The Bridges of Madison County (1995) Script

Hi, sis. Hey.

Hi. Hey, Carolyn.

Michael, if I could just get you to sign this right...

Whoops.

Here, which gives you the contents of the safe deposit box.

Fine. Thank you. And this one, which clears the bank... of all responsibility for the contents.

It's kind of exciting, huh?

Maybe we'll find out that your mother had secret millions.

Why don't we get started? Your mother is interred... at the Cedar Heights Funeral Home until arrangements can be made.

I thought it was arranged.

Well, there's a problem. What problem?

Well, your mother left explicit instructions to be cremated.

Cremated? Ew.

I don't understand it either. When did she decide this?

Oh, apparently just before her death.

I don't know anybody who gets cremated. Lots of people do.

Nobody in my family did. Dad bought plots at Prairie Hills... one for him, one for Mom.

The will clearly states... I don't care what it says.

Maybe Mom was delirious. Maybe she didn't know what she was saying.

If she wanted to be cremated, why the hell did she let Dad buy two plots, huh?

She was very specific.

She wanted her ashes to be thrown off Roseman Bridge.

What?! Bizarre!

Mr. Peterson, are you sure Mom wrote all this?

It was notarized and witnessed by Mrs. Lucy Delaney.

Maybe you could ask her. Who the hell is she?

I remember her, I just don't...

I don't care if it's legal. We're not cremating her and throwing... her ashes off some bridge where we can't visit her... because she'll be blown all over!

And people driving all over her, dogs... We're not doing it.

I'm not even sure it's Christian.

Maybe it's an Italian thing. She was Italian.

Doesn't matter!

Move on.

We can come back to this.

Why don't we open the box?


Michael, look at these.

Have you ever seen these pictures?

Huh?

It was in this envelope from 1965.

She's not wearing a bra.

That's the Holliwell Bridge.

In case anyone's interested. Why are there two deeds here?

Oh, this is for the additional acres he purchased in '59.

And this?

Those were bills of sale from equipment your mother sold.

This is for the original land parcel. Beautiful picture of her.

Michael. Yeah?

Michael. What?

Could you come here for a minute?

What?

Where are we going?

She say anything in there about me? About leaving me anything?

No.

What's going on?

Um...

We were just wondering if it might be better... if Carolyn and I looked at this stuff ourselves.

We don't want to keep you waiting around.

I'll, uh...

I'll contact your office about the legal work.

"I struggle to... put it together in a way that allows me to continue... knowing that we're on separate roads.

Then...

But then, I look through the lens of my camera and you're there.

I start to write an article and I find myself writing it to you.

It's clear to me now that we have been moving towards each other... towards those four days, all of our lives."

I don't want to hear anymore. Burn the damn thing.

I don't want to hear it.

Throw it away.

What's he saying now?

He just goes on about how if Mom ever needed him... she could reach him through the National Geographic magazine in D.C.

He was a photographer.

He promises not to write again.

And then, all it says is:

"I love you. Robert."

Robert.

Jesus.

I'll kill him.

That would be some trick. He's dead. That's what this letter is... from his attorney.

He left most of his things to Mom.

And requested...

What?

That he be cremated and his ashes thrown off Roseman Bridge.

Damn him. I knew Mom wouldn't have thought that up herself.

It was some damn perverted... photographic mind influencing her.

When did the bastard die?

'82.

Wait a minute, that was... three years after Daddy... Do you think...?

I don't know. I'm completely in the dark.

That's what I get for moving away.

We were kids when this happened. I...

I can't believe it.

Do you think that she... had sex with him?

Must be nice inside your head with Peter Pan and the Easter Bunny.

Don't talk to me like that. She was my mother!

Now I find that she was... She was a...

A what? Don't say that!

What am I supposed to think?

I can't believe she never told me.

We spoke at least once a week. How could she do that?

When did she meet him? Did Dad know?

Is there anything else in that envelope?

No, I don't think so.


You read it.

You read it.

"January, 1987.

Dear Carolyn:

I hope you're reading this with Michael.

I'm sure he wouldn't be able to read it by himself... and he'll need help understanding all this.

First and most of all...

I love you both very much.

And although I feel fine, I thought I'd put my affairs...

...excuse that word, in order."

I can't believe she's making jokes.

"After going through the safety deposit box...

I'm sure you'll find your way to this letter.

It's hard to write this to my own children.

I could let this die with the rest of me, I suppose.

But as one gets older... one's fears subside.

What becomes more and more important... is to be known.

Known for all that you were during this brief stay.

How sad it seems to leave this earth... without those you love the most ever really knowing who you were.

It's easy for a mother to love her children, no matter what.

I don't know if it's as simple for children.

You're all so busy being angry at us for raising you wrong.

His name was Robert Kincaid.

He was a photographer and he was here in 1965... shooting an article for National Geographic... on the covered bridges of Madison County.

Remember when we got that issue, how we felt like celebrities?

Remember when we started getting the subscription?"

That's Roseman Bridge.

That must be Robert Kincaid.

And that's Mom's medallion.

"I don't want you to be angry with him.

I hope after you know the story, you think well of him, even grateful."

Grateful? "It's all there in the three notebooks."

"it was the week of the Illinois State Fair.

The two of you were going with Dad to exhibit...

Carolyn's prize steer.

It was the Sunday night you left. I know it sounds awful..."

But I couldn't wait for you to leave.

You were going to be gone until Friday.

Four days.

Just four days.

Michael! Carolyn!

Richard! Dinner!

What I tell you about the door? Sorry.

Okay, so, would you like to say grace?

Grace.

Uh. Oh, more sauces.

A piece of bread.

Thanks.

That was The Shangri-Las with the number 10 spot... and moving up to number nine on this week's nifty 50... is "Baby, I'm Yours."


Damn drawer.

Here.

You can't get mad at it.

Sorry. Didn't mean to yell.

I want you to stay away from anything too spicy.

Mm-hm. And you promise me.

I swear. Only filters. No more than half pack a day.

I've got my orders. Doc Reynolds said so.

I know, I'm only kidding. Yeah.

Are you sure you don't want to go? I'm positive.

What are you going to do as a woman of leisure?

Same thing I do as a hired hand, except with less help.

I won't be able to sleep. I can't sleep without you next to me anymore.

It's only 4 days, hon.

Okay.


Oh, God, where have you been, huh?

You missed them, you know. They already left.

Why do you love me so much? You know I don't like you.

Get down.

God.

You like that song?

It's just you and me, buddy.

Just you and me.


Hi.

I get the distinct feeling that I'm lost.

Are you supposed to be in Iowa?

Yeah.

Well, then you're not that lost.

I'm looking for a bridge.

One of those covered bridges in this neighborhood.

Roseman Bridge?

That's it.

Well, you're pretty close. It's only about two miles from here.

Which way?

Well, you go that way and come to Cutter's and turn left.

To Cutters?

Cutter's a farm. Small house, close to the road.

Big, mean yellow dog.

Mean yellow dog. Okay.

Yeah. Then you go along that road until you come to a fork.

It's only... Less than half a mile.

And then where, after the fork?

The right.

And then you...

No, no. Not that fork. Excuse me.

You pass Peterson's.

Peterson's.

Peterson's is a farm.

Past the old schoolhouse, you turn left. It'd be easier to tell you... if the roads were marked.

Yeah, it certainly would.

Well, I can take you if you want.

Or I can tell you.

I can take you or tell you.

Either way, it's up to you. I don't care.

I wouldn't want to take you away from what you're doing.

No, I was just going to have some iced tea, and then... split the atom, but that can wait.

Okay.

I'll just get my shoes.


I wasn't exactly expecting company.

Okay.

Where are we headed?

Out. Then right.

Out... then right.


Wonderful smell to Iowa. Kind of particular to this part of the country.

You know what I mean?

No.

It's kind of hard to explain. I guess it's in the loam of the soil.

That kind of rich, earthy... alive... Well, maybe not alive.

Anyway, you don't smell it?

Maybe it's because I live here.

Yeah, I guess so.

Smells great, though.

Are you from Washington originally?

Yeah, I lived there till I was in my mid-20s.

I moved to Chicago when I got married.

Oh.

When did you move back?

After the divorce.

Oh.

How long have you been married?

Um...

Long time.

Long time, huh? Mm.

Where are you from? Do you mind me asking?

No, I don't mind your asking. I'm from...

I'm born in Italy. Italy, huh?

Yeah.

From Italy to Iowa. Whereabouts in Italy?

We lived in a small town on the eastern side.

No one's ever heard of it. Called Bari.

Bari? Mm-hm.

Yeah, I know Bari.

No. Yeah.

Really? Yeah.

I was on assignment to Greece... and I had to go through Bari to get the boat in Brindisi.

I was looking out, it looked like pretty country.

So I got off the train and stayed a few days.

You just got off the train because it looked pretty?

Yeah.

Yeah. Yeah, I did.

Excuse me.

Care for a cigarette?

Uh, sure. Sure, I'll have one.

So tell me, how long have you lived in Iowa?

Long. You just got off the train... and stayed without knowing anyone there?

Yeah.

That's it.

It's beautiful. Mm.

Yeah, this is great.

I won't shoot this today. I'll just do a little prep work.

Shoot it tomorrow. The light's no good right now.

Okay.

So I'll just wait.

I don't mind.

Go on down here.

This is about as good a place to start as any.

Beautiful bridge. Mm.


Beautiful. You out here much?

No.


Always this hot around here?

Oh, yes. This time of year. Yeah.

There's some sodas in back of the truck if you'd like one.

Oh, would you like one? Not right now.

I'll go get one.


Oh, there you are.

You caught me.

I was just picking you some flowers.

Oh?

Men still do that, don't they? I'm not out of date, am I?

Picking flowers for a woman as a sign of appreciation?

No, except those are poisonous.

I'm kidding! I'm sorry.

I'm just kidding.

I never... I'm so sorry.

Are you sadistic by nature or what?

I don't know why I did that.

Here. They're beautiful.

I'm sorry.

You looking for something in particular? There's not much selection.

I had a station out of Chicago earlier. Played good blues.

It's 1410.

That's nice.

Care for another cigarette?

Sure.

Is that the mean yellow dog?

Is it white? No, it's yellow.

Well, I want to thank you for all your kindnesses, Mrs. Johnson.

Francesca.

Robert.

Would you like some iced tea?

Yeah.

Yes, sit down.

You like lemon? Sure.

Maybe... a little bit of sugar?

You bet.

If you want more...

Thanks.

Aren't you afraid to have those in here?

I'm so sorry I did that. I don't know why...

Why I said that.

Where are you staying while you're here?

Uh, some place with small cabins.

Something-or-other motor inn.

I've got it written down, but I haven't checked in yet.

And how long are you here for?

Well, I don't know, maybe four or five days, a week at the outside.

As long as it takes to do the work. Where's your family?

My husband took the kids to the Illinois state fair.

My daughter is entering a prize steer.

How old? Oh, uh, a year and a half.

No, I meant the kids.

Oh.

Michael is 17 and Carolyn is 16.

That's nice, having kids. Yeah.

Yeah. They're not kids anymore.

Things change.

They always do.

One of the laws of nature.

Most people are afraid of change, but if you look at it like... it's something you always can count on, then it can be a comfort.

There's not many things you can really count on.

Yeah, I guess.

I'm one of those people that it frightens, I think.

No, I doubt that.

Why do you say that?

Well, from Italy to Iowa, that's a big change.

Oh, yeah.

But Richard was in the Army there.

I met him when I was living in Naples.

I didn't know anything about Iowa.

I just cared that it was America... and, of course, being with Richard. So...

What's he like?

He's very clean.

Clean?

Yeah. No. I mean...

He's other things too.

He's a very hard worker... very caring... honest.

He's gentle.

He's a good father.

And clean.

Yeah. Clean.

And you like living here in Iowa, I guess?

Mmm. Yeah...

Go ahead. I'm not going to tell anyone.

I'm supposed to say:

"Oh, it's just fine. It's quiet and the people are real nice."

And all that's true. Mostly.

It is quiet.

And the people are nice.

In certain ways.

You know, we all help each other out.

If someone gets sick or hurt, all the neighbors come in.

They pick the corn, harvest the oats or whatever needs to be done.

If you go into town, you can leave your car unlocked, and let the kids run around.

Don't worry about them.

There are a lot of nice... things about the people here.

And I respect them for those qualities.

But...

But?

Well, it's not... what I dreamed of... as a girl.

You know, I scribbled something down the other day.

I often do that when I'm out on the road.

Kind of goes like this:

"The old dreams... were good dreams.

They didn't work out, but I'm glad I had them."

I don't know what it means. I thought I might use it someday.

Anyway, I think I know how you feel.

Would you like to stay for dinner?

There's not much of a choice in town.

And you'd have to eat alone.

So would I.

Yeah, I'd like that. I'd like that, yeah.

I don't get a home-cooked meal too often out on the road. I'd like that a lot.

Okay.


This is ridiculous.


Oh.

Do you mind if I put some film in the fridge?

No, go ahead. This heat out here isn't too forgiving.

Anything I can do to help?

To help? What, cook? Yeah, men cook.

Okay, sure.

Yeah.

Sure.

Well, what can I do?

You can scrape the carrot.

Scrape the carrots?

And grate them. Make a nice salad.

All right.

Scrape the carrots. Like that. How's that?

Very good. Very nice.

Not bad, huh?

Don't forget to pick off the end.

Okay.

Pick off end.

Let me get these...

Excuse me. I can take the ends off of these too.

Hmm? Yes. That's a good idea.

This the way you do it?

That's good. But don't use your fingers because... you know, then they smell like...

I'll get you some lemon.

Right.

Say, would you like a beer? Yeah.

I've got some in the car. I would love a beer.

Anything to get out of a little work.

Very nice.

Nice.

Ha-ha-ha. No, wait a second. It gets better.

You've gotta picture this: There I am with three cameras around my neck... and I've got a tripod, and my pants are around my ankles.

I'm behind a bush, and then all of a sudden I see this gorilla.

The hugest gorilla you've ever seen, staring right at me... with the most lascivious look you've ever seen in your life.

I mean, more than you've ever seen on any creature with that much hair.

Well, I freeze, of course, because that's what you're supposed to do.

And then it started coming towards me.

And what?

What? Oh, my God!

I can't...

You're blushing.

It's a very painful subject. A very sore... sore subject matter, really.

What happened? We became engaged.

You should really... write these stories down.

I would, except this is a female gorilla. Uh-oh!

It had on eye shadow... and a little lip gloss on her little lips and it was so nice...

We still write.

I don't want to put this stuff down.

I'm afraid...

I'm afraid my writing's a little too technical.

The trouble with being a journalist too long is... you stop giving yourself permission to invent.

I think I'll just stick to making pictures.

Making pictures.

I like that.

You really love what you do.

Yeah. I'm obsessed by it, really.

Why is that, do you think?

I don't know.

I don't think obsessions have reasons. That's why they're obsessions.

You sound like an artist.

I wouldn't say that.

National Geographic likes their photos in focus... and not too much personal comment. I don't mind really.

I'm no artist.

That's one of the curses of being too well-adjusted, too normal.

I don't think you're so normal.

Really?

I didn't mean it in the way...

In the way that it sounded. I mean, you know...

That's, uh...

That's all right. We'll just chalk it up to a compliment... and move on.

Did you just love teaching?

Yes, when there was a particular student who can make a difference...

They're all supposed to, but they don't. You tend... to single out 1 or 2 who you think you can contribute something to.

And did you? I hope so. One went to medical school.

Why'd you quit?

My children, my kids.

And...

Richard didn't like my working.

But you miss it, obviously.

I never think about it.

What's the most exciting place that you've ever been?

Hm? Hm.

Unless you're too tired to talk. Most exciting...

If you're asking if a man's tired of talking about himself, you haven't been out much.

I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make it sound like a dumb...

No, just maybe it's a little dull for you... sitting here telling this to some housewife in the middle of nowhere.

This is your home. This isn't nowhere.

And it's not dull.

Let's see.

I guess I'd say that the most exciting place I've been to was Africa.

Because it's another world.

It's not just the cultures and the people.

That's great, but it's the air.

The colors from dawn to dusk.

There's something tangible about the whole thing.

The cohabitation of man and beast, and beast and beast.

Who'll survive and who won't.

There's no judgment about it either.

There's no imposed morality.

It's just the way it is.

It's beautiful, really.

Just nothing like it. It's... a voyeur's paradise.

I'd love to see that.

They have safaris. You could ask your husband.

Yeah.

Looks like it's a beautiful evening out. Would you like to take a walk?

Mm-hm.

You've got it all right here.

I'm serious. This is as nice a place as I've ever been.

The silver apples of the moon And golden apples of the sun Yeats. "The Song of Wandering Aengus."

Huh?

Good stuff, Yeats, huh? Yes.

Realism, economy, sensuousness... beauty and magic. All that appeals to my Irish ancestry.

Something wrong? No. Would you like something to drink?

Maybe some coffee?

Maybe some brandy?

Maybe some both.

Yes? Yeah.

Let's.

Sure you don't want me to help you clean up?

No. I'm not going to wash them now. I'll rinse them now. I'll do it later.

Francesca.

Huh?

You all right?

Yeah.

Francesca.

What?

What?

We're not doing anything wrong, you know.

Nothing you couldn't tell your children about.

To ancient evenings and distant music?


He's getting her drunk. That's what happened.

Jesus, maybe he forced himself. That's why she couldn't tell us.

Oh, he did not.

He's such a nice guy. Trying to sleep with somebody's wife?

I don't think so. And that doesn't make you a bad person.

He reminds me of Steve in a way. Steve's... weak, immoral and a liar, but he's still a real nice guy.

He just shouldn't be married.

At least not to me.

I'm hungry. Are you getting hungry?

I had no idea it's gotten that bad, sis.

Oh, please don't feel sorry for me. Nobody's forcing me to stay.

Why do you?

Do you mind if I ask you a question? No.

Why did you get divorced?

I was never around.

So Why'd I get married? That's a good question.

I guess I needed a home base. Roots.

You can kind of get lost on the road.

Mm. So, what happened?

I never got lost.

I was more at home everywhere than just in one place.

Kind of like a citizen of the world.

Must get lonely sometimes. No. I never indulge in that.

I've got friends all over the world I can visit from time to time if I feel like it.

Women friends too?

Well, I'm a loner, but not a monk.

You really don't need anyone?

No, I think I...

I think I need everyone.

I love people. I'd love to meet them all.

Yeah, that's the thing about Iowa.

You tend to meet the same kind of person over and over again.

So when Mrs. Delaney's husband has an affair with the Redfield woman...

...the whole town wakes up. Yeah.

Yeah, well, there's a lot of that going around.

It seems to me there's too much of:

"This is mine" and "He or she is mine."

There's just too many lines being drawn.

You know?

Doesn't it scare you though? Being alone?

I don't think so.

I think I embrace the mystery.

Do you ever regret it?

What? The divorce, I mean.

No.

Do you ever regret not having a family?

Not everyone's supposed to have a family.

How can you live for just what you want? What about other people?

I told you, I love other people. But no one in particular.

But I love them just the same. It's not the same.

I know it's not the same... but what you're saying is it's not as good, it's not normal, it's not proper.

No, that's not what I said.

I have a little bit of a problem with this American family ethic... that seems to have hypnotized the whole country.

You probably think of somebody like me as a poor, displaced soul... who's destined to wander the planet with not having a TV or self-cleaning oven.

Just because someone decides to settle down... and have a family doesn't mean they're hypnotized.

Just because I've never seen a gazelle stampede... doesn't mean I'm asleep in my life.

You wanna leave your husband?

No. Of course not.

I'm sorry about that. I apologize for that.

What made you ask such a question?

I thought that's what we're doing. Asking questions. It was stupid. I'm sorry.

No, I thought we were having a conversation.

But you're asking me these questions, you're reading these meanings into it.

It's meanings I must be too simple to understand or interpret.

I'm sorry.

I apologize.

Well, Roseman Bridge at dawn.

I guess I better be going.

Look, I'm sorry. No.

I apologize. You must forgive me.

That was a very indiscreet question. It was just... dumb.

I feel like something's been spoiled now.

It was a perfect evening, just the way it was.

Perfect evening... a nice walk.

Thank you for the... company and the brandy.

You're a good woman, Francesca.

Keep that brandy forward in the cupboard. It might work out after a while.

Oh...

And don't kid yourself, Francesca.

You're anything but a simple woman.

Johnson's.

Richard, hi.

Yes.

Everyone settled in okay?

Uh-huh.

Good.

I said, "good."


Johnson's.

Hi, it's Robert Kincaid.

Hi.

I got your note.

W.B. Yeats and all.

I put it in my pocket and didn't read it right away because the light was changing.

I had to get my shots.

The light was changing.

Yeah. But I do accept your invitation. It'll have to be later though.

I'm going to the Holliwell Bridge and do some shooting over there.

- After 9:00, how about that? Yes.

Yes, get your work done. That's what's important.

I'll make something nice we can warm up when you get here.

You know, it's just a thought. Maybe you'd like to come along with me.

Yes, I would like that, but I...

I'll drive my pickup and meet you there. All right?

- All right. What time?

How about 6:00?

Okay.

Great. Okay. Bye.

Bye. Hmm.


God, it's Lucy Redfield. Apparently Mrs. Delaney caught them.

There's a seat down here, if you'd like.

Thank you.


Kind of hot out, isn't it?

Yeah.

Well? Are you ordering anything?

No.

Thanks. I've changed my mind.


How about this one?

Mmm.

Oh, it's...

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

I haven't bought a dress for myself in so long.

I'm just buying a dress. It's not for a special occasion.

I'm just shopping for a new dress is all.

That might work.

And if he's still mad, tell him you married him out of pity.

That always works for me.

Johnson's.

Hi, it's Robert.

Oh, hi.

Listen, I'm running a little late. But I'll still... be there.

I don't want this to sound the wrong way... but I'm wondering if this is such a good idea.

Oh?

I had lunch in town.

And I crossed paths with that Redfield woman.

Oh.

I guess you got the whole story.

The cashier at the grocery store was most generous.

Yeah.

He's running for town crier next year.

I know more about the Delaney affair... than I knew about my marriage.

If it's gonna be a problem for you to see me tonight... don't feel pressured to do so.

I'm sometimes not too bright about people's reactions.

I wouldn't want you to be put in a compromising situation.

Yeah, I understand.

That's very kind of you to think of that.

Robert?

Yeah?

I want to come.

Okay? So I'll meet you at the bridge like we planned... and don't worry about the rest of it.

I'm not.

All right. I'll see you then.

Okay.

Bye. Bye.


Hi.

Beautiful here.

Make yourself at home. I just gotta knock off a few shots here.

Oh, look at the butterfly.


Got you! Oh!

Come on.

No, don't take my picture. Yeah, come on.

Go ahead, give me a pose. Come on.

One of those French model looks.

I can't. Like Gina Lollobrigida.


Oh, can I help?

No. No, I've got everything under control.

I'm just going to go... clean myself up a bit. I'm going to take a bath.

What happens if I set the table?

Oh. That's fine. Sure. Good.

Would you like a beer... for your bath?

Yeah.

That's nice.

Dinner will be ready... in half an hour.

I realized that he had been here... just a few minutes before.

I was lying where the water had run down his body... and I found that intensely erotic.

Almost everything about Robert Kincaid... had begun to seem erotic to me.


What's wrong?

You look stunning. If you don't mind me saying so.

Make-them-run-around-the-block- howling-in-agony stunning.


Johnson's. Hi.

Hi, Madge. Yeah.

No, I was just... fixing myself something to eat.

No, what?

Oh, yeah, I heard about him.

I hear he's some kind of photographer or something.

Uh-huh.

Hippie? No. Uh...

I don't know, is that what a hippie looks like?

Um, no, I was just going to step into a bath when you called, so maybe...

Yeah, they don't get back till Friday.

Yeah. Maybe I'll call you then, okay?

Bye.


If you want me to stop, tell me now.

No one's asking you to.


"He told me he wouldn't apologize for what was going to happen."

What's the matter?

I'm going to go get some air.


Take me someplace. What?

Right now. Take me someplace... that you've been.

Someplace on the other side of the world.

How about Italy?

Yeah.

How about Bari?

Yeah.

Tell me about that time... that you got off the train.

Well, you know the station. Yeah.

You know the little restaurant with the striped awning... serves arancinos.

Arancino.

Arancinos, yeah.

And zeppoli. I know that place.

I had coffee there.

Did you sit... by the doorway or near the front of the church?

I was near the church.

I know, I sat there once.

I sat there once... on a day like this. It was very hot and...

I'd been shopping and I had all these packages around my feet.

I had to keep moving them.

Then what?

You make me forget my story.

Lucky me.

I had thoughts about him...

I hardly knew what to do with.

And he read every one.

Whatever I felt.

Whatever I wanted, he gave himself up to.

And in that moment... everything I knew to be true about myself, was gone.

I was acting like another woman... yet I was more myself than ever before.

We decided to spend Wednesday away from Winterset... away from Madison County.

Away from pastures and bridges and people too familiar... and reminders too painful.

We let the day take us where it wanted.

Oh, is that India? It's beautiful.

Oh, look at this one.

Look at their expressions. So beautiful.

As if the camera isn't on them.

They're not photographs, they're stories.

You should have these published. You should have your own collection.

Nobody'd buy it.

Why do you say that?

Six publishers have told me so.

No big deal.

Whatever it is... that makes an artist look like an artist to the world... is just a feature I don't have, that's all.

Maybe you have to convince yourself first.

Maybe.

Maybe you have to ask yourself why it's an obsession.

What's that?

I remembered I had this the other night, after you left.

It was made for me in Assisi.

My aunt gave it to me for my 7th birthday.

"Francesca."

Keep it.


A musician friend of Robert's told him... of a place off the interstate.

A place, Robert assured me, no one I knew would see us.


Thank you.

Thank you.

Cheers.

What were you like when you were younger?

Trouble.

Why? I just wondered.

Why were you trouble?

I had a temper.

What were your parents like, your mother and father?

I don't know if I can do this, you know.

What?

Try to cram in a whole lifetime between now and Friday.


Where'd you go? Bar in town.

Have you called Betty?

Well, maybe you should.

I found out who Lucy Delaney is.

Remember the Delaneys from Hillcrest Road?

Yeah, but I thought she died.

He remarried. Lucy Redfield.

Apparently, they were having an affair for years.

The first Mrs. Delaney was a bit of a stiff.

You mean... she didn't like sex?

Mom could have helped.

Oh.

Oh, boy!

All these years I've resented not living the wild life in someplace like Paris.

And all the time I could have moved back to Iowa.

Are you drunk?

Not yet.

Oh.

You wanna get out of here for a while?

I think I'd better.

I'll take the keys.

I'm driving.

I've never cheated on Betty. Not once we were married, I mean.

Did you want to? Only about a thousand times.

What do I do now?

What's good enough for Mom is good enough for me?

What gets me... is I'm in my forties.

I've been in this crummy frigging marriage for over 20 years... because that's what I was taught. You stick things out.

Normal people don't get divorced.

I can't remember the last time my husband made love to me so intensely... that he transported me to Africa, for Christ sake.

Quite frankly, I don't think he ever did.

Now I find out that in between bake sales, my mother was Anais Nin.

What about me?

I feel really weird.

Like she cheated on me, not Dad. Isn't that sick?

When you're the only son you sort of feel... like the prince of the kingdom. In the back of your mind, you think... your mother shouldn't want sex anymore because she has you.

You're right, that is sick.

If she was so unhappy, why didn't she leave?

Can I... read it now?

Did I miss anything important?

Well...

She just took him up to her room.

Dad's room?

All right, you can skip that part. Let's just start... here.

"Robert lay asleep in the bed.

I was up all night that night.

What happens tomorrow?

By the end of that day he will leave and everything new and unknown... that had become so familiar...

...would be gone."

Did you sleep well?

Thanks.

Good.

More coffee? Sure.

I hope you don't mind my asking, but I feel like I should.

What?

These women friends of yours all over the world, how does it work?

Do you see some of them again, or do you forget others?

Or do you write to some of them now and then?

How do you manage it? What do you mean?

I just need to know the procedure, so I don't upset your routine.

Want some jam?

What are you talking about? Routine? There's no routine.

Is that what you think this is?

Well, what is this?

Well, is it up to me?

You're the one who's married and you have no intention of leaving your husband.

To do what?

Go off with someone who needs everyone, but no one in particular?

What would be the point? Will you pass me the butter, please?

I was honest with you.

Yes. Absolutely.

You have this habit of not needing, and that's very hard to break.

In that case, why sleep? You don't need rest.

Why eat? You don't need food.

What are you doing?

Gee, I don't know. Maybe I'm not cut out to be a world citizen... who experiences everything and nothing at the same time.

How do you know what I experience?

I know you. Oh?

What can this possibly mean to someone who doesn't need meaning... who just goes with the mystery, pretends he's not scared to death?

Let's stop this right now.

After you leave, I'll have to sit here for the rest of my life... and wonder what happened to me, if anything happened at all.

I'm gonna have to wonder if you're gonna be sitting... in some housewife's kitchen in Romania... telling her of your world of good friends, and you secretly include me in that group.

What do you want me to say?

I don't want you to say anything. I don't need you to say anything.

I want you to stop this now.

Fine.

More eggs? Or shall we fuck on the linoleum one last time?

I'm not gonna apologize for who I am. No one asked you to.

I won't feel like I did anything wrong. You won't me made to feel, period!

You've carved yourself a part in the world as a voyeur... a hermit, a lover when you feel like it.

The rest of us are supposed to feel grateful for this... Go to hell!

It isn't human not to be lonely and afraid!

You're a hypocrite and a phony!

I don't want to need you.

Why?

Because I can't have you.

What difference does that make?

Hm?

Don't you see?

Robert, don't you see? I just have to know the truth.

I have to know the truth, because if I don't, I'll go crazy.

So just tell me, either way.

I can't act like this is enough because it has to be.

And I can't pretend not to feel what I feel... because it's over tomorrow.

If I've done anything... to make you think that... what we have between us is nothing new for me... is just some routine... then I do apologize.

What makes it different?

It's just when I...

When I think... of why I make pictures... the only reason I can come up with...

It just seems that I've been making my way here.

Seems right now, that all I've ever done in my life... was making my way here to you.

And if I have to think about leaving here tomorrow... without you...

Don't let go.

Oh, my God, what are we going to do?


No. Where's your truck?

It's out behind the barn. I'll go... upstairs.

Hi!

Hi, Madge. I made some brown betty.

Sent Floyd off to town with the boy. I said:

"I'm gonna visit my girlfriends, spend the afternoon, that's all there is to it."

He said, "Who's gonna make lunch?" I said:

"I'm taking a sick day. Eat at the diner."

Isn't that hilarious? He didn't dare raise an eyebrow.

I don't even want to tell you how late he was out.

Sorry two days passed before I came by. With the boy home, time escapes me.

Have you heard from Richard? How's the fair? God, it's hot.

Yes. It's hot.


Come with me.

Come away with me.


Care for a beer?

No.

You're not coming with me, are you?

No matter how many times I turn it over in my mind... it doesn't seem like the right thing.

For who?

For anyone.

They'll never be able to live through the talk.

And Richard...

Richard will never be able to get his arms around this.

It will break him in half. He doesn't deserve that.

He's never hurt anyone in his whole life.

He can move on. People move.

His family has had this farm for over a hundred years.

Richard doesn't know how to live anywhere else.

And my kids...

They're practically grown. You said yourself they hardly talk to you.

Yeah, they don't say much.

But Carolyn is only 16.

She's about to find out about all of this for herself.

She's going to fall in love... and she's going to try to build a life with someone.

If I leave... what does that say to her?

What about us?

You have to know... deep down... the minute we leave here, everything will change.

Yeah, it could... It could get better.

No matter how much distance we put between ourselves and this house...

I carry it with me.

I feel it every minute we're together.

And I will start to blame loving you for how much it hurts.

And then, even these... even these four... beautiful days will seem just like something sordid and a mistake.

Francesca.

Do you think that what happened with us just happens to anyone?

What we feel for each other?

We're hardly... hardly two separate people now.

Some people search all their life for this and never find it.

Others don't even think it exists.

You're going to tell me...

You're going to tell me this is the right thing to do? Giving it up?

We are the choices that we have made, Robert.

You don't understand.

Don't you see?

Nobody understands when a woman makes a choice... to marry and have children... in one way, her life begins, but in another way, it stops.

You build a life of details... and you just stop and stay steady... so that your children can move. And when they leave... they take your life of details with them.

You're expected to move on, but you don't remember what moved you... because no one's asked you in so long, not even yourself.

Oh, but you never think...

You never think love like this is going to happen to you.

But now that you have it...?

Well, now I want to keep it forever.

I want to love you the way I do now for the rest of my life... but if we leave... we lose it.

And I can't make an entire life disappear... to start a new one.

All I can do is try to hold on to us... somewhere inside of me.

You have to help me.

Don't lose us.

Don't throw us away.

Maybe you feel this way. Maybe you don't.

Maybe it's because you're in this house.

Maybe tomorrow, when they come back, you'll feel differently.

Don't you think that's possible? I don't know.

Look, I'm going to be here a few more days.

We can talk later. We don't have to decide now.

Robert, don't. Don't do this.

I don't want to say goodbye right now.

We don't have to make that decision.

Maybe you'll change your mind.

Maybe we'll see each other and you'll change your mind.

If that happens you have to decide... because I can't.


I'll only say this once.

I've never said it before.

But this kind of certainty comes but just once in a lifetime.


Look!

You got it. I couldn't sell him.

I know. I knew you would win.

Good girl. Proud of you. Thanks.

Hi, Mom. Hi, darling.

Did you eat? Yeah. I ate.

Hey, there. How you doing?

It didn't take you too long to get here.

No. Three hours, what?

We really had fun. Are you hungry?

I got something for you.

The fair was great.

You all came home.

And, with you... my life of details.

A day or two passed, and with each thought of him... a task would present itself like a lifesaver... pulling me further and further away from those four days.

I was grateful.

I felt safe.

Put me out of my misery. I can't stand the suspense.

I'm not talking about you.

I know I'm a goner. I can't stand the suspense. Shoot.

I don't even need a blindfold.

Condemned man's dinner. Chicken, peas, watermelon.

Do you want anything special?

How about that brown sugar meat loaf?

Okay.


For a moment, I didn't know where I was.

And for a split second, I thought that he didn't really want me.

That it was easy to walk away.


Robert leaned over as if to get something from the glove box.

Eight days ago, he'd done that... and his arm had brushed across my leg.

A week ago I'd been in Des Moines, buying a new dress.


That truck's a long way from home.

Washington State.

I'll bet it's that photographer they talked about over at the cafe.

Boy, what's he waiting for?


Come on!


Oh, no!

The words were inside of me.

"I was wrong, Robert. I was wrong to stay, but I can't go.

Let me tell you again why I can't go.

Tell me again why I should go."

I heard his voice coming back to me:

"This kind of certainty comes but once in a lifetime."

What's wrong, Franny?

Will you please tell me what's wrong with you?

I just need a minute, Richard.

I just need...

And now for the farm report.

Some areas reporting an increase in wind activity...


Dad, you bought the wrong feed! What?


I was grateful for the silence that night.

I realized love won't obey our expectations.

Its mystery is pure and absolute.

What Robert and I had... could not continue if we were together.

And what Richard and I shared would vanish if we were apart.

But how I wanted to share this!

How would our lives have changed if I had?

Could anyone else have seen the beauty of it?

Hi.

I'm Francesca Johnson.

And I...

I feel awful that I haven't come to visit you sooner. Is it a bad time?

Am I interrupting anything? Is it too late?

No, not at all.

"We became inseparable, Lucy and I.

The funny thing is, I didn't tell her about Robert until years later.

But for some reason, being with her... somehow made me feel... it was safe to think about him... to continue loving him.

This town loved talking about the two of us, but we didn't care.

And neither did your father."

It's time, huh?

Mm.

There. That's it.

Yeah?

Is better?

Is better.


Franny.

I just want to say...

I know you had your own dreams.

I'm sorry I couldn't give them to you.

I love you so very much.


After your father died...

I tried to get in touch with Robert, but he had left the National Geographic.

No one seemed to know where he was.

My only connections to him were the places that we'd been to on that one day.

And so, each year on my birthday...

I'd revisit them.

Then one day, I received a letter from his attorney... with a package.


There has not been a day since that I have not thought of him.

When he said we were no longer two people, he was right.

We were bound together as tightly as two people can be.

If it hadn't been for him...

I don't think I would have lasted on the farm all those years.

Remember that dress of mine you wanted, Carolyn?

The one you said I never wore?

I know I was silly... but to me it was as if you were asking to wear my wedding dress to the movies.

After reading all this...

I hope you can now understand my burial request.

It was not the ravings of some mad old lady.

I gave my life to my family.

I wish to give Robert what is left of me.

Hey, Dad.

Can I talk to you?

You've been gone all night long. Do I even have the right to ask where you've been?

Do I make you happy, Betty?

Because I want to.

More than anything.

Hi, Steve. It's me.

Good. You?

Listen, we have to talk.

Well, how about now?

Uh, no...

I've decided I'm gonna stay here for a while.

I don't know how long.

No, I'm not angry, Steve.

I'm not.

I'm not angry at all.

I gave Lucy his photography book.

If you are interested, take a look.

If my words still leave some things unclear... perhaps his pictures can illuminate.

After all, that's what an artist does best.

I love you both... with all my heart.

Do what you have to to be happy in this life.

There is so much beauty.