Language Arts (2020) Movie Script

The practice of Cursive Writing
in the handwriting system
known as the Palmer Method
will be one of the most
important things
you will ever learn.
In basic loop practice,
we embody a balance
between control and relaxation.
Success in the execution
of Palmer loops
demands that you locate
the beat of your inner drummer.
The heartbeat that guides
your handwriting.
It's this class called
Art Without Boundaries.
It's where people that
are differently-abled
create together.
I want to photograph folks
with verbal challenges
as they make art.
As Valedictorian, you know,
you got a real opportunity here.
You know, your thesis is going
to be heavily scrutinized.
I'm just not sure taking
pictures is really enough.
And for the literary connection
to your class
well, maybe we can use
Ginsberg's American Sentences?
From class?
And I was hoping
you'd be my advisor.
My grandmother had Alzheimer's.
We used to be really close
before she got sick.
Towards the end,
she didn't know any of us.
I'm just sorry I didn't find out
more about her.
"Who tells the stories of people
who have limited or no language?
Is there a way to help such
people tell their own stories?"
Up, down, and around.
Up, down, and around.
Palmer Method Cursive Loop
practice has been shown
to light up little-used
or even failing connections
in the brain.
Up, down, and around.
Up, down, and around.
Up, down, and around.
Up, down, and around.
Up, down, and around.
Up, down, and around.
Up, down, and around.
Please, she often thinks she's
back teaching at our school.
If people can just let her
have that story.
Goodbye, Sister.
God bless.
We will see you again soon.
S, si.
This is your new room, Giorgia.
See? All your things are here.
Look, look, look.
Your pillow is there.
Charles, stop avoiding me.
Call me back.
We need to talk about Cody,
Charles, just call me back.
Do you like my dress?
It's new.
It's from
Frederick and Nelson's.
Your father bought it
When is Catherine coming?
God, would you look at
all those kids.
Pew, pew, pew.
Oh honey,
you forgot your button.
Why don't we have more kids?
Phrase it properly, Charles.
I think what you mean to say is,
Why don't you and Dad
have more children?
Well, why don't you?
Because God knew I could only
be a good mother to one child.
Like Mary.
Mr. and Mrs. Marlow,
I know this may not be
what you want to hear,
but I'm hoping
you're open to the idea.
I believe we should try
Selective Serotonin
Reuptake Inhibitors
have proven efficacious
for some children
with Cody's...
Now, you would have to
take extensive notes
on how Cody's mood might shift.
But we can start
as early as this week.
Aspergillus, Cladosporium,
Stachybotrys, Penicillin,
are most likely.
Hopefully we're just dealing
with standard
run of the mill black mold.
In which case,
the protocols are clear,
and have proven to be
very effective.
I don't know why we didn't think
about this before.
Black mold.
Yes, in the crawlspace.
I mean, we're probably all sick
and don't even know about it,
That's quite possible,
I'm sorry to say.
And of course,
a child's immune system...
Is so much more vulnerable.
Is he toilet-trained?
He can write his own name.
Well, some recent studies
have linked immune responses
to Sick Building Syndrome.
And to the Autism Spectrum,
No... No one has mentioned
Autism before.
We'll do whatever it takes
to make it better.
Is he tantrumming
more than usual?
You could say that.
And he has lost his words?
I believe we are dealing
with Sick Building Syndrome.
As caused by
biological contaminants.
We can't move.
I mean, that's the only home
that Cody has ever known.
And he loves the trees,
he loves...
That is of course your decision.
We are going to bind
our arms to our rulers.
The cloths are to be wrapped
and tied in three locations.
First, around the palm
of the hand,
between the thumb
and forefinger.
Then, around the wrist.
And finally, around the forearm
just below the elbow.
Any questions?
Okay, let's get this done.
Mm, ugh.
Please keep your talking
to a minimum.
Please sit up straight.
Position yourself properly.
Take up your pencils, and begin
your one-minute timed
loop practice, now.
Come on, Dana, you can do this.
Take your pencil.
Come on.
Dana McGucken, that's enough!
Calm down!
Take it off him.
I'm sorry, Dana.
I'm very sorry.
It's all right,
it's all right.
You won't have to do that again.
Mrs. Braxton,
your nose is bleeding.
Let us continue.
Please begin your one-minute
bed spring oval practice, now.
Good morning, Cody.
Oh boy, a new day.
A new chance for Cody
to earn lots of stickers.
Okay now, Cody, time to get up.
Where's Cody?
Where's Cody?
Where did he go?
Ah! There he is!
Okay, now.
Here are your slippers.
Let's see if you get
your first sticker.
Good job.
Now let's go to the bathroom
and see how you did.
I sure hope you get a sticker.
This way and a little bit.
Let's try.
Let's try again.
One more.
One more.
And then you get a sticker
for breakfast.
Come on, come on.
Here, let me help you.
There you go.
There you go.
That's it.
Good job.
Good job.
Your dad is here.
It's your dad.
And look,
he's got a grocery bag.
Hey, Pal.
How you doing?
Brought you something.
Have fun.
Hey, Cody, Cody, give that back
to Raisa right now!
He sure does love playing
with those noodles.
- Too rough!
- No, it's okay.
My fault.
Your hurt your father!
After he bring
all those noodles for you.
I set timer now.
Ten minutes.
- No more.
- That's right.
You want a sticker, you have
to put those noodles away
the very second
that timer goes off.
No fussing.
Are you okay?
Shh, Giorgia.
It's okay,
it's going to be okay.
It's going to be okay!
It's going to be okay, Giorgia.
Calm down now.
Calm down now.
Okay, all right,
we're almost done, Honey.
Then we can go
get your sandwich.
The... the entire floor is going
to have to be concreted.
We need Visqueen.
We need additional venting.
- They're...
- Visqueen?
Daddy, I know you think
this is a lot, but I...
No, no, no.
Not if you're staying here.
But your mother and I think
you should consider moving,
not renovating.
There are some nice places near
the canal.
We checked.
We're not moving.
Why beat a dead horse?
So, when does she plan on
making the big ask?
After dessert?
Oh, the...
God, don't play innocent
with me, Charles.
I'll be surprised if she hasn't
catered the entire meal.
Hired a Master of Ceremonies.
Wish someone would tell her
she doesn't have to treat us
like we're potential
corporate sponsors.
I haven't been entirely
It is a fact that
I've never seen one of Cody's
full-blown fits,
but I've sensed something.
Nothing I could put a finger on.
Just a feeling that things
weren't quite right.
I love my daughter dearly.
But she has a tendency
to let hope outlast the truth.
I believe in modern day
psychological terms
this would be known as denial.
He's lost all his words.
What do you think
is wrong with him?
There his is.
There's my snuggle bunny.
Hello, darling.
Eskimo kiss.
Horse kiss.
Butterfly kiss.
What I believe,
Charles, doesn't matter.
Not in the long run.
It's what you and Alison
believe that's important.
Hi, you've reached Charles.
Leave a message.
Charles, I know you're there.
It's a school night.
Pick up.
Pick up, Charles.
Bartending exam. One.
Name ingredients
in a Moscow Mule.
Correct. Two.
What is the proper glass in
which to serve a Bacardi Buck?
How do you make sense
of the fact that
you're working as a bartender?
Designated driver?
Designated Sherpa.
Alison Forch.
It's nice to meet you, Charles.
With, um, with whom
are you on expedition?
My brother Aiden is the drummer.
Here, have a seat.
We made a deal, I promised
that I would haul his gear
around this weekend, if he
promises to haul my books
across Manhattan in four months.
What happens in four months?
I'm graduating, moving, and then
I am starting my internship.
Oh, wow, well, groovy.
Have you thought about
my question?
- Well...
- I'm sorry that I inundated you
with all of these, it's just
that the groom's mother
wanted me to toss them,
and I couldn't bear to.
They're just so lovely.
Alison! I need you!
I'll be right there.
I gotta go.
Why get rid of them?
The napkins?
Oh, because of the typo.
See? Li... live will
keep us together.
Oh, is it a quote
from something?
Not a big fan of popular music.
Not really, no.
Well, it's been fun.
- Yeah.
- A promise is a promise.
I should help my brother.
I would like to see you again.
I'll say goodbye before I leave.
No, I meant like get a coffee...
I know what you meant.
I'm thinking about it.
Plus, I fly to New York
I prefer written correspondence
to telephone conversations.
And though you are under
no legal obligation
to return this,
this is my favorite.
So, use it, re-gift it.
Whatever you do,
please do not throw it away.
Goodbye, Charles.
Before June 10th, I will be
at Columbia University
School of Law at this address.
After June 10th when I graduate,
my law books and I
will be living on West 10th,
at this address.
It was a pleasure meeting you,
You are an excellent bartender.
Nevertheless, I do hope that
you'll give some thought
to that question.
Best wishes, Alison.
P.S. I'll want to have
children right away.
May I help you?
Hello? Hi.
I'm wondering if Alison Forch
lives here.
One moment.
What are you doing?
Marry me.
Come back to Seattle
and marry me.
Today, tomorrow,
in a year, soon.
Yes! Yes!
I have a surprise
for the two of you.
Oh yeah?
Your father and I are taking
Cody for the next four days,
so the two of you
can get away together.
I know his routine and rules.
He can't be touched on the neck,
especially when eating.
No, Mother. No, no, no.
We can't... we can't
possibly get away
with everything with going on.
- I'm sorry, this is not...
- I've reserved three nights
at a B&B in La Conner.
Three nights?
There's absolutely
nothing to worry about.
Go and pack.
If you get on the road
in the next
ninety minutes or so,
you'll arrive in time for
I made a reservation
at a phenomenal restaurant.
This is insane!
- What's insane about it?
- You!
Wouldn't you like to get away?
Where's Cody?
He's upstairs.
He's with his therapist.
Fine, I'll stay until
his lesson is over.
And I can pack his things
while I'm waiting.
Thank you, I mean that's...
Your father and I have all sorts
of lovely activities planned.
- We'll have a wonderful time.
- Okay.
I just don't think that
you and Daddy understand
how complicated our life is,
I mean...
I understand perfectly Alison,
and that's exactly why you and
your husband need to get away.
All right, class.
Present arms.
And begin.
Notice the evenness
with which Charles writes.
The steady pressure
he puts on the chalk.
Notice how he keeps
his arms relaxed.
Look at how consistent he is.
Quite exceptional.
Textbook perfect.
- Quite exceptional.
- Perfect.
Bradley! Mitchell!
Shall I send you to detention?
All right, class.
Let us resume with
a series of lower case A's.
Charles will continue to lead,
and I will call out a rhythm.
Present arms.
And up, down.
Up, down.
Up, down.
Up, down.
Dana, quiet please.
Yes, Dana? Do you have
something to contribute?
That boy, that Charlie Marlow.
He do good work with those,
those Palmer loos.
He do good work with that.
No, no!
I'm sorry, Sister Giorgia.
I don't know.
Non avete il diritto!
Leave Romy alone,
or I will take you outside
and put you on the bus.
You all right?
Have you come to help me?
Thank you.
Thank God who has sent you.
Good work.
Good, Cody.
Cody, Cody.
My sweet Cody.
It's bedtime, all right?
Can you put that away, sweetie?
It's been ten minutes,
I think that's long enough.
Come on.
Here we go.
Here we go, Cody.
Hey! Hey!
No, no, no!
Stop it.
What's it going to take, Alison?
A broken nose?
Knocked out teeth?
I've got this under control.
I can see that.
Have you looked
in the mirror lately?
I don't know
if when I come home,
I'm going to find the
police waiting for me
with a domestic abuse warrant,
or you lying comatose
on an ambulance gurney.
Don't be ridiculous, Charles.
What do you tell your friends?
About the bruises,
the bite marks, the bald spots?
Do you think I'm the only one
paying attention?
it's just not working.
You've done everything possible.
No one could have done more.
You've been amazing.
But we just have
to start facing the fact
- that maybe there's another...
- No, no, no.
I will not accept that.
I will not.
I will not hand my son
off to some strangers.
Alison, do you want him
to kill you?
Stop it, Charles.
I can't...
...quit, I can't stop trying.
I'm not asking you
to stop trying.
I'm just saying that
there might be a place
where he could be
better cared-for,
and our family could be safe.
He is our family.
And he's only six years old.
Sweetheart, we love our son.
And we can still see him
every day,
Who's going to take care
of him when we're gone?
Falling does not equal failing.
You ready?
Come in for me.
You grab my wrist.
Here's where you went,
to the inside.
But you're supposed to go
to the outside of the elbow.
Twist in.
You feel that pressure?
Come here.
Force them to the ground.
- You're falling.
- Yes.
- Right?
- Right.
Here's something interesting.
In Aikido,
falling doesn't equal failing.
See, we practice Ukeme,
which is the art of falling.
It's not passive falling
or just giving in.
If you're stiff and you're
inflexible, then you...
- Hi.
- Hey.
Umm, you cannot receive
Which means that we could
potentially get hurt
or disillusioned in any
sort of difficult situation.
- Does that make sense?
- Yeah, yeah.
So, so much, so much sense.
Honey, would you like to try?
Bruce is a great teacher.
He came all the way down here,
so maybe...
It's just not for me,
But I'm glad you're enjoying it,
Well, are you sure? It's easy.
It's not hard.
I'll just check on our son.
Hello? Anyone home?
I'm here.
Did you see your snack?
Yes, thank you.
- Did your father call?
- No.
Were you worried?
Your father won't be home.
He's at a Jaycees Meeting,
for the Shriners, or Elks,
one of those.
So, it will just be you and me.
And a couple of TV dinners.
Aren't we lucky to live in
such an age of convenience?
Isn't all this
just a dream come true?
Lucky, lucky, lucky.
Well, I'm going to
start making dinner.
We've got Salisbury Steak
and Fried Chicken, Mexican.
And now this very special award.
The certificate of merit
for Palmer penmanship goes to...
Charles Simon Marlow.
Yay, Charlie!
Charlie Marlow!
Charlie Marlow!
Charlie Marlow!
The retard loves him.
The retard is his girlfriend.
Charlie Marlow! Charlie!
Dana, that's enough.
I'm sure we're all
very proud of Charles.
Charlie Marlow!
Dana McGucken, quiet down now.
Charlie Marlow! Charlie Marlow!
Dana McGucken! Silence!
Oh, you just had
to have one drink!
One drink, you said
and now look at you!
- You can't even stand up!
- Would you just relax?
It's not a big deal!
- Oh, it's not a big deal?
- I'll take care of it.
I'll take care of it.
Oh, how are you going to
take care of it?
I'll go to the liquor store
right now.
Oh that's a great idea,
you're drunk as a skunk
you can't drive,
you can't even stand up!
- Look at you!
- That's a nice dress, Honey.
- Get out of here!
- All right, all right.
- Okay, okay, okay.
- Go take a nap!
I took a nap already.
You woke me up.
- I'm going to go cut the grass.
- Cut the grass?
- What are you talking about!
- I'm the only one who does
- any work around here anyway!
- Does any work around here?
You don't even have a job!
Hey, Charlie.
Don't worry,
I didn't cut my foot off.
I just tripped.
Hey, make me a drink, will you?
Now that your mom's gone.
Bloody Mary.
It's a new one, okay?
Step one.
Salt on the rim.
Use that first, otherwise
it'll all spill it every...
Vodka, or gin.
That's good.
Thanks, Pal.
Needs some tomato juice too.
And olives, it's got olives.
- Hey.
- Hi. You ready?
No, thank you.
I ate.
I'm extending an olive jar.
- And I'm okay.
- Okay.
Thank you.
What's with all the boxes?
- The boxes.
- Oh, um...
Just doing a little purging.
I might have a yard sale.
Oh, well, if you find
anything belonging to me,
just get rid of it.
Oh, really?
If I haven't used it
in a decade,
it's nothing I need.
You sure?
What about, um...
Come on, I thought you looked
gorgeous in it.
We should probably get going.
So, you've made up
your mind already?
We're building
our own group home?
No, that's not true.
Let's just
not waste time pretending
that there's some kind
of a collaboration
- going on here.
- Oh, I see.
So, finding a home for our son
to permanently live in
is a waste of time.
- Is that right?
- No, that's not...
It's fine, really. Just...
Let me know what you decide
and we'll go with that.
Hi, Charlie.
Look, look at this.
It's loo.
Um, oh, okay,
I'll open it for you.
No, Charlie.
See, it's loo.
You say it.
I like to peel them off
Do you ever do that?
Well, you gotta go real slow.
Like this.
Or else they break.
Hey, you did it!
Atta boy!
Atta boy, me!
Show me those Palmer loops.
Uh, um...
I mean, that was... that was
pretty close to perfect,
wasn't it?
The fact that
the Youngs and the Gurnees
are willing to pitch in on this,
and Miles and Robbie don't even
age out for another year.
I mean, Cody is nearly 18,
and if he ages
out of state support,
we're in so much trouble.
The weather is really something,
isn't it?
Have you been drinking?
- Have I been drinking?
- All right, look, I...
Would that be a problem
if I was drinking?
I'm not accusing you
of anything, Charles.
Okay, so there's
no need to bristle.
I'm not bristling.
Point of fact,
I did have a few glasses
of the Cab Syrah blend earlier
while I was grading papers.
How's school?
It's good.
What are you and your students
doing right now?
We're actually working on
"First, Middle, Last."
Oh, okay, good.
I like that game.
Any especially good ones?
Megan Merry McCormick had
Mellifluous Magnanimous Mammoth,
which I thought was nice.
Well, that's not fair.
I mean, she's got three names
that start with M.
All right, let's go.
Alison Nancy Forch.
Absurdly Narcissistic...
For you, I would like...
Salacious, uh,
Amorphous, Nagging, Fantasy.
And we're here.
Hi, Cody.
Robbie. Hi!
How are you guys?
How was school?
Oh my goodness, Raisa,
this smells amazing.
Thank you.
This is Cody's spoon.
Okay, honey.
Look at that.
These mashed potatoes
look so good.
Come on.
I think I might have to steal
some of them from you.
Are these my mashed potatoes,
or are these...
oh, okay, there we go.
How 'bout a bite?
Oh, that bite is mine.
I want that bite.
Ahh! You tricky tricky.
Here we go.
Okay, this one's mine.
I know it.
I can feel it.
Mom's gonna win this one.
Let me have it.
Miles, did you see that?
You taught him that, didn't you?
I'm gonna win this time.
I know I'm gonna win.
I'm gonna win.
This one's mine...
This one's mine.
Thank you, sweetheart.
Here, baby.
You just have a little bit
on your face, okay?
Good job.
Good, good.
Look, you did so good.
Dessert, okay?
Guess what?
Here, let me have this.
I, um... I brought
somebody with me today.
Someone that I think
you're gonna be
really excited to see.
- Hey, pal.
- Look, Cody.
Sweetheart, it's Dad.
- How are you doing?
- Honey.
Oh, Cody. Cody.
Somebody really likes
their dessert, huh?
Come here, baby,
don't do that.
Let's get you a new bib.
No, no, no, no, no!
It's okay, baby.
It's all right.
I'm here.
Do not touch his scars ever!
You didn't tell her that!
How was it?
It was a long day.
How did he do on the drive over?
Fussed a little,
but he's been great
since we got home.
Look, Cody.
It's Mom.
Hi, honey.
So, uh... what have you guys
been up to?
Nothing much.
Just hanging.
We made pesto for dinner,
didn't we, pal?
Just like they've got
at the group home?
Hey, Cody.
Cody, sweetheart.
Are you having fun
visiting, baby?
Mom's talking to you, son.
Can you... you take a break?
Okay, all right.
Let me have this, baby.
Seriously, Charles.
- Just let me take care of it.
- No, no, no, no.
Please, no.
Don't bother.
Are you going
to tell me how long
you've been letting him stim?
I don't know.
I'm sorry.
I fell asleep.
I don't understand
why it's so hard
for you to comply
with the rules.
To comply with the rules?
What are we talking about?
I do this one thing, Charles.
This one thing for myself.
The Aikido.
It takes up
all of your free time.
But that's... it's fine.
And it is not as though
I haven't logged
just as many hours as you.
But when I am here,
I am present.
I keep him engaged.
I don't just let him stim
for hours and hours.
Alison, it helps him.
It helps him.
I honestly... I don't see
what's wrong with that.
I don't know
how I can trust you.
How you can trust me?
You don't get to just say that
and walk away!
I just...
I just want a straight answer,
How long did you let him stim?
Why can't you just accept him
the way he is?
The way he is is sick.
He is sick, Charles.
Would you say that
if he had cancer?
You would just
shrug your shoulders
and you would say, "Oh well"
- It's not the same.
- "We should just accept him
- the way he is."
- Alison, it's not the same.
- You know that.
- Cody needs us to fight for him.
I want him to be able
to move home someday.
- Do you?
- So do I.
Of course.
Of course I do.
Do you? Do you?
And I work just as hard
as you do with him.
- Yes.
- Because all I see
when I come home
is you just lying around,
and he's sitting in a corner
smashing noodles.
You call that working with him?
Yes! Everything doesn't
have to be so hard for him
all the time, Alison.
Why can't... why can't he just
have some down time,
like any other kid?
Why can't he just do things
that make him happy
when he gets home?
Because as long as he's happy,
sitting in a corner
with his version of a pacifier
jammed in his mouth,
then he's manageable.
Of course, he never grows,
he never advances.
But then that's just like you,
now isn't it, Charles?
He is a mirror image of you.
No cares.
No challenges.
Just hours and hours
of solitude.
- And then...
- You're so spoiled.
You're so spoiled.
Excuse me?
If you couldn't constantly ask
Daddy for this or for that,
then we'd have
to do it together.
Instead, you're always bringing
home some new miracle cure.
- Wait. Quiet.
- No.
- Quiet.
- Alison, you actually need
- to listen to this now.
- Quiet!
Do you smell that?
You cannot touch him
on his scars!
You can never touch his scars!
Didn't... you didn't tell her?
Nobody told her!
Cody, sweetheart,
come here, come here.
It's all right, baby.
Come here.
No, no, no, no, no.
Hey, Cody, it's all right.
Mommy's here.
Mommy's here, baby.
Let's go. Let's go.
Come on, sweetie, come on.
Why did you guys not ever
mention anything to her?
Get some towels!
Be useful!
Get some towels!
Come on. Breathe, Miles.
Breathe, breathe!
Oh, leave that, Mr. Marlow.
You go on.
There is this new movement
called "photo-lanthropy."
Photography that draws attention
to a cause or issue.
You make yourself invisible.
Let the camera do the work.
Or "photojournalism."
Never mind.
Um, how's it going with...
Sister Giorgia.
Oh, I thought I told you.
She and, uh... is collaborating
with another artist.
She's calmer now.
And The Seattle Times
wants to interview me.
And maybe you.
And maybe even print
one of the pictures?
They can interview you.
Si. Ahh!
That one's beautiful.
Si. Bella.
Where do you think
this should go?
You're going to take
this picture,
the ones we cut out?
You're going to glue them
like this.
To make a new, bigger picture.
A collage.
Hey, guys.
Hello, Sister Giorgia.
Hey, Cody.
You see that collage
she's making?
You'll get to make one too.
Hey, Cody, where you going,
big guy?
Hey, give those to me.
Come on, you know the rules.
It's okay. It's okay.
He can have all of those
if he wants.
I have plenty.
Yes, please. Yes.
I think you need more.
You should not see
the bottom of that glass.
You are in charge of that.
There's a few more bottles
tucked away.
So whose idea was it to build
our own group home?
Uh, that was me.
- Not him, right?
- No, no. Of course not.
Yeah, that's right. Yeah.
Well, I don't know about you,
but I need some more wine.
I'll take some,
out of the bottle.
Out of the bottle?
I wouldn't do it that way.
Have you ever wondered why?
Why our children?
I mean, I'm curious.
Where do you all stand
on the issue of God?
Sorry... God?
Are you folks practitioners
in any kind of organized...
organization around all that?
You mean church?
- Well, yeah.
- Charles, this may not
be the time.
Have you found it helpful?
Found what helpful?
Your belief in God.
I mean, I'm sorry,
maybe I'm misinformed here.
I always thought people who went
to church believed in God.
We're Unitarians.
I'll spare you my repertoire
of Unitarian jokes.
We've probably
heard most of them.
- Probably.
- I'll bet you have.
I'm just wondering, like,
have you found it a comfort?
Membership in the...
what do Unitarians call it?
The "Good Some Call God" club?
- Yes.
- Really?
Yes, really.
We don't go to church
that often.
But it isn't out of any kind
of lack of faith
or religious belief.
But we were both
raised with that.
It's really about time,
How we spend our Sundays.
So it's a matter of convenience?
Well, when you put it
like that...
I'm just curious because
Alison has actually decided
to go full tilt
in the religious direction.
Have you told your friends
about that, honey?
Um, n-no, I haven't.
I, uh...
I am in the process
of converting to Judaism.
- Really?
- Wow.
That's wonderful.
- Yeah.
- Yeah.
Isn't that something?
Isn't it?
If nothing else,
it's going to do amazing things
for her sense of humor.
Well. L'Chaim.
Alrighty, thank you, guys.
I'll see you later.
Have a good weekend. Bye.
That was nice.
I can't believe you did that.
You ambushed me, Charles.
You embarrassed me
in front of everybody.
And on a day that was supposed
to be a celebration.
Me bringing up
the religion thing?
What, are you embarrassed
about it?
I-I'm not embarrassed about it.
When I told you
that I was converting,
you promised me
that you would not make fun.
What you did right there,
that was spiteful.
Okay, don't you think you're
overreacting just a little bit?
- No.
- No?
I'm reacting.
And my reactions
are perfectly appropriate.
Touch, darling.
And I cannot be responsible
for your reactions.
You promised.
I prefer written correspondence
to dramatic exits.
You promised too.
By the way, where's your, um,
where's your friend?
He could probably
help out a little here.
My friend?
Yeah, Mr. Aikido.
What's his name?
He's in California now.
I must begin, Mrs. Marlow,
by saying what an absolute
delight it has been
having Charles
in my classroom this year.
Charles is a great help to me.
Charles, I have selected you
to be part of a pilot program
in our school.
An experimental curriculum
called Language Arts.
Only the best and brightest
will leave their
classroom each day
and meet with me
in the Language Arts room.
This new curriculum, rather
than diagramming sentences,
gives the children a chance
to experience and absorb
the mechanics of English
in an intuitive manner.
By reading excerpts
from literature...
I liked diagramming sentences.
It was more direct.
Well, thank you for your time,
Mrs. Braxton.
Um... I'm glad that Charles
is doing well.
There's one last thing
I think you should know.
Charles has taken on
quite an unusual and heroic role
in our classroom.
- Heroic?
- Oh yes.
Without any prompting from me,
Charles has become quite a help
to Dana McGucken.
I'm... I'm sorry.
I don't... I don't understand.
Oh, you haven't said anything.
That's very like you Charles,
to be so humble.
Dana is one
of our special children,
Mrs. Marlow.
Thanks to Charles'
attention and friendship,
Dana has made
tremendous improvement.
You have a lovely boy there,
Mrs. Marlow.
Yes. Well...
Thank you again for your time,
Mrs. Braxton.
Of course.
Where the hell is
your goddamn father?
And who is that boy your teacher
was talking about?
Hello, Charlie.
Look. Look at this boy.
It's Charlie Marlow.
Come on, Mom.
Say hi.
It's very good to meet you,
Dana's told me
so much about you.
It's Charlie Marlow, Mom.
We make loops.
How do you do?
- Sylvie McGucken.
- Hello. Rita Marlow.
Charles has been such
a wonderful friend to Dana.
He talks about him all the time.
Me and Charlie make loops.
Well, that is... that is nice.
Oh, we don't want to keep you,
so, uh...
All right, Dana.
Say goodbye to Charlie
and his mother.
We have to go see Mrs. Braxton.
Bye, Charlie.
Bye, Charlie mom.
That boy you were talking to.
That... that Dana?
Oh, God.
Is he really a friend of yours?
Yeah, kind of.
Well, I would be careful
if I were you.
About spending time with him.
I mean, a boy like that, ugh.
You know that's... that's
really nice about that, um...
that... that... that
Language Arts thing.
That is really something.
I'm proud of you, Charles.
Really, I am.
I mean, who knew that
I gave birth to a genius?
Although I shouldn't be
surprised, since your father is
such a goddamn smarty pants.
Where the hell have you been?
Where the hell have you been?!
I've been right here at home
waiting for some damn dinner!
Why were you at home?
We had the parent-teacher
conference today,
and I had to talk
- to that woman by myself...
- Oh, jeez, it's like
I'm supposed to keep track
of every little thing
on your calendar!
Hi, Charlie.
What am I supposed to do?
Am I supposed to read your mind!
- We're going in here!
- Okay, let's go in there!
Yes, you're supposed to watch
the calendar!
Yeah, let's do this!
In your opinion,
what makes a character heroic?
Who are the heroes in your life?
Do you consider yourself
to be a hero?
What does it mean
to be a dreamer?
What does it mean to be a doer?
Which are you?
A protagonist is
someone that we root for.
"Pro" equals "for, in favor of."
An antagonist is
the protagonist's enemy.
"Anti" equals
"against, opposed to."
- Oh! Oh!
- Mm-hm?
Why isn't it "anti-agonist?"
What a good question, Astrida!
I can't say
I know the answer to that.
Oh well.
You children will learn
that the English language
is full of idiosyncrasies.
But what's our story
supposed to be about?
Well, one thing
that we can all agree on
is that good stories feature
an extraordinary protagonist.
So begin there.
What do you do?
That class.
What you do in that class
when you go with Astrida?
Oh, you mean Language Arts.
That class you go
with the other smart kids.
I'm not smart.
Yes, you are smart, Charlie.
You best at loops.
Better than Brax the Ax.
We're supposed to write a story.
Story about what?
I don't know.
That's the problem.
A hero.
Somebody that you root for.
I can't think of anything
good to write about.
You'll think of something good
to write about your story.
You'll think of hero.
I root for you.
How many people?
- Did you tell the neighbors?
- I told Peggy.
She saw all of the bottles
in the trash can!
What was I supposed to do?
"In Arizona,
Mrs. Sherri Finkbine
heard that her unborn child
would be cheated
of its arms and legs.
Seal limbs.
Some people think
that the babies should be
mercifully killed."
You keep your damn mouth shut!
Keep your goddamn hands
off of me!
Yeah! Huh?
You like that?
"Things like fingers
extrude from odd places."
I promise I won't tell anybody!
I'm sorry.
All right, all right, all right.
Just shut up.
Just... all right.
All right, Buddy.
Here you go.
Scramble and toast.
Not touching.
Do you want some coffee?
Your mom's, uh, not feeling well
this morning.
Got a touch of the flu,
so it's just going to be
you and me at Mass, okay?
There's a Rainiers game
You want to go?
All right.
Get something on
the third-base line, maybe?
- Yeah, sure.
- Good seats.
Can you find his comforter,
I think it's in that box.
How's that girl's project
coming along?
Which girl?
The one with the photos.
Haven't you seen the pictures?
Yes, some.
She's actually showing them
at the fundraiser in May.
They're writing an article
about her or something
- in the Times.
- Oh wow.
You could come if you want.
To the fundraiser.
You used to like them.
We'll see.
I brought wine.
- You want a glass?
- Yes.
- It's a nice room.
- Oh, Charles.
Will we ever be able to die?
Excuse me?
I just mean, will we...
will we ever be able to let go
as long as he's like this?
Of course not.
in that case...
...immortality it is.
You know, what this place needs
is an endowment or something.
So that they'll be okay
if something happened to us.
Maybe I'll call
the Northwest Autism Foundation
and ask about it.
That's not a bad idea.
You still wear this?
Of course I do.
I forget sometimes
how sentimental you are.
Cody, Cody.
Cody, come here, come here.
- Cody.
- Honey.
Honey, come here.
Come here, baby.
Come here.
Look at the TV.
Come here, son.
Come here, baby.
Look at this TV screen.
Come here, honey.
Cody, grab Mommy's hand.
You're going to see a picture
of your baby brother
or baby sister.
Would you like to know the sex?
- Yes.
- No.
Yes, we would.
The baby's floating.
And that's just like you
when you're swimming.
- And you know what else?
- Mm?
When the baby comes out,
you and the baby are going
to get to go swimming together.
Isn't that great?
Let's get a nice picture
for you.
Everything looks
totally normal, by the way.
No cause for worry.
Oh, I'm not... oh!
Is it okay if our son
touches the screen?
We are gonna miss you
so much.
It's okay.
We understand
that you can't stay with us.
Maybe we'll see you again.
No one really knows
how that works.
You're home.
You sick?
- No.
- What's wrong?
I'm just a little... tired.
I'll start dinner.
It's okay. You don't have
to fix me anything.
I'm not hungry.
What's with all the boxes?
Those are just some things
I was going to take
to the thrift store.
I meant to drive them over
this afternoon.
Why would you give this away?
We're not having
any more babies.
Well, we haven't
talked about that.
You... you don't know that.
No, we're not going
to talk about it, Charles.
Where's the rest of it?
You didn't.
Alison, tell me that you didn't.
No more babies.
I got a tubal ligation.
No, no.
Because Alison,
that, surely,
you would've spoken to me about,
Do you regret it?
Regret what?
Our marriage.
Our life together.
Charles, how can you ask that?
Well, it hasn't been easy.
I don't think you can regret
anything once you have a child.
How do you mean?
I mean, everything you've done
up until this moment.
Every detour.
Every choice.
It all led to them.
So to regret anything, to wish
for any of it changed...
...would mean a different
outcome, wouldn't it?
I need to go.
I'm sorry.
- No, it's fine.
- It's good. It's fine.
thank you, though.
And I'll take a rain check
on that wine.
Take care.
I win!
Look, Charlie.
I did it again.
- Atta boy, me.
- I see, Dana.
You try, Charlie.
No, that's okay.
You win.
I'm going to work on this
for now.
What's this?
You know, maybe later, um...
Here, you can have this back.
I'm gonna show you
when I'm done.
You show me when you done.
Huh, hm.
Up and down and around, again.
Up and down and around, again.
Up and down and around, again.
Hey, spaz.
Come make Palmer loops with us.
Hi, Charlie.
Dana, come out of there now!
No, Charlie, it's fun.
Up and down and around, again.
Up and down and around, again.
Thank you for calling.
So, what is this story about?
The one that you wrote
for your Language Arts class.
That was Mrs. Braxton.
She wants to enter it
into some kind of contest
and needs my permission.
What kind of contest?
Something that
the Seattle Times is sponsoring.
You didn't know about it?
So, what's it about?
Your story?
Just a kid who goes on a trip.
That's it, really.
Well, can you tell me
the title at least?
"Flipper Boy,"
by Charles Marlow.
Once upon a time,
in a small town
in the land
of sky blue waters,
a boy was born
to a husband and wife.
They named him Kennedy.
At first, Kennedy was like
every other boy in the town.
He liked eating Hostess CupCakes
and watching TV
and swimming
and reading comic books.
He had no brothers or sisters,
or even any pets.
One night,
Kennedy heard his parents
outside his bedroom door
arguing about pets.
His mom said,
"It would mean so much to him."
And his dad said, "I don't want
a filthy animal in the house.
Who do you think is going
to take care of it?"
And that was when Kennedy felt
something funny about his toes.
He fell asleep
and forgot about it.
But in the morning,
when he went
to put on his sandals,
he saw that his little toes
had shrunk tiny.
Every night his parents fought
or told a lie,
some part of Kennedy's body
got smaller or deformed.
But one day, when his mother,
who had been crying,
put his tuna sandwich down
in front of him,
she looked into his face
and screamed.
"Mom, what is it?"
Kennedy asked.
But she didn't answer,
because she had fainted.
But when their sight
was restored,
and they saw the gold crucifix
around his neck,
they recognized Kennedy.
Not as the crippled
wheelchair doctor
that had saved them,
but as their long lost son.
They fell weeping
into one another's arms
and lived happily ever after.
The end.
Yay, Charlie!
Yay, yay!
Yay, Charlie!
I like that story.
Hi, Charlie.
We're playing new game.
We're playing
Cowboys and Indians.
I thought we were playing
Damsel in this Dress.
You really like making
those Palmer loops, don't you?
You know what?
Now that Charlie's here,
I think we should do
some Palmer practice!
But wait,
it's a special challenge.
You have to make Palmer loops
without holding the pencil
in your hands.
How do we do that?
How we make loops without hands?
Well, you could put the pencil
in your ear like this.
You funny, Mitchell.
Or you could put it
in your mouth.
Or in your nose.
Or you could do it another way.
- What way?
- Stop!
But he wants to know,
don't you, Dana?
I do, I do.
Do you know, Charlie?
Do you know
where a pencil can go,
besides your ear
or your nose or your mouth?
- Stop!
- Maybe you want to show him.
- Gross!
- Charlie sick.
So, which one of you is gonna do
the special challenge?
Me. I make loops.
- Charlie sick.
- Okay, Dana.
Atta boy.
Get on your knees.
Now bend over.
That's right.
Just like a dog.
Shit, Mitch.
Are you sure?
You sure you should do that?
Don't be such a faggot.
Didn't your mommy ever
take your temperature
when you were
a little bitty baby?
Get over here and help me.
Spread his butt cheeks.
What are you waiting for?
Get to work, retard.
- How?
- You tell him, Charlie.
You're the teacher.
Or maybe you want to do
the challenge, too.
Brad, get another pencil.
- No!
- Tell him.
If you tell him, I'll untie you.
- Charlie, how?
- Tell him faggot,
or you're next!
Dana, make loops.
You said you were gonna
untie me!
Someone's coming,
you better quit that!
You need to get out of there
right now!
- Shit!
- Untie them.
- Shit!
- Move.
Charlie Marlow.
Oh, my God, he's burning up.
Yes, this is Mrs. Marlow.
Are you saying
that Charles was involved?
I see.
Thank you for calling.
That was your principal.
She said you were in some kind
of fight during Field Day.
Why didn't you say anything?
What happened, Charles?
One of your classmates,
that Dana fellow,
was very seriously injured.
He's in the hospital
in intensive care.
They said that he even might...
Were you involved
in any of this?
Not exactly.
What do you mean, "not exactly"?
Some boys, they...
did something to Dana.
Did you see what they did?
Did you try to stop them?
That's good.
That's good.
You might have been
very seriously injured
if you had tried to intervene.
I'll make you another snack.
I'm so glad I ran into you.
Dana is at Children's Hospital,
and I'm sure he'd love
to see you before...
I couldn't protect him, Charles.
But you have been
such a wonderful friend.
Goodbye, Charles.
Please, God.
Don't let Dana McGucken die.
Please, God,
don't let Dana McGucken die.
Please, please, God,
just don't let
Dana McGucken die.
Charles, I hope this letter
finds you well.
I was delighted
to read in the paper
that you are a famous teacher.
I'm not sure if you will
remember my son, Dana.
He was in
your fourth grade class.
I have thought of you often
over the years.
I remember well
how kind you were with Dana.
I'm sure your life
is very full,
but if you would ever
care to meet,
I would be delighted
to offer you some coffee or tea
at your earliest convenience.
I wish you and yours
all the very best.
Sincerely yours,
Sylvie McGucken.
Hello, Charles.
Please come in.
Do you take milk?
No, thank you.
That was such a nice article
about you in the paper.
It was.
That student in the article
in particular
is quite special.
I'm sure they look up to you.
I don't like to talk about him
with everyone,
so I keep these out of sight.
But please, have a look.
Charles, are you all right?
This picture.
- Is this...
- Yes!
That's Dana.
He must be, oh, maybe 17 there.
I thought... I thought that...
You thought he died?
Dana recovered
from those injuries.
I thought you knew.
I called your mother to tell her
in case you were worried.
You told my mother?
- Well, yes, I...
- You told my mother
that Dana was all right?
I'm really so very sorry
that you didn't know.
I kept Dana at home for a while
after what happened.
But then, a school opened up
on Shaw Island.
A school for special children,
run by an order
of Benedictine nuns.
Dana lived there
until he was 18 years old.
And those were
very good years for him.
Here's a picture of him there.
And then he moved
back in with me.
If you don't mind my asking...
He died at home.
He was 27 years old.
He just... fell asleep.
- I'm so sorry.
- Oh.
As brief as Dana's life was,
it was very rich.
He was loved.
He had friends.
And as to
the fourth grade incident,
it didn't change him
in the least.
But then, Dana had a gift for...
...for happiness, you know?
He was kind of an angel,
I think.
At least to me.
Now I've gone on and on
about my family.
How rude of me
not to ask about yours.
Did you marry?
Um, yes, I did.
These are Dana's letters to me
from his time on Shaw Island.
He wrote these?
- Every one.
- No.
These are yours to keep.
Mrs. McGucken, thank you,
but no, I couldn't.
Please don't worry.
Dana wrote lots of letters.
I just wanted you to know
that you taught him well.
He made those wonderful loops
right up until the day he died.
- Your mother.
- Mhm.
Is she still alive?
No, she... no,
she passed a long time ago.
Don't be too hard on the dead,
It's not easy for them
to say they're sorry
or ask for forgiveness.
Although I do believe they try.
- Romy.
- Hi, Mr. Marlow.
- Thanks for coming.
- Of course.
Have you met Sister Martha
and Sister Frances?
This is my teacher, Mr. Marlow.
- Ah.
- Oh, how do you do?
Nice to meet you.
Sister Frances, Martha?
- Martha
- Frances.
Frances, Martha, okay.
Mr. Marlow's son, Cody,
is the one who collaborated
with Sister Giorgia
on the collages.
- Oh, yes, of course.
- Oh.
Lovely boy, beautiful work.
We'd love to come meet him
I'm afraid we must be leaving.
- We have to catch a ferry.
- Oh, yes.
So good to meet you.
- You too.
- It was such a pleasure.
- Take care.
- God bless.
I hope you don't mind.
I was already taking
lots of photos of him,
so it wasn't like I chose him
because he's your son.
What do you mean, "chose him"?
I only got to exhibit
five pictures,
and the best were
of Sister Giorgia and Cody.
Romy, um, this is...
- Cody's mom.
- Yes.
Excuse me, I should get back.
See you on Monday, Mr. Marlow.
- You bet.
- Nice to meet you, Mrs. Marlow.
Oh, yes, well,
it's very good
to meet you, too, Romy.
- And good luck.
- Thank you.
So, where's Bruce?
Come on.
Stop it.
It's tempting.
He made these?
Can you believe it?
the 10-minute magazine rule
- has been revoked.
- Right.
And look at this one, look.
And I guess the ramen noodle
grinding thing is kaput, too.
"When memory fails,
cast the truth aside
and then unbind the body."
"You babblers may well
rule the earth,
but Heaven is the kingdom
of the mute."
I've been meaning to ask,
how's it going?
How's what going?
The conversion thing.
The conversion thing?
It's going fine.
I think about you sometimes.
- Yeah?
- Oh, well, in class.
You know, there are certain
aspects and ideas of it
that I think you'd really like.
Like what?
Like not confining It.
You know, Him, Her, whatever,
to a single name like "God."
Does that make sense?
It does.
Maybe it's about finding
the right name for It.
Like a name
that you can live with,
maybe that's another way
of getting closer to belief.
I don't know.
What do I know?
But you're a believer now?
I don't know.
But I know that it's okay
to seek comfort.
To ask for help.
Because even just saying that
implies that Something
is listening.
And sometimes
even just saying it
is comfort in itself.
Are you comforted?
It was good to see you here.
I'm glad I saw you.
You too.
There's another picture
over there you should look at.
We'll talk soon?
"Speak in tempests
of torn paper,
I will answer
in flurries of loops."
How much?
Take 'em.
How about a quarter each?
Oh, okay, sure.
Come back tomorrow,
everything's gonna be half off.
Thanks, Buddy.
Here you go.
Thanks very much.
Have a nice day.
Uh, hey there!
I was wondering.
What size are these?
Like a six and a half.
How much?
Just the boots only, right?
No, the skis too.
- Here.
- Seriously?
Take this. Yeah.
Here you go.
You're welcome.
I promise you, babe, you are
going to love Cross Country.
- Hi.
- Hi.
Hey, pal.
Whatcha got?
Oh, um...
I hope you still like carnitas.
- Hello!
- Hello!
I hope you don't mind us
stopping by.
- No, welcome.
- We came to the mainland
to take Sister Giorgia to Mass,
and we did so want
to meet your son, the artist.
- Of course.
- Sister Giorgia,
this is Charles Marlow.
Oh, oh, oh.
I am so sorry.
Sister Giorgia!
Come back here.
This house
is like a fairy tale.
Oh, che cucina.
Dear Heavenly Father,
thank you for that
which I am about to receive.
Let's not take those things
out of there.
At last, my tools.
Sister Giorgia,
what are you doing
in nice Mr. Marlow's kitchen?
We need bread.
You've got so much mail
that you haven't even
gone through yet.
Do you have salt?
You have salt, right?
- Oh, you do?
- Yes, it's a miracle.
I'm Jewish.
Are you Jewish?
So was Jesus.
You don't want to stop
till it feels
like a baby's butt.
Okay, okay.
The war is over,
and the bakery is open.
Come, let us eat.
Bless us, O Lord,
and these Thy gifts
which we are about to receive.
No, no.
No, no, no.
We're missing
the most important part.
Vino. Per favore.
Per favore.
The most important part.
Mmm, smells good, huh?
This is what Heaven smells like.
Not too much for her.
Thank you.
It smells good, huh?
- Evviva!
- Evviva!
That's my best friend.
Dana McGucken.
When we were young.
I knew there was something
special about you, Signore.
I knew it when I first saw you,
and this house.
And now here is the proof.
You and our sweet Dana.
He was pure blessing
while he was in our school
on the island.
A joy.
We remember him, always.
And you, Signore.
You were his hero.
His teacher.
His friend.
He roots for you,
Charlie Marlow.
Addio, bello.
Hey, pal, you ready to go?
Come on, Cody.
Dad's tired and Mom's gotta
get you home, okay?
Please, Cody.
What is it?