The Words (2012) Script

The Words, by me.

Part one.

"The old man stood in the rain.

He watched as Rory and Dora Jansen made their way to the limo.

Somehow it seemed as if the raindrops missed them."

Thank you. Good night.

No, no, tell Mom not to worry. Look, we just want her to feel better, okay?

All right?

Yeah. No, no. She brought her camera. They're gonna take a lot of pictures.

There's a lot of photographers there. It's an event, Dad.

Okay, all right, we got... Yes, yes.

We love you too. Love you, Chuckles.


My parents are very excited.

And they love you very much.

Are you excited?

Yeah, sure, it's a big night, right?

It's a big honor.

Baby, it's... You're just nervous. It's normal.

I'm just a little overwhelmed, you know?

I didn't expect any of this.

Where are you?

It was supposed to be a little book, you know?

I know.

So nice that you could make time for our little award.

We know you're busy. The pleasure's all ours.

No. Come now. Your book is fabulous. But, of course, you know that.

You've read all the reviews. Ha, ha, ha!

The Window Tears has introduced us to the one of the most exciting and sensitive young writers to appear on the literary horizon in a very long time.

We are privileged to have with us here tonight the winner of this year's American Fellowship of Arts and Letters Award, Mr. Rory Jansen.

Thank you.

I simply tried to set down the truth as I imagined it.

The story of one man, his wife and child.

I never thought a little book like this would affect so many different people.

I only wish I had an idea for my second book.

I don't want to take up any more of your time.

I'll just end by saying that the honor this evening is truly all mine. Thank you.

Rory Jansen had everything he had ever dreamed of.

But somewhere, the old man was waiting.

And he would change everything.

"Right after college, they moved to Brooklyn.

They found a first floor loft in an old factory.

It was five years before the book and the awards, but Rory already knew what his life was supposed to look like."

So straight back there. That's it.

Keep going? Like two more feet.

Okay, here? Yeah.

Let it go. Just let go?

He loved her.


He loved New York. You're gonna drop me.

He loved fighting to make the rent.

Fighting to make his art.

Living like all the great writers he had idolized.

Okay, I think we should put pictures up there.

And I think your desk is fine where it's at over there.

And I think we should paint the bathroom pink.


"A young, struggling writer, fighting to make his voice heard.

He liked cheap bottles of wine.

How much is it? It's 20 dollars.

And nothing to do with his days but wander the streets.

It matches my eyes. What do you want me to do?

But at night, when the rest of the city slept,

he wrote."

Thanks, babe.

Just doing a final pass. Ahem.

And then what?

And then I'm gonna head into an agent that Professor Waller recommended.

And then what?

And then we're gonna celebrate.

But we don't have any money.

Then we're gonna celebrate.

Just gotta finish this.



Babe. Come on, I gotta finish this.

Okay, I gotta finish this. Fine.

But you're missing out.


Well, if he doesn't want to do it, he doesn't want to do it.

Listen, I said I'll try.

What do you mean? Of course that's my word.

I gotta know by Wednesday, that's when I place the orders.

I'll call you back. Goodbye. Working hard?

All I do is put out fires. It never stops.

Listen, I know you're busy, so, uh, I'm gonna come at you straight, okay?

Let's go into my office.

How much?

Just enough for the next month to cover us.

And then what? You show up again here next month?

I got my book into an agent, says it's got potential.

Did they give you any money?

No, but, Dad, it doesn't work like that. It's not like your business, okay?

It's not like you do work, you get paid for it, okay?

I gotta pay my dues. No, I gotta pay your dues, right?

Look, I wouldn't ask you if I didn't need it.

You think I like coming down here like this?

You think I like saying no?

I feel like I'm hurting you more than helping you.

You gotta take responsibility for your life.

I've been taking responsibility for my life.

I've had a job since I was 15. I was a busboy.

Okay, we decided two years ago I was gonna dedicate myself to being a writer.

We had this conversation in the living room.

Mom was right there. She agreed... But it's been a while.

So maybe now this should be a hobby instead of a profession until you get your feet on the ground.

Well, thanks for the encouragement, Pop.

What about Dora? What about Dora?

Well, I mean, you got to have money before you get married.

You know what? I'm sorry I wasted your time.

Come here! Hey, sit down! Sit down.

Talking about marriage...?

What are you, 11?

This is the last time.

You gotta get a job, something steady, support yourself.

That's just part of being a man.

I'm trying to be a man, Dad.

Another part of being a man, no matter how painful it might be, is accepting your own limitations.

Come here.

I love you. I love you.

I'm gonna pay you back, you know. Yeah.

Yeah. Hey, you can always work here.

We'd kill each other.

"He continued to write, believing he had a story to tell.

He sent his work anywhere they might publish him.

But all he heard back was rejection, disinterest, or the loudest sound of all:


Finally, the great writer, Rory Jansen was forced to take a day job.

He found a position at one of the biggest publishing houses in New York, hoping to make some connections."

I made a million connections here.

What, you're a writer? Yeah.

I got all my stuff into different agents around here.

I'm actually glad it's taking me a while to break through.

It's given me a chance to develop my style, understand the market.

So, what kind of stuff do you write?

Angry young men, I guess.

I used to be like that.

Now I write sci-fi.

You mature, you know. Just give it time.

Are you gonna write tonight? Uh...

I'll just stay in and watch a movie or get food or something. Ahem.


"Without even knowing it, they had settled into their lives.

And on a Friday afternoon, they were married at City Hall.

They honeymooned in Paris."

You ready?


Two minutes, okay?

Just two more minutes. No more antique shops.

Thank you. Put that down.

Rory. Klondike 474.

Repeat 47...

What do you think of this? It's like some...

That's nice.

What do you think of it?

I think it's old.

I think it's great.

I feel like if we clean it up, you can use it for work.

Yeah? It's classy.

I'm gonna get it for you.

Thank you, Mrs. Jansen.

They returned to New York, and the honeymoon was over.

All mail and packages go to the assistants only.

Hey, Irene.

"And then, with no warning at all, Rory got the call that he had been waiting for."

Thank you. Okay.

Thank you very much. All right, okay.

The agent had a reputation for impeccable taste and discovering young literary stars.

It's good.

It's really good. I mean, it's a beautiful piece of writing, and the truth is that you should be very proud of yourself.

Thank you very much.

I worked very hard on it. The work shows.

I look at you, I can't believe how young you are.


I have to tell you, Rory, I just see so much truth in your work.

I am... I'm so impressed.

I can't believe this. This is...

But unfortunately, the nature of the publishing business right now, at this particular time, is such that I don't know how to publish a book like this.

Look, Rory, no one is gonna support a book like this.

Book like this? From an unknown writer.

There's just no market for it.

Now, it's hard for any writer, under any circumstances, without a track record to get published. And this book...

I mean, it's so interior.

Interior? What is that?

It's artistic, it's subtle. It's...

It's a piece of art.

So this book, I should just shelve this and forget about it.

I just... I spent three years working on it.

I'm just trying to be honest with you.

I'm just telling you the reality of the situation.

Have patience.

You know, I wouldn't have brought you in here if I really didn't believe in you.

You're gonna be fine.

So we have two weeks in September. We're planning a trip.

We think we're gonna charter... What? We're gonna charter a boat.

We're going to Turks, but we're gonna get a boat.

Like a 50-footer. Nothing crazy.

Great, but it's the first two weeks of September.

It's the beginning... Get a sub.

You don't wanna miss this.

This is gonna be truly great. It's gonna be amazing.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner. You pull out fish, right out of the ocean, they cook them up. It's incredible.

Snorkeling, diving. Totally different on a boat.

"He couldn't stop thinking about that story.

Where did it come from?

Who had written it?

In those words, he had been confronted by everything he had ever aspired to be, and the reality of what he would never become."

Buddy, what's going on with you, man?

You're 100 miles away. We want you to go.

Why don't you shut up?


What the hell? Don't. Just don't.

Really, I can't right now. What is the matter with you?

I don't...

How the fuck do you end up here?


I look at my life, I look at your life, I look at his life, I look at my father's, I look at everybody's, I don't have a clue how anybody winds up where they do.

I don't know. You don't have to know.

I don't know! It's okay! You don't have to know.

There's so much time, Rory.

I'm talking about my fucking life here!

What about your life? It's not right!

Nothing's right!

Rory, how is that supposed to make me feel?

How is that supposed to make me feel?

I'm not who I thought I was, okay?

I'm not.

And I'm terrified that I never will be.

I'm sorry.

It's okay.

"He didn't know why he was doing it.

He just wanted to feel the words pass through his fingers, through his mind.

He retyped every word as it was written on those pages.

He didn't change a period, a comma, or even correct the spelling mistakes.

He needed to know what it felt like to touch it,

if only for a moment."

Rory, can you come here?

What's up?

Hey. You all right?

What's wrong, babe?


Just kiss me.

Hey, what is it?

Oh, my God. What?

What? Are you pregnant?

No, no, no. I want you to listen to me.

I was working on the computer today, and...

And I swear to you I've never gone through your things before, but your book was on the screen and I started reading one sentence, Oh, no, no, no.

Then I read the second, and I couldn't put it down.

Listen to me. You are everything you've always wanted to be.

Dora, you don't under...

Why would you keep this a secret from me?

No, it's not a secret.

These stories, they're so different from anything you've ever done before.

It's as if you stopped hiding.

They're fuller, they're truer, they're more honest.

There are parts of you in this novel that I always knew were there, but I had never seen before.

I've never... What parts?

What parts?

All of you.

All of you, baby.

This has to be seen.

Just listen to me, okay.

You always said that all you ever wanted to do was be a good writer.

With this, Rory, you're a great writer.

Baby, take it to work and show it to someone.

And if you're not gonna do it for yourself, then please do it for me.

Sorry to bother you, Mr. Cutler. Hey, Rory. How are you today?

Good. Good.

Ahem. Do you have a minute?

Uh, I'm kind of busy here. What can I do for you?

I've worked here for, uh, over two years. I haven't asked anybody for anything.

Uh, I have a feeling you're about to ask for a thing now.

You see, there's this novel...

And I know that you get submissions all the time and you're very busy, but I don't want anything other than your opinion.

I would really appreciate it.

Days passed.

Weeks became months.

And by the time autumn arrived, Rory had all but forgotten about the book.


Can I help you, Mr. Cutler?

Come on in here for a second. I'm in the middle of training...

Yeah, yeah, he'll find his way back. Shut the door.

You know what I did last night?

On the absolute insistence of Debra, and God knows I tried to blow her off, I read your novel last night.

You did?

Have you, uh, shown this to anyone else, anyone outside the agency?

No, no, you're the only one that's seen it.

I mean, uh, outside of my wife.

What does she think?

She was the one that insisted I show it to you.

Well, I can't wait to meet her and thank her.

Rory, I would very much like to represent you and your work.

You've written a remarkable work of fiction.

"There was no epiphany.

No sign from the gods to point him in the right direction like there had been in all the books that he had loved growing up.

All he had to do was sign the contract.

The book was a unanimous critical and commercial success."

Thank you. Hi.

"He was the darling of the New York literary world."

The winner of this year's American Fellowship of Arts and Letters Award, Mr. Rory Jansen.

Let's raise a glass here to our son, the writer.

To Rory. To Rory.

"Rory Jansen had made his choice.

And then he met the old man."

That's, the end of part one.

Thank you.

Thank you for coming.

Come along, people. Give the man some breathing room.

It's his break, after all.

Thank you.

If you want to lie down or relax for a while, you know where the room is.

I read that you liked the 2005 Rosé.

Don't forget, Clayton, 30 minutes, so no time for foreplay.

I'm so sorry. That's okay, I've read his books.

So, what'd you say your name was again?

I didn't. It's Daniella.

That's a beautiful name.

Can't you think of something better than that?

Well, how about this:

They gave me a little green room back there.

It's got really great wine and cheese. And I won't have to sign any more books, and maybe I'll think of something more interesting to say.

Wanna go?

Lead the way. Come on.

Shut up. I have to rest my voice.

It gets really dry when I read, and I have a whole other section.

Don't bullshit me. I'm not.

It's okay. I already know everything about you anyway.

Oh, really? Everything?


What do you know?

I know you hate tomatoes.

I know Miles Davis' Kind of Blue is your favorite jazz recording.

I know you love to watch Cheers reruns.

And I know you took Latin for seven years and cheated on every single test.

Wait a minute. How do you know that?

Esquire, you said it yourself. Ugh.

I've got to start reading my interviews.

So... what else do you know?

I know that you've been with your wife since your freshman year of college.

I know that you go to every single Yankees home game, and I know that you, Clayton Hammond, are a genius.

Shows how much you know. Why's that?

I missed two Yankee games last year.

Oh, sorry.

And, uh, my wife and I are... separated.

I actually did know that, but you're wearing a ring.


So, uh, Daniella, how did you get backstage tonight?

I'm a grad student at Columbia, and I begged my professor for his ticket.

I won the Elman Fellowship, just like you.

Mr. Hammond, they're ready for you.

Yes, Mr. Hammond, we're ready for you.

This is the second and, uh, final selection of the evening.

"It was a crisp and clear autumn morning.

The old man was dressed exactly as the day before."

Can I hail you a cab? I'm gonna take the bus, thanks.

You're welcome.

Go to Central Park? Great.

How you doing today?

I'm okay. How are you?

You know what I mean? Sure.

What's that book you're reading?

Ask the Dust, John Fante.

How did you find him? Nobody knows him.

You read Fante?

Read him? I knew him.

You knew John Fante.

Met him in Los Angeles.

Must have been 1958.

He should have been someone that everybody knows.


What happened?


So how does it feel?

How does what feel?

To be somebody everybody knows?

You know, I don't really think about it.

Come on.

Don't bullshit an old bullshitter.

It feels good, right?

Feels good to have your work recognized, yeah.

Yeah, I'm sure it does, yeah.

Bet you get good tables in restaurants now.

I do.

Life was kind to you.

Gods smiled when you were born.

They looked down and they said, "Look there, that one is a writer.

His words will be celebrated."

I don't know if it's that grandiose. I just got lucky.

I wrote a book, people happened to like it.

I mean, I don't know how things happen.

I mean, I wrote two books that wouldn't have gotten published if that one never did.

Well, I'll bet they'll publish them now.

I read your book.

I liked it very, very much.

Thank you. I appreciate that.

And now forgive an old fan for a moment.

Just indulge me.

You wrote about Paris right after the war.

And when I read your stories, I was right there.

I tasted that wine, the sweetness of that wine.

I... made love to the girl.

I sat in the cafe that morning wondering what the future held for me.

Or if it held anything at all for me.

I heard... that child cry in the night.

And I felt the longing for my home so far away.

You are some writer, my friend.

Thank you.

Thank you. I really do appreciate that.

I have to go. My wife...

I know, I know.

Artists always feel uncomfortable talking about their work.

No, no, no. I wonder if there's just one thing you'd do for me. Sure. Ahem.

I wondered if you'd autograph my copy of your book. Ah, of course.

Do you have a pen?

A writer without a pen.


Well, today's a reading day.


Well, I have a pen.


I do have a story.

A very good story.

Now, I know you get this line all the time, but I think you'll like the story.

If I was to tell you the story and you wrote it, well, then, maybe you could give me a little credit?

Well, that wouldn't be fair, would it?

Have a good day.

It's about a man who wrote a book and then lost it and the pissant kid who found it.

You still here?

Do you want to hear my story?

Or don't you have the time?

So... it's 1944, and there's this 18-year-old kid, a soldier in the army, never saw any action.

He was sent to Paris right at the end of the war.

There he is, a dumb kid with a dumbass grin on his face.

There he is in Paris.

To him, it might as well have been the other side of the goddamned world.

It was a joke that his unit was constantly drawing the worst details.

Most of the time, they were relaying sewage pipes blown apart by the Germans during the occupation.

It was god-awful work.

Street smell.

I miss Utah.

Somehow the kid was happy, like a pig in shit.

The guys in his unit, most of them were different from anybody he'd known in his neighborhood.

They were from all over, little towns he'd never even heard of.

Poor kid probably hit a mine.

Let's get the body to the morgue.

That was the only dead body he saw his whole time in the Army.

There was this one guy in his unit real different to him, an intellectual, real bookworm, and over time, he became the boy's best friend.

He lent him some books to read, the first books the kid had ever read about anything.

For the first time he saw a world that was bigger than the one he'd been born into.

And he wanted more.

He wanted to be something more.

A writer. Yeah, but he had no idea what the word really meant.

Certainly didn't have a clue about how to go about it.

You grew up in Philadelphia?

Grew up in Philly, but born in London.


What did she just say?

What did she say? My French is a little weak, but I'm pretty sure she said she loves you.

Go talk to her. No.

Go. That's not funny.

Go talk to her.

Come on, if you don't, I will.

He found out some time later

"Pay your check and get the hell out of here."

But who was he to question fate?

He'd picked up one word of French.


And she knew one word of English.


It was the perfect relationship.

What is ice cream?


What? It's cold in my head.

Cold in your head? Yeah, pain.

Go like this. Take your finger like this.

Under your tongue. It's a little trick. It'll make it go away, okay?

It doesn't wanna go. Give it a second, okay?


It's gone.

Told you.

Okay, one more.

What happened?

He got discharged from the Army.

But what once was his whole world suddenly seemed... small.

Nothing had changed since he'd been away.

Except him.

He had changed.

For the first time in his life, he tried to write.

Tried to write about Paris, about what he'd seen and how he'd felt.

But the words just wouldn't come.

He knew the life he wanted.

He knew what he had to do to get it.

The young man began his apprenticeship as a writer.

He got a job as a journalist for a small English-language weekly.

There were a lot of them springing up for all the expats, and they'd hire anyone who could string a few words together.

It was a good place to learn.

He married Celia two weeks later.

Six pounds and three ounces, eyes like her mother.

That was his moment, not that he knew it at the time.

Maybe one never does.

She used to cry so much.

At times, he could barely think, let alone write.


She was sick.

The wife?

My daughter.

There was nothing he could do.

Celia was never the same.

And he wasn't the same either, even though he tried to pretend.

I'll be back later.


She said she'd gone home to her mother's in the country.

Needed time to think.

She needed to be apart.

He couldn't remember sleeping or eating.

The words simply poured out of him.

A stream that he could not control nor question where they came from.

The words became form, the form became whole, and after two weeks, it was finished.

And then?

Then he slept.

Dreamless sleep.

When he woke, he cleaned the apartment and went to find his wife.

She looked like a child to him, sitting in the room she grew up in.

She begged him to go back to Paris without her.

Just go. Go.

A few weeks later, she finally came home.

He was so grateful to have her home.

Thank you.

He just wanted to hold her, see her laugh again.

So you...? You read my story?

No, I'm not ready yet.

She said she wanted to start life over.

Well, that's okay.

Said it like it would be the easiest thing in the world to do.

It's in the valise here.


I don't understand, I had it with me on the train.

What? I had it with me on the train.

But it was in a different case?

It shouldn't have meant anything, but writing that story had somehow saved him.

How could she not understand?

For years, he'd never forgive himself for caring about those stupid words.

You know what?

You are not the only one who lost her.

She left something. Listen to me, okay?

For a time, they tried to patch things up together, but you can't erase the past, no matter how much you want to.

And for the first time, the young man began to long for home.

Soon the longing grew so strong he...

He left.

Never went back to Paris.

Never saw Celia again.

But after he lost those pages...

he was never able to set down one word... that looked right to him.

Maybe he was afraid of going that deep again.

Perhaps he just lost the knack. Anyway, he stopped trying.

And after a time... he found a little town up north, settled there.

Found a kind of peace.

How's that feel?


It's not over yet.

This is where it really gets interesting.

Long after all of this faded into the past, the young man, who was now an old man, wandered into a bookstore.

The blurb said that the author of the story is a new fresh voice who had something new to say.

I opened the book and began to read.

Your book.

And the narrator was standing over a crib.

His child was dying, and there was nothing he could do.



A misunderstanding, I...

No, no, my friend, there's no misunderstanding, no. I found...

You can't slide out of it now.

These are my words, my stories.

What the fuck is a window tear anyway?

I don't know how you did it.

To be brutally honest, I don't care.

I just thought you should know the story behind these stories in case anyone was to ask.

Maybe now you've got your next book.

"And he sat on that bench, unaware of the world, or of time passing around him.

After a few hours, the sun finally set and Rory Jansen slowly rose, searching for his way home."

Thank you.

If you wanna know the rest of the story, you'll just have to buy the book.

Your work, you seem hesitant to draw any conclusions about our moral behavior.

Do you make any statements about that? Yes, I am hesitant.

What I think is great about art and artists is that we get to ask the questions...

even though we may never know the answers.

Excuse me a minute.

Excuse me, Miss, may I seem some ID first?

You looked like you were drowning. No, no. I'm in my element.

You wanna get out of here?

Well, ahem, I'm supposed to be over there, mingling, taking pictures, and smiling. Raising all that money in these troubled economic times.

That's too bad. Well, okay, you talked me into it.

Okay, I thought you'd never ask. Let's slam these.

I wanna see where you write.

I can assure you, it's not that exciting.

Why don't you let me be the judge of that?

This place, it's...


Empty, yeah.

Somehow it's exactly the way I imagined it.

Really? So you imagined me living in a place for eight months and barely unpacking a box?

It's very elegant, Mr. Hammond.

May I take your jacket? Yes.

See, I told you it's not all that exciting.

Are you kidding?

I could write my entire dissertation on your view.

That was hit by Babe Ruth.

Unfortunately, it was when he was a goddamn Red Sock, but what can you do?

I've got a bottle of Bordeaux downstairs that's just been screaming for an occasion like this.

You know, that sounds good.

Come on. Can we drink it here?

What, at my desk? Yeah. Can we?

We can do anything we want.

We're grown-ups.

Then get the wine.

Your wine. Thank you.

So, what should we drink to?

Your new book, of course.

How about we drink to...? Your book.

Will you tell me something?

What happens?

What happens to Rory after the old man finds him?

Will you tell me something?

If I can.

Why would such a beautiful, intelligent girl such as yourself wanna be something so silly as a writer?


Don't you know words ruin everything?

I don't believe you for a second. You love words.

I'm young, spoiled, impetuous and American. Humor me.

Please? Pretty, pretty, pretty please?

Close your eyes.

And so, like so many of the great clichés in the history of civilization, Rory Jansen decided the only thing to do was drink on it.

And so he gets rip-roaring, death-defyingly drunk, and now he's got his nerve.

And he starts to think.

He allows himself to think the whole thing through.

Maybe for the first time in his entire life.

And he comes to the conclusion, or more appropriately, this myth that he's heard so many times before, that the truth shall set you free.

Hey. Guess what, I spoke to the realtor today, and she said that we can move in as early as the 6th.

Isn't that awesome?

We'll need to buy some carpets and stuff...

Why do you love me?

Dora? Are you drunk?

I need to know why you love me.


I love you because you have beautiful eyes.

I love you because you're serious all the time, but deep, deep down, you're nothing but a goofball.

I just love you.

Rory, what's going on?

You really think my eyes are beautiful?

I think your eyes are beautiful, yes.

They're not mine.


I'm a liar.

I don't...

What are you doing right now?

What's wrong?

I didn't write the book.

What do you...?

The book, I stole it.

I just found it.

I didn't even change any of it. I mean, I...

I don't know who I was stealing it from and...

But I knew it wasn't mine.

I'm very confused right now.

So you didn't...? You...? You didn't write the book?

None of it is mine, not one single word.

I don't know what's going on.

It was there and...

I think I wanted so badly for it to have come from me...

and then the look, the way you looked at me when you thought it was mine...

And for a moment I actually convinced myself that I wrote it.

Do you believe that?

I could never write anything that good. I know that.

Okay, so then... You... I mean, you said so yourself...

I said what?

It doesn't matter. What? What did I say?

You should've known. You did know, right? You knew...

What do you mean? You knew when you read them that they weren't my words. I knew?

You know me so well.

You were doing research on Paris.

We had just gotten back from our honeymoon.

Yeah, but you had to have known.

What do you mean? I believed you.

No, you wanted to believe. I know, I believed you!

You wanted to... I fucking believed you!


Don't touch it.

You lied to me.

When you...

When you read those words, when you copied them, did you ever stop to think about us?

Did you think about what this was gonna do to us?

To you?

Did I ever cross your mind?

I can't be here right now.

I'm sorry, I just can't be here.

You really fucked up.

I think we need to think this through.

What does that mean?

You got the cover of the book review this Sunday.

I didn't get the cover of this, some old man got it.

The other book of yours, did you write that?

Of course I wrote that. But I didn't plan this.

This isn't something that I planned.

But the only reason why anybody ever read my stuff is because of this book.

You don't want this.

Everything you're saying you want, you don't want it.

Just take my name off the book.

And what do you think is gonna happen?

Do you think they're gonna give you a hall pass?

The media? The press? They're gonna crucify you.

And my ass is out there on the line with you.

You wanna pay this man off your advance, that's the right thing to do.

You wanna cut him into the movie rights, fine.

You wanna buy him a house, a car, a fucking boat?

But don't screw yourself for the rest of your life for one stupid mistake. And don't you fuck me!

Trust me, this isn't the first time an author's done something like this.

Don't do that.

You may not believe me now...

but you will thank me later.

My book, the one you sold...

is it as good as this book?

Tell me the truth, Joe.

Thank you.

We're supposed to have dinner with your parents tonight.

I'm really not up for it.

Fine, I'll call your mother.

How much longer until this is over, Rory?

What do you want from me?

Do you think you're the only person on this earth who's ever made a mistake?

Are you gonna let this destroy you?

Destroy us?

What if we had a baby?

We've always wanted to. We've always wanted to start a family.

I think I'm gonna break.

I'm gonna break in half. I'm gonna break in half.

You're not gonna break. You're not gonna break.

I won't let you.

Can we just try to put this behind us?

Look at me. Can we?

How are you doing today?

What type of plant is that?


Swedish ivy.

It's nice.

You come up here just to bullshit about plants?

No, I did not.

Well, if you came to see if I was gonna blow the whistle on you you should relax and go back home to your great, big life.

I wanna fix this.

There's nothing to fix.

You just go live the life you made for yourself.

If you didn't want anything, why did you come find me and tell me?

It couldn't be just to torture me.

You don't even know who I am.

You don't know how, you don't know why.

I just... thought you should know, that's all.

Do you think you can just steal part of my life?

Any man's life?

Take it as your own and expect there'd be no price to pay?

No. Don't you understand? This is why I'm here.

Put that back in your pocket or I'll kick the shit out of you.

This is not a payoff. This is all I could get out right now, but it's all yours. I'm gonna take my name off the book.

I'm gonna tell everybody the truth.

Then you're even more of a fool than I thought you were.

What is all this about then? What is it about?

It's about my life.

It's about my wife, about my child.

It's about the joy and the pain that gave birth to those words.

You take those words, you take the pain.

Now, why don't you buy a plant with that money?

Here, a Plectranthus, since you love them so much.

You take your plant and your money and you get out of here. Get out of here. Go on.

Hey, I wanna make things right.

You can't just make things right.

Things are just things.

You understand? No matter how you try and martyr yourself.

I've got work to do. This place doesn't run itself.

Sir, sir. Please. Sir.


I did see her one more time.

You did?

I was on my way to work.

Over all those years,

I thought about her every day.

Broken because of what I did to her.

And then all of a sudden, there she was.

She seemed happy.

Well, if I was to tell you that realization didn't cause me pain, I'd be lying.

But, in some ways, it helped me.

Helped me turn a corner.

Pick up again without looking back all the time.

Ah, you think I ruined my life because I never wrote again.

Just because I lost a book of stories. No, I just...

God, you had so much more to do.

I've done enough. Believe me.

I've done what I can the best that I can. That's all you can ask of a person.

No, my tragedy was that I loved words more than I loved the woman who inspired me to write them.

You wanna do something for me? Anything at all.

Walk away, don't look back.

We all make choices in life.

The hard thing is to live with them.

And there ain't nobody can help you with that.

Go on.


I do love your book.

We all make our choices.

The hard part is living with them.

Finally, Rory Jansen knew what he had to do to live with his.

The Window Tears by Rory Jansen.

And the old man?

A few weeks after Rory went to visit him, the old man died.

And the secret died with him.

Whatever he had to do, whatever he had to lose, he would seal it off.

It was as if by locking off the secret of one man's life forever, he had unveiled another much deeper and darker secret within himself.

And that's it. The end.


No moral, no comeuppance, no incredible gain of knowledge, other than the belief that one can, after making a terrible mistake in life, continue to live and perhaps even live well.

Everyone has to sleep at night.

What really happened, Clay, after he tells himself all that?

I just told you. No, tell me the truth.

He goes on. He lives, he writes, as well as he can, he's a big success.


I'm not talking about the book. You're just avoiding. Tell me the truth.

What are you afraid of, Clay?

Look, why don't you tell me?

What? I wanna know what you think.

You're so smart, you got yourself in here, you got me talking.

Acting so precocious, throwing your little ass around, quoting Shakespeare, batting your eyelashes.

Why don't you tell me? I wanna know what you think.

What happens to them?

I... No, no, no.

You tell me what happens to Rory and Dora or you can get the hell out.

He's fucked.

Now go on.

Maybe he can forget, maybe he can write, create, but it doesn't matter because he'll never, ever believe it.

He's robbed himself of the chance to find out.

Not bad.

Or maybe he can't write, although he's been able to fool a few people.

Even better.

Maybe his marriage falls apart because for him and his wife to look at one another is for them to look at the truth.

Maybe when he goes in public, he can wear that mask of confidence and sophistication, but back when he's alone late at night, he can't sleep, because when he closes his eyes he still sees the face of that old man.

Maybe he sees his own face, and the old man is just a story he made up.

Or maybe he finds himself in his beautiful New York apartment overlooking the park, with a girl who's much too young for him, and he's telling her what he knows to be are tired old stories.

Because for some reason she believes that he has something to give her.

You're very talented, Daniella.

But at some point, you have to choose between life and fiction.

The two are very close, but they never actually touch.

They're two very, very different things.


What's wrong?

You don't want me? No, no, no.

Look, it's not like you're corrupting anything here.

I want this. I want you.


You should leave.

Is that what you really want...


What do you really want?