Far From the Tree (2017) Movie Script

- What happens if fiction
continues to be fiction?
Can you deal with that?
- I can't deal with that.
I can't.
- No?
How about things
that you know are fiction?
What about things like
Cinderella or Snow White?
- No, no. What I'm trying to say
is that, um, that, um,
can I fall in love
with my own imagination?
- Well, we've gotta
be really careful
when we deal with what's
real and what's fiction.
- I don't-I don't even know
what's real or not.
- I know.
That's the problem.
It's not very cold out.
- It's not very cold out?
- Nope. Not too bad.
- "All the world's a stage
"and men and women
are merely players.
"They're the exits
and the entrances,
and each man in his life
plays many parts."
You can take
what you can get
I'll forgive but I'll forget
- Once this guy said to me,
"Man, if I were you,
I'd probably kill myself."
You know, just by seeing me
and my body in a wheelchair,
he thought that I must
be miserable.
And, um, you know,
I think that it's probably,
um, a pretty common assumption.
And so what body you're in
has everything to do with
your perspective of the world.
You wake up
and you can't pretend
The dream was just
a dream again
Won't you dry your eyes?
But it doesn't
matter anymore
Do just what you did before
Until you realize the words
go la, la, la, la, la
- Push the button!
- You can push.
- It was not a normal
mother-son relationship ever.
- Jack, do you wanna
hear the volume?
It was overwhelming.
I didn't want it.
I did not want it.
You can dip
your brain in joy
Once we understand
No one understands at all
Singing la, la, la, la, la
- I think in some ways,
I wrote the book
to understand what happened.
And maybe I wrote it
to forgive my parents.
I think my mother imagined
that her first-born son
would be part of
the real mainstream,
the kind of kid
who was popular at school,
athletic, at ease in the world,
and basically
quite conventional.
And instead, she got me.
When I was growing up,
I had a lot of weird hang-ups.
I mean, I refused
to wear blue jeans.
I refused to listen
to rock music of any kind.
I was obsessed
with Emily Dickinson's
poems of anguish,
and told my friends
the plots of operas.
I was a weirdo.
And, you know, my parents
were really good.
My mom, in particular.
She would sort of get on board
with the things
that interested me...
...even when they were
a little bit strange.
I feel like there was
a lot of leeway for me to be...
...different in all
kinds of ways...
...but my parents really
didn't want to have a gay son...
...and I thought
if I tell them I'm gay,
they're going to be
brutally disappointed.
And I told them, and they were.
It was a catastrophe.
My mother sort of
lectured me about
what a sad and lonely life
it would be,
and I mentioned
some gay family friends
and I said that they'd
done all right,
and my mother said,
"If I had thought that
inviting them into our house
"was gonna make you think that
was an acceptable way of life,
they would never
have crossed the threshold."
For many years after that,
I was...
I was ambivalent.
I wanted to understand
why my parents dealt with me
the way they did.
I wanted to see how
other families managed it.
I thought I don't wanna know
just about families
of gay people.
I wanted to look
as widely as I could.
I set out to write
Far From the Tree,
which was my attempt
to investigate
how families go about
dealing with children who
are very different from them.
I spent 10 years researching
and writing this book.
- We'll look at things
like dwarfism,
an autistic child,
a child who commits a crime.
It's a tough thing sometimes
for a parent to reconcile with.
- There are some children
who were born with an identity
or a way of being,
or a set of priorities
that are completely foreign
to his or her parents.
The stories I heard felt
so alien at the beginning,
but bit by bit, they came
to feel very real
and very intimate to me.
And I realized that
in telling these stories,
I was investigating the very
nature of family itself.
- You know what?
This actually looks
very modernistic.
This could be by Picasso.
- Yeah.
- Doesn't that look very modern?
And look at this.
- Looks like
Turn the World Around.
- Turn the-- It looks like what?
- Turn the World Around.
Like Harry Belafonte stuff.
- Yes. Yes, indeed,
it does.
I think that's where
they got their inspiration
for those masks.
- Yeah.
- Ooh.
- Ooh!
Where is everybody?
We are the last people
on the planet.
When Jason was born,
the doctor said,
"What we do
with children like this
is we send them away before
an attachment is formed."
I mean, this is so ludicrous
that an obstetrician
doesn't understand
that you have spent nine months
forming an attachment.
What did they think this was?
All right, my love.
I had a wonderful time.
Be good.
- Love you.
- Love you, honey.
Talk to you soon.
- Okay.
- You got it?
Come here.
Give it here.
Let me get you.
- I was born with Down Syndrome.
This is what we called
We don't want to say that word
because it's banned from...
...it was banned
from conversation.
Down syndrome is
a chromosomal mishap.
It's-it's an extra chromosome.
Never ever goes away.
- Hi!
- The doctors told us,
"Your child is a Mongoloid.
"He's not gonna walk.
He's not gonna talk.
He's not gonna read.
He's not gonna write."
And I was frightened.
It was as if Jason
had this rubber stamp,
this great black rubber stamp
with the word "retarded"
over his forehead.
- Jason.
- Jason.
- Jason, would you put your
hands on your head for Daddy?
- But Charles and I decided
that you don't write off
a person because of a label
that he carries.
That Jason was a person
who could learn.
- Jason, what does that say?
- Over.
- Okay.
What does this say?
- Under.
- What does this say?
- Across.
- The point that I'm driving at
is that when you walk
out of here today
and somebody says to you,
"Retarded people,
Down syndrome people,
they'll never learn to read,
they'll sit against the wall
and just grow big."
and so forth and so on.
And you could sort of
give the lie to it
and won't take the opportunity
at any time to...
...come and talk to people.
As you get to know them,
you realize that friendship
and warmth
are things that they respond to.
- As Jason started
accomplishing things...
- When you have four bagels
and you take away one bagel...
- Three.
- We were so excited.
It was such a miracle.
- Hey, you know what?
Can you count to 10 in Spanish?
- Okay.
- He walked, he talked,
and he did all kinds of things
that he was not supposed to do.
- What does it mean
to be retarded?
Do they think like we do?
Do they have the same feelings?
And now I'd like you to meet
Emily and Charles Kingsley,
Jason's parents.
- He is now reading
on a second-grade level.
The child they told us
to junk and throw away
is doing second-grade reading,
first-grade math.
And he became a bit
of a celebrity.
- Meet Jason Kingsley.
You might think Down syndrome
hardly gets in his way.
- I was studying sound,
electricity, and energy.
- I literally thought,
"Well, this is a piece of cake.
"This is-this is really-
this is really thrilling,
and they must have been
just plain wrong."
- Hi, Jason.
- Hi.
- I worked here about 18 years.
I deliver the mail
and deliver the packages.
When I work here,
I mostly work independently.
It keeps me learning.
It keeps me on my toes.
I think slowly,
but I'm smart in my own way.
I'm mostly with emotions.
I mean, sometimes I'm happy.
Sometimes I'm a little bit sad.
- You have a great weekend,
- Okay.
- See you next time.
- See you next time.
- Take care.
- Bye.
- Bye.
Basically, I'm just
a normal guy.
- Here we go.
- I live with Yaniv...
...and Raymond.
We are The Three Musketeers.
And I like my life now
until something better happens.
- All right.
- You guys good?
- Yeah, we're good.
Let's eat.
I do like Jason...
...as a roommate,
As a friend and musketeer.
But he doesn't know how to--
how to juggle between...
...reality and fantasy.
- I painted my room blue.
I've got all blue clothes.
I have a costume.
I wear this,
and I wear these pants...
...and I wear this...
...as Queen Elsa.
- He's obsessed with Frozen,
and it gets me crazy
all the time.
That's his personality.
- Let them
in, don't let them see
Be the good girl
you always have to be
- When I was a kid.
The world revolved around me.
And I was close-minded
until Elsa came and let it go.
- Let it go, let it go
- She opened my heart.
- Let it go, let it go
I want to go on a trip
to Norway.
Because I know that she's there.
And it feels like that
I fell in love with her.
- The cold
never bothered me anyway
- "The cold never
bothered me anyway"
That makes me feel happy.
That part.
I always do that.
- It has sort
of taken over his life,
and it's very difficult
to talk any kind of...
...commonsense to him
about it.
But if it gives him
comfort and...
What are you gonna do?
- Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday, dear Jason
Happy birthday to you
- More blue shirts.
- This is because
you've been wearing
your blue clothes a lot.
So, I figured you could
use some fresh ones.
- Um, um, I have
this stuff already.
I've got already um,
um, blue clothes
already color-coordinated.
- Yep.
It was letting go of a dream
when I realized that Jason
was gonna be who he is.
We worked so hard
and he worked so hard to...
...develop so many skills.
- All for one, and one for all.
- All for one, and one for all.
- He was bright,
and he is bright.
And I see him as
sort of falling into a lazy,
unchallenging life mode
which could stay that way
for years and years
and years and years.
And that saddens me.
But, you know, I have to realize
that I am dealing with a child
who has a disability.
There are certain limitations
that are just built in.
Somebody was asking me
today how you feel about
the part of your life
when you were so famous,
and you were going around
giving speeches
and being a celebrity
as you were showing
so many people
what a person with Down
syndrome was capable of
and how much you could do.
- I see things now
in a different angle,
and I can't go back
to who I was.
- Well, do you think that people
still look up to you now
and still think that you
are somebody to admire?
- No.
- It wasn't until
I tried to change who I was
and tried as hard
as I possibly could
that I realized that
who I was wasn't changeable.
When I was growing up,
I'd always been told
nothing matters
more than having a family,
and my mother said to me,
"You would be
a wonderful father,
and if you make this choice,
you aren't going
to have a family,
and I am not going
to have any grandchildren."
And of course, it was then
seen by lots of people
as a choice.
It wasn't just a different
way to be.
It was understood to be a sin
and an illness.
Something that was treatable,
and it was curable.
And I thought what I have to do
is to get married
and have children.
And I thought to myself,
how can I get to the point
at which I'm physically capable
of doing that.
I said to myself,
"I need to change myself",
and I can remember getting
copies of Playboy magazine
and trying to sit with them
and stare at those women
and trying to get myself
to be attracted to them.
And then I read an ad
for something called
sexual surrogacy therapy.
And I went to this weird office
on 47th Street
and it was this set-up in which
there were these people
who you were encouraged
to call, "doctors",
and they would sit and talk
to you for a little while,
and then you went
into another room
with these women you were
supposed to call, "surrogates",
and with whom you actually
went through sexual exercises.
So, I went through
that therapy for months
with those surrogates.
You know, it sort of worked
because I had been terrified
at the idea of having sex
with women,
and after that,
I wasn't so terrified by it.
But, boy,
I was torturing myself.
Taking myself down
to that office.
The indignity of the exercises.
All of that.
But most of all...
...most of all,
it was that belief that...
...it wasn't okay
to be who I was,
and that I had to torture myself
to try to be someone else.
There's our doctor.
Okay. Ready?
Gotta do more pushin'.
- There's your man.
- All the equipment
and everything.
He's got all the parts.
Jack, Jack, Jack, Jack.
Hey, yellow hood.
Hi, buddy boy.
- It's a duck.
- Happy
birthday, dear Jack
- Jack was just such a happy,
crazy little guy
for the first year and a half,
two years.
Hey, big boy!
And to look at those videos now
and to see that,
and then go, "Wow, that's gone,
that's never coming back."
It's hard.
- Jack wants
to go for a wagon ride.
Wave, Jackie!
I remember
we were outside one day,
and this giant jumbo jet
flew overhead.
And I'm like,
"Jack, look at the plane."
He didn't look.
- Hey, Jackie, can you wave
- He can say bye...
- He wasn't using words.
You know, I thought maybe
it was a hearing thing.
Good morning.
- Hey, Jackie.
Hi, Jackie.
Merry Christmas.
- And
finally, a psychologist came.
- Show me the chair.
Touch your nose.
- That was in January.
And by July, we knew...
...he had autism.
- Touch your shoulders.
Touch your shoulders.
- I watched him,
and, you know, they'd ask him
to point at the yellow duck
and he couldn't do it.
So I thought, "Wow, he...
...he can't even point
to a picture."
- Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
- And because he never
spoke to us,
I just assumed that
he was impaired...
...and that he couldn't
understand us.
Give a kiss for Mommy.
- That he had
no idea what was going on.
You have to sit in your chair.
Don't tape this.
Wave to Daddy.
- Hey, buddy.
- Wave.
- Can you wave?
Maybe not.
- And I researched everything,
and we were of the mentality
we're going to do
everything we can.
So, we did.
- Train coming.
- Whoa!
- If there was
anything out there, we jumped on it.
- Robot!
- And we did music therapy
where they're playing Mozart
and while they're doing
physical therapy.
- We did allergy testing.
Saw a naturopath.
He was eating a gluten-free,
dairy-free diet,
so I was having to shop
at specialty stores.
- And he had hyperbaric
oxygen therapy
where you go and sit in
a high-pressure
oxygen tank with a--
He's got like,
a spaceman hood on.
We were doing
homeopathy at the time
with a group out in Texas.
- Of course, he wouldn't
take pills at that time,
so we had to put it in
this awful little slurry
and get it into him
and mix it with juice,
and it was just real
and horrifically expensive.
- Here it is!
Who is it?
- And we
spent years on speech therapy.
We thought that he should talk.
We talk, so he needs
to learn how to talk.
But he was so angry
and so frustrated.
Nothing worked.
- As he got older, it became
scratching and pinching.
Have a seat.
And he would routinely hit me.
And the more you touch
your nose...
And I was angry with him
when he would attack us.
It's hard not to take
it personally.
Have a seat, Jack.
And I didn't know how
to help him.
And I thought, "My God,
this is our life."
I blamed it on everything.
I blamed it on
the medicine that I was on
when I was pregnant.
I blamed it on the bed rest.
I blamed it on my health,
like, maybe I wasn't as healthy
as I could have been
when I was pregnant with him.
I blamed myself for all of it.
Like I caused it.
- The sun gives us heat.
H-E-A-T, "heat."
- So, in
Austin, we walk into a room
and this short little lady
walks in,
and doesn't really talk to us,
and then, she just started
talking to Jack.
- Heat.
Or cold.
C-O-L-D, "cold."
Heat or cold?
The sun gives us heat.
- And it was four days.
She had a stack of paper
and a couple of pencils.
And she had templates
with letters cut out,
and three of them,
and she showed him
how to take the pencil
and point to the letter.
So, she kind of walked him
through the first couple.
- You're going to find it.
- And then she started asking
and then she would answer.
She'd say the word.
She'd write the word,
and then she'd get
him to spell it.
We're thinking, okay,
this-this is... this is good.
Almost a parlor trick,
but that's fine.
- Then she started
to ask more abstract questions.
- This Thanksgiving.
Tell me anything about it.
"J" to "O".
- It was a
very tedious, long process.
"Mash potatoes," yeah.
What about the pumpkin pie?
You don't like the pumpkin pie?
You're not quite fond of it?
Enough with pumpkin pie.
- We were off and running,
asking him all kinds of
questions about, you know.
What-- Do you like sports?
What's your favorite sport?
And he wanted a blue basketball.
- Basketball would be
a very good idea.
- Now she got our attention.
Then she said, "Jack
just can't control his body,
but you've got to keep going.
You have to just talk to him
and you've got to ignore this.
This is him.
His body has taken over.
You've just got to
work through it."
You know,
toward the end of the week,
he was exhausted.
He was having a huge tantrum.
And she was saying,
"What's the matter, Jack?
Let's talk about it.
What's the matter?"
- Now, you tell me.
Any word.
- And through his
rage, he started spelling letters
with the stencils.
He typed out,
"I am trying,
and I am really smart."
And then,
Jack was perfectly quiet.
He was like,
"I finally got it out
after all these years."
- And that was...
That was-that was the
moment where I just went,
"My God, he's in there!"
- I couldn't believe it.
It was like I was meeting him
for the first time.
...my gosh,
you're real?
- I can hear
it better than lots of people.
But I am sensitive
to many noises
that most people
can't really hear.
It sounds like a crazy,
very loud combination
of buzzing and voices.
- It's got a nice tone to it.
Hey, that's a pretty
disappointing one.
These plastic ones
aren't so good.
They don't make much noise.
- I am Jack Allnut.
I am 13.
I don't talk.
I type.
I try to talk.
I can't.
It is too hard.
- And I'm like,
what were you eating?
What were you eating?
Repeat it.
- I picked up Italian food.
I forgot the pizza.
I knew I was in trouble.
I turned around,
and I saw that light
go off behind me...
- It's definitely easier for us...
...but I'm not living
in his body.
I don't go through what
he goes through every day.
He still will pinch and scratch
when he's frustrated.
- That's your water
right over there. See it?
That's for you.
And you'll be able to get...
Then you can tell me
what's bothering you.
Can you sit down?
But I can communicate with him.
As a mom, that's all I needed.
I just needed to know what's
going on inside your head.
I... want...
I want lots of cookies.
- You had, like...
- You had that huge rice bar.
- You had an Oreo and...
- I know how that is.
You know what?
I'll definitely let you
have one for dinner.
- So, Jack, why do you
wear ear buds all the time?
They are noise-canceling.
- Can I ask you
another question, Jack?
- Can she ask you
another question, Jack?
You've got to tell your story.
Can you do one more question?
He said yes.
- He said yes?
- Mh-
- Okay.
Um, can you describe
what it feels like
for you to not be able to talk?
- Keep going.
You're doing great.
- You're doing great.
Feeling like...
- The feeling is like...
- Mh-
- Keep going.
- Good.
- R.
- Mh-Keep going.
- Great
- A...
- Look-look right at that letter.
so you get it right.
G-E dot.
The feeling is like
a tiger in a cage.
- How's it going?
Hey, shut the gate.
And you do the lock.
Tell me about your day.
All right, guys, listen.
Let's talk about football
real quick.
Share the ball today.
Make sure everybody's
getting passes.
Know who your center is.
Know who your quarterback is.
You're going down and out
towards the out-of-bounds line.
That's a good pattern.
Come on, man.
On a day-to-day basis,
I'm his facilitator.
Keep-keep working.
Keep working.
So, I just help him type
and help him with anything else
he needs throughout the day.
- Boys in my school,
they say mean things.
- Do you think he knows?
- Does he know what?
- That their filming him.
- Yeah, he knows they're
filming him.
Does he know they're
filming him?
You've seen him talk.
He types.
Why would he not know?
- 'Cause he's autistic.
- He knows everything
that y'all know.
Did y'all get straight A's
last semester?
- I got 2 B's.
- He got straight A's.
- For a long time,
I'd thought that being gay
was something you could
make the best of,
but that gay relationships
were in some basic way
lesser than straight
I had realized that I couldn't
fix the fact that I was gay,
but I still regretted it.
And there was a piece of me
that felt broken,
and the idea that you could
accept or even celebrate
the forms of your brokenness
didn't come to me
until a great deal later
when the world around
me changed.
Gay rights!
- Two, four, six, eight,
God does not discriminate!
- The shift that has taken place
over the course of
the last 40 years or so
has been of a scale
that is almost unimaginable.
And I became fascinated
by the process
through which that happened.
How did we get
from there to here,
and how did something that was
understood to be an illness
come, instead,
to be an identity?
And that was what drove
my investigation.
And having lived to see
my supposed defect
come to be celebrated.
I wondered whether
defectiveness itself
might be all a matter
of perspective,
and if it's possible for the
illness of homosexuality
to turn into the identity
of gayness,
and what other instances
might the world's
point of view change?
How do we decide
what to cure
and what to celebrate?
- Hey, I know you!
You're on TV!
Big fan, big fan!
I am, too!
- I'm 23.
But I guess, in a way,
I don't feel like an adult.
My brother and sister,
they're very protective,
but they don't know
what it's like to be me.
They don't really
quite understand
as much as they think they do.
- I come home every day at lunch
just to check up on her,
um, because I know
that she gets bored.
She gets depressed sometimes.
She wants to go to work.
She wants to drive a car,
but I can't afford
a special car for her.
- I would like to, you know,
go out more...
...travel maybe.
You know, maybe someday
have a boyfriend.
Never dated.
Still single.
- So, do you want any make-up?
Make you look like...
- I'm fine.
- Don't be mean.
What pants are you wearing?
All right.
They're clean?
- Yes, Mom.
You're smelling my pants.
That's gross!
- Just checking to make sure.
- They're clean.
- Okay.
Iron your hair?
- No, I'm not ironing my hair.
- Curling?
- No.
- You want me to curl it?
- No.
- I can curl it.
You'll have curls.
- I don't want to.
- This is a lot of work.
- That's why I said, "no",
but you didn't listen.
Growing up...
...I never really knew
that people like me
existed in the world.
I saw them on TV,
but I've never met any
up close or in person.
So, I'm curious...
...is there anybody out there
like me?
- Hi.
- Hi.
- Hi.
We're here to register.
Register? All right.
- It is your first time.
That's exciting.
Let's see
what you signed up for.
Small tee shirt, a group photo,
and two trivia night tickets.
And are you entering
the fashion show?
- No.
- You should.
It's so much fun.
It'll be a great way
to meet other people
around your age, too.
- Who's
excited for a great show tonight?
Miss Stephanie Brandon.
Next we have Michelle Crowe.
And now we have Christian!
Next we have Loini and Maddie!
- All right, girls, high five!
Whoa, missed that five!
Got mine!
You guys did it!
You guys look great!
You're so awesome.
- I met my friend Mads...
...and she's my age,
a little bit younger,
but she's in the same
boat as I am.
- My gosh!
- I'm a-I'm usually a three.
- I have toe rings
and they fit perfectly.
- It was wonderful
finding someone who's like you.
It's awesome.
I found my first friend
who could understand me.
...it felt great.
- There is no
tiredness right now.
- If you're a dwarf,
it doesn't matter what you do.
Everybody is probing you.
Everybody is looking at you,
making a judgment about you.
Oscar Wilde said
a person's real life
is often the life
he cannot lead,
and I think when you come
to a place like this
for little people,
you get to lead the life
you were born to lead.
You don't necessarily
get to lead that life
once you step away
from these walls.
I think people come to these
meetings to be validated.
I think people come
to these meetings to be heard.
I think they come to be seen.
And then I think they come
to disappear.
- ...To make the
message broader
and more complete...
- We want to talk about
next steps going forward,
and what they want from us
is for us to be comfortable
with what they're doing,
and specifically,
these drug treatments
for people with achondroplasia.
And that really kind of
sent this message
that created this
visceral reaction
within some of our membership.
- We are the only ones that can
advocate for ourselves
and let people know
that difference in the
genetic world is valuable,
and we have built
a community that thrives,
and saying we know how
you want to perceive us,
but we want you to know
there's this other alternative.
I think this drug is going to
profoundly change things,
and it was kind of
an idyllic world.
And we just had dwarf pride
that we were trying to manifest,
and we finally got there.
Like, we got pretty close.
Like, where we really felt
as a community
pretty good about ourselves,
and then this comes up
and just throws
everything on its ear,
and it's a--
it's a brave new world.
- I feel like they present
something to the media
and then we might say
what we say
and then it's like,
"sn't that sweet?"
I'm very against the idea
that someone is researching
to find a cure
for my type of dwarfism.
- ...is that it's all about...
- It's the same message,
every day our whole lives
that there's something
wrong with you
and we need to fix it.
I don't think I need
to be fixed.
Watch this.
Watch, watch.
How was your meeting?
- Good.
- That's good.
- Hi, there.
- How's it goin'?
- Good.
- You got your new shirt.
- I'm wearin' my new shirt.
Figured I'd get away with it.
Tyrion Lannister, right?
- Joe and I met back
in the days of MySpace.
I had seen his MySpace page,
and I read everything
he wrote on there,
and he didn't just write
"My name's Joe."
He wrote, like,
his entire political beliefs
about every topic
that you can imagine.
So, I'm reading it one night
and I was like,
"Holy smokes,
this guy is fascinating",
and I made, like,
this mental note,
I'm gonna meet him.
Like, that was all
there was to it.
I want to meet this guy.
So, I knew I was interested
in him immediately.
And then,
kind of took us a while.
It took us two years
before we got serious.
- Where's the light?
- We dated for four
years, and then we got married.
- No? Okay.
No hat?
- You should take your hat off for tonight.
- Okay.
- ...Perhaps
a shower or thunderstorm.
High of 87 degrees.
Thursday will be very steamy.
A high of 92 and partly sunny,
but also some scattered
showers and thunderstorms...
- I had dated some
average-height people
and tried to stay
open-minded about it,
but I just found
that they didn't get me,
and I don't know that there's
anyone that gets me
the way he does.
I love his dwarfism.
That's something that we say,
like, "I liked your ism."
- Coffee improves
my quality of life.
- Yeah.
You know, there are certain
characteristics involved
with every type of dwarfism,
and for achondroplasia,
it's having bigger hips.
And so Joe will walk up to me
in a public space
and whisper in my ear,
"I liked your ism,"
meaning he likes my ass.
- I like big butts
and I cannot lie.
- I think there is
this cultural understanding
that when you see
people like me,
the core of the experience
is negative.
And when people have
very low expectations, it's--
It's surprising to them
when I indicate somehow
that I'm not suffering.
And here is the dwarf
in his natural habitat.
He is taking his afternoon meal.
Hi, Gram!
How's everything?
- I'm fine.
How are you?
- I'm all right.
You look good, Gram.
- You look great yourself.
- Thank you.
- If I didn't know better,
I'd think you were
up to no good.
You've been practicing.
You have, haven't you?
I have not!
- Are you making presentations?
- In Houston,
it's gonna be on disability,
environmentalism, and gender.
- Well, that's
the newest thing now, right?
- I don't think gender is new.
It's been around a while.
- That's not what
she's talking about, Joseph.
- Don't they-- Isn't that--
- You talking about transgender?
- Yeah.
- That's--Well--
- That's not the same?
- Gender is just
gender in general, right?
Transgender is one
variation on that.
- We're very proud of him.
I mean, he's got a nice job,
a nice wife, and his Phd.
- Don't even ask me
what he teaches
because it's over my head.
But what does he teach?
- Philosophy of some sort.
- "Most people seem
to take it for granted
"that disability is a bad thing,
"and it's openly endorsed
by many philosophers,
and public intellectuals
"who favor the reduction
or elimination
of disability
from human experience."
"These differences,
if visible or known,
"will often play a subtle
or not-so-subtle role
"in shaping the character
of one's interactions
with others."
- So, um,
I understand
that you are interested
in achieving a pregnancy.
- Yes! Sounds good to me.
- Okay!
- First, I want you
to tell me...
how old are you?
- 34.
- 34.
- Do you smoke?
- No.
- Drink?
- No.
- And how many times
have you been pregnant?
- Once.
- Okay. Tell me about
that last pregnancy.
- It was a year ago
almost exactly.
We miscarried at seven weeks.
- Okay.
So, was there an
ultrasound done?
- They diagnosed the miscarriage
with an ultrasound.
An ultrasound is what
you need done between
11 and 14 weeks.
That's where we offer
every pregnant patient
a risk assessment for
genetic abnormalities.
- You know, whether
or not the baby will be born
with a disability,
it is-- yeah, yeah.
Of course it's something
we've thought about somewhat.
- We can arrange for
a specific counseling
from the genetic standpoint.
- It's certainly
something that the doctors
talk about a lot, right.
- IVF and PGD,
those are certainly
some options to test the embryo.
- You know, I think they
see normality as the end goal
and just sort of assuming that,
normality is what any parent
would want for their child.
- I really want a child.
I would say that it's probably
like the most basic
evolutionary like,
thing I've ever felt
of I just want a kid!
I think that every parent
has a desire
for their ideal child.
You know, like some people
think, "I really want a girl."
But if they have a boy,
it's not the end of the world.
So, I have a desire
to have a little person,
but if we had
an average-sized child,
I think I will still get it
on a level
because I understand
what it's like to be different
than your family.
- No leaves on the trees yet.
- Not yet.
- In a couple of weeks,
they'll be there.
This is the forest primeval.
- I'm not sure this is
quite the forest primeval.
I think there's been a lot of
civilization imposed on this.
When I was 27,
my mother died
of ovarian cancer.
And my sense of loss
about my mother
not having lived long enough
to come to a real
and full acceptance
was enormous.
My father had seen me
go through years
of being alone,
and through
a serious depression.
- You can't relive
what happened before,
the tragedies that you've had.
The difficulties you've had
in growing up are past,
and you're very successful.
So feel very blessed.
We don't have everything.
We don't have your mother,
but we have a very good life.
- I used to
confuse love and acceptance,
and through this whole process,
I felt unloved by my parents.
But as I went along,
meeting all of these people
and hearing their stories,
I found that everyone who
has kids has kids with flaws
and problems,
and nobody goes around saying,
"I'd like to turn my kids in
for a better model."
You love your children.
It isn't really up to you.
They just have come along
and changed you.
- Every mother
in the world would understand
that a mother can't just
stop loving a child.
We just didn't see this coming.
Hey. Renting the truck.
- Derrick Grace.
Yeah, Derrick Grace.
- Are you guys moving into
a home or apartment or...
- Actually, we moved
from here to Texas.
But we left a few things
back in the shed,
so we're going to be
clearing all of that out.
- God!
- What?
- Shh...
- Lots and lots of pictures.
There's Trevor.
Our undefeated U-12 team.
- Yeah.
He still had his braces.
- These are all Trevor.
Trevor driving his Jeep.
Here's the journal.
There you go.
Take those pages out,
and save it.
- You know, that's all?
- What?
- There wasn't too much.
- I think the cops took
a lot of the other stuff.
I was at work and I got a call
from the sheriff,
and he said, you know,
there's been a crime.
He said it was Trevor,
and so I'm thinking there's
been some teenage thing.
He's had a wreck.
He's vandalized something.
A squad car comes up
and the deputy says,
"You're Mr. Reese?"
and I said, "Yes."
He says,
"Okay, come on. Let's go."
He didn't tell me anything.
It was just like,
"Come on, we're gonna go."
We went in,
and that's when
they tell me that a child
has been killed and that, um,
you know, that Trevor did it.
And of course, I say,
"You've got it all wrong.
I want you to take me
to see my son."
But of course, you know,
as soon as you see him
that the worst has happened,
and it is not going to be okay.
Trevor got up that morning.
He went out on the trail
where we lived,
and he waited until 8-year-old
Jackson came by,
and then he slit his throat.
- Trevor was 16.
The first time I saw him
after I found out,
he was shackled,
and in prison stripes.
And we couldn't touch him.
He was like,
"I don't know why I did this."
- Everybody was trying
to figure out, you know,
what went wrong and why--
why would a kid, you know,
think like this.
You know, because we raise our
kids better that that up here.
- I don't think that
there's gonna
be an issue of responsibility.
I think it's gonna be an issue
of what is his competency
and his understanding
and his mental status.
- There were three
psychiatrists, psychologists
that we payed for,
and there were
two psychiatrists
from the state.
And they did everything.
Scans and stuff
for schizophrenia.
They ran the test for
sociopath, psychopath,
the serial killer test.
You know, all those
kinda of issues.
I kept thinking that one of
those tests was going to say,
you know, here's the ha.
But there wasn't.
All they gave us was,
"Yeah, your son is broken."
- Some justice tonight for
the parents of a murdered
St. Francisville boy.
Trevor Reese will spend the
rest of his life behind bars.
- Trevor pled guilty to murder.
- Today is a very special day.
It is Trevor's birthday.
So, what we're going to do
is on the count of three,
we're going to sing
as loud as we can
"Happy Birthday"
to Trevor, okay?
One, two, and three.
- Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday Dear Trevor
- What was
your favorite part of the day?
- Riding Space Mountain.
- All right!
- Let's give Trevor a
nice round of applause, okay?
- All right.
- You literally
go back to when they were
in the cradle, and you wonder
if you let him cry too long
when you were trying
to teach them to sleep.
Should you have
breastfed longer?
I mean, you ask
every question in the world.
You ask yourself everything,
and you keep coming back to...
...this happened.
And we can't fix it.
- That first month or two,
I could have run straight on the
street hoping to get run over.
I thought, well, if I died,
then that would help atone
for the other death.
there is no reconciling
on this issue.
These is no magic.
There's not a point.
You'll just carry the guilt
with you forever.
Whoa, good tackle!
- You should take the trash out.
- The trash doesn't come today.
- But it's Saturday.
It comes on Saturdays.
It doesn't come on Sundays.
- No. It doesn't come Fridays or Saturdays.
- It's your turn.
- We moved to Texas.
- What kind of
world are we living in?
I don't know--
- Rebecca and Tyler,
what are you all doin'?
Sometimes people
ask me if I have children,
and I will say yes,
I have an 18-year-old
son in college
and a sophomore in high school.
And I don't mention Trevor.
It's just, you know, a matter of
not wanting to get into it,
but not wanting to be dishonest.
- Welcome, welcome!
- Hi.
- I'd get up, but I'm trapped!
- When you try to tell somebody,
it just never goes well.
You know, your son killed
an 8-year old.
There's nothing redeeming
about that,
and therefore, if that has
happened in your family,
then there must be something
wrong with your family,
your parenting, your whatever.
Like, Tyler
and Rebecca both said,
neither one of them
want to have kids.
Because they don't want...
they're afraid.
- I saw it like,
tear Mom and Dad apart,
and I don't want to have
to deal with that myself.
I don't think I have that in me.
- Everything with Trevor
was like so out of the blue,
and I feel like my parents
did everything right,
and then it just happened.
Like, I would be afraid that
that would happen to me.
You know, I could work as
hard as I could
and love them as much
as I could,
and then something would
still go wrong.
- This is a
call from an offender
at a Louisiana Department
of Correction facility.
- What baby?
- It'd be a volunteer thing
or like a part time job?
- I think it would be
a next career,
like, somewhere along the way,
I'm going to be too old
to teach,
and maybe I should counsel or...
- Are you sure?
There are some pretty old
ladies that do that.
- When does it start?
And how long is it?
- It starts this summer.
- You have one minute left.
- Alright, mom.
I'll call tomorrow. Alright?
- I'm gonna leave Dad alone.
I talked to him yesterday and the day
before. - Yeah. All right. Just...
All right. Love you.
He says your sister's game
is tied 1-1 at the half.
- Yay. Love you.
- Love you too. Bye-bye.
- The caller has hung up.
- Did you all
buy some biscuits or no?
- Biscuits.
There's the chicken.
Can he have chicken scraps?
Yes, you got tender tummy.
- In these past six years,
I'd say we're much
tighter and closer...
All right. I'm here. I'm here.
- ...but we're afraid
to expect too much.
we've lost so much.
- There was a time where
I felt like everything
was a lie.
Every family vacation picture
I would look at,
I felt like, here I was,
thinking we were happy,
and you were so miserable.
It just felt like every time
you and I laughed together
was a lie.
I was really angry.
I took this picture when
I went to see him Saturday.
Isn't that cute?
- That is cute.
When did Trevor get glasses?
- A couple months ago.
- But...
You love your children.
You don't get to choose
to love them, you know.
You love them.
- On the
12th day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
12 drummers drumming
- 11 pipers piping
- 10 lords a-leaping
- 9 ladies dancing
- 8 maids a-milking
- 7 swans a-swimming
- 6 geese a-laying
- 5 golden rings
- Hi.
- Hi.
- You look beautiful.
- Thank you.
- He still talks a lot about
the loss of his dad.
When Charles died,
Jason nosedived.
Jason was not showering
and not shaving,
and not eating properly,
and was wondering around town
in the middle of the night,
and it was a nightmare.
And um...
I have to, you know,
put a whole lot of things
into place about
my own mortality.
I've made
financial preparations,
arranged for a co-guardian,
but um...
I don't want to think about it.
- You know, when we
went to the hospital
and when we saw...
...when we saw him
before he died,
in-in my heart,
that-that really hurts.
Well, the best thing
that you can do
is try to remember
the best you can...
the good parts, the fun parts,
and the important things
that he taught you.
- How do I feel about Elsa
in the mix...
just because I have um...
I have a feeling because
I have a crush on her,
even though I know she's
a fictional character?
- So that's okay.
That's all right.
You want to feel very,
very attached
and very, very close to somebody
who's not going to leave you.
- I do want to go to that trip
to Norway to find out
what's gonna happen.
- Going to Norway is not going
to make her any more real.
It's like Santa Claus.
You know, you tell kids,
well, Santa Claus comes
and brings presents
on Christmas Eve,
and kids believe that.
- I still believe in it.
- In your heart,
you know he's coming.
It's a spirit.
- Well...
- I always believe in that.
- Okay.
- Sometimes I wish I didn't
have Down Syndrome.
I wouldn't gone to college,
I would've drove...
...I would've gotten married.
But it's sort of like the movie,
It's a Wonderful Life.
What happens if I wasn't born?
I wouldn't have met
my roommates.
If I said hello to them
it would be as strangers.
We wouldn't be friends.
It would be erased.
It would all be erased
if I decided
to wish I didn't have
Down Syndrome.
So, um, I may have
to... um...
So, I may have to stick
to what I have.
- We not having any Splenda
but we do have Sweet & Low.
- We can use that.
Careful with this.
Careful with this because
of the side effect.
You have to be
careful with that.
- What's the side effect?
- Cancer.
- Delicious.
- 19 Years at the same job.
I'm getting old.
- If you're getting
old, I'm getting old, too.
- We-we all are.
- The three of us,
we've made 13 years
in this house.
- Big number.
- 13 Years in this house.
We've always found ways
to get along.
- Exactly, we always do.
Isn't that right, Jason?
- It's not just how
we get along.
It's about, um...
I sort of like lost the word.
What I'm trying to say is
that we became...
...we became something.
- Deeper than that.
How much deeper?
- Family. Thank you, Ray.
That we became a family
because we've been
living in this house.
- I think we should be
officially a family of friends.
All for one and one for all.
All for one and one for all.
- Yeah.
- Sorry, I'm
getting a little emotional.
It's all right.
Nothing happening.
Hi, Jack. How are you?
You ready?
Have a seat right here.
So, remember when
you were here last time,
we talked about you were
going to do the clear braces.
- Okay. - Okay.
Good job.
A-I-G-H- So, are my teeth always
going to be straight?
You'll have a retainer that
you'll have to wear
and that will
keep them straight.
So yes. As long as you
wear your retainer,
your teeth will always
be straight.
- Do you have a further question
or does that clarify that?
- G-I-E...
Girls here.
Girls, here I come!
Yeah, man.
Girls, watch out!
- He will come again into glory
to judge the living
and the dead,
and I look forward to the
resurrection of the dead
and the life in the
world to come.
- He is not what we thought
he was going to be
and he's not like us at all.
This looks great.
Can you close your mouth?
That's it.
Right there.
Both hands up here.
We're gonna scrub. Ready?
I tell him, "You're not normal,
but that's not so bad.
Normal is pretty average,
and you're well above average.
I mean, you are..."
He is he's abnormal
in a really good way.
- P-E
My best friend is Grant.
He lives the damn autistic
life like me.
A Lost Boy plateaus
in his autistic mind.
A Real Boy has a future,
like anyone else.
The day was awesome
'cause I was with my tribe.
- You holdin' it together?
- Try not to act awkward.
- What?
- Try not to act awkward.
- I'm not gonna act awkward.
I'm smooth.
Leah, how tall are you?
- 3' 11" and a half.
The half's real important.
Make sure you get that on there.
- All right.
Then we're going to
go right down the hallway
to the ultrasound room.
- Now, I know you had one
miscarriage in the past.
Do you know how far along
you were at that...?
- Seven weeks.
- Seven weeks. Okay.
I'm just gonna take a peek here.
- Is there a heartbeat?
- That's the heartbeat.
That is so amazing.
Look at that fired-up shear.
Most people don't get
a minivan until after
they've had kids.
That's not why we've
got a minivan.
So, we figured that we'd
give you an advanced
Christmas present.
So, Mom and Dad,
can you open that?
What's this?
- Is that what I think it is?
Is that an ult-?
I'm so happy!
God bless you!
- Hey, Mom.
I know you can't make
anything out there, but...
- There's not much there.
- There's not much there yet.
- I can see it.
There is the head.
There's an arm. There's a leg.
I think I could even see a nose.
- Geez, Mom!
- You think, Ma?
- There's a lot to
think about now.
- Yeah.
It's gonna be a journey.
I, John, take you, Andrew...
I, John, take you, Andrew...
To be my lifelong partner.
To be my lifelong partner.
To have and to hold.
To have and to hold.
From this day forward.
From this day forward.
- All of us, every one of us
has mountains that we
have to climb,
and we have to do it.
We have to climb those mountains
if we want our
ultimate fulfillment.
And the reason
I'm telling you this is because
no one knows better than I do.
Andrew has had his
mountains to climb.
Difficult mountains to climb.
I could wish no more for you,
Andrew and John,
than a marriage such as I had
with Andrew's mother,
only longer.
Thank you.
- I think I had grown up with
a sense that there was
a right way to be.
- We hereby make our assault
on conventional morality!
- Writing the book set me free.
It broke me finally out of that
particular narrowness
that had been inscribed
in my childhood.
And it gave me the courage
to have a family
in a different way from the way
I'd imagined growing up.
You have a sword
and you have a fishing rod.
That seems very appropriate.
- And I've got a fishing rod
with bait on it.
- What's the bait?
That little bit of seaweed.
Do you think there are
fish in this water?
I don't know.
I don't know either.
George, let's go and put on
your pajamas please.
Pajamas, please.
George, pajamas.
I tend to find the ecstasy
hidden in ordinary joys
because I did not expect those
joys to be ordinary to me.
- This is book five, right?
- Right.
- The first chapter is called,
"How Shasta Set Out
on His Travels."
Chapter 15 is called,
"Rabadash the Ridiculous."
- Okay. Shall we start
reading the book?
- Yup.
- Would you like me
to read it to you?
- Yes.
Who is Shasta anyway?
- Well, we'll find out.
- I guess we're gonna find out.
- "This is the story of an
adventure that happened
in Narnia and Calormen
and the lands between them."
John and I have
a big, spectacular family.
John is the biological father
of two children
with some lesbian friends
in Minneapolis.
My best friend from college
and I decided we'd like to
have a child,
and so we have a daughter.
And then John and I have
a son George
who lives with us full-time.
And when we had George,
our surrogate was Laura,
the mother of John's two
biological children.
So, there are six parents of
four children in three states.
You know, Tolstoy said,
"All happy families
are the same.
Every unhappy family
is unhappy in its own way."
And I used to think
that might be true.
But actually, I think a lot of
unhappiness is quite similar,
and that what's remarkable is
that all of the different ways
people find to be happy.
- You ready, Freddy?
- Louisiana Department
of Corrections facility.
- Hi, buddy.
Jamie stop. Don't walk away
from your father.
- Here in reality.
Everyone is different.
Different opinions, tastes,
personalities, and beliefs.
- Cheers!
- Hello.
- Hey, sweetie.
- Hello.
- Hey, you've got everybody.
Rebecca and Tyler,
and your Dad, and me.
- Hello everybody.
- At each sonogram,
they take measurements
of the baby.
- And so, we've been told
by the doctors that it's likely
to be average height.
And so, whether it's dwarf
or average size,
we're gonna love any child
that shows up.
- I always like to
put a percentage to it.
I would say at least
a 40 percent chance
that it's a little person.
- Where did you get that number?
- I just made it up.
Here's your little girl.
She was born exactly
at 8:30 on the dot.
As I always predicted.
- You better
get used to being held
because she's gonna
hold you a lot.
- And spend lots
of time together.
Hi, little one.
- Being a grandma
is wonderful. isn't it?
Hi, Hazel.
That's my daughter.
- Yeah.
- I'm still in shock.
I'm put together beautifully
Big wet bottle in my fists
Big wet rose in my teeth
I'm a perfect piece of ass
like every Californian
So tall I take over
the street
With high-beams shining
on my back
A wingspan unbelievable
I'm a festival I'm a parade
And all the wine
is all for me
And all the wine
is all for me
And all the wine
is all for me
I'm a birthday candle
in a circle of black girls
God is on my side
Cause I'm the child bride
I'm so sorry
but the motorcade
Will have to go around me
this time
'Cause God is on my side
And I'm the child bride
And all the wine
is all for me
And all the wine
is all for me
And all the wine
is all for me
I carry the dollhouse
safe on my shoulders
Through the black city
Nightlight's are on
in the corners
And everyone's
sleeping upstairs
All safe and sound
All safe and sound
I won't let the
psychos around
All safe and sound
I won't let the
psychos around
I'm in a state,
I'm in a state
Nothing can touch us,
my love
I'm in a state,
I'm in a state
Nothing can touch us,
my love