Falling for the Life of Alex Whelan (2023) Movie Script

By the time Alex Whelan had become
part of my life,
he'd already died.
I've gotta go.
I'll call you back.
Sorry I'm late.
You're grand, it's just started.
# (muffled music)
I met Alex at a screening
hosted by the Foreign Movies
The date was the 2nd of March.
The film was An Autumn Afternoon.
We didn't talk for the whole movie.
# (music continues)
After the film had finished,
it was only then that he said to
So, what do you
think all that was about?
Well, I think the old guy knew
he was about to die,
so he arranged the marriage for his
I think he actually liked the
hostess lady,
and his daughter decided to get
so her dad could find his own
Isn't that a bit too much of a twist?
Ah well, it wasn't straightforward
But isn't that what Japanese
culture is all about?
Forbearance and elusive love?
I don't know much about
Japanese culture, I'm afraid.
(chuckles) Fair enough.
I'm Alex, by the way.
I'm Xiaohan.
Am I saying that correctly?
It's Xiaohan,
pronounced Siao-Han.
That's really beautiful.
Thank you.
What does it mean?
So I told him what it meant
and he said it was a great name.
And I nodded humbly to accept yet
round of applause for my culture
and my smart-arsed ancestors.
We talked for ages about
the weather, wet as always.
Where he was from, Kilkenny.
Where I was from...
Tipperary? You don't say.
I have a cousin living in Nenagh.
Oh, yeah?
I'd eh, better head there.
Meeting a few of the lads
for pints in Vicar Street.
All right.
You're welcome to join
actually, if you like.
Um, thanks, but I better head.
It's getting late.
Ah, it's only 10 o'clock.
Long way to Tipperary.
It is, it's a long way to
Tipperary, yeah.
(laughing) Em...
Well, can I give you my Instagram?
Sure, yeah.
Alex underscore Whelan 96.
You'll remember that?
I will remember that.
(chuckling) Okay.
Em, it was really nice meeting you,
Yeah, lovely meeting you too.
See you.
See you.
That was the only time Alex and I
(pub chatter)
(keys jangle)
(door unlocks)
On my way home, I sent
him a follow request.
It was around 10:30 p.m.
(Indistinct TV chatter)
Hey. Hey!
My stepsister, Laura.
So, how was it?
Nothin' much to tell, really.
I'm going to go work on the thesis.
See you.
See ya.
# (I Got My Whole by Tebi Rex plays)
# I got...
# Some things on my mind
# Some things on my line
# Shawty swear that I'm lying
like I got
# I'm just tryna take me down
# I was stuck, can ya please take
me now
# You're the one with the crown,
I'm the one in the crowd
# On my one's, you ain't gotta
crowd me (message alert)
(she sighs)
(I Don't Know Anybody Like You
(In This World) by D. Cullen plays)
# How about now?
Did you ever try to find
# another life for me
# I don't know anybody like you in
this world,
# we've gotta keep it true, I've
gotta be with you
# I don't know anybody like you in
this world,
# we've gotta keep it true, I've
gotta be with you
# And you know that I'm terrified of
my mind
# You know that I'm terrified of
my mind... #
And like that, I found out Alex
Whelan had died during the night.
He can't be dead.
I met him yesterday and he
seemed absolutely fine.
Doesn't make any sense.
I dunno.
Unless... Could it
be some kind of prank?
Could she be right?
Could it really have all been a
# (Rap music plays)
Who's that?
The girl I met earlier.
Oh yeah? Yeah.
Go on, show us.
She's Chinese.
Well, she grew up in Tipperary,
but ethnically,
she's Chinese and her name's
Chinese, so.
If it looks like a duck
and swims like a duck.
So, let's see then?
Just don't like anything, man.
I won't fucking like anything.
Oh shit, she's typing.
Well, no, she stopped.
She stopped.
You up? (laughing)
Fuck's sake.
Don't be getting any ideas.
She's on your case now, bai.
OK, I know what to do.
Give us your phone.
Just give us your
fucking phone, man.
What are you doing, man?
What are you doing?
(he chuckles)
See for yourself, man.
That is gas.
(Laughing) The lads are gonna love
I'm putting this in the chat.
You're high as fuck, d'you know
Well, she'll leave you alone now,
For fuck's sake.
My mom's going to see that, like.
Oh, I dunno, gal.
It looks real enough to me.
I'm going to make cup of tea.
Do you want one? Sure.
# (atmospheric music)
Alex has 1257 Instagram
In the last month,
he was tagged in three photos.
All of them while out with friends
in Doyles, the Long
Shore and Bison, respectively.
According to Goodreads,
Alex has read 303 books.
He's logged 575 films on Letterbox.
In 2018, he played guitar in a band
called Imaginary Bananas.
They uploaded a grand total
of three songs on SoundCloud.
Their most popular song, titled
The Telly Is On,
was streamed 2073 times.
And you know what?
It's not half bad.
After a bit of digging, I found one
of his Bandmates, Michael Hannigan.
He and Alex still hang out on
This, for example,
was only taken two weeks ago.
# (muffled club music)
(muffled chatter)
Hey, Michael.
I'm a friend of Alex's.
We met in Doyles' a couple of weeks
How do I know this?
Because Michael and Alex were both
tagged in a photo there
two weeks ago.
And Michael was absolutely plastered.
Oh, yeah.
Sorry, what was your name again?
Claire, Claire Collins.
It was my mother who insisted
I start calling myself Claire.
She raised me all by herself.
In 2005, she met a divorcee
on the Internet, and they
supposedly fell in love.
His name was Eugene Collins.
One summer, he came to visit us in
Right before he headed back to
he proposed to my mother at the
After they got married,
my mother sold our apartment
and we moved to a small town called
Cahir in County Tipperary.
From then on, my mother renamed
Amy and started calling me...
Claire, Claire Collins.
That sounds right, don't you think?
And the thing was, she was right.
So I started to introduce myself as
Claire Collins.
# (music thumps)
Claire Collins.
(phone rings)
Claire Collins.
# (movie music)
That's really beautiful.
So, are you, you gonna go?
# (club music)
To the funeral?
It's on Sunday.
Oh, I don't know yet.
Alex and I weren't really that close.
You know, only had a couple of
classes together. Yeah.
Em, if you don't mind me asking...
If you don't mind me asking... Mm.
How did he..? You know.
I heard it was an accident.
You didn't hear?
Alex eh, killed himself.
He cut his wrists in the bathroom.
I'm sorry.
Hey, Claire. How's it going?
Hey, Ste.
Where were you? Just out.
Amy was on to me again.
You still haven't called her back?
I've been busy with the thesis.
Speaking of which, I should probably
get back to that.
She's concerned for you, Claire.
I'll call her back.
Claire, what is going on?
Does it have to do with that fella?
The one who died?
I'm sorry, I can't talk
to you about this right now.
I promise I'll call her back.
# (soft music)
I thought about going,
but I didn't want the only other
memory I had of him to be of a coffin
lowered into the ground.
So instead, I pictured him alive.
Flat white for Claire?
Thank you.
Oh, it's just easier.
I prefer Xiaohan.
Cake eh, cake for lunch, is it?
It's Thursday.
What's so special about Thursdays?
Its lack of identity.
(he chuckles softly)
Fair enough.
(laughing) Yeah, it is a pretty dumb
name for a band, I will admit.
What were you thinking?
I don't know.
We were just so young and stupid.
Thought we were being
dark and edgy, I guess.
What about you?
What about me?
Well, you know so much about me.
What music I like, where I went to
what jobs I've worked, who my
friends are.
My exes, even.
But I don't know anything about you.
There's not that much to know,
I'm sure that's not true.
What do you want to know?
What foods you like.
How you like your tea in the
What inside jokes we'd have.
What it's like watching TV with you
on the couch,
staying in, going out,
having sex.
What would happen if we
spent a month together?
A year,
decade or more, even.
Why did you do it?
Why did you add me right before y-...
If I sent you that message,
would anything have changed?
What do you think?
(knocking) Claire?
We're meeting a few friends
in Fitzgerald's for pints.
Do you want to come?
I'm good, thanks.
Oh, come on.
Give that thesis a break, will you?
It'll be fun.
Well, well, here they are.
(all greeting one another)
(talking over one another)
I'm Alan.
Do you want some?
Oh, no, I'm all right.
So, you're Laura's sister?
Shocking, I know.
But you're from China originally?
I've always wanted to go.
What's it like?
Eh... I'm not sure, actually,
because having the back since I was
so, is probably very different now.
Do you miss it?
Sometimes, yeah.
And how do you find Ireland?
Beautiful country, nice people.
Ste? (girls laughing)
(Laughing) Jaysus. Claire, you
don't mess around.
So, are you studying to be a
journalist? Yeah.
Is that what you want to do?
Um, I don't know.
I mean, are you doing what you
studied in college?
No, no, I studied classics,
and now I manage a supermarket.
Um, I'm gonna head out for a smoke.
Do you want to come?
I'm good, thanks.
No problemo.
# (music)
Oh, Claire, come over here.
This is Sarah and this is Chloe.
Sarah, nice to meet you.
And this is my sister Claire.
Oh, lovely to meet you.
So, I'm from China originally.
Love Ireland.
Beautiful country, nice people.
Do you not remember her?
Um... No, you probably wouldn't.
All right, ladies? Cheers m'dears.
(they all chatter)
Flannery's, I'll meet you halfway.
Yeah, exactly.
ALL: Yeaaaaah.
I'm Claire.
From China, originally.
Love Ireland.
(background chatter)
Beautiful country, nice people.
I'm Claire.
I'm James.
Are you from China?
I'm Chinese, yeah.
How you likin' Ireland?
Beautiful country, nice people.
Wow. You have great English.
Oh, oh my God.
(music continues with indistinct
Let's do this!
ALL: Cheers.
I'm Claire from China.
Beautiful country.
Yeah, I love Ireland.
Beautiful country.
(voices overlap and distort)
(voices echo and overlap)
You glad you came out?
So, Claire, what did you think of
Was only talking
to him for like, ten minutes.
Eh, you were talking to him for like
an hour. Yeah.
Did my mother put you up to this?
He's all right.
Fair enough.
You need to stop conspiring with
She's bad enough as she is.
I thought it would help.
I don't need help.
You can talk to me, you know.
I'm your sister.
No, you're not.
Stop pretending, all right?
# (music)
# I'm learning how to wait...#
For the first week after his death,
there was comment after comment,
post after post,
paying tribute to Alex.
Words like passionate, adventurous,
affectionate, and artistic
were thrown around.
One girl even went so far
as to call him
'the most
charismatic character in Dublin'.
# This is day by day by day
I'm moving forward.
# I'm still not sure if home is
where I'm from or where I'm going.
# While I'm alive,
pain will not be all I've got.
# While I'm alive,
I won't sacrifice my heart...#
(phone vibrating)
You didn't call me.
I'm sorry.
I've just been busy.
Everybody is busy.
But I call you because it's
important, I prioritise you.
You know what? Never mind.
I don't want to talk to
you about this.
Okay then.
Laura told me during her visit home
last week that
she introduced you to her friend,
but that you think
he's not very interesting.
Is that why you married Eugene?
She's right.
We did have this conversation
Exactly two weeks ago, in fact.
I don't understand why
you can't just leave him.
I've gotta go.
I'll call you back.
Sorry I'm late.
You're grand, it's just started.
(speaking native language)