the mirror every day and I feel discouraged.

Now I see you and you don't change at all.

No, you don't change. Your skin, it's like cream. Look at your skin.

I work at it.

No, I don't think that's it.

I have a few good years, then my youth will be frozen on celluloid for TV movies.

Come on, Flyn. You're more than just beautiful.

You know you have talent.

Don't pump me up, Renny. Why do you say that?

I know what I am. Look, I'm not treated seriously.

When really classy projects come along I get passed over.

If it wasn't for the stupid television industry...

You have always been so self-deprecating, Flyn.

You know that. No.

No, you're the gifted one in this family, Renny. I'm proud of you.

I wish you lived here, I really do. Every time I see you, I...

It just reminds me how much I do miss you.

How's Frederick?

He's angry. He's teaching when he really wants to be writing.

Teaching's something that can't be taught anyway.

Now, he's taking his rage out in these critical pieces under the guise of high standards.

I don't know. I guess I...

I don't think I've been very good for him. Oh, Renny, he idolises you.

What time is it? We ought to get back.

No, I think I'm gonna stay a while longer.

OK, I'll see you back there.


Hi.

You know I want you to be happy. I want you both to be happy.

Tell her.

Tell Pearl.

I know she puts on a gay facade, but... she knows how you feel.

Tell her.

Will you?

OK.


You look deep in thought.

I'm deep in vodka.

Would you help me get my boots off?

That's the best offer I had all year.

I paid 200 bucks for these boots and they kill my feet.

I did a terrible thing last week.

I wrote about this friend's book. Not a very good book.

I pointed that out. Which is what I was getting paid to do.

But I was extremely cruel about it.

And I took great pleasure in my cruelty.

My anger scares me.

I don't like what I'm becoming.

I happen to think you're a very impressive person.

Oh, I think you have very impressive feet.

And I happen to think you're very drunk.

Come on, not yet. Yes. Thank you.


We are gathered together here in the presence of this company to join this man and this woman in the bonds of matrimony.

Arthur, will you have this woman as your wedded wife, to live together in the ordinances and estate of matrimony?

Will you love her, comfort her, honour and keep her in sickness and in health, and, forsaking all others, keep you only unto her so long as you both do live?

I will.

Pearl, will you have this man as your wedded husband, to live together in the ordinances and estate of matrimony?

Will you love him, comfort him, honour and keep him in sickness and in health, and, forsaking all others, keep you only unto him so long as you both do live?

I will.

In as much as Arthur and Pearl have consented together in wedlock, and have withessed the same before this company, and thereto have pledged each to the other, and have declared the same by joining of hands, I, in accordance with the authority invested in me by the law of the State of New York, do announce that they are husband and wife.

You may kiss the bride.

Well, Arthur, friends...

Congratulations.

Jesus, I don't think I've ever seen him dance before in his life.

Ow.

OK. Don't forget.

Let me get you some champagne. That would be perfect.

Come on, baby.

All right.

Oh, my!


Jesus Christ, be careful!

You've had too much to drink. Just because I don't act like an animal!

That's enough! Oh, please! Just leave me alone!


What?

Oh, Frederick, you're drunk.

C'mon. You're always flirting with me.

No.

Yes. You flirt. You like to be looked at.

Otherwise you don't exist, except in somebody else's eyes.

Stop it, Frederick. You're drunk.

No, I'm celebrating. You got a new mother. She's a hot number.

Can't you feel the heat?

No.

C'mon. It's been such a long time since I made love to a woman that I didn't feel inferior to.

Or am I being tactless?


Mother?

Is that you?

You shouldn't be here.

Not tonight.

I'll take you home.

You look so strange and tired.

I feel like we're in a dream together.

Please don't look so sad.

It makes me feel so guilty.

I'm so consumed with guilt.

It's ironic because, uh... I've cared for you so...

And you have nothing but disdain for me, and yet I feel guilty.

I think you're... really too perfect to live in this world.

I mean, all the... beautifully furnished rooms, carefully-designed interiors, everything's so controlled.

There wasn't any room for any real feelings.

None.

Between any of us.

Except Renata,

who never gave you the time of day.

You worship Renata.

You worship talent.

Well, what happens to those of us who can't create?

What do we do? What do I do, when I'm overwhelmed with feelings about life?

How do I get them out?

I feel such rage toward you!

Oh, Mother. Don't you see?

You're... not just a sick woman.

That would be too easy.

The truth is... there's been perverseness and wilfulness of attitude in many of the things you've done.

At the centre of a sick psyche there is a sick spirit.

But I love you.

And we have no other choice but to forgive each other.

Are you talking to someone? Yes, uh...

I thought I heard voices.

Mother? Yes?

What?

You said "mother" and I said "yes".

Mother?


Mother!

Mother!


After the funeral service, we all returned to the beach house.

I couldn't help experiencing some very nostalgic memories.

Naturally, of my mother and, pleasantly, of the few warmer moments we'd known.

I recalled how beautiful she was, dressing to go out for the evening with my father.

And of how Renata looked up to her, and her ideas about art.

And how Flyn was so impressed as a tiny girl when Mother decorated a Christmas tree.

I felt compelled to write these thoughts down.

They seemed very powerful to me


Water's so calm.

Yes.

It's very peaceful.