Native Son (2019) Script

WYATT CENAC: If you could remake public education in this country, how would you do it?

MAN: That's hard.

CENAC: Yeah, it's a great question.

-Yeah. -That's what I do.

-(LAUGHS) That's what you do? -Yeah.

♪ (FUNK MUSIC PLAYS) ♪ How do you give kids a fair and equitable education?

Smaller class sizes... sex ed... goat yoga.

Right, okay.

When you make a high school curriculum, what's that look like?

Just people who can think outside the box.

Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope.


( traffic flows )

( birds chirping )

BIG: Early mornin' I got the whole world to myself.

I don't need no alarm clock to wake me up.

( birds caw )

Morning, Walter.

( urine flows )

( toilet flushes )

( sighs )

I'm doing my class presentation today.

That don't mean you gotta spend all morning in the bathroom putting on makeup.

So how else am I supposed to look nice?

Big, you be quick, all right?

Go in my room and get dressed.

And you can wear a pair of my shoes if you want.

Thanks, Mom.

Only not the red ones.

Thank you, Lord, for the food we're about to receive.

Get the hell outta here!

Shit! Fuck! ( all screaming )

Big, go get it!

He's under here, right under the thing!

Oh, shoot, Big, he's over there, he's over there!

Hey, not my books, Big, come on!

TRUDY: Buddy, go get the skillet.

He's gonna bite you, Big, watch out!

TRUDY: Be careful! No, he ain't scared none.

Don't get too close, Big.

( Buddy shouting ) Hey, yo, Buddy, hurry up.

He's gonna bite you! Hurry up, hurry up!

Here, take it, take it, take it! Take it!

( all scream )

( awed groans )

TRUDY: Finally got that motherfucker.


( all screaming )

Put it in the trash!

SISTER: Ooh! And wash your hands!

You wash your hands?



Be careful.

( clicks tongue )

( cat meows )

BIG: Hey. Hey.

( cat meows )


Hey. ( clicks tongue )

( cat meows )

Hey. Hey, hey.

Hey. ( sniffs )



( sniffs )

( cat meows )

You all are just a bunch of scrawny good-for-nothings.

Shiftless no-accounts waiting for a handout.

VOCALIST: ♪ One, two, three, now! ♪ BIG: Makin' somethin' of myself.

I got shit goin' on.

I make my move when I decide on what my move is gonna be.

I can't be jumpin' at just anything.

That'd be stupid.

I ain't stupid.

VOCALIST: ♪ They could care less about you ♪

♪ They could care less about me ♪

♪ As long as they are to end ♪

♪ The place that they want to be ♪

♪ They're always wearing false smiles ♪

♪ I guess it goes with the style ♪

♪ Politicians in my eyes ♪

♪ Always trying to be slick ♪

♪ When they tell us the lies ♪

♪ They're responsible for sending young men to die ♪

♪ We have waited so long ♪

♪ For someone to come along ♪

♪ And correct our country's law ♪

♪ But the wait's been too long ♪ BIG: There's plenty of things I could do.

Plenty of things.

Plenty of things I could be good at.

Great at, even.

( classical music playing )


You taking me out tonight?

Told you I would.

Mmm... but I don't dance enough.

You don't, eh?

( soft chuckle )

How many hairstyles you gotta do today?

Just one, but it's elaborate.

Is that for me?


No, that's for my boss.

I gotta deliver it for him.

He been cheating on his wife again?

Shit, you know it.

( soft chuckle )

Job opportunity?

It's probably just some bullshit.

( clears throat ) Maybe not.

She talking about she wants me to come home later tonight to tell me about it.

Well, I'm telling her that I'm coming.

That'll make her day.

I could use some perfume, though.

( soft chuckle )

( telephone rings )


Yeah, hey. Yeah, I did it.

Rang her doorbell and everything.

She didn't answer, so I just left it on the front porch.


I hope that's cool.

All right, cool.


( soft snickers )

You're crazy as hell.

Yeah? So what?

Thank you.

No sweat.

( classical music playing )

BIG: They're hurrying around like a bunch of rats.

And they're all blind, thinking they're in a groove, but... living in a rut.

What's up, bro? What's up?

For one, the fuckin' glasses always be foggin' up.

So get you some eye surgery.

'Cause then you have, like, twenty-twenty.

( soft chuckle )

Figure I do that shit, I'm getting my pilot's license.

I mean, yeah, though, all that shit for real.

Free like a bird.

You know?

In it and of it... flying high and above it.

GUS: You should come work for me, man.

BIG: I'm all right.

Just saying, Big, I pay twice as much as what that messenger job...

A'ight, Gus.

...delivering damn envelopes and shit.

I don't need a job, a'ight?

What I need is my motherfuckin' weed, nigga.

( laughter )

I got you. A'ight?

I got you.


Now, you sure you don't want nothing but weed?

'Cause I got... shit, I got "E," "F," "G," "H," "I," the alphabet in this motherfucker.

I am positive, bro.


Yeah, that's about it.

( muffled remark )


GUS: Still carrying that pistol, huh?


It was my Pop's.

You know all that shit, bro.

Don't mean you gotta carry it.

( soft chuckle )

Yeah, man, you gotta reframe your whole worldview, man.

See, people are motivated by love.

Or people are motivated by fear.

But your hair... that's smooth right there.

It's green.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, that's the, um... that's that color, "Army issue."

( laughter )

VOCALIST: ♪ Hey hey hey hey hey ♪

♪ Police and thieves in the street ♪

♪ Oh, yeah ♪

♪ Fighting the nation with their... ♪

( music playing overhead )

Hey, yo, what's up?

You guys have that Bad Rage vinyl?

Right here, man.

How much is that?

This, man? There's one in the Smithsonian.

( soft chuckle )

MAN: So, you in or what?

I don't know, Jack.

Man, what you mean you don't know, man?

It's easy money.

I don't know.

Listen, I got all the details worked out.

Old Blum ain't got nobody in the store, ten a.m.

Everybody gone wherever, everybody picked up they newspapers and all that.

Cops don't circle back until 10:30, so that gives us thirty whole minutes to hit that shit.

( Big clears throat )

You tryin' to rob a corner store at gunpoint?

I'm sorry, I'm not interested in being a part of some least common denominator stereotypical Negro shit.

You ain't gotta call it that, man.

Well, that's what it is, though.

Look, this ain't a nickel-and-dime robbery.

I got all the details worked out, bro, trust me.

I'll think about it, all right?

( scoffs )

MAN: Get off the fuckin' stage!

( movie dialogue plays )

TONY: Uh, excuse me, do you guys have tickets?

( snickering )

Tony. Bullshit. You all right, Tony.

Yo, Tony, want to hear about how we gon' hit Blum's?

TONY: Not right now, man.

BIG: Yeah, I hear that shit.

Y'all niggas always talk about how you want something to do, and now I got something.

MOVIE ACTOR: Anybody can tell you that don't add up to a dollar.

BIG: Nigga, shut the fuck up and watch the fuckin' movie, bro.

Fuck y'all niggas, man.

( distant dog barks )

So, Big, what kind of music you into?

You like that hip-hop?

What is it?

Nas, Jay-Z, Biggie or Tupac?

( soft chuckle ) I like Kanye.

TRUDY: Marty was asking Big.

None of the above, man.

What about sports? The Bulls?

You know, I know a guy that can get me some tickets.

Maybe it'd be nice if the two of us go to a game sometime.

No, you know, sports were more like, uh, ( clears throat ) my dad's thing.



Yeah, more like a dad thing.

Y'all two getting serious?

Your mother's a wonderful woman.

As the three of you know.

Marty thinks I should go to law school.

You're a great paralegal. You should take the next step.

So y'all will both be lawyers.

Yeah, well, not all lawyers make the big bucks.

I mostly work with the non- profits, that kind of thing.

Tell him about the job, hon.

( Big slurps loudly )

It's an excellent opportunity.

What is it, office work?

One of our biggest clients is looking for a new driver.

That sounds so boring.

That's 'cause you don't drive, stupid.

Who's the client?

Will Dalton.

He owns, like, every building in the city.

And he's had the same driver for twenty years.

Sounds like a great job, good pay.

Full benefits package.

So, you interested in the job, son?

I don't know.

I mean, I--

It's not mine yet. I still gotta... go in and do the interview and all of that.

So, is the interview at the Dalton Building?

No, it's at his home office.

I'll think about it.

BIG: New game. Same old rules.

Brand-new game. Same old shit.

What was that-- the only thing I remember from school--

"panem et circenses."

Bread and circus.

Keep them fed and entertained and stupid, and, that way, you can keep them where you want them.

You and Big serious?

We together.

You should be with someone who's got more going on.

What, like you and Gus?

Yeah. Gus has got a future.

Big's cool and all, but... he's more like a fixer-upper.

He's a wild card, and he don't need fixin'.

When they made Big, they broke the mold.

( laughs )

( indistinct friendly chatter )

Hey, y'all know that up there is me, right?

How you doin'?

Who is that?

( soft laughter )

Mnh-mnh. White girls like poodles.

They go to bed with anybody.

Is you gon' look at her all night?


Shit, I'd rather be lookin' at you, baby.

Well, you weren't.


It's me and you, all right?

( passionate moans )

BIG: Oh, fuck.

Hey, look, I'm telling you, Blum's store is a cash-only business.

And they got money in the till ripe for the taking.

I mean, and it'd give us a way to prove ourselves.

TONY: We ain't in high school no more, man.

I mean, shit, I got a son I gotta take care of and a job I gotta do, every day.

JACK: Suit yourself.


What's Gus say?

Got "A," got "B," got "E."

Shit, I got the whole damn alphabet.

( both chuckle )

Yeah, I don't know. I don't think Gus is in.

Yeah, that's 'cause Gus don't need the opportunity.

Just me, you, Big.

You got it all planned out?

Man, it's like we practically already done it.

Yeah, home... I don't know, bro.

Know, it-- it ain't for me.


You don't want to nothin' authentic.

Instead of looking and acting like a real brother, you have to run around fronting like a fucking clown.

I'll meet you whenever... and rob whatever.

Name the time and place.

Next Tuesday, a week from today, ten in the morning.


BESSIE: You really gon' rob that store with Jack?

BIG: I told him I would.


You want me to stay the night?

Maybe tomorrow night.

What about that job offer from your mom?

What about it?

( music playing )

VOCALIST: ♪ Everybody's still got a veto ♪

♪ And everybody's still got the power ♪

♪ Everybody's still got a veto ♪

♪ And everybody's still got the power ♪

♪ For the blind people ♪

♪ For the blind people ♪

♪ Every man and woman is learning how to fight ♪

♪ Babies are learning how to shout ♪

♪ Black power ♪

♪ Black power ♪

♪ Some countries in Africa got it quite all right ♪

♪ What's there to stop every other one ♪

♪ From black power? ♪

♪ From black power? ♪

♪ Yeah, we want power... ♪

( doorbell rings )

( footsteps approach )

You must be the Thomas boy.

Yes, ma'am.

I'm Peggy, come in.


You'll get used to it.

Wait here.

All right.

You can sit down.


( footsteps approach )

Great of you to come by this morning.

Will Dalton. Um, thank you for having me, sir.

No "sir," just Dalton.

Thank you for having me, Mr. Dalton.

You can come on this way.

All right.

So, you all been living here a long time?

WILL: The house has been in the family for generations.

Is everything OK?

I wanted to meet our new driver.

Mr. Thomas, meet my beautiful young wife, Mrs. Dalton.

It's a pleasure.

Did you find the house all right?

Yeah. Yes. Yes, ma'am.

You didn't get lost.

Not at all, ma'am.

Marty says you are a wonderful young man.

Do you enjoy driving?

Very much, ma'am.

Well, it's settled, then.

Let's head into my office.

It's a pleasure having you in our home.

Nice to meet you.

( Will chuckles softly )

She hasn't always been blind.


Have a seat.

No computer?

I'm a total Luddite.

I feel that.

I prefer, uh, cassettes to CDs.

We're on the same page.

( soft chuckle ) Yeah.

Your resume? Yes. Uh...

It's not really... up to date.

Ah, that's fine.

Marty says you're a good guy.

So, my security guy, he insists that I do a thorough background check.

( soft chuckle ) OK.

Clean record.

( soft chuckle )

Well, yeah.

You're a good driver?

The best.

I-I've never even run a red light.

That's what they say.

Your first name is Bigger.

Yeah. Uh, my friends call me Big.

Not Biggie? After Biggie Smalls? Nah.

Good, seeing how Christopher Wallace came to a difficult end.

( soft chuckle )

Are you nearsighted or farsighted?

I wear them for driving, but, uh, they're not strong.

They're just to... make things...

Clearer. Right.


No, sit down.

So, you'll have a room here, on the top floor of the house.

You'll have your meals here too, of course.


You'll make a thousand dollars a week.

( chuckles )

You got any questions so far?

None at all.

I'm usually at the office by eight a.m.

Then you'll be on duty to take Miss Dalton, our daughter, to the university.

Her class schedule, it varies.

But during the day, should Mrs. Dalton want to go out, you'll take her.

Think you can handle all that?


One question:

You guys want me to cut my hair?

It's fine just as it is.

Is that good?


Job is yours, Bigger.


Mr. Greene, our last driver, he did very well here.

We hope you will too.

I plan to.

MARY: Dad?

Mom said you were interviewing.

I already hired him.

Bigger Thomas, this is my daughter Mary.



I think I saw you on the news.


( giggles ) It's for the kids charity event, Dad.

Alex. OK.

Last year, I, um, made page six when I took my boyfriend Jan to Havana.

WILL: We were worried.

But it was all good in the end, right?

Yeah, you could say that.

WILL: Let's go find Peggy.


So, uh, your name is Bigger?

Uh, yeah, yeah.

My friends call me Big.

Your hair is rad.

( chuckles ) Thanks.

Do you ever go to, um, Animal?

Um, yeah, yeah, sometimes.

So crazy, all the political stuff that's going on these days, right?

WILL: Mary, I don't think Bigger wants to talk about--

Sure he does.

Dad hates it when I talk about Occupy or the Peoples Movement, but, I mean, you probably march, right?


MARY: I hear you, I hear you.

Folks work a nine-to-five job don't really have time to be at all the rallies.

But you're outraged, aren't you?



See, Dad?

He's outraged.

Unlike you because you're a damn capitalist.

( Will laughs ) You're outraged, as you should be.

I'm just happy to have this job.

I, uh, I have class tonight.

You gonna take me?

We haven't worked out his start date yet.

Let him start tonight.

Yeah, I can-- I can-- I can start tonight.

Is that cool?

Yeah, that's-- that's fine.

Cool. OK.

Bye. Love you.

You too. See you.

It's nice--

For years, we have been staunch supporters of the NAACP.

Mary, instead of pointing out the good I'm doing, delights in pointing out my faults.

( chuckles )

Well, I think you're doing a pretty good job, sir.

I appreciate you saying that.

PEGGY: This is your room.


PEGGY: Look, you get southern exposure, so it will always be nice and bright.

We're changing the sheets once a week.

OK. And you've got Wi-Fi.


You and I will always use these back stairs here so that they can have their privacy, and, quite frankly, so can we.


You know, after you've been working here for a while, you might have a lady friend whom you'd like to invite over sometime.

( soft chuckle )

I think a place like this needs security cameras, but Mr. Dalton thinks heightened security means heightened crime.

So, this is the furnace.

You'll be in charge of loading this monster.

It heats the house adequately, but it's a clunky old thing.

Still takes coal.

I tell Mr. Dalton, let's get something more green, but... maybe you'll be able to convince him.

Until then, you'll be loading this dinosaur twice a day, and each night before you go to bed, you have to clean out the ashes.

All clear?

All right.


Can I touch your hair?

I'm kidding.

( popping tongue )

Wanna turn the radio on?


Shit. ( grunts )

( hip-hop music playing )

You like this music?

Yeah, it's-- it's cool.

What do you listen to?

Well, if you really want to know, sometimes, uh... this.

( death metal music playing )

It's pretty cool.

Then, uh... sometimes I look for this.

( classical music playing )


It's all perspective.

Well, rest assured, you and my dad are gonna get along just great.

I thought you were going to class?

Just meeting some friends.

You wanna come in?

Nah, I'm good. I think I should probably stay with the car.

No, you should come in, but, um... I get it.

OK. Stay warm.

All right.

( sighs )

( indistinct chatter )

( muffled speech )

( muffled speech )


MARY: See ya.

JAN: Big?


You're Jan.

How'd you know?

Stuff I read online.

Don't believe everything you read about Jan.

There's a lot of fake news out there.

Hey, can I drive?

Aw, don't worry about it, Big, it's cool.

JAN: Cool. Everybody in?

Where should we go?

I'm starving. Are you hungry, Big?

Uh, I'm all right.

Yo, how 'bout a place in your neighborhood, Big?

You know... where you can get some real food.

MARY: What about B and G's?

Let's go to B and G's, yeah?

JAN: Sounds good.

I don't... I don't think y'all want to go to B and G's.

It's on Juneway Terrace and Howard.

Hey, maybe Big doesn't want to go.

It'll be fun.

Come on, guys, it'll be my treat.

All right, let's... let's go to B and G's.

JAN: All right.

Let's go.

( Mary speaks indistinctly )

( music playing )

MARY: Thank you.

JAN: Uh, can we get a bottle of vodka?

JAN: Thank you.

Yo, why is Big with them?

I don't know.

He's supposed to be at work.


It don't look like he at work.

This place is nice.


Hey, Big.

Hey, Lily.

Look, I'm sure he ain't with her, a'ight? He's with them.

If he's working, then why is he sitting with them?

I don't know.


BESSIE: I'm-a be cool.

JASMINE: A'ight.


I thought you was at work.

I am.

Um, I'm Jan.

I'm Mary. Hi.

Nice job.

Yeah, it's all right.

I didn't catch your name. Sorry, what's your name?

Uh, this is Bessie.

Bessie, if you want to sit down, there's plenty of room.

No. I'm already sitting over there.

I'll go back to my place.

Hey, you wanna-- you wanna meet up later?

You want one?

Yeah, all right.

JAN: That your girlfriend?


Jan and I are, um, engaged.

But please don't tell my dad because he'll lose his mind.

Your dad seems all right.

Yeah... if you like One-Percenters.

It's all the same shit to me.

I grew up in Los Angeles-- well, outside of Los Angeles.

My, uh, folks split up.

Me and my mom, we, uh... scraped by.

My dad, he was an accountant, you know?

One day he just... dropped dead.


So sorry.

No, it's all good.

How long?

'Bout six or seven years ago.

I live in such an "affluenza" bubble, and...

I've no idea... about what, like, black people actually think about what's going on in the world right now.

Well, I'll be sure to mention that at our next black meeting.

( both chuckling )

JAN: Good night. MARY: Good night.

BIG: Let me ask you a question.

MARY: Mmm?

The driver before me, Greene, he used to take you wherever you wanted to go, huh?

Mnh-mnh. ( chuckles )

No, he was, uh, straight as an arrow, super square, no fun ever.

No, he was all right, though. He, um...

He went to night school, he got his degree in business.

Moving on up. ( chuckling )

My parents are very proud of him.

( distant dog barks )

MARY: That's a lot of stairs.

Help me.

You can make it up.

MARY: Here's the thing, Mom-- I'm fine to go to church, so long as you can recognize that religion is the opiate of the masses.


I think it is lovely that we are attending church and giving thanks.

MARY: It is, it is, it's lovely.

Thank you. Thank you, Jesus.

( bells tolling )

WILL: I could use a week of rain, just listening to you read.

You're gonna read me another chapter, aren't you?


"I looked at him eagerly when he looked at me, and slightly moved my hands and shook my head.

I had been waiting for him to see me, that I might try to assure him of my innocence.

It was not at all expressed to me that he even comprehended my intention, for he gave me a look that I did not understand, and it all passed in a moment."

( soft chuckle )

So fantastic.

( traffic flows )

( punk rock music playing )

( indistinct voices )

( symphonic music rises )

( symphonic music plays on radio )

I love Beethoven.

Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I love him too.

All right.

WILL: So, you can borrow the car anytime you like.

BIG: Yeah?

WILL: Take your girl out for a spin, or something.

BIG: Yeah, uh, maybe.

VOCALIST: ♪ Hey, wait, look, huh ♪

( overlapping laughter and chatter )

( vocalist continues singing )

JACK: Hey, babe, bring me water.

I didn't do the job because you didn't show.

Nigga, don't be casting your fucking anxieties on me.

Got yourself a new job and you lost your nuts, huh?

Oh, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Don't go there, big dawg.

I'll go wherever the fuck I want.

Better watch yourself.

Big'll put you out on the street, your ass gon' be walkin' home.

( laughter )

Ha ha ha ha.

Nigga ain't interested in a real job.

He's too busy working for the white folk.


You a house nigger now.

Hey, fuck you, nigga.

No, fuck you.

Living in a big house.

You aren't a nigga no more, are you... nigga?

He never even really was one.

Yeah, you a lame-ass pussy Oreo for damn sure.

( Jack groans )


Yo, Big, come on!

Come on, Big, get off him!

What the fuck, man?

No, no, no, no, no!

Black enough for your motherfuckin' ' ass now, nigga?

Chill, chill.

Man, fuck you, Big! No, no, no, no, no.

You hit me? Get the fuck off me!

Look at me, baby, look at me, look at me.





Can I help you with something?

My name is Greene.

You must be Bigger.


So, what, you here to take your old job back?

( chuckles )

No, young man, I'm happy where I'm at.

Mr. Dalton says you workin' out all right.

I am.

Still got both your feet on the ground?

Shit, you see me standing here?

Good man. Keep standing.

You know, you and me came up in the same hood.

I'm guessing that you had your share of troubles like I had.

You don't know... nothing about me, man.

Just, you know... try to keep both feet on the good foot.

What is that supposed to mean?

I know you don't know me from Adam, but I'm just here to give you some friendly advice.

( soft chuckle )

Mr. Dalton's giving you a chance.

Make something of it, OK?

Aren't you cold?

A little.

I don't know about Mary, man.

She seem a little crazy.


( both chuckle )



What? What? Really?

( grunts ) Yeah.

Come on, get up.

Get up, baby.

( playful squeak )

What? Come on.

Unh-unh, what you trying to do? Huh?

( Bessie giggles )

BIG: Why you playing?

Girl... ( indistinct remark )

JAN: Your friend have anything more interesting than weed?

You know, like...

I don't know, something stronger?

MARY: So you're studying business management?

That's not boring. It's smart.

Yeah, it feels boring.

Well... it's totally marketable, which is great.

MARY: Beethoven?

Ninth Symphony?

Yeah, that's a good one.

Well, you should come.


What, you gon' go?

My parents are season subscribers, so they always get two pairs of tickets, but they never use 'em.

They'd love it, really. I mean, we-we should go.

JAN: See you, Jules.

I got exams this week.

All right.

Well, you think about it.

( Bessie chuckles ) BIG: I will.

( Mary laughs )

So, where do you spend your summer, Big?

I, uh, summer where I winter.

( snickers )

Not everybody goes away for the summer, babe.

( Bessie sighs )

I didn't want to assume.

I mean, that's worse, right?

Sorry. ( chuckles )

You'll get used to us.

JAN: I should probably...

( orchestral music playing )

GEORGE: Good evening, Miss Dalton.

Hi, George. Sorry we're late.

( "Ode to Joy" from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony plays )

BIG: Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

A blockbuster.

A true fucking masterpiece.

"I don't want to know anything about your system of ethics.

Strength is the morality of the man who stands out from the rest...

and it is mine."

( Beethoven's Ninth Symphony concludes )

( softly ) "...with love."

( soft chuckle )

MARY: Why do they call it Molly?

BIG: Enjoy yourselves.

( hip-hop music playing )

( Jan pontificates )

JAN:'s going to come from you.

That's how it has to happen, if it happens at all.

But if it does happen, it's going to come from you, right?

Like, you have the power.

You guys have the crux.

Our generation has the power to change things.

( dance music playing )

( muffled music )

I should go.

I got work in the morning.

Damn, though.

Damn, you know I can't wait.

I know.

I'll text you when I get home.

( softly ) I love you.

I love you.

I love you too.

( hip-hop music playing )

What the fuck! Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.

It's OK, it's OK, it's OK, it's OK, it's OK.

What do you mean it's OK?

No, get the fuck off!

MARY: Jesus!

BIG: Are you OK?

Look, I'm sorry.

Are you fucking kidding me?

You know what? Fuck this!

Big, can you get her home?


Thank you for the "E."

It was an ounce.

Please just take it.


Thank you.

Yeah, well, thank you for the record.

That shit was rad.

Thank you for coming to my rescue at the party.

No sweat.

Meant a lot to me.

Oh, God.

I feel weird.

You want me to pull over?


( both chuckle )

( through clenched teeth ) I sorry.

All right. For something weird.

( Mary giggles )

( giggles )

( Mary sings indistinctly )

( softly ) Fuck.

♪ Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ♪

♪ Life is but a dream ♪ Hey, hey, hey! Hey! Come here.

Hey, hey-- Come on! ( laughing )

Hey, come on! ( laughing )

BIG: Shh.

Thank you so much. Yeah, of course.

But you gotta be really quiet, OK?

MARY: Yeah.


All right, girl. "All right, girl."

( sniffles ) All right. You good?


All right, but you gotta be quiet.

Shh. OK? You shh!

( mumbling ) Yeah--

OK. All right. Hey!

Hey. I love... everything.

That's the point, OK? Hey.

OK. I need you to have a seat. No.

I love you.

Right. No! Hey.

I mean it. I really love you.

OK. All right. I think you're really, really high.

Hey. You gotta lay down for me.

All right? Thank you for the great drugs.

( sighs )

OK. ( breathing heavily )

Hey. You gotta stop. Mm-hmm?

You're gonna get me fired, all right?

OK, now you gotta lay-- Do you wanna have a thing?

We could have a little thing. No.

We could have a big thing.

No, no, no. Don't. Shh.

Lay down for me, all right?

OK? I don't wanna get fired. OK, OK, OK, OK.

You're gonna get me fired.

If I lay down for you, will you lay down with me?

You gonna make me lose my job.

You're very handsome. Stop it.

You're so handsome.

I mean it. You're really handsome. ( makes gurgling sound )

( Mary laughs ) MRS. DALTON: Mary?

I don't want you to-- Shh!

I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. All right, all right.

Mary, are you here?

Shh! That's my mom.

MRS. DALTON: Are you home? Shh!

Mom? ( muffled laughter )

MRS. DALTON: Mary, are you there?

Mm-hmm. ( muffled laughter )

( muffled grunting ) Shh!

MRS. DALTON: What's that, dear?


( sighs )

( whispers indistinctly )

Hey. Hey, hey!

Hey! Mary stop playing! Come on!

Let's go!

( retching )

( grunting )

BIG: They'll open their bedroom doors, and they'll catch me.

I hope they do.

Then it'll be over.

Then it'll be done, and I'll be able to rest.

But no, they're not going to open their doors, are they?

( breathing heavily )

They're not going to see me carrying her through their house.

'Cause they're blind.

Her. Both of them.

All of them.

They're blind.

( breathing heavily )

( sighs )

( grunts )

You're gonna help me out, OK?

Help me out.

( grunting )

Come on. Help me out.

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

( breathing heavily )


( grunts )

( spits )

( sighs )




What's up?

You ain't like it at their house?

learn how to speak Must've fell out your pocket when you was sleepin'.

Anybody else see you with this?


Don't tell nobody, all right?

You need my help?

No, just don't tell nobody.


Hey, baby. Hey, Mom.

TRUDY: I thought I heard you come in.

How are things goin'?

Uh, good. Good?


You know, your father and I... we used to always talk about how you shine.

( sighs )

You're a very special boy, Bigger, and you've always done things your own way.

And I know, because of that, things haven't always been easy for you.

And this job may not be your dream job, but I am so proud of you for taking on the responsibility.

And I know your dad would be, too.

Good, bread, good meat... Good Lord, let's eat.

BUDDY: Amen.

( all laughing )

Amen. Amen.

( chatting indistinctly )

BIG: I'm sitting with them, and they don't even know what I've done.

( chatting continues ) Don't use your fingers.

BIG: Even if it wasn't me, folks would assume it was.

Hey, Mom. Yeah?

BIG: So I won't make it me.

I won't make it anybody.

I gotta find a way to be OK somehow.

Find a way to be something other than... something other than what I am.

( laughs )

Is Mary coming down?

( sighs ) I don't think she came home last night.

Her bed wasn't slept in.


I'll go give her a call.

( sighs )

Is Mary ready to go?

( sighs ) Peggy said she didn't come home last night, though I thought I heard her.

She came home. I brought her.

TV REPORTER: Chicago's mayor's office today announced a plan to add affordable housing to the city's most expensive and gentrifying neighborhoods.

Our own George Sherman explains.

GEORGE: The mayor wants to create a multimillion-dollar fund to give low-cost loans to developers.

The loans then would be used for...

If I prove myself, they'll put me on the management track, which means I'll be in charge of the ushers and the concession services.

And I get a say in what kind of products we stock.

You know, some candies just sell better than others.

BIG: Is Tony blind, too?

The more candy you sell, the bigger your profit margin.

Shit, man, I'll be managing that movie theater one day.

You know, God willing. ( sighs ) Shit.

Yo. BIG: Is Gus blind?

What's good, baby?

What's good? BIG: Probably.

( chatting indistinctly )

BIG: The only thing worse than being blind is having sight... but no vision.

( chatter continues )

BIG: Maybe everybody's blind.

Even me.

( music playing over headphones )

MAN: We checked all the public transportation.

The rental cars, the car service...

HENRY: So she hasn't gone to Cuba this time.

Doesn't seem like it, sir.

How long you been workin' here, son?

A little over a month.

You and Mary like to hang out?

Uh, no-- WOMAN: You're pals on social media.

Yeah, well, that's just--

How about you come downtown and answer a few questions?

You're charging Bigger with a crime?

Not at all.

Then I don't see any reason why you need to drag him downtown for questioning.

No CCTV, so for now we're believing your story.

So you brought 'em here?

Mary and Jan. Then what?

Yeah. You know, uh, Jan's her boyfriend, I guess.

Why do you guess?

It's her boyfriend for sure.

MAN: And they were drinking. Uh-huh.

You know, Jan's got a flask that he's on, uh, familiar terms with if y'all get what I'm saying?

( chuckles )

Um, they went to this party on the Gold Coast.

One of Mary's, uh, college friends.

What kind of party was it?

Well, I went inside.

You know, it was so cold outside, and I could only keep the car running for so long, so...

I went inside. It was pretty lively in there.

You must've had you a time. MAN: Mm-hmm.

Nah, I just stayed by the door.

But Mary and Jan went in.

Yeah, uh-huh. They was having fun.

You know, uh, smoking and drinking and... you know, probably doin' other stuff.



We've been watchin' him ever since you asked us to.

He's associated with political groups in Berkeley, but hasn't done much here except run his mouth.

He's a big-time talker.


He tried to get you to join his club or whatever he calls it? ( grunts )

BIG: I don't got nothing to do with that fucking shit.

I mean-- excuse my language, but politics just ain't my thing.

Besides, I got a job anyway, so...

Hmm. Well, thanks for allowing us to talk with you.

BIG: There. Asking me questions.

But they're taking their cues from Mr. Dalton.

( chatter continues indistinctly )

BIG: Me acting a good negro is foolin' 'em.

Even though it's the same act that they practice every day.

Sporting their badges, but still got the slave mentality.

Just tell us where the hell she is. Look--

I went home that night!

After you took her out for a good time.

No, I went home by myself.

Look, I didn't go anywhere near her fucking house, OK?

You wanna stick it to her dad, don't you?

No, I-- I want a lawyer.

What did you do to her, Jan!

( sighs ) You know, which part of protect and serve is this?

( grunts )

Oh, my God!

BIG: It is a peculiar sensation, this double consciousness.

This sense of always looking at oneself through the eyes of others... of measure one's soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.

( sirens wailing )


Hey, yourself.

How'd you get in?

The same way I always do.

What, is that a problem?

No, it's just that, uh, the movie doesn't start for another hour or so.


( laughs )

Yeah, uh... ( clears throat )... I'ma just wait it out.

( chuckles )

You want some popcorn or somethin'?

No, I'm good. No, Big, I'll get you some popcorn. No sweat.

( panting )

( sniffles )

I didn't think you'd come.

You got the cops around the corner or somethin'?

You know I'm not like that,

What happened to your face?

What do you think?

I know you're innocent.

Whatever happened out there, it was, uh...

I mean, it was some kind of accident.

Sure, they're tryin' to say that, uh...

I raped her 'cause her body's burned.

Mary was, uh...

I didn't, uh... you know, rape her or...

get with her....

( sniffles ) or any of that.

I know a good lawyer.

He'll help you. It's--

It's too late for that.

And the Daltons, man, they'll be on your side if you just turn yourself in. It's too late for that!

( pistols cock )

( panting )

I thought we were friends.

MAN ON TV: Let us pray for the woman lost, Mary Dalton.

Unh-unh. Unh-unh. And let us pray for our brother Bigger Thomas.

And why do they say he's guilty?

Because in their minds, he was guilty before he was born.

( clippers buzzing ) He's got black guilt.

There ain't nobody in this city free of this scourge.

Some of us got black guilt.

( crying ) Unh-unh! Some of us got white guilt.

Two sides of the same godforsaken... two sides of the same shameful story.

( beads clacking )

( Bessie grunts ) I'm not hungry.

( sighs )

You're gonna turn yourself in, right?

For what?

I didn't do nothin'. Then tell 'em that.

You can't stay back here forever.

( TV playing indistinctly )

Yesterday when they came around askin' about you, I didn't tell 'em nothin'.

That's good.

That's good.

You shoulda let me cut it.

I'm all right.

You know, you're always talkin' about wantin' to get married.

Well, let's do that.

Let's just run away and get married.

Did you kill her?

You killed her.


I didn't.

But if they catch me, they'll pin it on me and they'll twist it up and make it seem like I did it.

You want that for me? So you gotta tell 'em that you didn't.

Tell Mr. Dalton. Mr. Dalton... doesn't want to hear from me.

I don't know what happened to her.

But what I... what I do know... is that I need you.

You're not makin' any sense.

Run away with me.

They'll catch us.

Not if we're smart.

Not if we lay low.


We lay low and...

we hide out... you know, we just wait until things blow over.

Then we just go.

All right?

Yeah, OK.


Now get your coat.

Go on.

Baby, get your coat.

( door opens )

( hinges creak )

( mutters indistinctly )

( sniffles )

Hey. Hey.

Put your coat on.

You'll catch cold.

You got it.

I found a spot.


It's a good spot.


Please don't do this to me, Big.

( sniffling )

I done everything for you I know how, but please don't do this to me.

I don't bother nobody. I just go to work and I go to school....

Hey. Hey. Please don't do this to me.

Hey. Hey. Hey.

Baby, I love you.

I love you. You gotta trust me.

OK? Hey. ( crying )


You gotta trust me, OK?


You trust me?


This is a good spot.

( chuckles )


If you ain't do nothin' wrong--

Hey. Hey.

I got this.

I got this.

( birds chirping )

( distant siren wails )


You sleep all right?

( sighs )

( kiss )

( grunt ) I'm not--

I don't want to.

I can't be with you right now. I--

I came this far, and that's all I can do.

Baby, you ain't even gotta do--


( kissing ) Stop.

Stop. Stop it!


( running away ) Bessie!

Bessie. Bessie!

Did you kill her?


( expels air )

Gimme that.

Come on, give me the gun.

No. ( whimpers )

( indistinct chatter )

Why you gotta do that?

You gotta turn yourself in, Big.

( panting )

What you do that for? Big.

( muttering )

Baby. Baby. Why would you do that, Bessie?


( crying )

Why you do that? Hmm?

Why you do that?

Why you do that? ( Bessie choking )

You're gonna kill me too.

Aaah! ( coughs )


( Bessie crying )

I'm so sorry.

( panting )

I'm so sorry, baby.

Baby, I'm so sorry.

( crying )

I'm so--

Bessie, I'm s--

I'm so sorry.

( cries out )

( footsteps recede )

( siren wails )

I'm so sorry.

( sirens approach )

( sirens continue, louder )

( panting )

( sirens continue )

( doors slam ) ( police radio chatter )

( sniffling )

MALE SINGERS: ♪ Doo doo ♪

♪ Doo doo ♪

( male singers continue vocalizing )

( female singers vocalize )

( Bessie crying )

( vocalizing continues )

( sniffles )

( female singers continue vocalizing )

COP: Stop!

Put your fuckin' hands in the air!

( vocalizing continues )

Put 'em up!

Put your hands in the air.

Don't fuckin' do it.

( gunshots )

( cops chattering, indistinct )

BIG: In it... and of it... and now flyin' high and above it.

Lookin' down on the whole earth.

Wish that it was different... but it ain't.

Not yet.

Not yet.

( instrumental music playing )

( instrumental music continues )