The Prince of Tides (1991) Script

I grew up slowly beside the tides and marshes of a Carolina sea island.

We lived in a small white house won by my great-great-grandfather, Winston Shadrach Wingo... in a horseshoe game.

Last one around the tree is a ninny.

Joop, Joop, Joop! Come here.

Boys, boys! Careful now.

I'll race you, Tom. Wait up, Luke.

There are families who live out their entire lives without a single thing of interest happening to them.

Don't run so fast, Tom!

I've always envied those families.

Luke, mind you don't torment that dog.

It's my dog! It's my dog!

Tom, you're gonna step on him. He's only a pup!

Here, Joop. Come here, Joop.

Mom, did you see me run? Savannah, you want a bean?

Come here, Joop! Yeah.

Boys, you want a bean? Give one to the dog.

Quit squealing, Savannah.

You're next, Tom.

The child of a beautiful woman, I was also a shrimper's son in love with the shape of boats.

Luke, he's pushing me.

I'm not pushing her. Quit pushing her.

You know that.

As a small boy, I loved to navigate my father's shrimp boat between the sandbars.

There's a rock pile up ahead.

I suppose Henry Wingo would have made a pretty good father, if he hadn't been such a violent man.

From my mother I inherited a love of language and an appreciation of nature.

She could turn a walk around the island into a voyage of purest discovery.

As a child, I thought she was the most extraordinary woman on Earth.

I wasn't the first son to be wrong about his mother.

I am sick and tired of you... Leave me alone!

...never showing me any respect in my own house!

Wait for me! Listen to me, Lila.

I don't know when my parents began their war against each other.

You're running too fast for me. Move it, Tom!

But I do know the only prisoners they took were their children.

Wait, you guys. My shoes are falling off!

Keep up, Savannah.

When my brother, sister and I needed to escape, we developed a ritual.

Okay, jump!

We found a silent, soothing world where there was no pain.

A world without mothers or fathers.

We would make a circle bound by flesh and blood and water.

And only when we felt our lungs betray us would we rise toward the light...

and the fear of what lay in wait for us above the surface.

I held my breath longer than you.

That was fun. Let's do it again.

I did better than y'all.

No, you didn't!

All this was a long time ago, before I chose not to have a memory.

Daddy!

I think something bit me!

Mr. Brighton, are you selling dope to my girls again?

Stop bugging us, Dad. Bye, girls.

Bye, Mr. Brighton. Come on in. It's getting late!

It's a conch.

Bring him home. I'll send him to college!

How do you know it's a boy?

Well, let's examine him.

Now, girls, have I ever told you the facts of life?

Oh, no. Not this again.

Stay away from boys, because they're all disgusting, self-indulgent beasts that pee on bushes and pick their noses.

Gross, Dad! They're completely gross.

Anyway, I'm not gonna stay away from boys.

That's the spirit, Lucy. Never do a thing your parents tell you.

Hey, Mom, look what I found!

Daddy, if you don't ‒ If you don't quit smoking, you're gonna die.

That's what they told me at school.

Well, no more school for you.

Mom, Dad's smoking again.

Oh, no. Well, you know what to do with that. Put it in the sink.

Give me a kiss.

I wanna play.

You look tired, Doctor. I'll fix you a drink.

Oh, that would be so nice.

It's been one of those days.

Hey, honey, it's tough work being a saint.

Sal, can you get it? Something smells good.

Hey, Dad. Come and play with us.

Later.

It's your mother. She's calling from her car.

I'm not here.

Okay, Lila. She's coming over.

Why didn't you tell her we were under quarantine?

She said she had to see you.

No. Dad, they won't share.

Work it out, girls. Work it out.

She said it was urgent. She was crying.

I can't remember a day when Lila wasn't crying.

Be nice to her, Tom.

I hate my mother, Sally. I enjoy hating her.

Please don't kill one of the few pleasures in my life.

Then can we talk about something else?

Sure. What? Us.

I need a stiff drink for that conversation.

Listen. Girls?

Girls!

What? Would anyone like to sit on Daddy's lap?

No. There's money involved.

Yeah. Okay.

Now, girls, I'm gonna ask you a serious question, and I want you to answer it with brutal honesty.

Oh, brother. I know what the question is.

Who's the greatest human being on this Earth?

Mama!

Mama? I've gotta develop some new routines.

Come on, everybody. Pick up now.

Come on. Wash. It's bath time. Gotta get ready.

We gotta pass inspection, troops. Lila's coming over.

Lila, Lila, Lila. Why can't we call her Grandma?

You'll know when you're a grandma. I will?

Now, come on. Pick up everything and get into that tub.

How does a little bouillabaisse sound to you, Ms. Wingo?

Yuck! Can't we ever have normal food?

Do you think we could talk seriously for just a few minutes?

Not now, Sally. My mother's getting close.

Can't you tell? The air stopped moving.

Sometimes I think all you need is just a good smack across your mouth.

Uh-oh. Here she is.

Sally, quick! Tie this garlic around my neck.

Do we have to invite her for dinner?

She won't stay. You know that.

Then let's invite her.

Lila. Hello, Sally, dear.

Those shrubs need watering.

Yeah. I'll have to do that.

You're looking well, Lila.

Don't be glib, Tom.

Will you be having dinner with us? No. I can't stay long.

What a shame.

Where are my toys?

Where are the children?

Okay, fine. They're taking baths. Why?

I have some bad news.

Don't tell me. They canceled your American Express card.

Your sister tried to kill herself again.

You wanna make another joke?

Oh, my God, Lila. When?

I'm not sure.

She was in a coma when they found her.

How is she now?

She's alive, thank God.

I spoke to her psychiatrist.

Some Jewish woman in New York.

She wants one of us to go up there right away.

I told her you'd go.

What are you saying, Lila? If she's a shrink and a Jew, you can't go?

I didn't say that.

I'm just not entirely sure I'd be welcome.

You know Savannah. She'd probably blame me.

My children blame me for everything.

Oh, do I detect a note of guilt there, Mama?

Don't give me that psychological horseshit.

Why don't you just come right out and say it?

I'm responsible for all your problems.

Including your being out of a job.

Oh, let's hit way below the belt now, Lila!

Don't pretend you didn't start this. Come on. It's fun!

The fact is I just can't go right now.

It's your stepfather's birthday this weekend.

Well, gee, Mama, you know, I can't go either because I gotta wash out Sally's pantyhose.

I'm gonna take the clothes to the cleaners.

Why don't you just get a job as a stand-up comedian?

I'm sure it pays better than teaching did.

Which was far beneath me anyway.

Wasn't that what you were gonna say? Beneath your abilities, yes.

What do you know about my abilities? Talking to you is like chewing tinfoil.

What do you mean chewing on tinfoil? It always has been.

Just stop it now, the both of you!


I'm sorry you're hurting.

You wanted to talk?

It can wait.

Let's walk.

Tell me what you're thinking.

I'm trying to calculate the exact moment everything got so fucked up.

Uh, I'm also worried the Braves are gonna finish last.

I don't feel like laughing.

Oh, come on, Sally. Come on.

Do you know that this is the first time that you have touched me in weeks?

My life's a mess, Sally.

Our life's a mess, Tom.

Oh, look! There's the Big Dipper.

Oh, I don't give a shit about the Big Dipper!

Damn it, I care about us.

I care about why you keep pushing me away.

I thought you said all this could wait, sweetheart.

Wait? I've been waiting for two years, Tom, ever since Luke died.

I know how you feel about him.

I just don't know how you feel about me anymore.

Don't take it personally, Sal.

I don't know how I feel about anything anymore.

God, you're pathetic.


Don't blame it on us. Blame it on Con Ed!

Hey, come on. Let's get this truck out of here.

Get the fucking truck out of here.

Come on, I'm in a hurry!

I've got a doctor's appointment.

Hey, lady! What are you honking at me for? You're honking that horn...

It was only my sister who could force me to come to this god-awful city.

This city that roars down on you.

Christ, what the hell is going on?

She loved it all.

The muggers, the winos, the bag ladies, the wall-to-wall noise.

Christ! Get me out of here.

She loved it because it had nothing to do with our childhood.

Move it, for God's sake!

Luke and I hated it for exactly the same reason.

You're ‒

We're out of here. It's about time!

Jesus.

Oh.

Hello.

I'm Dr. Lowenstein.

You must be Tom, hmm?

Yes, ma'am.

Why don't you come in?

Hmm.

You can leave your things there.

Uh, am I supposed to lie down on the couch, or are we gonna make polite chitchat first?

How about a cup of coffee?

Oh, we're gonna make polite chitchat first.

Is that yes or no to the coffee?

It's a yes, ma'am.

Cream and sugar? And you don't have to call me ma'am, you know.

Oh, that's my good home training, and I'm a little nervous.

Cream, no sugar.

Why do you think you're nervous?

I get nervous every time my sister tries to kill herself. It's a quirk of mine.

A quirk?

I'm sorry. I was being cynical. It's a family trait.

Oh, I don't think Savannah's cynical.

No?

She's suicidal.

I wish she was cynical.

How is my sister?

She's out of physical danger, but emotionally ‒ When can I see her?

You'll have to wait until tomorrow.

Why? Why can't I go now?

Because she's been very agitated today.

We're still trying to quiet her down, and I think it'd be just too upsetting.

Wouldn't upset me.

No, but it might upset her.

How's your coffee? Is it hot enough?

It'll do.

In Savannah's poems... are you the shrimper or the coach?

The coach.

Luke's the shrimper, or was.

And Savannah's last suicide attempt was right after his death. Is that correct?

Yeah. She had a few bad days over it.

Were there other times?

Uh...

There might have been another time, I don't know, when we were young, but I'm not sure.

How are you getting paid?

Why are you changing the subject? Because I don't like it much.

Is it okay if I smoke?

I'd prefer it if you didn't.

Jesus.

How well do you know your sister's poetry?

I said I was a coach, Lowenstein, not an orangutan.

I was also an English teacher.

Of course I know her poetry. She's my twin.

I know her stuff a hell of a lot better than you do.

You don't like psychiatrists much, do you?

Why should I? What good do you people do? You ask a lot of questions.

And I'm sick of this whole damn routine.

I'm sick of my sister's attraction to razor blades!

And I'm sick of shrinks who can't do a fucking thing to help her.

Well, I don't know if I can help your sister either.

But I do know...

...I'm not gonna give up trying.

Why not? Maybe she just wants to die too damn much, huh?

And that's okay with you? You sound resigned to losing her.

Oh, hell no! It's not okay with me.

Yeah, but I am resigned.

Then I don't think you can help me with Savannah.

I'm sorry you had to come all this way.

What do you want from me?

Information.

You see, I've only been Savannah's doctor for a few months.

And there's so much more I need to know about her.

I need to hear the stories of her childhood.

And she can't tell me because there are whole portions of her life that she's blocked out, blotted out.

So I need you to be her memory, in a sense, and, uh, fill in the missing details.

I've spent my life trying to forget those missing details.

I beg your pardon? I sa ‒

God, she's a pain in the ass.

What time tomorrow?

I'll meet you at the hospital at noon. All right.

What's the matter? Do you have a headache?

Oh, a doozy.

You wouldn't have any morphine handy, would you?

Morphine?

That's a joke, Lowenstein.

Huh.

Come on! Get out of the way, kid.

If you don't move it, man, you're gonna get hurt.

Screw you, man.

Here you go. Thanks a lot.

Get up here now. We gotta go. I don't want to go up now.

You gonna help me with the bags?

Are you out of your mind? You crazy? I ain't helping you with no bags.

Come on. Move! Get out of the way, huh?

Yo, taxi!

Don't yell at me!

Shit! Shit!

Move your ass an inch, motherfucker, and you can kiss it goodbye!

Oh, hi, Eddie. Go ahead and shoot. I've had a rotten day.

Tom!

You should have told me you were coming.

The gun, Eddie, the gun.

Oh, I'm sorry. Savannah and I have been robbed twice this year.

They're leaping from fire escapes now.

One guy landed on my air conditioner.

I greased my windowsills. That didn't help at all.

Oh, I love New York.

Oh, tell me about it.

How's Andrew? Gone.

Said he needed space, so he found a younger man with a duplex.

His loss, Eddie.

Bless you.

Savannah was an angel. I practically lived over here.

So you're alone now, huh?

Well, unless I can tempt you into crossing the line while you're here, coach.

I got enough troubles, Eddie.

Actually, you look terrible, Tom.

I mean, you're not even cute anymore.

If that's your idea of seduction, no wonder you're alone.

Well, it isn't easy.

Did you know Savannah was seeing a psychiatrist again?

Of course. I recommended her. She's a friend of mine.

It was a bitch washing it out.

You found her?

We've been giving her 50 milligrams three times a day.

Mm-hmm. I'd bring it down to 25.

Dr. Klein, extension 242.

Dr. Klein, extension 242.

Don't expect too much.

Dr. Lowenstein, I need to see you.

Shh.


Hey, Savannah.

Hey, darling. It's me, Tom.

I have a cancellation, so why don't you meet me here at the hospital in 45 minutes, okay?

All right, I'm on the third floor.

What the hell is going on here? Why is she strapped down like that?

I know you're upset, but her team felt she had to be restrained.

Why? She has enough drugs in her to anesthetize a whale!

Her team decides what medication is ‒ Oh, would you quit calling them her team?

Sounds like she's trying out for the New York Giants.

What would you like me to call them?

Let's be creative. Call them assholes.

Well, let me tell you something about those assholes, Mr. Wingo.

I'm very grateful to them because they saved your sister's life.

Well, I don't like to see her strapped down ‒ I don't care what you like! She's still a threat to herself.

And there's no point to any of this unless we can keep Savannah alive.

And I don't care if it takes drugs or voodoo or reading the goddamn tarot cards, I want her alive.

Do you understand me?

You know, when I'm not picking straw out of my teeth, I'm a very smart man.

I'm sorry. I didn't mean to sound condescending.

You're tough, Lowenstein.

And I'm starving.

Any interest in lunch?

Only if you let me pay.

Oh, I insist.

I wouldn't have objected to Lutèce or Le Cirque.

Here's your change. Their chili isn't as good.

Thank you. Ah. Thank you.

Tell me something.

Why do you think your father wouldn't answer my telegram?

Dad only likes good news. Besides, the shrimp are running good.

And your mother?

Why didn't she come? I mean, she was the one I spoke to, and, uh ‒ Priorities. My mother's too busy hiring a caterer for my stepfather's birthday.

Do you always make jokes in place of conversation?

It's the Southern way, ma'am.

Southern way?

My mother's own immortal phrase:

"When things get too painful, we either avoid them or we laugh."

When do you cry, according to the Southern way?

We don't.

Jesus! Even Sally makes better chili than this.

I have a really good recipe, if you're interested.

No, thanks. I never cook.

What the hell is it with you doctors?

Tom. Yeah?

Does the word "Callanwolde" mean anything to you?

No. Why?

It was something Savannah kept repeating when she first came out of the coma.

Callanwolde, Callanwolde.

No?

I don't know.

I have to get back to the hospital.

It's late.

I can't see you tomorrow till about 7:30, okay?

Okay.

Lowenstein!

What's your first name?

Why?

Why not?

It's just that, um, my patients call me Dr. Lowenstein.

But I'm not your patient.

Susan.

Thank you, Doctor. I won't use your name. I just wanted to know it.

Be on time.


Eight bucks a pound.

Eight bucks a pound for shrimp?

Are they fresh? Yeah, they're fresh!

They're today's. They're gorgeous. All right. I'll take a pound and a half.

Best of the best. Let me get the scale, Tony.

...the wear and tear may tell.

Black 28, Reynolds 34.

Shrimp Newburg?

For Christ's sake, Lila, it's got wine in it!

It's garbage!

It's elegant food, Henry.

And it's gonna get me into the Colleton League.

That's a joke. What do you think they got a Colleton League for?

To keep people like you out. Joop!

Why do you want to join anyway, Mama, if they don't want you?

Of course they want me. They just don't know it yet.

You see? Even the dog won't eat it.

Goddamn it! I work hard all day long to come home and have to eat this shit?

I think it's good.

Who asked you? Nobody.

Nobody.

Tip your head up, boy.

You ain't gonna cry, are you?

What did I tell you about crying?

What did I tell you about crying in this house?

Put the hands in your lap.

Sit up straight!

Come on. Sit up straight. You gonna cry now?

Savannah, go get this little girl one of your dresses.

Why do you have to be so mean, Daddy?

Henry, why don't I get you another supper?

There's some leftover hash and rice. I'll heat it up for you, all right?

Give me a hand here, Tom.

Yes, you go out in the kitchen with the rest of the girls.

Why don't you bully on somebody your own size?

And you? Huh, huh?

What, can't anyone take a joke around here?

This series will go down as one of the greatest...

I'll help, Mama.

I want you to melt this butter, Savannah. Am I French?

And heat up this rice. You chop that onion in fine little pieces, Tom.

I like American food!

And the Yankees are back out in front 3 to 2 in the...

I'm sorry, Mama.

Sorry? There's nothing to be sorry for.

Marry into nothing, you get nothing.

Add some pepper, Tom.

From 9:00 in the morning to 5:00 at night...

Hand me that Worcestershire sauce out of the cupboard.

...get a shrimp or two.

When I come home, I want something I want to eat!

Your mouth is hanging open, child.

Come home, expect me to eat something...

Nice and spicy.

Shrimp Newburg?

All I want is a good, plain American meal!

Here you go, darling.

Now this is food, Lila.

Eat up, children.

So your mother fed him dog food, huh?

Yeah. He even asked for a second helping.

Maybe that's where you got your sense of humor, from your mother.

Oh, very funny, very funny.

She called today very concerned about Savannah.

Don't believe a word she says. She's a liar.

That's interesting.

She said you tell lies about her.

That figures.

You know, I saw Herbert Woodruff come out of your office the other day.

He sure can play the fiddle.

You're changing the subject again.

What's wrong with him?

Just kidding.

Still, it's hard to believe that anybody that makes that kind of money has troubles.

Are you really that provincial?

Oh, hell, yes. So is Savannah.

When we were kids, the only way we'd get off our island was by boat.

We grew up on a tidal plain.

A tidal plain? What does that mean?

Tides mean everything, Lowenstein. They measure everything.

Moods, seasons, time to plant, to fish, to mate.

It's primitive, biological clocks ticking all over the place.

Hmm.

Sounds like a nice way to live.

What else did she say, my mother?

She said that she was the one who encouraged Savannah to become a poet.

Is that true?

Jesus Christ!

That woman has no shame.

You want to know how she encouraged Savannah to write?

By burning the journals she kept as a child.

Why would she burn them?

Because Savannah was being disloyal writing about our hideous family.

What's hideous about your family?

Are you asking me to be disloyal?

If that's what it takes to help Savannah, yes.

Aren't we about done? What time is it?

Mm-mm. Mm-mm. We still have a few more minutes.

What did Savannah do after your mother burned her journals?

Well, she took her finger and she wrote in the sand.

And then she wrote in the air.

She began writing poetry so mother wouldn't understand it.

So in a sense, your mother was right. She did help to create a poet.

Oh, bullshit, Lowenstein. She created a schizophrenic.

My mother should've raised cobras, not children.

Can you tell me anything good about your parents?

No.

Try.

Okay. They did two really good things:

Luke and Savannah.

Incredible people.

Passionate, defiant, not for sale.

What about you?

Oh, I was a courteous Southern boy who did what he was told.

I was responsible and normal and dull.

I don't know what normal is, and you're anything but dull.

Compared to them, I was.

Meanwhile, your sister's in the hospital, and your brother's dead.

You must be doing something right.

You can go now.

Hmm?

Time's up.

Good night.

Night.

"Women and men, both little and small, cared for anyone not at all.

They sowed their isn't. They reaped their same.

Sun, moon, stars, rain.

Children guessed, but only a few, and down they forgot as up they grew."

So this began a series of confessional days, when I spun out the history of Savannah's past in order to keep her alive.

By the second week, I'd developed the first symptom of the New York willies ‒ the guilt that every out-of-towner feels if he's not improving his mind every goddamn second.

I made a list of things I should do ‒ museums, plays, run six miles in under 50 minutes, see three foreign films all at the same time.

Anything not to feel guilty.

Tom, how old was Savannah when you first realized something was wrong with her?

About seven or eight.

Anything specific happen?

Well...

My mother had a baby at home.

It was stillborn.

She told us it died 'cause we were bad.

Anyway, we were gonna bury it the next day, so Dad wrapped it in some towels and put it in the freezer.

That night, I got up to get a drink of water... and I saw Savannah sitting in the rocking chair... with the dead baby in her arms.

She was saying...

"You're the lucky one because you don't have to live with us."

Did you say anything to her?

The next day I did, but she didn't remember anything about it.

When I told her what happened, all she said was, "Why would anyone do a crazy thing like that?"

Hmm.

So... you were her memory even then.

I guess so.

Uh-huh.

Goddamn locks.

I'm coming, I'm coming!

Yo!

Oh, what? What was that again?

I'm learning to speak the language of the natives here.

Hiya, Sally. How's it going down there?

Well, it's just sort of blowing up a storm.

Oh, I got the girls' drawings.

Did they get my letters? - Yep, they loved them.

Oh, good. Did you get my letter?

Uh, Tom?

I don't think it's a good idea for you to come home this weekend.

Why not?

Well, I'm not ‒ I'm just not sure that I want to see you right now.

I, um...

I have a lot to figure out.

Uh-huh.

What's the point, Tom?

I mean, let's face it.

We don't make each other feelgood anymore.

Right.

Look, um...

I didn't want to tell you this on the telephone.

I wanted to tell you before you left, but the way you left...

...there wasn't any time.

What did you want to tell me, Sally?

What's his name?

What's his name, Sally?

The man must have a name.

Jack Cleveland.

Oh, no.

Oh, no!

Jesus, Sally! Jesus!

Jack Cleveland?

You mean that aging, pompous hippie from the hospital who still rides a motorcycle?

Oh, for Christ's sake, Sally, why him?

Why him?

Because he knows how he feels about me.

Oh, Sally.

This is too difficult to talk about over the phone.

Uh...

Just think about it carefully.

Okay?

I hardly think about anything else.

Good night, Tom.

Sally?

What?

Are you really in love?

I'm not sure.

I might even be doing this to hurt you.

I gotta go.


Dear Sally...

I wish the words "I love you" weren't so difficult for me.

I've missed you.

I miss touching you.

I don't know what keeps me at such a distance.

I'm sorry I disappoint you, Sally.

But you're right to feel that way.

How else could you react to half a man?

How could you not be disappointed?

Hell, I seem to disappoint anyone who tries to find the best in me.

Tom?

Ma'am?

Come on in here.

Come on. Lie beside me. Come on.

You're the only Wingo who's gonna amount to something.

Luke can't do it because he isn't smart.

Savannah can't do it because she's just a girl.

But Luke's smart, Mama. Not like you.

Or me.

Nobody knows this yet... but I'm an amazing woman.

Do you believe that?

Yes, ma'am.

I'm not gonna die in a house like this. I promise you that.

Something else, Tom.

I love you more than I love any of them.

But, Mama! I do.

I can't help it.

You're my favorite.

Now...

this is gonna be our little secret.

You keep a secret?

Yes, ma'am. Okay.

Can I go now?

Not till you tell me you love me.

I love you, Mama.

It took me 20 years to tell Luke and Savannah about my secret.

And when I did, they just fell on the floor howling.

You see, my mother took each of them into that room and told them exactly the same thing.

Hmm.

Why did you tell me that story?

To prove that Lila Wingo would ‒

Just to show why Savannah could never trust her.

You mean why you could never trust her.

Oh, well, I'm sorry. That's the wrong story.

Let's just skip it, and I'll try to think of a better one.

What's bothering you?

Global warming, acid rain, the national debt.

Oh, and my wife's having a goddamn affair with a heart surgeon in South Carolina.

Hmm.

Jesus! I feel like such an idiot.

God, I never even knew it was going on.

Maybe you weren't paying attention.

Oh, bullshit!

Now, let's face it, Lowenstein.

Women are more devious than men.

Yeah, you're great at hiding things.

You keep secrets. You smile when you lie.

You know, you expect a man to be a tower of strength.

And when it turns out he's got a few weaknesses and some insecurities, what do you do? You turn around, and goddamn it, you betray him!

So you feel that your mother betrayed you?

I was talking about my wife!

Oh.

Oh, God, I hate this Freudian crap.

And it's not your job to listen to my problems anyway.

And if you don't mind, I'd like to go.

You're free to leave anytime you want.

Good!

Goddamn shrink.

Who was I kidding?

I was a champion at keeping secrets.

Better than any woman.

Until Susan Lowenstein came along.

A man who never talked... now is doing nothing else.

Her questions making me as dizzy as her perfume.

Excuse me.

Would you like to dance?

Who, me?

Yes, you.

Come on. No, no, no.

Come on. Just loosen up.

No, I ‒ Hey! Hands to yourself.

He's spoken for.

Tom, how's Savannah? When can I see her?

Well, I don't know, Eddie. It's a little like talking to a fern.

Well, I'm glad she's improving.

Come on. Let's dance.

No, no. Come on. Give me a break, Eddie. I'm a lousy dancer.

Oh, come on. Walk on the wild side. You're in the big city.

Oh, no.

All right, whatever.

God, you are a lousy dancer. Go mingle.

Come on. Get in here. Get into the party, into the party.

Hey, Eddie. Where are my chairs?

Well, I found four of them, and I have a lead on another two.

Roberta, have I got a settee for you.

Don't laugh.

You're laughing. You're laughing. I'm sorry.

I'm surprised to see you here.

Why? I like Eddie.

You know, I ‒ You really pissed me off today.

But you made me think about some things.

Well, don't make it a habit, or I'll have to start charging you.

Oh! We do have a sense of humor.

I was beginning to think you had it surgically removed.

You look mighty pretty tonight, ma'am.

Thank you.

Are you all right?

Oh, God, I'm great. I'm just great.

Now that I finished lying, can I ask you to dance?

Mm-mm. No?

No.

You'd be the first woman I've danced with in New York City.

I'd rather not.

Come on, Lowenstein.

Walk on the wild side. No, I ‒ Ah! It's a party. Come on.

Don't worry. I can't dance and make a pass at the same time. I'd lose count.

Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

You came alone? Mm-hmm.

Yeah, it's funny. I never went anywhere alone until I got married.

Well, that speaks well for matrimony.

No, it's just that, um... my husband travels a lot.

Mm-hmm.

What does he do?

You know, it's late. I really should go.

I'll take you home. No, no, it's okay. I'm fine, really.

I'm a Southerner, ma'am. We take our ladies home.

Will you get me a club soda, please?

How do you do it?

How do you listen to people's sob stories all day?

Doesn't it depress you?

No, not if I think I can help them.

Anyway, you learn to separate your patients' problems from your own.

Now yours I think I could handle.

Oh, yeah? Don't be so sure.

Tell me something. Um... did you ever wanna write like Savannah?

You're changing the subject, Lowenstein.

Am I? Mm-hmm.

It's a technique I'm learning from you. Oh.

Oh, there he is again.

You see him? That guy is following me.

So you're a shrink to the stars, huh?

He's not my patient. He's my husband.

No kidding?

Herbert-fucking-Woodruff is your husband?

Mm-hmm. Herbert Woodruff is my husband, yes.

How'd you meet him?

I saw him perform at, uh... Carnegie Hall.

I was 22 years old, and...

Oh! I had never heard anything like it.

I mean, that kind of... passion, artistry, whatever you call it.

You know, just like Savannah's.

They have that gift to make people feel.

I fell in love with him instantly.

So you married him, and then you lived happily ever after, huh?

I married him.

What are you telling me, that mine isn't the only screwed-up union on the planet?

I'm not telling you anything more.

Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Now, no fair. I spill my guts to you.

I tell you my marriage is full of holes.

But when I ask you something, you got nothing to say?

I think it's your turn to give a little. No.

Oh, come on. Lowenstein, be human.

Now, talk to me. Tell me about yourself. I can't. I can't.

God, why are there never any cabs when you want them?

I'll tell you what. I'll ask you a few simple questions, and you just answer.

Simple? Yeah. It's very simple.

Like, what's your father's name? Douglas.

What's your favorite car? Um, I like those old Ford woodies.

Oh, good. Who's the first boy you ever kissed?

Dick Berkowitz. He was very cute.

Do you have any idea how beautiful you look in that suit?

What is this? "Make Lowenstein Feel Better Day"?

And you got a great smile.

You should smile more. Stop.

You don't believe me, do you? Come on.

Come here. Let me show you something. What?

Come here. Let me show you.

Right there.

You're gonna show me a painting? No, you. Look at you.

You, your face, your smile, your suit. Oh.

I'm talking great stuff here, beautiful. Come on.

Okay. You convinced me.

Now, would you please get me a cab?

Mm-hmm.

Why don't you come up for a minute? I'd like you to meet my son.

Sure. Okay.

Come on in.

Bernard?

Bernard.

I'd like you to meet a friend of mine.

How do you do?

Would you mind stepping out of the way?

Oh, excuse me.

Mr. Wingo is a football coach, Bernard.

Oh, yeah?

Oh, Dad called from Vienna today. Said to say hi to you when I saw you.

Did you practice this afternoon?

No, I've been too busy watching TV.

You're being rude, Bernard.

No, he's being a teenager.

I used to be one myself.

No kidding? Mm-hmm.

Where are you from? Your accent's weird.

South Carolina.

Hmm.

Is this TV you're watching?

Would you please stop talking? I'm trying to watch.

All right, it's late. Come on.

It's time for bed, Bernard. Let's go.

Turn down the TV and go to bed. Now.

I'll see you, Bernard.

God!

I'm sorry that he was so rude.

No, no, no. You don't have to apologize, Lowenstein.

Teenagers, by definition, are not fit for society.

That's true.

Um...

Bernard wants to play football. That's why I brought you up here to meet him.

I thought that maybe you could coach him a couple of days a week.

You see, he never gets a chance to play while his father's around.

So, uh, Herbert's on tour.

I thought that maybe ‒ Is this a job offer?

Yes.

Yes. And I would insist on paying you.

What would you consider a reasonable rate?

What are your rates?

I charge $150 an hour.

Fine, I'll take it.

You must be a very good coach.

Forget it, Lowenstein. I'm not a charity case yet.

Tell Bernard we'll start on Monday. Good.

Good night. Good night.

First rule of thumb, Bernard. Never be late.

I didn't want to come anyway, okay?

Well, your mother thinks you wanna play ball.

Is there any truth to that?

Maybe, maybe not.

So where do you coach, Mr. Wingo? Hillbilly country?

Oh, we're a little class-conscious, are we?

Where do you go to school, Miss Porter's?

Phillips Exeter, smart-ass.

You didn't get to play last year, did you?

How'd you know?

Because any rich, snot-nosed punk that would dare call his coach a smart-ass wouldn't get to haul water, let alone play.

With your attitude, you belong in the bleachers, kid.

When you get ready to play football, you get my number from your mother.

Catch.


Hey, you need help.

This is not an attractive look for a middle-aged man.

When are you going to take me shopping?

Say, did you ever hear of a woman named Renata Halpern?

No, who is she?

I don't know, but she writes good poems about growing up Jewish in Brooklyn.

Are you sure she wasn't staying with Savannah recently?

Not that I know of.

Of course, I've been out of town a lot. All right.

Bloomingdale's on Saturday, big boy.

Okay.

Wait a minute. I have a map.

Coach Wingo?

Look, um...

You know, yesterday, I mean, I...

You know, I...

I ‒ I accept your apology, Bernard.

I didn't get to play last year 'cause I never made the team.

I mean, they made fun of me.

If I coach you, Bernard, I promise you they won't make fun of you.

But you gotta promise me something.

What? You gotta shut up, Bernard.

Your mouth pisses me off.

Oh, yeah. Okay, okay.

"Yes, sir" is the correct way to address me.

Now, first thing we're gonna do is follow certain forms and courtesies.

You'll do whatever I tell you to do, and you'll do it with enthusiasm.

I'm gonna teach you to play football, and I'm gonna teach you well.

I'm gonna run your ass off every day.

Wait a sec. I have my violin lessons. Shut up, Bernard.

Yes, sir.

After I run you till you drop, make you lift weights till you can't move, make you tackle till your arms cramp, something is gonna happen to you that's never happened in your miserable little life.

What's that, sir?

You're gonna be happy, kid.

Keep moving. Move 'em. Hit it!

Come on! Get up.

Drop that leg, roll. Drop this leg, roll.

That's it. All right, let's see that smile.

Do it again with a smile.

Cross. Back. Cross.

That's it. Cross them over. Cross. Cross.

Bring this shoulder out. Bring this shoulder ‒ Keep your eyes on the ball. Concentrate, concentrate!

Come on, Bernard. Get your hands up.

Come on. Come on. Get it!

Look high! Turn around and run.

You're the greatest person in the whole world, Daddy.

What's this?

I don't even get the pleasure of asking the questions anymore?

When you coming home, Daddy? - I'm coming home soon.

Well, if you miss my birthday, I'm gonna kill you.

Chandler, how could I miss your birthday?

I was there the day you pushed your way into the world.

I want an alligator!

Well, you go down to the marsh and you get one.

I want a stuffed alligator, so he can sleep in bed with me.

Now, that's a dangerous habit to get into, kiddo.

Is Mama there? - Mommy!

Daddy wants to talk to you.

Okay.

Hi. - Oh, hi, Sal.

Listen, I really want to come home for Chandler's birthday.

Uh, it'd only be for a couple of days.

We'd all be upset if you didn't come, Tom.

Oh, good. Well, thanks, Sally.

Okay. I'll talk to you. Bye.

All right. Bye-bye.

Set! Move!

Come on. Keep your balance. Keep your balance. Keep your balance.

All right. Square. Square.

All right. Pop it. Pop it. Pop it.

Like that? That's it.

See how you don't move?

Cross it over. Cross it over. Cross it over!

Cross it over. Cross it over. Cross it over!

Hut!

Pass it. Good.

Coach, what are you doing? You got a broken cigarette.

You gonna take my cigarette away?

So this became my routine: coaching Bernard in the morning, and in the afternoon telling the Wingo family secrets to his mother.

And looking forward to telling them, or looking forward to seeing her.

It's as if Savannah has some kind of a, of a splinter, you know, that she's neglected.

And, um, it festers.

It festers inside you until you, until you get it out.

You know what I mean? Uh...

And the stories you're telling me are really helping her remember, and I ‒ I'm very proud of the work we're doing.

Do you know what I mean?

Huh?

Time's up. Out.

Lowenstein.

Here. Catch. Ah!

Throw me the ball. My nails.

Throw me the ball. Throw you the ball? Okay.

Yay!

Yeah. Yeah!

Go! Go. Come On.

Hit it! Good. Good.

Move, move, move, move, move!

Coach, what are you trying to do, kill yourself?

I'm not quitting, Bernard.

You hear? Then I'll smoke.

No, you're not smoking. You're not smoking.

Then throw them out. All right. I will.

All of them. Oh, all right. All right!

Congratulations, Coach. How do you feel? I feel better already.

You know, it's an art form to hate New York properly.

No, it's not. It's a cliché.

You're not such a dumb kid after all, Bernard.

Let's go to the bookstore.

It's my daughter's birthday next weekend, and she wants an alligator.

There's a crocodile in Peter Pan. Do you think she'll buy it?

It's my mom's birthday next week too.

Oh, I bet you got her exactly nothing. Well...

Come on. We'll see if we can find her something.


Shit! Shit.

Who the hell is Renata Halpern, and what does she have to do with my sister?

Why don't you sit down and cool off?

You've known about this the whole time, haven't you?

Tom, I find it difficult conducting a session ‒ Now, this is not a session, damn it! I'm asking you a question.

You're doing a shitty job of evading it.

Tell me who wrote this book!

What's so disturbing about it? That's not the issue.

The issue is why you didn't tell me.

It wasn't my place to tell you. Your sister specifically ‒ You're a piece of work, Lowenstein.

You know, I come in here and I tell you everything, and you withhold important information from me.

Maybe it's you who's withholding. This is not about me!

Then why are you so upset?

Because I don't like being lied to. I don't like secrets.

I could report you to the authorities, have your goddamn license suspended.

Tom, stop acting like a petulant child.

You haven't answered my question, Lowenstein.

Tell me who wrote this book.

Why don't you tell me? Oh, I'll tell you.

My sister wrote it. It's all about my goddamn family.

If my mother ever read it, she'd rip out Savannah's pancreas with her teeth.

Why? Why would she do that? What are you all hiding?

I don't answer any more questions till you answer mine.

Then why don't you sit down and listen?

That is, if you're not too exhausted by your temper tantrum.

Mm-hmm.

Oh, shit!

The first few times Savannah came to see me, she told me her name was Renata Halpern.

Oh, Jesus. She's even crazier than I thought.

Shut up or I won't continue.

She told me her father was a furrier and that both parents were survivors of the Holocaust.

Now she couldn't fool me about being Jewish, but what fascinated me was why she chose to be the child of survivors.

What was she trying to survive?

What is she trying to survive?

Well, how the hell would I know? I think you do.

Come on, Lowenstein. You're supposed to be answering my questions.

Why did she do it?

Something about writing that book made her want to become someone else.

And that was okay with you? It was not okay with me.

I told her unless she resolved her own problems, no one else she'd become would have a chance.

Is this what people pay you to do? Turn them into someone else?

You're not listening to me! You haven't heard ‒ Bullshit! What do you think I'm doing here?

Complaining, avoiding, pointing fingers! Oh, fuck you, Lowenstein!

Fuck you and Sigmund Freud and my sister Renata Halpern.

The whole thing makes me sick!

The way you're reacting makes me sick.

Well, how do you expect me to react, huh?

What if I'd done the same thing to your son?

It's not the same thing! Come on to South Carolina, Bernard!

I'll change your name and turn you into a Presbyterian!

It's quite different, Mr. Wingo. My son didn't try to kill himself.

Oh, give him time, Lowenstein. Give him time.

You son of a bitch!

Oh, my God. I'll go get you some ice. Oh.

Oh, Jesus.

Oh, I see a big malpractice suit coming out of this, Doctor.

I am so embarrassed.

What a day.

I get dropped by a dictionary, and I find out my sister's become a Brooklyn Jew.

Here, here, here.

Oh, I don't need that. I'd rather act like a man and bleed to death.

Just be quiet and take it. Oh!

Oh.

After you've stopped bleeding, I'd like to take you to dinner.

No chili today, Doctor. This time it's gonna cost you.

This is therapy, huh?

Yeah. Pretty bloody, isn't it?

Yeah.

I still can't believe I did that to you.

Face it, Lowenstein. I bring out the animal in you.

Hmm.

I owe you an apology. I accept.

That was a terrible thing to say. Yes, it was.

I know it. Jesus.

Thank you for accepting.

Would you like to order now? Um, we would like to order now.

Do you want me to order for you? I eat here all the time.

How am I supposed to trust a woman to order for me who can't even cook?

Just because I don't know how to cook doesn't mean I don't know how to eat.

All right. Go ahead, Lowenstein.

I'll do anything to make you happy tonight.

Okay. Good.

I think, um...

I think we'll start with the...

Mm-hmm.

And, um, for monsieur...

And then we'll have the...

Delicious.

And for our main course...

The rabbit is superb. - Merci.

God, there's nothing sexier than a beautiful woman ordering food in French.

Why don't you read me the whole menu?

Are you flirting with me, Tom?

Yeah, I think I am.

And I'd like you to find me attractive, bloody nose and all.

And I'd like to ask you something about Savannah.

God!

Don't you ever take a night off? No.

You said you'd do anything to make me happy.

Just one thing.

Savannah told me that her children's book came out of a dream.

More like a nightmare.

And there were images in it that terrorized her, but she didn't know why.

You know, like the three stray dogs.

You've read the story now. What do you think it means?

Lowenstein, you're incorrigible.

I mean, here we are at a wonderful restaurant, and you want me to interpret my sister's dreams?

You wanna interpret dreams? Do mine.

I had a great one about you last night.

You had a dream about me?

Uh-huh. Yeah.

You wanna hear? I'm not sure.

Don't worry. This one's G-rated.

This one? Uh-huh.

Tell me.

There was a blinding snowstorm right here in New York City.

I went out for a walk, and I ran into you.

We decided to go to the Rainbow Room.

No one was there. So we started to slow dance.

What do you think it means?

You said it was a snowstorm? Mm-hmm.

Blinding snowstorm?

Maybe there's something you're afraid to see.

Maybe I wanna get to know you better.

Maybe you're trying to snow me.

Maybe I have cold feet.

Maybe you just miss winter.

That's it! Get in position.

Move those legs. Move 'em. Move 'em!

That's it. Get in position. Keep your head up.

All right. Come.

Ah!

Is ‒ Is that my son?

That was good. Is that you in there, Bernard?

Okay. Let's try it again. I don't think this was such a good idea.

Stop being a Jewish mother, Lowenstein.

I am a Jewish mother. I even brought sandwiches.

Oh, good. I'm starving.

I got delicious ones here. Come on, Bernard. Take a break.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Great. I got one for you.

Slave away in the kitchen all day making those, Mom?

No, I bought them like I usually do. Would you like one?

No, I'm not hungry.

So can I watch you play?

I mean, I promise I won't be overprotective.

I don't really feel like playing anymore.

Come on. Let's toss the ball around for a few minutes.

Am I a trained seal? I gotta do whatever she wants?

Oh, you got it tough, kid. Come on.

Let's lie in the grass and cry for all the terrible misfortune in your life, huh?

You know, you turn into, like, a real jerk every time my mother's around.

What are you trying to do, impress her?

You're totally out of line, Bernard. You're not mad at him. You're mad at me.

Save that crap for your patients, Mom.

He's right, you know.

He's absolutely right.

I ‒ I don't know how to talk to him.

Maybe you should try a new approach.

Yeah? What's that? Laugh, Lowenstein. Laugh.

The Southern way? Hmm?

Yeah. If that doesn't work, then you bop him on the head.

What do you think of me, Tom?

Well, I think you have it made.

I mean, you're rich. You live like a queen.

Your kid needs some work, but overall you're in the top 1%.

You're lying.

I think you're a very sad woman, Lowenstein.

I like it when you tell the truth.

And I think you're the first friend I've made in a long time.

Come on. Let's go to the movies.

The movies? Yeah. Come on.

Rare footage from the Savannah Wingo archives.

How wonderful.

Where did you find this?

I was snooping around and I found 'em. You know, Savannah must've kept them.

Wait, wait. Who's that, Luke? Yeah, that's Luke.

He was always horsing around.

Oh, here's our graduation.

What? From grade school, right? Yeah, right. Grade school.

Did you always jump in with your clothes on?

Yes. As a matter of fact, we did.

And that's your mother, Lila? Yeah, that's Miss Lila.

Mm-hmm. She was very pretty.

She still is.

So who took these pictures? My father.

You see, bought this camera one year.

Thought he'd give up shrimping, the only thing he was good at, and make a fortune in film.

Don't ask me how.

Savannah said that, um, your father was always losing money.

Is that true? Oh, that's an understatement.

Henry Wingo had the opposite of the Midas touch.

Everything he touched turned to shit.

What is that? Tell me what that is.

That is one of my father's all-time cockamamie schemes.

What?

Well, you see, he bought this gas station.

He thought this tiger would draw people by the thousands.

All it did is scare 'em the hell away. Uh-huh.

The only one that wasn't afraid of that animal was Luke.

He fed him.

Took care of him.

He had a lot of courage.

What about you?

I didn't need any. I had Luke.

Oh, this is our island.

The only place Dad ever really owned.

At the time this was taken, it was worthless.

Not to Luke, though.

To him, it was the most precious place in the world.

When he was older, he went to Vietnam.

He came back a hero.

Swore he'd never leave it again.

He didn't.

What happened?

My mother got the island in the divorce settlement.

She immediately sold it to the government for a lot of money.

They wanted to put up a power plant.

Luke went crazy. He made some threats.

The government laughed.

He blew up a construction site.

They quit laughing.

And then?

He went on waging his own private war.

Hurt some people.

Savannah and I tried to stop him, but the government stopped him first.

Shot him in the head. Bingo.

Would you like a cold drink? Maybe a beer, huh?

How did you deal with his death?

I shut down like a broken motor. Hmm.

And according to the Southern way, still no tears?

Oh, I cry sometimes, Lowenstein.

I cry at weddings, at the Olympics ‒ I'm real big at the national anthem.

But not over Luke?

What the hell for? It wouldn't bring him back.

No, but it might bring you back.

Thank you.

Hey there! Welcome back. Hi.

Oh, gee. Dr. Wingo had an emergency down at the hospital.

Oh, that's all right, Megan.

Are the girls asleep? Uh, yes, sir. For a while now.

All right. You can go home now. Okay. I'll just get my things.


Hey, Coach.

Oh. Hey, Sally.

How you doing? All right. Fine.

What's the proper form in a situation like this?

Do we talk? Do we fight? Ignore the whole thing altogether?

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

You want some juice?

Yeah.

How's Savannah, Tom?

She's one day up, and then it's one day down.

Do you, um, like the psychiatrist, or trust her?

Oh, yeah.

What ‒ What's her name again?

Lowenstein.

Do you want me to make a fire?

I don't think so.

It's 90 degrees outside.

You've always been such a traditionalist.

Jack Cleveland wants to marry me, Tom.

Do you need a letter of recommendation?

That's not funny.

Well, uh, considering my other options, I thought it was the kindest, most restrained thing I could say.

What do you wanna do?

I don't know.

Part of me just wants to pack up and walk away from a life... that doesn't seem to work anymore.

And part of me says that no life will work if I can't make this one right.

How can I help you, Sally?

By trying to understand, I guess.

Sally.

I'm sorry I made you unsure of yourself.

I can be a closed, defensive son of a bitch.

Sometimes.

Only sometimes.

You coming in?

Oh, I'll sleep here.

It'd be too ‒ too confusing.

Yeah.

Sally? Yeah?

Thanks for asking though.

Daddy's home!

Yay!

Daddy?

Daddy?

Where are you, Daddy?

Dad? Hey, Daddy!

Who are these squealing piglets jumping on my chest?

Ah, boy, I'm hungry.

A little mustard and hot sauce and you'd be perfect.

You can't catch me. Can't catch me either.

All right, who missed me most?

Careful now, there's money involved. Me. Me!

Get your deck shoes on. We're going out on Grandpa's shrimp boat later.

Hi, Jenny. We're gonna see Grandpa.

You like that sweater I got you? Yeah, it's nice, Dad.

Good.

Dad? Hmm?

Are you and Mom having a bad fight or something?

No, honey. Everything's fine.

Y'all don't fool me.

Oh, boy.

What am I gonna do with all you smart women?

Hmm?

Come here. Give me a hug.

Oh, Jenny.

Jenny, Jenny, Jenny.

Chandler, come on in if you wanna help.

You too, Tom. Look at that toaster!

Mommy, I got a fishing rod from Grandpa!

Oh, it's beautiful.

Well, maybe this one's a little... Daddy, come here.

Lucy did that one.

I did not. You did too.

I want this ‒ I wanna decorate.

Well, of course you can decorate. That's your cake. You go on and decorate.

You stop eating that icing, you.

I want to do one. Well, okay but...

Henry?

Come to the table. The children are gonna blow out their candles.

Henry?

...be a factor, it may not. Did you hear me?

It's time to sing "Happy Birthday" to Tom and Savannah.

I'm watching TV.

It's a fly ball out to right field...

You get over there and help your children celebrate their birthday, for Christ's sake.

Come here, woman. Let go!

Don't you ever tell me what to do, Lila. You're hurting me.

This is my house. You're just a guest in it!

Now turn the TV back on. No.

Please, Mama. It's all right! Turn the TV back on.

Let go of me!

You're gonna turn that TV on. I was watching that.

Lila, I'm sick and tired of you never showing me any respect!

TV's broken, you son of a bitch.

Now you can watch your kids blow out their candles.

Yay!

- ♪ Happy birthday to you ♪ ♪ Happy birthday to me ♪

- ♪ Happy birthday to you ♪ ♪ Happy birthday to me ♪

- ♪ Happy birthday, dear Chandler ♪ ♪ Happy birthday, dear me ♪

- ♪ Happy birthday to you ♪ ♪ Happy birthday to me ♪

Come on, Grandpa. Daddy's gonna open the net.

I'm coming, birthday girl.

All right, bring it up. Bring it up.

Grandpa, I brought the fishing rod you bought me.

Hold it. Okay, okay. It smells.

Stand back. He's getting ready to drop it.

Daddy, can I help? Wait, wait, wait.

Oh, hurry up, Daddy.

Dad, I don't know if we got much shrimp.

Oh, look at that. Yay!

The first thing you wanna do is push these crabs overboard.

Why, Grandpa? They'll die in the sun and the heat.

Keep your eye out for stingrays and catfish.

It's a long way to the hospital. Look at that little squiggly.

Chandler? What, Grandpa?

I want you to do something for me. Oh, there's a flounder.

Pick up a shrimp and I want to see you head it.

Oh, I can do that.

Now, you put it with your thumb.

Is this right, Grandpa? Remember how ‒ Ah, ah! Watch, see if you can do it with one hand.

Yeah.

You got a knack for this, huh?

Look, fetch me that crate over there, will ya?

For this good-for-nothing trash fish.

Grandpa told me to get it. No, he didn't. He told me.

I'm gonna get it for Grandpa.

They love you, Dad.

The Braves lost to the Dodgers last night 3-7.

Did you know that, Son?

Yeah, I know that, Dad.

Put it right down there.

Can I be a shrimper when I grow up?

Yeah. You can be a shrimper like me.

Bye-bye, girls. I love you!

All right.

Write! Bye!

How will you get to the airport? Don't worry, I'll get a cab.

Bye!

We love you, Daddy! Bye, Dad.

You know, I never realized how much I love this place till I went away.

"My soul grazes like a lamb on the beauty of indrawn tides."

You remember that? You wrote that to me in a letter once.

I used to write damn good letters, didn't I?

You've met somebody in New York, haven't you?

I don't know.

I know.


Now, you're gonna do like I said.

You're gonna apologize to the Newburys.

Todd Newbury insulted our family, Mama. He called us cheap white trash.

And then you proved him right by waling him, you stupid cracker.

Oh!

Oh, isn't this a lovely view?

I wanna go home.

Hush up.

Hello, Tom.

Hello, Reese.

I'm here to see my mother.

Come on in. She's expecting you.

Why, thank you.

It is awful good of you to see us, Reese.

Well, it's my pleasure.

You looking mighty pretty today, Lila. As usual.

Why, I always say "The most successful men are always the nicest."

Lila, if you just have a seat right here.

Why, sure.

Tom and I are gonna have a little talk in my study.

Go on!

Tom.

It's Oriental carpet.

From the Orient.

Hmm.

If you ever touch my son again, you're gonna be crab bait all over this river, boy.

A Wingo never touches a Newbury.

And if you tell anybody I hit you, I'm gonna run your family clean out of this town.

Now get out of here.

I think it's more humid than in New York City.

Hello, darling.

Tom. Hello, Lila.

Wealth becomes you, Mama.

Hmm.

You really got what you wanted, didn't you?

Don't start, please.

Tell me about Savannah.

She still has a long way to go.

And I cut out a whole slew of articles on mental illness.

I want you to give them to her psychiatrist, do you hear?

I will, Lila. I will.

What kinds of things are you telling Savannah's doctor?

Anything that might help her get better.

Go on. Drink your tea before the ice melts.

I'm gonna tell Dr. Lowenstein about Callanwolde.

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

Oh, yeah, you do, Mama.

Yeah, you do.

You made a promise never to speak about that.

I expect you to keep that promise.

Oh, we were kids, Mama.

It was a stupid promise, and I think it'd help all of us if we talked about it.

This is my life too. My life is private. I wanna keep it private.

Even at the expense of helping your own daughter?

Stop exaggerating.

Oh, come on, Mama. Don't make me feel bad about this.

You know, I didn't even have to tell you.

I don't wanna talk about this.

Jesus Christ, Lila! Now, that's always been the problem!

You know what your problem is?

You dwell too much on the past.

I never look back.

When I say goodbye to something, I close the door and I never think about it again.

How about Luke?

What?

Do you ever think about Luke?

Does he ever cross your mind?

Who taught you to be so cruel?

You did, Mama.

You did.

But you also taught me that even though someone nearly destroys your life, you can still feel love for 'em.

Is that supposed to warm a mother's heart?

You have to be patient with me, Lila.

You've done a lot to piss me off.


There's so much noise in New York.

Sirens, horns, screaming.

Cream, no sugar, right?

Hmm?

Oh, yeah, thanks.

I have something to tell you.

I know.

I don't know how.

Just say it.

It was raining that night.

Mama was teaching us to dance.

Come on, Tom, honey. Come dance!

It was one of the few times I remember having fun.

Come on. Oh, Mom! I can't dance.

Oh, what do you mean? Of course you can.

Okay, take hold of Savannah's hand.

Savannah does it better than me. Just dance with her.

Here you go. Turn around.

One, two, kick. There you go, Tom. Kick. Stop. Stop.

Here comes another turn now. You ready? Here we go.

Turn. That's it!

I wonder who that is.

That's it.

Tom!

Mama!

They broke into our house.

Three men.

Mama cried, "Help us, Tom."

I wanted to, but I couldn't.

One of 'em raped Savannah.

One of 'em raped my mother.

Oh.

I guess that's not the answer to all of Savannah's problems, but I thought you should know.

God, yes.

And what's Callanwolde?

That's the prison they escaped from.

Um...

How old was Savannah when this happened?

Thirteen.

Mm-hmm.

And, um...

What were you doing while this was going on?

I don't know.

You don't know?

Maybe you ran for help?

No.

Why not?

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

Why do you think you didn't?

Well...

I don't know.

Just 'cause.

That's a child's answer, Tom.

You said before that, um...

three men came in.

What happened to the third man?

Tom?

Where was he?

Tom, help me!

Mama!

Help me! Come on.

Savannah!

Ah! Stop it!

Tom?

It's okay.

Tell me about him.

He said, "You move, I'll slit your throat."

Tom! You're hurting me.

Raw meat.

He called me raw meat.

"Nothing I like better than fresh...

You're hurting me. Stop it! - ...raw meat."

What was happening to me...

was unimaginable.

Literally.

I didn't know it could happen to a boy.

Tell me you like it.

All I wanted to do was die.

Especially when I saw Luke.

Tell me you like it.

No. Don't!

Damn it!

Luke, two. Mama, one.

While I did nothing.

There was nothing you could do.

You were just a young boy.

You had no weapon.

I'm surprised you and Savannah survived it at all.

Uh...

What happened after? I mean...

How did your family deal with it? Your father?

Who said we told?

You ‒ You didn't tell?

No one?

No. You must have told the police or...

Oh, Jesus Christ, Tom.

Mama said, "It's over.

Get these carcasses outside.

Clean up this mess."

She was insane that night.

"This did not happen. This did not happen."

She kept saying it.

Told us the minute we breathed a word about it was the minute she stopped being our mother.

Told us morning would come and everything would look nicer in the sunlight.

And after we buried the bodies...

I went in there to check on Savannah...

to see how she was doing.

She was trying to do what Mama had said.

Trying to act as if nothing had happened.

Putting her hair up in rollers.

What'd you all do tonight? - Only her dress was on wrong side out.

I'm busting my hump while you're playing with a dimwit dog.

When my father came home for dinner...

Boys, pay attention.

...we sat around and ate as if nothing was wrong.

Eat up now.

God help me.

I think the silence was worse than the rapes.

Three days later, Savannah tried to kill herself.

She could keep quiet, but she couldn't lie.

♪ And that's what I like about the South ♪

Say something, Lowenstein.

How do you feel?

Well, I feel, uh, okay.

I mean, I thought I'd be on the floor after telling you this, but I ‒ I feel surprisingly all right.

You're sure? Oh, yeah.

I mean...

What am I?

I'm relieved.

You know, the laundry's clean, the ghost's out of the closet, and I'm ‒ You've really learned how to cover your pain, haven't you?

You've done that all your life.

That 13-year-old boy is still in a lot of pain.

Don't do this to me, Lowenstein.

Don't do this to me.

I can feel your pain, Tom.

I feel it.

Let yourself feel it.

It takes courage to feel the pain, Tom.

You can do it. You can handle it.

Don't be afraid.

It's okay.

It's okay.

It's okay.

Oh, you've kept it locked up for so long.

Just let it go.

Let it go.

You have so much to cry about, don't you?

It's okay.

It's okay.

Yeah.

Feel the pain.

Cry.

Cry.

Feel the pain.

It's the only way to heal yourself.

That's it.

Just let it go.

Let it go.

It's okay.


Oh, God.

Oh, I'm too old for this shit.

Come on, Coach. Let's do it again. All right.

Must be tough to get old, huh? Out of shape. Past your prime.

Come here. Huh?

Now, I don't mean anything personal by this, Bernard, but I'm gonna leave cleat marks on your nose and cheeks and all over your face.

Well, it felt great putting you on your ass, Coach.

All right, you ready? Yeah.

Set!

Hut!

Go! Come on. Come on. Come on!

Oh!

Oh.

I can't believe I'm being outplayed by a violinist.

All right. Come on. Give an old man a hand.

Ah!

Now I'm gonna get you if I can't teach you football.

Jesus.

Dad.

So, this is how your mother lets you spend the summer?

Professor Greenberg just called and said you've skipped two lessons this week.

I don't like Greenberg. He's a creep.

He's strict.

The great teachers usually are.

I'm Tom Wingo, Mr. Woodruff, Bernard's football coach.

It's a pleasure, Mr. Wingo.

Heard a lot about you.

Why don't we call it quits for the day? Go home and practice your fiddle.

Maybe we can work something out tomorrow.

Okay.

I had no idea he was so strong.

He's a good football player.

But I'm not sure I want him playing the violin with broken fingers.

Well, he said you'd be worried about that. He's pretty careful.

He's the one who should be worried.

Well...

I'm sorry to cut your session short, Mr. Wingo, but I've enrolled Bernard in the last two weeks at Tanglewood.

With a little discipline, he might actually become a good musician.

You're the maestro.

I'm glad you understand.

Oh, um...

Susan and I are having a dinner party next Friday.

Why don't you join us?

Thanks. I'll look forward to it.

Hi.

How are you?

Oh, I'm ‒ I'm okay.

Good.

How is she?

Considering what she's been through this week, I think she's doing very well.

Can I see her?

I think she'd like that.

How you doing, darling?

Well...

I'm still here.

So...

So...

I don't know what to say.

Then just let me hold you.

Tom, I'm so sorry I put you through all this.

No, no. You did me a favor.

But just don't do it again.

I couldn't bear to think of a world without you in it, sweetheart.

Okay, let's go. Keep it moving.

Hey, buddy, you! That's a no-parking zone, so just move it out of here!

Let's go! Keep it moving. Keep it moving.

I hear it's pretty up in Tanglewood.

Who gives a shit?

All right. Let's go! Keep it moving.

I wrote the coach at your school, pal.

Why?

I told him I was sending back a hell of a ballplayer next year.

You're a tough kid, Bernard.

I am?

You took everything I dished out, and you came back asking for more.

Well, you're the best coach I ever had.

Well, I'm the only coach you ever had.

No, I mean teacher.

You're the best teacher I ever had, Coach Wingo.

Thanks, Bernard. It's been a long time since a student of mine said that.

Why did you quit?

Well, I thought I should be doing something better with my life.

Like what?

Well, that's a good question.

I'm not sure.

Well, can't you go back to it?

I don't know if they'd even want me.

Maybe I could write a letter or something.

Just tell me where to send it.

Thanks, Bernard. But I want you to do something else for me.

What? Play the violin.

Your father says you're pretty good.

Here? Now? Sure. Why not?

Cheer this joint up.

Well, okay. But I mean, I'm a little embarrassed.

I mean, people might think I want them to throw money.

Well, what's wrong with a few extra bucks?

Okay, well, um...

I guess I'll play this thing I've kind of been working on.

All right.


You know, if I could play the violin like that, I'd never touch a football.

What's wrong with doing both?

Absolutely nothing.

Now boarding through the gate at Track 29...

Absolutely nothing.

Here you go. Put this on.

You gotta hurry now. You don't wanna miss your train.

My father hates you, Coach Wingo.

Yeah, but he loves you.

Come here.

Goodbye, Bernard.

I'm gonna miss you. Me too.

Bye.

I'll write to you, okay? You better. You better!

And don't smoke!

Oh, hey, Bernard!

Hey!

You might be needing this!

Bye.

Now boarding, Track 29.

All aboard!


I thought classical pianists were supposed to be pinched and anemic-looking.

I'll sit you next to her in case you wanna make a pass.

No, thanks. She's not my type.

Good.

Why do you say that?

I think she's having an affair with my husband.

You've met everyone?

Yeah. I'm completely intimidated.

Madison Kingsley is one of my favorite writers.

Talk to him. I'm gonna check on dinner.

...an American composer...

Thank you very much.

Tom! Oh, I'm delighted you're here.

Well, I'm delighted I got to hear you play in person again.

What? Again?

Yes. I saw you at the Charleston Music Festival last summer.

Uh, Brahms' violin concerto.

Bartók.

Have you ever seen a Stradivarius up close, Tom?

This is the finest instrument ever made. Mm-hmm.

Everyone, I'm going to play something in Mr. Wingo's honor.

It's not that often we have Southern guests, huh?

What would you like to hear, Coach?

I'm afraid I don't know many football songs.

Yeah, well... Anything's fine with me.


Damn it all, Herb. That Mozart sure cranked out some snappy tunes.

Could you do me a favor and fix me a scotch and soda, please?

Oh, yes, sir.

Yes, sir.

Who is he?

That's a friend of Susan's.

Some football coach.

Charming.

Would you like some more wine? The food is wonderful.

Is it the same cook you had last year? Yes.

I'm glad you like it.

A minor artist.

How can you dismiss his work as unimportant, Spencer?

It's hanging in the goddamn Metropolitan.

Well, Madison, so is toilet paper.

Tom!

Tom, you should talk to Madison.

He's a great admirer of Southern authors.

Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, Eudora Welty.

Oh, I love all those renegade Confederates.

You mean you love excess and eccentricity.

It's true.

They're all mad as hatters, aren't they?

I suppose you know a few things about madness, Tom.

A bit.

Tom's sister is the poet Savannah Wingo, Madison. Are you familiar with her work?

Yes. She's good.

Very good.

She's a patient of Susan's.

I don't think that's appropriate.

Darling, everyone knows you're the great psychic healer of the literary community.

I'm surprised you don't get a share of your authors' royalties.

I'm sorry.

What have you been drinking, Herbert?

Oh, you should ask Tom. He poured it.

You weren't trying to poison me, were you?

Not intentionally.

But you know how the subconscious mind works.

I like you, Tom.

I like your feistiness, your Tara-like pride.

You promised you wouldn't do this.

You're right, Susan. I shouldn't be picking on Tom.

I should be picking on you for turning my son into Quasimodo in a football uniform.

Susan, I can't believe you'd let Bernard play a game that might hurt his hands.

And I can't believe you'd come to my house when everyone knows you're fucking my husband.

Hmm.

I think you owe Monique an apology, Susan.

I think you owe me an apology, you son of a bitch.

Darling, where's your sense of humor?

Madison, what's the name of this character in your play, the new one?

I'm calling him S.B.

And he's modeled after a character sitting right at this table.

Not me, I hope. Yoo-hoo, Herbert!

Southern boy's got ahold of your fiddle!

What'd he say?

What's going on?

Better hurry, now! It's getting heavy!

Herbert, what's taking you so long?

What do you think you're doing?

Darling, where's your sense of humor?

That Stradivarius is worth over $1 million.

Well, if I drop it, it won't be worth shit.

Don't do it, Tom.

Apologize to your wife, Herbert.

You're bluffing.

I may be.

But it's a powerful bluff, isn't it, asshole?

I'm sorry, Susan!

Sincerity becomes you, Herbie.

Now apologize to me for your unforgivable breach of etiquette at the dinner table tonight, you possum-breathed cocksucker.

I'm very sorry, Tom.

You all sure know how to give a party up here in New York City.

Yo!

Tom!

Tom, wait!

Now I know why you always seem so sad.

Please take me with you.


Let me warn you.

The thought of falling in love terrifies me.

Then let's just be friends.

Very good friends.


Lowenstein...

Hmm?

I think I like adultery.

That's why they made it a sin.

Repent, sinners!

Cast your lot with the Lord!

After last night, I'm gonna need some repenting.

Oh, I'm in trouble.

What? What?

Tell me. Why are you in trouble?

I'm starting to like this city, Doctor.

What made you change your mind?

You have to ask?

I'm neurotic. I need a lot of reassurance.

Lowenstein, you could make me change my mind about anything.

Hi, Tom. Hot baked goods.

Did I interrupt something vile?

Well, hello, Susan!

You look fabulous this morning.

I'm so glad you both got laid.

Hi, Eddie.

Do you like a little butter on your croissant, darling?

Ask him.

Guess what?

I spoke to Bernard today, and he asked me to come visit him next weekend.

I couldn't believe it.

That's great. That's fantastic.

Oh, I'm so grateful to you, Tom Wingo.

Oh, it was nothing. Nothing. Come on. Cut it out.

Look! This is the property.

It goes all the way around, all the way over to there.

Isn't it beautiful?

Not as beautiful as you.

Oh, sweetheart.

This is it. Herbert never liked it, you know.

It made him sneeze, this place.

I miss the clean, fresh smell of carbon monoxide myself.

I can't believe we're only an hour away from New York.

Well, South Carolina's not the only state with trees, you know.

You know, in my next life I wanna be you, Lowenstein.

I wanna make lots of money off of crazy people, have a fabulous penthouse in the city, a great country house and a guy like me.

Aw.

Come on. I wanna show you around. All right.

Look, isn't it pretty?

Darling, you just broke a dozen eggs.

Oh, I don't care.

You know what I thought when I first saw you?

What?

I thought, "Jesus, she hates me.

Why does she make me feel so damn stupid?"

What do you think now?

Right now? Mm-hmm.

I'm thinking, "Why does she make me feel so damn good?"

Because she loves you.

Lowenstein. Lowenstein.

Maybe I should be calling you Susan now.

No, I love the way you say Lowenstein.

You know...

Before I met you, I was in a deep sleep.

And I didn't even know it.

I'm afraid.

Of what, sweetheart?

What's gonna happen when Sally wants you back?

She wants you back, you know.

What makes you so sure?

I've sampled the merchandise. Oh.

Oh! Hmm.

Oh, my God!

Spread 'em wide.

You dirty thing, you.

No, I'm not being dirty. Spread 'em this way.

Now, you gotta tackle me.

Go on, tackle.

Catch it. Oh.

Ready.

Oh, no! Oh, no!

Oh. Oh!

I'm too old for this game. Me too.

This is the best part. Yeah.

If we stay together, do I have to become Jewish?

Of course not. Herbert's not Jewish.

Hey, I don't mind. Everybody in my family's doing it.

There's Luke up there somewhere.

You stupid asshole!

When I was a kid, he seemed like a god to me.

How do you see him now?

Like a man... with limitations, like the rest of us.

Except you, Lowenstein. You're perfect.

I am far from it. No.

Oh, I look back on my life and I realize that I've been paralyzed for the last...

God knows how many years.

I mean, how could I have stayed in a marriage like that?

Well, you had a son.

Oh, yeah. There were reasons, but... none of them good enough.

I just...

I just never thought that... this was possible.

And now I...

I wake up in the morning, and I spend my whole day thinking, "Isn't it nice just to feel good?"

I mean, I hear you walk down the hall towards me...

I can't stop smiling.

I smile all the time.

I love you, Lowenstein.

Can we go back to the cabin and make love all night?

You still have a lot to learn about the outdoors.


I'm glad you brought me here.

Hey, Lowenstein says she's gonna let you go home soon.

Hmm. I think I'm ready.

What about you? When are you going home?

Well, I don't know. Sally and I are having problems.

Oh, no. I'm sorry, Tom.

I thought I might stay up here for a while.

You in New York?

I can't imagine that. You could never leave the South.

Well, you did.

Yeah. But I don't love it the way you do.


Come get me. You have to go under the water.

Hello?

Oh, hi, Sally.

Uh-huh.


She called you.

Well...

We knew this day would come, didn't we?

But you're never quite... prepared for it.

Just hold me, please. I feel like I'm dying.

One of the things I love about you is that... you're the kind of guy who'll always go back to his family.

Oh!

I gotta find me a nice Jewish boy. You guys are killing me.


You okay about going home?

I think so.

Good.

I started a new book of poems.

Oh, good.

I'm calling it...

The Prince of Tides.

And I dedicated it to somebody very special.

Oh, Luke would appreciate that, Savannah.

I dedicated it, "To my brother Tom Wingo... my memory."

Oh, thank you, sweetheart.

Oh, thank you.


Lowenstein, why are you making it so hard?

You just love her more.

Admit it.

No, Lowenstein.

Just longer.


We spent our last few hours together at the Rainbow Room...

dancing a slow dance.

Just like in my dream.

I held her in my arms... as I told her that it was her doing that I could go back.

Six weeks before, I was ready to leave my wife, my kids.

I wanted out of everything.

But she changed that.

She changed me.

For the first time, I felt like I had something to give back to the women in my life.

They deserved that.

Daddy!

Daddy's home! Hi, Daddy!

Daddy, did you bring me anything?

So I returned to my Southern home and my Southern life.

And it is in the presence of my wife and children that I acknowledge my life, my destiny.

I am a teacher, a coach, and a well-loved man.

And it is more than enough.

In New York, I learned that I needed to love my mother and father in all their flawed, outrageous humanity.

And in families, there are no crimes beyond forgiveness.

But it is the mystery of life that sustains me now.

And I look to the north...

and I wish again that there were two lives apportioned to every man... and every woman.

At the end of every day, I drive through the city of Charleston.

And as I cross the bridge that'll take me home...

I feel the words building inside me.

I can't stop 'em or tell you why I say 'em.

But as I reach the top of the bridge... these words come to me in a whisper.

I say them as prayer... as regret... as praise.

I say...

"Lowenstein."

"Lowenstein."