A Nutcracker Christmas (2016) Movie Script

(Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker)
(woman): They say in dance,
the things that look
the most effortless,
the most beautiful,
require the most amount of work,
but they're worth it.
The same can be said of love.
- Let's go.
- I grew up
in Marietta, Georgia,
home of peanuts and football.
(all shouting)
Only I hated peanuts,
and the big game
never really captured
my attention.
My passion was ballet.
Oh! Oh my goodness!
For heaven sakes, Lily Jamison!
Look at this mess!
Here are your peanuts, boys.
Half of them are on the floor.
Don't worry, Lily.
- I'll take care of this.
- Thanks, Beth.
- That's my older sister, Beth.
- It's OK. You just keep
practicing. And don't forget,
just one pli at a time.
Right from the start, she knew
how important ballet was to me.
(Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker)
For as long as I could remember,
my dream was to dance
The Nutcracker's
Sugar Plum Fairy.
Only this wasn't exactly
what I had in mind.
As I got older, I became
consumed by ballet.
It was my entire world.
Hey, hey, hey. Lily,
you've got this, OK?
You are a wonderful dancer.
Just remember, one pli--
One pli at a time.
I know, I know.
Now go get a seat, or you'll be
standing in the back the entire show.
Well, it wouldn't be
the first time.
- I love you, Beth.
- I love you too.
(breathing deeply)
Up to that point, Beth had
always been my biggest fan.
And then there was
my littlest fan.
Beth's daughter,
my niece Sadie.
Christmas was always
my family's favorite time
of year-- delicious food,
new ballet outfits
under the tree,
and our traditional family Christmas
song, The Twelve Days of Ad Lib.
Three digital cameras
Two Falcons tickets
And a part in
the New York Ballet
Every time I put on
my pointe shoes,
I knew I wanted a career
as a professional ballet dancer.
But I wasn't the only girl
who felt that way.
If you haven't heard
of the American Ballet
Invitational, it's sort of like the
World Series, but for non-professional
ballet dancers. I didn't realize there
was gonna be so many great dancers.
Lily, relax, OK?
You can do it.
Remember, just one--
Pli at a time.
(announcer): Next, from
Marietta, Georgia, number 129,
Lily Jamison.
(Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker)
And the winner of the 2003
American Ballet
Invitational is...
- from Marietta, Georgia: Lily Jamison!
- Whoo!
Two weeks later,
I got even bigger news.
I was offered a spot
at the New York Ballet,
home of the world's most
famous Nutcracker.
I wasn't in Marietta anymore, and this
wasn't another dance competition.
Alright, boys,
go to this corner.
That is where you will begin.
Grand allegro, ready, and...
This was the New York Ballet,
and they were even
better than I imagined.
Into position for the adage.
But I wasn't gonna let that
stop me from achieving my dream.
Ready, and...
Remember, keep
your legs high. Higher!
- Higher!
- First, I just needed
to start breathing again.
Oh! I'm so sorry!
It's OK. It's OK. I'm Mark.
Hi. I'm Ellie--
Lily! I'm new.
- Hi, new Lily.
- Hi.
Come on, Mark.
Let's warm up.
(Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker)
[You have no idea, Beth.
I have never worked so hard. ]
Well, you knew that was coming.
- [So, what part did you get?]
- Well, right now I'm a snowflake.
And what about
the Sugar Plum Fairy?
[Yeah, that's kind of
a big prize around here.]
Honestly, I'm not sure
I'll ever get it.
Fortunately, I had one thing
to look forward to that year:
Beth and Sadie's
Christmas visit.
Alright, you two, which one of
these trees has our name on it?
How about this one?
Well, it's very nice, Sadie,
but I think we need
something that's bigger.
- How about this one?
- I love it!
Beth always knew how to make
the holidays extra special.
(applause) While Sadie always shared
her mom's love for Christmas,
to my surprise, she also shared
my love for ballet...
and my ballet friends.
After Beth and Sadie met
my director, Dimitri,
he insisted that they attend
his annual Christmas party.
Christmas lights
In the middle
of a Christmas night
All the colors
shine so bright
Ha, ha!
(foreign language)
And welcome, my little Sadie.
Please, come in, make
yourselves comfortable.
So, everybody, jingle the bells!
Sadie's here! Our little
Christmas princess!
Oops. You weren't supposed to see that.
- (laughing)
- Gross.
Well, then you definitely don't wanna
know what I did to the coleslaw.
Hey, can I...
ask you something?
- It's not about the coleslaw, is it?
- No, um...
I was just wondering
how you got into dancing.
I mean... you don't
really seem...
- (laughing)
- Graceful?
No, I wasn't gonna say that.
- Obviously you're graceful.
- I was on the football team
in high school. Someone told me
ballet would help my footwork.
Ah, so you did it
to meet the girls.
Yeah, that and... ballerinas don't try
to crush you on the line of scrimmage.
Obviously, that ballerina
wants to crush you.
She's just mad 'cause things
aren't going well with us.
Are you kidding?
You guys dance
- so beautifully together.
- Actually, we broke up last week.
And a Lamborghini
under the tree
On the fourth day
of Christmas
My true love gave to me
(He improvises.)
I always thought I'd go
into the military. My dad,
my uncles,
my grandfather,
they all served.
But then I got into ballet and
found out I was pretty good at it.
Let me guess-- you're more
of a lover than a fighter.
- That's what I tried to tell Dad.
- Mark!
No, guys,
I'm all dance, no sing.
- What? Oh, come on, Mark!
- Come on, Mark, don't be party pooper!
On the fifth day of Christmas,
my true love gave to me
Five onion bagels
- (cheering)
- Four?
- (hubbub) Three?
- Diamond bracelets.
- Two?
- Black bears dancing
And a Lamborghini
under the tree
(soft guitar music)
During the next few years
I spent dancing
in New York, some things
kept improving.
(bell ringing)
Now, next,
the role of Sugar Plum
Fairy goes to...
Jade Parker.
Some things didn't.
Congratulations, Jade.
But it was OK.
Mark and I were happy.
I was sure he was The One.
Merry Christmas, Frank!
- Merry Christmas, Lily.
- Careful down, please!
Take your seats. First of all,
this year's Prince
will be danced by...
Mark Anders.
And this year's
Sugar Plum Fairy...
Lily Jamison!
- (applause)
- What?
I can't believe this.
My goodness!
- Are you shaking?
- It's called nerves.
(breathing deeply)
(cell phone buzzing)
- Do you want to get that?
- No,
it's probably just my parents
letting me know they arrived.
They're gonna see their baby
girl's big solo debut, hmm?
(cell phone buzzing) Get the phone.
I've pinned enough.
Thank you.
Hi, Mom! I hope you're
calling from the hotel
and not the airport. Curtain's
in a couple of hours and--
What do you mean,
you're still in Georgia?
What happened?
- (sobbing)
- We're at the hospital.
[Kevin was driving the girls to the
airport and there was an accident.]
Sadie's fine.
[Baby, I'm so sorry...]
[I'm so sorry.]
(Mark): I'm so sorry.
We should get you back to the
apartment so you can get packed.
- I'm not going home.
- What?
My mom said Beth
would want me to dance.
- I have to find my headpiece.
- What are you doing?
- Why can't I find it?
- Lily. Lil.
- Go be with your family. Be with Sadie.
- No, I have to get ready.
I just heard.
- I am so sorry.
- Dim, any chance
- we can get her on a plane tonight?
- No!
My mom wants me to
do this for my sister.
Beth wanted this for me.
I have to do this for her.
Mark, is she
ready to dance?
- Dimitri, I'm right here. Ask me.
- Mark?
- I can do this! Tell him, Mark!
- Lily,
dancing just isn't
important right now.
No, I... I have to do this.
I'm sorry, you're not focused.
Anything could happen.
I'm afraid you're gonna
hurt yourself out there.
I will be fine!
But you're not. I don't
think you should dance.
- don't do this to me.
- It's settled, then.
Jade will stand in tonight.
I am sorry, Lily,
but it is for the best.
- No!
- You'll have your chance again.
Next year.
- How could you do this to me?
- Lily, you have to trust me.
This is
the right thing to do.
You need to be with your family.
I'm just trying to protect you.
No! You're killing
everything I ever wanted!
- Everything Beth ever wanted for me!
- That's not fair.
What's not fair is you
taking this dream away from me.
I didn't know it then, but...
that was the day
I said goodbye to Mark.
And goodbye to ballet.
Last breath in...
(breathing deeply)
Let it all out.
(class): Namaste.
Thank you.
Hey, Lily. Thanks for the great class.
I did not know yoga could
be such a good workout.
- (laughing)
- Um,
so, my office is having
a party next Thursday.
- I don't know if you have plans, but...
- Oh.
- Next Thursday?
- Yeah.
I think I have something
- at my niece's ballet studio--
- Really? I didn't get an invite.
- It's just a dress rehearsal.
- Since when did you ever go--
It's not a big deal, really.
I should've asked earlier.
Anyway, thanks again.
- Great class as always, Lily.
- Thank you.
Really? You go
to dress rehearsals now?
- The point is, I don't date my clients.
- The point is,
- you don't date anyone, honey.
- You know what?
I'm gonna be late to pick up
Sadie. I will see you at dinner.
Mom was right. It was like I'd
developed an allergy to ballet
and men. But the truth is,
spending time with Sadie
was more than enough for me.
(piano music)
I had a lot of reasons
for leaving New York,
but Sadie was the real reason
I never went back.
I could never replace her mother,
but I was determined to help
raise her as best I could.
You must be so proud of Sadie winning
the American Ballet Invitational.
- Yeah.
- I guess that dancing's in her blood.
(piano music)
Please, come in.
I think most of you know
Sadie's aunt, Lily Jamison.
Well, like Sadie,
Lily also won the ABI
and actually went on to dance
with the New York Ballet.
- She was a prima ballerina.
- That was a long time ago.
Lily, would you like to do
something with the girls?
I don't dance anymore.
I'm just saying,
you could've done something.
It was so embarrassing.
Oh my goodness,
you're kidding!
- What?
- Uh...
"Based on Sadie's recent
performance in the ABI regionals,
"the Philadelphia Ballet
would like to invite Sadie McRae
"to be a guest artist
performing the role
of Clara in this season's
The Nutcracker."
- (squealing)
- That's a lead role!
With a real ballet company,
just like you,
- Aunt Lily!
- I know what they want.
They want to get her into their school,
and if that works out, their company.
Most people would think
that's a good thing.
No. Sadie is not ready for this.
You mean you're not
ready for this.
She... she's too trusting.
She's too innocent.
I know exactly how you feel.
I remember being faced
with a similar situation,
but Beth convinced me
that nothing was gonna stop you
from pursuing your dream.
I know. But--
No buts. You're going.
This will be good for Sadie
and good for you too.
Go get the old
chimney sweeper
Make sure the chimney
is clear
That's the last of it.
- You got this?
- I got it.
Thank you.
Welcome to Philadelphia, ladies.
Have a merry Christmas.
(both): Merry Christmas!
- Fabulous Christmas
- Wow!
- I love this time of the year
- I love this apartment.
All it needs is
a Christmas tree.
- Thank you, Aunt Lily.
- Aw...
(jingle bells ringing)
I've never been a guest artist
before. What happens now?
Come on, you're gonna be late.
(man talking)
We're looking forward to a
fantastic Nutcracker this year.
And, as we do
every year, we've invited
a talented newcomer
to dance the role of Clara.
Let's give a warm
welcome to Sadie McRae!
- Where is she?
- Oh! I'm in here!
(sound fades out)
Oh my gosh, why is this
happening? Why is he here?
This isn't gonna work.
Are you OK?
Yeah. You know,
teenage girls,
scheduling... it's crazy.
I gotta go.
- Sorry.
- Excuse me.
Hi, Lily.
Mark. Hi.
It's good to see you.
It's good to see you
too, I guess.
How have you been?
How's Georgia?
Look, what... what is this?
I mean, you couldn't tell me
that you were here?
I tried to reach you
so many times after New York.
I called you every day for, like,
6 months, but you never responded.
- (stammering)
- I don't know what to say.
This is really strange.
I get it. But so much
time has passed.
Can we at least talk
about what happened?
I don't think that's
such a good idea. I...
Actually, I don't think any of this
is a good idea. I'm taking Sadie--
Wait. You can't
pull Sadie, please.
I had no idea she was your niece when
I saw her tape from the regionals.
I picked her because
she was the best dancer we saw.
She's amazing.
I assume you've been helping.
I don't have anything
to do with dance anymore.
Does anyone else here
know about us?
No. Of course not.
Good, 'cause that would just make an
awkward situation even more awkward.
I understand. I do.
But Sadie deserves
this opportunity.
I'll stay out of your way.
Philly's a big city.
I guess I... I can just
drop her off and pick her up,
I mean, it's not like we have
to see each other all the time.
Dropping off, picking up...
Careful, someone might
mistake you for a dance mom.
Well, I'm not a mom,
and thankfully,
a dance aunt isn't a thing.
Mark, can I have a word with you
about next week's board meeting?
Of course.
Duty calls.
- Alright, you got the door?
- Sorry.
Good morning.
- Hi!
- You gotta be kidding.
I probably didn't mention
that the company owns the building
and puts up some of the staff
- and dancers.
- Hm.
- See you there!
- Ugh.
You OK?
My stomach's just
feeling a little weird.
Probably those cheesesteaks
we ate last night.
Maybe it's Mr. Anders.
- What's that supposed to mean?
- Well, when I used to sit
next to Tommy Reynolds in math class,
I always felt a little nauseous.
- Why?
- 'Cause he was super cute.
Do you know Mr. Anders
- from anywhere?
- No. Yes.
Well, sort of.
It's a small world, Sadie, and
it just keeps getting smaller
- the older you get.
- You had a crush on him.
It's awfully chilly
in Philadelphia.
Did you remember to pack
all those warm clothes
I laid out for you?
No. Yes.
- Well, sort of.
- Very funny.
Alright, have a great
first rehearsal.
Uh, you're not gonna come in
and see your favorite niece
on her first day with a
professional ballet company?
- Ah--
- If you come in, I promise
I won't ask any more questions
about Mr. Anders.
Fine. Let's go.
(piano music)
Finish strong, finish strong.
Spice it up.
Nice and sassy.
Nice. Alright,
take five, ladies,
please. Juliette, let's do your
solo from the top, please.
(Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker)
- (Christmas music playing)
- I'm so excited about this!
- What can I get you?
- Two hot chocolates, please.
Whipped cream on both?
- Do you need to ask?
- They told us we have to ask.
I'm kidding, I just meant--
- Never mind. Yes, on both.
- Extra hot soy latte for Mark!
- Hey look, it's Mr. Anders!
- Sadie!
- How are you?
- Good, how are you?
Hi. Sadie, we have
to go feed the dog.
You have a dog?
Uh, it's someone else's dog.
They asked us to feed him.
- Our building doesn't allow dogs.
- Yeah,
it's in another building.
A dog building.
A building where
they allow dogs.
And cats. Personally,
I prefer dogs.
Uh, two hot chocolates
for Lily?
Sorry, the dog gets really
grumpy when he's hungry.
We're not gonna go
feed a dog, are we?
- No, we're not.
- OK, I know I made a deal,
but can I please ask a few
more questions about Mr. Anders?
Absolutely not.
OK, fine, but just so you
know, I'm a great listener,
- so if you ever need anyone--
- Thanks, I will keep that in mind.
Hey, look!
A gingerbread house!
Just like I used
to make with my mom.
That's the kind of thing
that can make a girl forget...
about her aunt Lily's
deep dark secrets.
Oh, really? Well, then
I guess we'd better go get you
- a smaller one.
- OK!
- Wow, that looks fantastic!
- I know.
Finally some Christmas spirit.
Now all we need is a tree.
Yes, and I promise
we will get one
as soon as I figure out
where they sell them.
Aunt Lily, there's a
place a few blocks away.
Really. How do you know?
It could be all the Christmas
trees with price tags on them.
I'm going to the gym.
Call me if you need me.
(Mark panting)
(Lily sighs.)
- OK, I'll see you later.
- OK.
Have a great day.
- Love you.
- Love you!
- Hey. Hi.
- Hi.
So here's the deal. Every Tuesday and
Thursday, after drop-off, all the moms
go grab coffee at the Keystone Diner. We
would love it if you would join us.
- That sounds fun, but I--
- No, no, no. No buts. Come on,
we're leaving right now.
I mean, it's just coffee, right?
She's in!
It's official,
I'm a dance mom.
All Victoria wants this year
for Christmas are headphones...
that look like earrings.
She'll just have another excuse
to say she didn't hear me.
- (women laughing)
- What does Sadie want?
Uh... How long
do I have?
Do not worry.
When all else fails,
- what do we do?
- (together): Gift cards!
Hi. Sorry I'm late.
- What did I miss?
- Christmas gifts.
- Oh. I am all done.
- Because you're perfect. She's perfect.
- Is your daughter into jewelry yet?
- Sadie's actually my niece.
Her mom died
when she was 7.
Oh, losing your mother
at that age, I can't imagine.
She seems
to be doing well.
Yeah, after her mom died,
she... she really gravitated
towards ballet. I think
she needed something challenging
- to distract her.
- I had to drag Ilene
into class,
kicking and screaming
- those first two years.
- We remember the screaming.
- (Ilene's mom laughing)
- Did Sadie's mom dance?
No, she didn't.
I wonder what inspired Sadie.
She saw you
dancing perhaps.
Umm, no.
I... I don't dance.
Really? You never danced?
I-I mean,
a little as, as a kid,
but... I guess
we all did, right?
Did we?
Hey, is this
a coffee shop or a courtroom?
Think the prosecution's had
a little too much caffeine.
- (some women laughing)
- Ohhh...
And what do you think
about Mark?
Oh! Mr. Anders?
I, um...
I guess he's alright.
He is a ballet master
and a war hero.
- What's not to like?
- Wait. Who was a war hero?
Mark. He served
in Afghanistan.
- I can't believe--
- You can't believe what?
I just...
I think he... he seems
like such a ballet guy.
You need to close your eyes
and picture him in a uniform.
Come on. Lily, try it.
Close your eyes.
- I'm in.
- You're always in.
Hey, who wants to split
a piece of cheesecake?
(Lily): Was everything
OK at rehearsal today?
The other kids seemed nice.
They're OK.
- Did something happen?
- Doesn't matter.
Sadie, if there's a problem,
it might help to talk about it.
I'm not having
a problem, OK?
I'm sorry, Aunt Lily,
it's just
all the rehearsals
and the new people,
I just...
I just don't know.
Hey, I know exactly
what it feels like.
It's hard coming to a new place
and dancing with new people
and trying to fit in
all at the same time.
- Yeah.
- But I tell you what,
your mom would be really proud
of you right now.
You think?
(Sadie laughing)
- Good night, sweetie.
- Night!
Sorry. No, I am telling you,
I don't think it's a good idea
to tell them about New York
or my history with Mark.
I mean,
[you know how dance moms are.]
Honey, isn't it more stressful
trying to cover it up?
I'm not covering it up;
I'm just...
[being selective
about what I choose]
[to share.]
Are you shaking your head?
[Yes, because being selective
about sharing]
- is no way to make friends.
- [Who says I'm trying to make friends?]
I have to admit though,
it is pretty cool
being around
a dance company again.
[All the hard work and seeing it
all come together...]
...really brings me back.
Do you miss it?
[A little. Maybe.]
I don't know.
Right now,
I am just focused on Sadie.
She's all that matters.
She has no idea how lucky
she is to have you in her life.
- I love you, Mom.
- [I love you too, baby.]
(soft music playing)
(She turns off the music.)
(door opening)
- Good night.
- Good night.
(gentle music playing)
(The music stops.)
Wow! Small world.
Yeah, especially when you're
living right across the hall
from someone.
Hey, you and Sadie want to go
ice skating tonight?
- (Lily scoffing)
- It's like 10:30, Mark.
How about dinner?
How about I go back up
to my apartment
and go to bed?
- You're right. It's late.
- (sigh)
- Nice job, Mark.
- (Christmas music playing)
- Hey. Any trees
that are, you know,
on the small side?
It's just for me. Thanks.
Wow! Now, that's what I call
a Christmas tree.
(laughing): That's what I call
way too big!
- And way too expensive.
- No, come on, it's beautiful!
- Look at it!
- Sadie, you and I couldn't
- even carry that tree home.
- Ho! Ho! Ho!
Now, what would it take
for me to send you home
with this lovely
Douglas fir right here.
This year's model has all
the options you could ever want.
Are you following me?
I mean, seriously
what are the odds?
- Hey, we need to find a tree.
- Yeah, and a tree like this
might really, you know,
spruce up the place.
- Ugh!
- You're obviously
pining for a tree.
(Sadie giggling)
- Trying to branch out?
- You need to stop now.
- (Sadie): Yeah.
- Trees like this don't just
- grow on trees, you know?
- We'll take it.
If you like, I can give you
a hand, get it up to your place.
- OK!
- No thanks.
Unless of course,
"tree" is a crowd?
OK, we almost
made it! Oh, Sadie,
good thing we didn't get
that 15-foot tree.
Oh, come on, that would have
been so much more awesome.
This one's going
to be perfect.
Alright, where
should we put it?
- Sorry.
- Alright, where's the stand?
I thought it was
on there.
Oh no. Really, guys?
It must have fallen off.
I'm sorry, Sadie.
Hey, we'll get another one.
OK. See you later,
Mr. Anders.
See you, Sadie.
- Thanks for your help.
- Anytime.
Hey, is that...?
So you were in the military?
Because some of the other moms
were talking
- today and--
- I had fun today.
Good night, Lily.
(piano music)
(piano music playing)
- (The piano music stops.)
- OK. OK, good.
A little more pli
in the spin around,
but otherwise,
this section's really improving.
I think the tempo is
a little brisk. Just a moment.
When we're circling around,
I really need more resistance
or I'm gonna fall on my butt,
and that will be embarrassing--
Why do you keep trying
to direct everybody?!
- Uh, I was just suggesting.
- It's not your job.
- You're not the director.
- Stop being such a know-it-all!
Hey! How was it?
(Sadie sighs.)
(indistinct chatter)
I take it it didn't go so well?
- Sadie! What's wrong?
- I was just trying
to help another dancer
with the choreography.
Wasn't that
Mr. Anders' job?
Oh, great! So now
you're on their side? Wow!
You know that's not true.
- (music of The Nutcracker)
- Oh! Hey.
Hi. I was wondering...
What's that awful smell?
Uh, I was just burning
some popcorn. Come in.
- Ah.
- So to what do I owe
- the honor?
- Uh...
I'm worried about Sadie.
Apparently, she's been giving
some of the other kids advice,
and, uh, it's not going so well.
Hey, I get attitude
and I'm the director.
Do you think
she's coming down with a case
- of the Clara complex?
- Well, sure.
She's 14. Her first big role
at the company.
I guess her ego was bound
to get a little out of control.
Might be helpful if you were
around her in rehearsals.
- You think that would help?
- I do. And while you're there,
I could really use help with
this year's Sugar Plum Fairy.
- What?
- She's having some mechanical issues.
No. I...
I'm not a dancer anymore.
I haven't danced
for a really,
really long time.
Why would she even listen to me?
Lily, I'm not asking you
to dance, just give her
- some pointers.
- I-I don't know, Mark.
What's the issue?
Working with me?
Working with another dancer?
Getting involved
- in the whole ballet scene again?
- Uh, D, all of the above.
OK, I'm gonna let
you in on a little secret.
You're in way over your head?
No. You think
I'm in over my head?
Well, if you're asking,
I guess you must be.
I just like
having you around,
- that's all. You've good energy.
- Thanks, coach.
But since you think I'm in over my head,
then you have to help me.
- Oh, I "have" to help you?
- Uh-huh.
- Is that a rule?
- It's a preference.
- (Lily sighing)
- I know.
I know, I was supposed
to get a tree stand.
Why bother? It's not like
we have any ornaments.
Hey! I'll make you
a promise.
By this time tomorrow,
that tree will be
standing on its own,
and it will be lit up like a...
Like a Christmas tree.
(both laughing)
(jingling bells)
- It's the same problem.
- Listen, I don't care
what the problem is.
It's personal.
No, you don't.
Take a five and fix it.
You hear me?
It's so simple.
(indistinct chatter)
Sounds a little rough
in there.
Well, when your lead dancers
are also a couple on the rocks,
it can provoke
certain emotions.
Today apparently,
they're off again.
Sounds vaguely familiar.
(Mark sighs.)
Listen, I'd love it
if you could help her
with the big lift.
(Lily sighs.)
OK, but can we do it
in the small studio?
It's a little more private
back there.
Yes. Thank you.
(indistinct chatter)
OK, gang, I've brought in
another set of eyes to help us
with the big lift.
- This is Lily Jamison.
- Hi.
- Aren't you Clara's mom?
- Sadie. Her name is Sadie.
- Whatever.
- I'm her aunt.
- What is she doing here?
- OK. Let's just show her
what we've got, huh? Here we go.
(Juliette grunts.)
- What's going on here?
- Uh,
Juliette, I think you need
to jump a little higher.
- He could bend a little lower.
- I still think you need
to jump a little higher. I just
don't want to see you get hurt.
Thank you.
That makes the two of us.
OK, let's try this
again, please.
Here we go.
- Hm! Ah!
- Oh! Are you OK?
Juliette, wait!
I have been dancing
with this company
for seven years now;
you really expect me
to take instructions
from some dance mom?!
Dance aunt actually.
For your information,
Lily and I danced together
at the New York Ballet.
She's one of the most gifted
dancers I've ever worked with.
You should be grateful
that someone of her caliber
is willing to work with you.
(Juliette sighs.)
Uhhh, that just slipped out. I'm sorry.
I gotta get out of here.
- (indistinct chatter)
- I'm coming with you.
I have something
I have to do.
- Hot date?
- Yeah, with a tree stand.
It's all about personal taste.
You got your bucket tree stand.
You got your snowflake
tree stand.
You really don't care, do you?
(Christmas music playing)
No. No, I do. I...
I was just thinking
something a little more basic.
Put a tree in it.
It stands up.
- It's a tree stand.
- (chuckling): OK.
- And then when Sadie gets home
from rehearsals,
she'll be really happy.
And you get points
for being a good aunt.
(man): Ho! Ho! Ho! Ho!
(girl): Santa, I want
a puppy for Christmas.
I remember. I used to beg
my mom to take me see Santa
and then as soon
as I saw him, I'd freak out
- and wanna go home.
- Ha!
When I was a kid, I would
show up to see Santa with a list
and just hand it to him because
I didn't trust his memory.
I don't know what I'm gonna tell
those other moms tomorrow.
I was really trying
to keep our relationship
and my dancing in the past.
Yeah, I'm sorry
about that.
No, it's...
it's my fault really.
I should have
just been upfront about it.
(Christmas music playing)
I guess I'll go
with the snowflake.
Semper fi.
Sadie's running late,
she'll be down in three minutes.
- I have something to--
- I have something I wanted--
Uh, is it OK
if I go first?
- Sure.
- Yesterday,
the whole thing
with Juliette, I...
- I owe you an explanation.
- No, you don't owe me anything.
No, I-I do. Um,
Mark and I used to dance
in New York,
but it was a long time ago
and it's just something
I don't talk about anymore.
The thing is that Sharon
found this old photo online
of you and Mark
from back then,
and pretty clear you guys were
more than just dance partners.
We were.
The problem is now she's
telling everyone that Sadie got
the role of Clara because
you and Mark used to date.
No, listen, I know
that Sadie absolutely deserves
to be Clara. I mean,
I've seen the girl dance.
I just wanted you to know
what everyone was saying.
I don't understand. Did I do
something to offend Sharon?
There was a lot
of talk last year
that Sharon's daughter
would be cast as Clara,
but Mark really wanted to stick
with the guest-dancer tradition,
and so...
I'm ready.
Thank you.
(music of Silent Night playing)
(door chime)
Hey. What's going on?
Are you OK?
People are saying the
only reason Sadie got the role...
was because you and I used to date.
What?! We chose Sadie
because she was the best.
So you promise,
having her in this production
has nothing to do with me?
I'm not gonna tell you that
seeing you again isn't nice,
but honestly, if I had known
Sadie was your niece,
I probably wouldn't
have chosen her
because of what happened
to us in New York.
You mean, what you did
to us in New York.
I didn't mean to do anything,
but love you,
to watch out for you.
Lily, I thought
I was doing the right thing.
I believed in my heart
that you should go home
to your family.
Well, that wasn't
your decision to make.
You have no idea
how badly you hurt me.
You think you were the only one who
was hurt, whose life was changed?
My sister died.
I wanted to dance.
That was my choice,
no matter how crazy
you thought it might seem.
(gentle music)
I know how important
it was for you
to dance that night.
And I know whatever I decided
might hurt you,
might hurt us,
And you were in so much pain
and so vulnerable.
It was an impossible situation.
I've been struggling
with this forever.
You're right,
I should have
fought for you.
Your choice should have
been my choice.
Yesterday, when you were
working with Juliette...
(Lily sniffling)
...she could have hurt herself.
She almost did.
She was so upset.
That could have been me.
I couldn't see it
eight years ago,
but yesterday,
for the first time...
...I know you were
protecting me.
You shouldn't be the one
that's sorry. I'm sorry.
(cell phone dinging)
(cell phone dinging)
(chuckling and sniffling)
Oh! You should get that.
(Lily chuckling)
Juliette just quit
the company.
- Oh no!
- Yeah, I mean,
Suzanne's her understudy,
but she's got to get
up to speed right away.
I could probably do it
with a little help.
'Cause that went so well
the first time.
(both chuckling)
Thank you.
(soft Christmas music playing)
The other kids
are so mean.
I know it can be
really competitive.
You think?
Sometimes, it feels
a little cruel, doesn't it?
They're saying I only got
the part of Clara
because you and Mr. Anders
used to date.
You heard that?
(Lily sighing)
I just want them to know
that I'm a good dancer.
Oh, Sadie, sweetie,
I'm so sorry.
No. This is a professional
dance company;
you only dance
if you deserve to be there,
like you.
You just do your best,
and they'll know you belong.
I guess.
You know what your mom
used to say to me?
(gentle guitar music)
"One pli at a time."
- Can you do that?
- I can try.
Do you ever wish
that you haven't given up dance?
Every now and then,
but everything happens
for a reason.
And if I'd stayed
in New York,
then I couldn't
have raised you.
- I love you, Aunt Lily.
- Oh,
I'm pretty crazy about you too.
- Alright. Let's decorate.
- OK.
- (Mark clapping twice)
- Alright. Listen up, guys.
I have some good news
and I have...
Let me rephrase that.
I have some news
and I have some other news.
What's the news?!
Juliette has left the company.
Wait, did you know
about that?
The good news
is that Suzanne Tyler will be
getting a well-deserved
opportunity to shine
as the Sugar Plum Fairy. Let's
hear it for Suzanne, come on!
(piano music playing)
Must be nice to get
an all-expense-paid trip
- to the big city.
- That's what happens
- when your mom dates the director.
- Ahem!
Either of you two
compete at the Regionals?
- I did.
- And?
I had a sinus infection
that weekend.
Sadie won the Regionals.
First place.
Just thought
you should know.
I like your turns.
- Thanks.
- Nice job.
Not a bad day after all.
Yeah, I saw how
you handled things with Sadie
and the other kids.
You were good.
Well, there's one thing
I'm really not good at.
- Christmas shopping.
- I'm great at it.
That's what I thought.
How would you guys like
to do me a favor
and show me how the pros shop?
- Sure!
- It's a date.
It's not a date.
- (Sadie laughing)
- Deck the halls
With boughs of holly
Falalalala lala lala
- 'Tis the season to be jolly
- Christmas carolers, guys!
Can we please sing?
Trust me, nobody wants
to hear me singing.
Haha! I'm still thawing out,
you go ahead.
- (Sadie): Fine!
- Don we now our gay apparel
Falala lalala la la la
- Troll the ancient...
- She's good.
Yuletide carol
Falalalala lala lala
See the blazing yule
before us
Falalalala lala lala
(Mark laughing)
Hold still. Hold still.
- Falalalala lala lala
- Oh, my goodness.
- Follow me in merry measure
- There.
Falala lalala lalala
While I tell of Yuletide
treasure, falalala
Was it better?
- What do you think?
- I-I still think
you need to bring your spot
upstage a little sooner.
- OK.
- Yeah. Good.
Keep working on that, please.
Thank you, Lily.
Alright, so we'll...
(piano music)
The sky opens wide
You close your eyes
And no one can find you
But still it begins
And so it is
Your eyes can't hide you
You build those castles
in the sand
And hope
with everything you have
The wind is calm tonight
Looking for answers
in the dark
You're searching
endless works of art
To find life inside of them
Oh, to find light
inside of them
The flying gets harder
As you fall
Gravity holds
no weight at all
Flying gets harder
As you fall
Gravity holds
no weight at all
When help eludes you,
call on love
Oh oh well
Above the road
Hold me aloft
Ah! Ah!
Argh! Cramp, cramp,
cramp, cramp. Cramp.
Ugh! Argh!
(Mark exhaling forcefully)
Just keep the energy
under your arms.
- There you go. Nice.
- Thank you.
(indistinct chatter)
- Hey.
- Hey.
- How did it go?
- Went well, thanks.
So, is that just something
you don't talk about?
I can give you my rank,
name and serial number.
Anything more, you'll have
to buy me a drink.
Well, Sadie is going
to the movies
with the other girls, so...
(smooth jazz version
of Silent Night)
...I guess I could do that.
(indistinct chatter)
When you left New York,
I was hurting.
I needed change.
I wasn't sure
what to do.
My family's
military history,
knowing what was
going on overseas;
enlisting just felt
like the right thing for me.
That was a big change.
Yeah. It was rough.
I lost some friends.
And that's why
I don't talk about it.
So sorry.
Must have been hard
coming home.
Felt disconnected.
For the first time,
I began to regret
I had lost my chance to dance.
So how did you
end up here?
Dance is really
the only thing I know.
But you're not dancing.
Directing just sort of
came naturally.
I guess I got used to bossing
people around in the service.
So what were you?
Like an officer
- or something?
- I was a gunnery sergeant.
Well, Gunnery Sergeant Anders...
...how would you like
to come over to our place
for Christmas dinner
after the show?
I mean, since we're across
the hall and all.
I'll be there.
Deck the halls
with boughs of holly
Falalala lala lala
- What?
- What's going on with you?
Nothing. What?
I'm just feeling good.
I had a good night's sleep.
Just a good night's
sleep? Really?
- Uh-huh.
- Nothing else going on?
Nothing else with a guy
who maybe you knew
- a long time ago and had a-- ?
- OK,
knock it off,
wise guy.
I'll see you
after rehearsal.
- Bye.
- (chuckling): Bye.
- (woman): Hi.
- (Sadie): Hi.
- Hi there.
- Hi.
Look. Maybe it
was wishful thinking
that I could keep my
relationship with Mark a secret,
But this idea that Sadie got
the role of Clara
because of that relationship
is just hurtful.
Especially to Sadie.
I'm sorry.
I hope so. Because it
really needs to s--
(siren wailing)
You're kidding, right?
I don't have
anyone else, Lily.
I can't just step into a lead role cold.
You know it doesn't work that way.
If you don't dance
the Sugar Plum, there's no show.
I don't want to embarrass
myself. Or the company.
- I'll work with you.
- That's great, but you're not
putting on pointe shoes for
the first time in eight years.
You can do this. I wouldn't ask you
if I didn't know you could do it.
OK. I love that you're
so sure, but if I'm going
to be up on that stage,
it's important that I'm sure.
What's going on?
Mark's asking me to dance
the Sugar Plum Fairy.
- (giggling)
- Oh. Wait. This is for real?
Yeah! It's for real.
If you don't do it, you'll
never know what might have been.
It's beautiful.
We have it all to ourselves
until opening night.
(she sighs)
Feel free to embarrass yourself.
I haven't felt butterflies
like this in a long time.
It's magical in here,
isn't it?
I miss the feeling.
Well. Wanna mark
through the pas?
Let's do it.
Well, this is awkward.
Why? It's only been
eight years.
- Shall we start from the top?
- Yeah.
(tender piano music)
(makes whooshing noise)
And a million pirouettes.
Ow! Ow!
- Did I hit you?!
- Yeah.
- Are you OK?
- Oh, it's fine.
I'm totally fired.
It wasn't your fault.
Umm... Let's try
the diagonal.
(gentle music speeds up
and orchestra comes in)
(emotional music)
If I didn't know any better,
I'd think you've been dancing
alone every night
in the gym around 11.
- (scoffing)
- And if I didn't know
any better, I'd think
you'd been spying on me!
You know, there are dancers
who would pay a lot of money
- to have you coach them.
- Yeah. I don't think
any of them live
in Marietta, Georgia.
I'm not saying you should
do it in Georgia.
- Oh. Tennessee?
- Hmmm. A little further north.
- Kentucky?
- Higher.
- Oh, I know. Maryland.
- Uh-huh.
I can't even think
about that right now.
I just need to get through
Saturday night and...
What's wrong?
I mean, it's one thing
to rehearse Sugar Plum...
It's a whole other thing
to perform in front of
an actual live audience.
a little scary.
- Hold that thought.
- Where are you going?
Hey. Can you guys
turn it up a little bit?
- What are you doing?
- Come on! What do you say?
- (Latin music)
- No!
- Come on. Come join me.
- Right here?
- Yeah!
- Oh... OK...
Get those hips working.
Now we're talking.
That's not so bad.
(crowd exclaiming)
You're a natural!
(crowd clapping and cheering)
Stage fright, huh?
Let's go
from the dvelopp.
Not like that.
Mark's the director, Darren.
Make sure you're far enough
from him that you can get
that nice bend
in your back. Last time.
- Is that what you're gonna do?
- Well, if you're gonna hold me
- like that, I think I have to.
- Alright.
Let's leave this for now,
move on to the next section.
This production is
falling apart.
I'm going to speak to the board
about having him replaced
- after it's over.
- Hold on a second. No,
the production is not falling
apart. And Mark is actually
the only one who's
keeping this thing going.
First, her niece gets
the role of Clara,
and now Lily
as the Sugar Plum Fairy?
I'm sorry.
I'm not buying it!
I know! I'm pinching myself
that Sadie and I get to dance...
on the same stage together.
- And Mark?
- [He's changed, Mom.]
And yet, he hasn't changed
at all. You know what I mean?
Well, it sounds like maybe
you've changed a little, too.
Maybe. It's been
the strangest few days.
But in a good way.
Sounds great.
Now, aren't you glad
you listened to your wise old
mother for a change?
- Yes, Momma.
- [So,]
[when are you seeing Mark next?]
I asked him to Christmas
dinner to our place.
I was thinking I'd make
my holiday shepherd's pie.
Only if you're trying
to get rid of him.
What's going on?
- No one told you?
- Told me what?
I forgave Mark for his
temporary lack of judgement,
- and came back to do the show.
- You forgave Mark.
You didn't really think
Mark would choose you over me
as Sugar Plum?
Hey! Where are you going?
I can't believe you did this
to me again.
- What are you talking about?
- I trusted you.
Lily, wait!
What happened?
Hey Mark! I called Juliette last night--
- Hold on. What are you doing here?
- You were right. I overreacted.
- But the good news is, I'm back!
- No. You don't get to walk out
on everybody then stroll back in
the day before the show.
You need to leave. Now.
- Hold on, Mark--
- Not now, Darren.
You quit the company,
and you've been replaced.
Wait a second--
Darren! I'm not asking
for your opinion!
OK, how about this?
She goes, I go.
(cell phone rings)
Aren't you that dancer
from Marietta, Georgia?
What are you doing here?
I've been looking everywhere.
I need to explain something--
Mark, listen.
I can't go through this.
- I fired Juliette.
- What?
Truth is, I never hired
her back. I don't know why
she thought she could just
walk back in like that.
Wow. I really thought--
You thought I was pulling
the rug out again. I get it.
This time, I'm not
letting you walk away.
Not from the show
and not from me.
Look, I can't
change the past,
but I can offer you
a future here together.
- What are you saying?
- I'm saying most people only
get one chance, but we're
getting two. Let's get it right!
- But my life's back in Georgia.
- Your life is here.
Lily, we both know
you should be back in ballet.
Dancing, teaching,
doing what you love...
Come on. This is
the city of love.
Actually, that's Paris.
Philly's the city
of brotherly love.
It's a little bit different.
So, what do you say?
I say we get through
opening night
before we make
any crazy plans.
About opening night...
When I fired Juliette,
Darren left
with her. So,
we've lost
our prince as well.
- What?
- Yeah. If I cancel the show,
I'll never direct again.
On the other hand,
I don't have
any other options.
Yes you do!
I appreciate
your enthusiasm,
Lily, but there's nobody else
in the company who can be ready
- by tomorrow night.
- I'm not talking about
anyone else in the company!
You know every step, every turn.
- You can do every lift.
- Me?! No way.
Do you ever want
to direct again?
You're the one who just said
we were getting a second chance.
Yeah, a second chance with us,
not me dancing!
- Why not both?
- I need to think about it.
There's no time
to think about it!
- This is the only option!
- What if it doesn't work?
Then you'll have a great story
to tell your friends
- at the post office.
- Post office?
In your next career.
So, are you in
or you out?
Nutcracker March plays)
There you are.
Be at places in five.
Ladies and gentlemen, please
be seated. The performance is
about to begin.
(music crescendos)
(drums imitate ripping sound)
(tragic music)
(fast bells chime in)
(crowd exclaims)
(war style music)
(gentle harp)
(quiet, magical music)
(tragic music building)
(dramatic timpani)
Have you seen Sadie?
- Sadie!
- Hi!
- Am I doing OK?
- OK? You are amazing!
You're doing so good!
So I know it's just Act One
and I'm really not supposed to
be back here, but Sadie, you are
so wonderful, you really are!
Thank you!
I have been coming
to this Nutcracker
performance for the last
nine years. Sadie,
you danced Clara
like nobody I have ever seen!
It was just breathtaking.
Thank you so much!
That means the world.
And I'm going to recommend
to the board that they not only
offer this young lady a full
scholarship at our school,
but that they beg you
to stay on in some capacity.
Because we need you here, Lily.
Thank you!
- Good luck. Have fun!
- Thank you!
You're nervous about the lift.
We need to run it again.
No, wait, wait!
Sorry. I wasn't ready.
- Ready?
- Yeah.
Ah! OK. I can feel the tension
in your arms. You have to relax.
That's easy
for you to say.
What? If you have a suggestion,
I wanna hear it.
You told me
not to direct anyone.
The no-directing rule
doesn't apply right now.
I'm directing you to direct, quickly!
Fine. I think you're lunging
a little too far forward
and Aunt Lily, you're just
hesitating. Commit to the lift!
- So it's his fault?
- So it's her fault?
You guys,
just remember:
One pli at a time.
- You've got this.
- Thanks.
Look at me.
I love you.
I know you can do this.
I know we can do this.
(whimsical music)
(Tchaikovsky's Russian Dance)
(dramatic music)
(dramatic finale)
(gentle harp music)
(strings chime in)
(romantic music)
(flourishes on the harp)
(music builds up dramatically)
(dramatic music)
(music crescendos)
(dramatic wind instruments
and drum roll)
(applause and whistling)
(Lily): I know
what Beth would say.
That even a goofy kid
from a small town
can find her prince...
if she takes it
just one pli at a time.