Love Letters (1999) Movie Script

-I'll take those off your hands, senator.
-I'll keep them. Thanks, Kitty.
-How did things go, senator?
No. Not fine. I got through it.
-Charlie, look up something for me.
Find out who said, "Every funeral
we go to is really our own."
-The office, senator?
-I think I'll go home.
You've got the chamber of commerce
at 5 and a finance meeting at 5:30.
Cover for me, will you, guys?
Say that I'm....
-Working on the education bill?
-No, no, no.
Mourning the death of an old friend?
Yes. Say that.
-They won't buy it.
-That's because it's the truth.
-You sure you're all right?
-He's not--
Leave him alone, Charlie.
-Hey, Jake.
-Your missus isn't home yet, senator.
I'll be in my study, Ella. Thanks.
Get down! Jake! Jake! Stop.
Give us a break. Come on.
You'd think he'd lost
an election, huh?
"Andy writes again."
"Dear Melissa."
"Dear Melissa."
Dear Andy.
Who else?
I saved everything
you ever wrote to me.
I did the same with yours.
I bet you never knew
I was such a pack rat.
Good Lord. Is that all me?
Not bad for a girl
who hated writing letters.
Getting it together, eh?
Good man.
What's that?
A Dead Sea Scroll.
Andrew Makepeace Ladd III accepts
with pleasure the kind invitation...
...of Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert Channing
Gardner for a birthday party... honor of their daughter Melissa,
on the occasion of her 7th birthday.
Dear Andy, thank you
for the birthday present.
I have lots of Oz books,
but not The Lost Princess of Oz.
What made you give me that one?
I'm answering your letter
about the book.
When you came into second grade
with that nurse... looked like a lost princess.
Remember that?
I do.
I do.
Everyone stand.
I pledge allegiance to the flag
of the United States....
Ready or not... I come.
-And to the republic...
-...for which it stands....
Over there, Melissa.
One nation, indivisible,
with liberty and justice for all.
This is called the salutation.
Now, let's all put our pencils
to our papers.
Dear madam, will you help me get
the milk and cookies during recess?
Dear sir, I will...
...if you won't ask me
to marry you again.
Andy Ladd...
...whom have you chosen
to help you with refreshments?
-Melissa Gardner.
-Melissa Gardner.
-Who washes your shirts?
-My mother.
-Who washes your shirts?
-My mother.
My mother doesn't have time
to do laundry.
She goes to too many
cocktail parties.
Is my shirt dirty?
No, but it has too much starch
in the collar.
Well, at least
will you be my valentine?
I will, unless I have to kiss you.
I should have anyway,
then and there.
"Faint heart ne'er won fair lady."
Dear Andy, merry Christmas.
I made this card myself.
It's not Santa Claus.
It's a kangaroo jumping over
a glass of orange juice.
I hope you like it.
I like you.
Dear Melissa:
My father says
I have to apologize in writing...
...for when I went swimming
in your pool.
I apologize for sneaking
into the bathhouse...
...while you were changing.
tell your stuck-up nanny, Miss
Hawthorne, I apologize to her too.
Here's a picture of you and me
without our bathing suits on.
Guess which one is you.
Don't show this to anyone.
I love you.
Here's a picture of Miss Hawthorne
without her bathing suit on.
You can't draw very well, can you?
Thanks for sending me
the cactus plant in the donkey.
Got lots of presents in the hospital.
I've gotta write thank-you notes
for every one.
I hate it here.
My throat is sore all the time
from where they cut out my tonsils.
Also, they take my temperature
the wrong way.
You made me promise
to send you a postcard.
This is it.
You're supposed to write personal
notes on the backs of postcards.
For example, here are some questions
to help you think of things to say:
Do you like Lake Saranac?
Is it fun visiting your grandmother?
Are your parents really
getting divorced?
Do you swim in the deep part
of the lake, or does Miss Hawthorne...
...make you stay in the shallow part,
where it's all roped off?
Is there anybody there my age?
I mean, boys.
Please write answers
to all these questions.
No, no, yes, yes, no.
I'm sending you this picture
that I drew of our cat.
I put jiggly Iines around the tail
because sometimes the tail behaves...
...Iike this completely
separate person.
I love that tail.
There's a part of me
that feels like that tail.
And here's some bad news.
My mother got married again,
to a man named Hooper McFail.
Let me out of here.
Dear Mrs. McFail:
I want to apologize
for my behavior in your car...
...coming home last night
from Billy's birthday party.
Charlie and I were just goofing
around, and it got out of hand.
I'm sorry you had to pull over...
...and I'm sorry
we tore Melissa's dress.
My father says you should send me
the bill, and I'll pay for it.
Dear Andy, Mummy brought
your letter up here to Lake Placid.
She thought it was cute.
I thought it was dumb.
I could tell your father
made you write it.
As for the fight in the car, you and I
both know it was Charlie's fault.
He never apologized for it,
thank God.
That's why I Iike him, actually.
As for you... shouldn't always do
what your parents want.
Even at birthday parties,
you're always doing the right thing.
You're a victim
of your parents sometimes.
That was why I picked Charlie
to do the rumba with that time.
He, at least, likes
to hack around occasionally.
I'm enclosing a picture I drew
of a puppet on a string.
You are the puppet.
Your parents are the strings.
This is you, Andy, sometimes.
I know it seems jerky,
but I like writing, actually.
I like writing compositions in English.
I like writing letters. I like writing you.
I wanted to write that letter to your
mother because I knew you'd see it.
Like talking to you
when you weren't here.
-But a letter doesn't--
-You couldn't interrupt.
My father says people should write
as much as they can.
It's a dying art.
He says letters are a way...
...of presenting yourself in the best
possible light to another person.
I think that too.
I think you sound too much
like your father.
But I'm not gonna argue
with you by mail.
Anyway, the skiing's too good.
Get well soon.
I'm sorry you broke your leg.
Mummy says I broke my leg
on purpose...
...because I'm
a self-destructive person.
All I know is, I wish
I'd broken my arm instead... I'd have a good excuse
not to write any more letters.
I'm enclosing this picture I drew
of the bedpan.
Don't you love its shape?
They've shipped me off
to this nunnery.
Help. Let me out of here.
It's the end of the absolute world.
They've made me room with this fat,
spoiled Cuban number...
...who has nine pairs of shoes.
All she does is lie on her bed
and listen to Finian's Rainbow.
Who gives a crap
how things are in Glocca Morra?
It's here where they're miserable.
Come save me, Andy.
Let's go, let's go!
At least write...
...just so I can hear a boy's voice...
...even on paper.
I got shipped off too.
Got a scholarship to this fancy
boys' boarding school.
My father thinks it's time
I was with all boys.
And my mother thinks
I'm a diamond in the rough.
I'll write as soon as I'm smoother.
Dear diamond, don't let that school
smooth you out too much.
I like the rough part.
Don't you think boarding school's
a crock?
-I do. I think it's the pits.
-Except for this art course I'm taking.
-You still like to draw?
And paint and sculpt.
My teacher thinks I have talent.
Has she seen your masterpiece:
Kangaroo Jumping Over
a Glass of Orange Juice?
She took me to her studio
in town...
...where we did life drawings
of her lover in just a jockstrap.
Would you ever pose for me
in a jockstrap?
Who needs a jockstrap?
Are you boasting or complaining?
-Now I know.
-Very funny.
Sorry to hear about your mother,
by the way.
About divorcing Hooper McFail?
I never liked him anyway.
He was a pest and a pill
and tried to paw me all the time.
-That son of a beechnut tree.
-It's okay.
-I'm going to a psychiatrist now.
-I went to one once.
I talked about you.
It's almost New Year's.
How about making it official?
Let's go steady.
Not on your life.
Why not?
Mom said you should meet
as many boys as you can... you don't make a mistake
when you marry.
Okay, everybody,
time to change partners.
Jeez, Andy, you've
hardly noticed me tonight.
No, Gretchen, I have. Really.
You stand out in a crowd.
Subtle as a truck.
Look who's talking.
Blanche DuBois over there.
Stay away from that guy.
He's bad news.
Who are you, my guardian?
I see why your mom put you
in boarding school.
Oh, yes? Well, I'm not going back.
I'm going to California instead.
-My father's sent for me.
Try this on for size.
Don't mind if I do.
Nine, eight, seven, six...
...five, four, three, two... Happy New Year!
Happy New Year, Andy!
Ditto, Gretchen.
-Any port in a storm.
-Yeah, yeah.
-I'm sore at you.
-Oh, come on.
Say hello to Granny and goodbye
to me. I'm on my way to the airport.
I'll say hello to Granny.
Hello, Mrs. Pommeroy.
-We'll miss her, won't we, Andrew?
-Depends on how she behaves.
I want you to know
I hate that Bob Bartram.
I hated him even
when I necked with him.
He's telling everyone in town
he French-kissed you...
-...and touched both your breasts.
-That's a lie.
tell everyone right back that he
should be strung up by his testicles.
How come you kissed him, then,
and not me?
You were kissing Gretchen.
-Only after I saw--
-Andy, stop.
With us, it's different. You know that.
You're more like a friend to me.
Or a brother maybe.
Thanks a bunch.
No, I mean it. Maybe if we
didn't know each other so well...
...or hadn't written so many letters,
we could--
Melissa, darling.
You'll be late for your plane.
Write me in California?
I count on you, Andy.
Sometimes I think I'd go stark raving
mad if I didn't have you to hold on to.
-You exaggerate....
-Not this time....
-I swear.
Write me about California.
How's your second family?
Did you get my letters? I checked
with your mom, and I had the address.
How come you haven't answered me
in over six months?
Back at school now.
Hope everything's okay with you.
Did you get my letters
in California...
...or do you have a wicked stepmother
who confiscates them?
I don't want to talk about California.
I thought I had two families.
Now I know I don't really have any.
You're very lucky, Andy.
You don't know it, but you are.
Back at school, but not for long.
Caught nipping gin in the woods
with Bubbles Harramin.
Had to pack my trunk by tonight
and be out by tomorrow.
Mummy's pulling strings
all over the eastern seaboard...
...for another school.
My art teacher thinks I should go
to Italy and study art.
What do you think?
To answer your question
about Italy...
...I think you're too young to go.
I think you should go to another
school, graduate, go to college...
...then afterward, when you're
more mature, you could go to Italy.
That's my advice, for what it's worth,
which is probably not much.
Here I am at Anna Walker's Academy
for Young Lesbians.
Help! Let me out of here!
Plus a change,
plus c'est le same crap.
Are you coming straight home
in June?
I want to see you.
Or are you still in love
with Gretchen?
For your information, I'm not taking
Gretchen Lascelles out anymore.
My parents don't Iike her.
I guess her big chest
is disturbing to older people.
-I hope to see you in June, then.
-I can't come home in June. Sorry.
I need to earn money,
so I got a job... a counselor at a camp
for underprivileged kids.
I'll have to demonstrate social
responsibility till August 1 7th.
I'll write you, though,
and I hope you'll write me.
I don't want to write letters.
I really don't. I want to see you.
You need more confidence
in your letter-writing ability.
Will you stop writing about writing
and come home... the Campbells' sports party
before you go to the stupid camp?!
I behave better when you're around.
In person.
Dear Andy, just thought you should
know what Melissa Gardner...
...your one and true love,
did at the Campbells' sports party.
She wore a bright-red bikini bathing
suit and drank four gin and tonics...
...and ran around goosing people
and pushing them into the pool.
She put a tennis ball in her
cleavage and dared boys to take it out.
Now I hear she's just sitting around
painting pictures...
...while the rest of us work for a living.
Just thought you should know.
Your former friend,
Gretchen Lascelles.
Don't you want the respect
of other women?
I'm sorry to say this...
...but what I heard made me
slightly disgusted, frankly.
I sent you a letter
from New Hampshire.
Did you receive it?
Are you sore at me?
I'll bet you're sore at me.
I'm sorry.
I apologize. I'm a stuffy bastard
sometimes, aren't I?
Oh, the hell with you, then.
Big, tough Andy
using four-letter words like "hell."
-Screw you!
-Don't you wish you could.
Everyone else seems to be.
Dear Andrew Makepeace Ladd,
the turd:
Don't believe everything you read
in the papers.
I just want you to know
you hurt me very much.
I just want you to know that.
So let's just leave each other alone
for a while, all right?
All right.
My mother wrote
that your grandmother had died.
Please accept
my deepest sympathies.
Thank you for your note
about my grandmother.
I loved her a lot.
Even though she could be
a little boring.
on getting into Briarcliffe.
I hear it's a great college.
Thanks for your letter about Briarcliffe.
It's not great, and you know it.
Thanks for your letter about Briarcliffe.
It's not great, and you know it.
But it's close to New York.
I can take drawing at the Art
Institute three days a week.
And in two years, if I stick it out...
...Mummy's promised
I can go live in Florence.
on your scholarship to Yale.
I see you're still with all boys.
Dear Melissa:
Would you come to the Yale-Harvard
game Saturday, November 1 6th?
I'll be there. Plan to drive up stark
naked and flash everyone in sight.
Hey, handsome!
You look like fun.
Hop in.
Duty calls, guys.
-Since when the car?
-Since Granny died.
She left me tons of dough.
Now kiss me.
Where's Bob Bartram?
-Where's Gretchen Lascelles?
Ancient history.
Where to?
-Got a choice.
-Good. I'm very choosy.
Okay. I made a reservation
at the Taft Hotel, which is very nice.
And loaded with parents
milling in the lobby...
...eyeing those who go up
in the elevator.
That's the problem.
-What's my other choice?
-The Danton...
...but it's a pretty seedy joint.
Make it the Danton.
Melissa has chosen.
What about the game?
What game?
The football game.
Which is what you came for.
Is that what I came for?
Why don't you ditch that guy
and come with me.
Couldn't possibly.
-You going with him?
-All my life.
-Maybe it's time to trade him in.
I haven't taken him out
on the highway yet.
You mean, you and him
haven't even...?
Not yet.
-Then why are you smiling?
-Because tonight's the night.
-I almost forgot.
...this is for you.
Put it on while I go change.
I figure, after all these years,
we should fly first class.
At the Danton?
I believe in strong contrasts.
Here begins a new chapter
in an old story.
Maybe I had too much booze.
Maybe I did.
...there were too many other people
in this room.
Other people?
It seemed my father was here.
And your mother and grandmother,
even your nanny, Miss Hawthorne...
...all standing around the bed...
...shaking their heads
or egging us on.
I think the trouble was letters.
We know each other more by mail
than we do in person.
Those darn letters messed us up.
-You think?
-I really do.
And I plan to do something about it.
So do I.
I checked with the doctor,
and he said these things happen...
...especially when there's
pressure involved.
It didn't happen with Gretchen.
You can ask her if you want.
Forget Gretchen. Forget the doctor.
I've got the solution.
Wait, I can't hear you. Wait.
Guys, guys!
I've got the solution.
Namely this.
This telephone. I've had a private line
put in my room.
-You get one too.
-I can't afford that.
-I'll pay for it, then.
Don't argue. Send me the bill.
We'll get to know each other in life,
not just on paper.
I've gotta keep writing.
A telephone call is dead as soon as
it's over, but a letter can last forever.
It's a special present of myself...
...and you can keep me and read me
any time you want until you die.
Who is this?
You're that wild man from Amherst.
Sure. Count me in.
You telephone, and I'll write letters.
...come back to Yale next weekend,
and I promise...
...I'll put down my pen...
...and I'll give you a better time.
Dear Andy, guess what.
While I was reading your letter,
Darwin called from Amherst...
...and asked me up there.
-Drive one out here!
-So I said yes...
...before I got to the part
where you asked me.
-Nice try, Andy!
-Way to go.
-Lose your best friend?
-How'd you guess?
Sorry, sweetheart.
Looks Iike the telephone wins
in the end.
Hey! Look where I am.
I mean, Firenze.
-I love it!
-What are you doing in Florence?
What am I doing? Painting.
-Among other things.
-Good luck on the painting.
Go slow on the other things.
Merry Christmas.
Happy birthday.
Mother wrote you won an art prize
in Perugia, said it was a big deal.
Heard you graduated summa
cum laude, with all sorts of prizes.
Sounds disgusting.
Merry Christmas
from the Land of Oz.
Feliz Navidad
from the Costa del Sol.
And Harvard Law School?
How come?
Getting all stuffy and self-important?
As you know,
I have always liked writing letters.
Now I'll be writing laws,
which are, after all...
...the letters that civilization
writes to itself.
Yes, you are getting all stuffy
and self-important.
Decided to put off law school...
...until I've fulfilled
my military responsibilities.
Dear Second Lieutenant Andy Ladd:
It's a stupid war!
And you are stupid... give up your student deferment,
and I am stupid to care.
Dear Melissa:
Here I am again, writing letters...
...this time for the Army in Saigon.
They go like this.
Dear Mr., Mrs., Miss--
Insert name of recipient.
I'm writing on behalf of--
Insert names of responsible officers.
Who extend their sympathies
to you...
...for the loss of your
son, husband, father, brother.
You should know that--
Insert first name or nickname of...
...deceased, if possible.
Was a good friend to us all
and to the cause of democracy.
I'm beginning to hate
writing letters.
I'm glad you've finally discovered
the limitations of letters.
Now take care of yourself...
...and concentrate on your life.
Dear Melissa:
Sorry I haven't written lately.
I've been...
...extremely busy.
Busy, my eye.
Rumor has it you've hooked up with
some Vietnamese bargirl out there.
Say it isn't so.
Dear Andy,
are you getting my letters?
Mother wrote you're living with some
exotic Cambodian concubine.
Your family's all upset.
Is that true?
Did you get my letter?
You're so far away, and your
Army address is so peculiar...
...I'm not sure I'm reaching you.
I hear you're seriously involved
with a lovely Asian lady.
Would you tell me about her?
Merry Christmas
and happy New Year.
You might appreciate this card.
It's a print by the 19th century
Japanese artist Hiroshige.
It's called Two Lovers Meeting
on a Bridge in the Rain.
Hey, you sly dog.
Are you getting subtle
in your old age?
Are you trying to tell me something?
If so, tell me more.
I told my psychiatrist
I felt terribly jealous.
He said American men
have to get involved...
...with a dark-skinned woman
before they connect...
...with the gorgeous blond
goddesses they really love.
Did you get my last letter?
I hope it didn't sound too flip.
I've actually just become involved
with someone myself.
You remember that guy
from Amherst, Darwin?
He now works on Wall Street, where
he believes in survival of the fittest.
P.S. I'd love to hear from you.
Your mother told my mother you've
decided to marry Madame Butterfly...
...and bring her home.
Oh, no.
Gasp, sob, sigh.
Say it isn't so.
I've decided to marry Darwin.
He doesn't know it yet, but he will.
Won't you at least wish me luck?
Second Lieutenant
Andrew M. Ladd III regrets...
...that he is unable
to accept the kind invitation.
Dear Andy, thank you
for the lovely bowl.
I'll put flowers in it
when you come to visit...
...if you come to visit,
and if you bring flowers.
Maybe you'll bring your Asian friend...
...and we can all sit around
and discuss Nixon.
I know you'll like Darwin.
When he laughs, it's like
Pinocchio turning into a donkey.
We're living in New Canaan,
in a carriage house...
...close to the train station,
and I've got a studio all my own.
Won't you please write to me
about your big romance?
Mother said your parents
won't even talk about it anymore.
Dear Melissa:
I'm writing to tell you this.
Outside of you, and I mean...
...outside of you...
...this was the most important thing
that ever happened to me...
...and I mean "was"
because it's over.
It's gone, and I'm coming home...
...and that's all I ever want
to say about it ever again.
Can I get you anything before I go?
-It's fine, Ella.
-I put your dinner in the fridge.
-Just heat it up when you're hungry.
Oh, and the missus called.
She said that she'll eat at the
university and be home later.
Fair enough.
Look what Darwin and I did.
Congratulations on baby.
Come have a drink with us sometime.
We're right near New York...
...and sooner or later,
everyone comes to New York.
I read the review
of your show in Stanford.
It sounds like you're causing
a series of seismic shocks...
...up and down the Merritt Parkway.
I can tell you've been reading
that major New York newspaper.
Enclosed, see what other critics said.
Notice they think I'm good.
I am too.
Or I could be, if I could only focus.
Sorry, sorry, sorry. I know you're
good. I've always known it.
I hear you made law review...
...whatever that means.
I assume you review laws?
I wish you could review
some of the marriage laws.
Are you in trouble?
I don't understand your last note.
We're fine. All fine. Everything's fine.
Congratulations on baby
number two.
"Number two" is the perfect way
to describe this particular baby.
Greetings from Washington.
Clerking for a Supreme Court justice...
...which isn't quite
as fancy as it sounds.
Dear Andy:
I was very sorry to hear
about the death of your father.
I know he was a great
influence on you.
He was a good, decent man...
...and I always knew
where I stood with him...
...when you'd bring me home to your
family, back in the Land of Oz.
Hey. Hi.
-I'm so sorry, Mrs. Ladd.
-Melissa, how sweet of you to come.
-Still full of surprises, I see.
-I wanted to touch base.
-You look great, by the way.
-New hairdo. Darwin hates it.
Darwin's a lucky son of a....
-We're at a funeral.
I know you loved
your father very much.
Yes, he was a classy guy.
-I also know he didn't like me.
-Oh, hey.
Oh, admit it.
He thought I was bad for you.
He thought most good things
were bad for me.
Yeah. At least he thought
you were worth worrying about.
Wish I had a father like that.
He kept reminding me
of my responsibilities... the expense of everything else.
Is that why you came back
from Saigon alone?
I guess, and why I chose the law...
...and why I probably will
go into politics later on.
Good Lord, then I would
be bad for you.
Why don't you come back to the
house. Come on, just family, friends.
I should get back. I want to see
the girls before they go to sleep.
-Let Darwin do that.
-Darwin's away, per usual.
-He's found a little friend.
-Oh, boy.
Can you live with that?
-I can live with a lot of things.
-Yeah, I guess you can.
Not that it's easy.
Everybody wants more.
The gallery wants more paintings.
The girls want more mothering.
Darwin wants more dinner parties
when he's home.
And you?
What do you want?
-I think I'd settle for more booze.
-Oh, Melissa.
I made my bed, didn't I?
I have to learn to sleep in it.
God, I sound like your father.
I'm going to be
a good mother, Andy. I....
My children are gonna
grow up with two parents.
-Even if the parents--
-Oh, don't love each other?
It's all right.
Well, what's marriage anyway?
For most people, after a few years,
it's just an arrangement.
I'm gonna arrange
this one if it kills me.
Greetings from south of the border.
Here for a few weeks,
then home by way of Washington.
Hope you'll take me to lunch.
May I take your coat for you?
-Guess who.
-The Lost Princess of Oz?
What are you staring at?
A pimple on my nose?
No, you look sensational, that's all.
It's my Mexican tan.
You look pretty good yourself.
And successful. Clerking for the
Supreme Court. My, my.
-Next year, you'll be chief justice.
-No, just associate.
He wants us to sit down and shut up.
Thank you.
-So how's everything?
-No chitchat, please.
I want you to consider this
a business lunch.
I have business to transact with you.
You see, while I was in Mexico...
...I didn't spend my entire time
climbing pyramids...
...and chugging Kaopectate.
-You didn't?
-No, I didn't.
I spent some time
in a lawyer's office...
...divorcing that clod
I used to be married to.
-Oh, boy.
So the reason
I stopped by Washington... I thought you might be
looking for a roommate.
A roommate?
Three roommates,
when I get my children.
Four, really, counting the nanny.
I know we'll need a larger place.
Is Georgetown nice?
Do you like those red brick houses?
I'm paying, of course.
That goes without saying.
-Speak now, forever hold your peace.
-I already have a roommate.
-The more the merrier.
We'll fix him up with the nanny.
What's his name?
Her name is Jane.
Would monsieur or madame
be interested in a cocktail?
-No, thank you, we wouldn't. Right?
I'd like a double vodka
on the rocks with a twist, please.
And hurry.
-You see, the thing is--
-Just, just...
...let me get my drink first, Andy,
and then I want to hear all about....
-What's her name again?
And then I want to hear
all about Jane.
Melissa Gardner Cobb regrets...
...that she will be unable
to accept the kind invitation of....
Dear Melissa, thank you
for the wedding present.
A hand-painted tray.
Hand-painted by you, I'll bet.
I hope all goes well with you,
as it does with us.
We'll be moving
to New York in the fall.
I've got a job at one of those
high-powered law firms.
Might be a good jumping-off place
for something political.
We both want you to come
to dinner once we've settled in.
And don't say you never
come to New York.
"Sooner or later,
everyone comes to New York"... someone once wrote me
long, long ago.
Merry Christmas from us to you.
Where are you these days?
Happy birthday. Even a married
man never forgets.
Get well soon. Mother wrote
that you had had some difficulties.
I hope it's nothing serious
and by now you're feeling fine.
You have a visitor, dear.
Oh, no.
I can't remember exactly what one
dozen roses are supposed to say...
...but here they are, and I hope
they say "cheer up."
-I'll put them in her room.
-Thank you.
I brought you some flowers.
Did you see them?
Do you like them? Do you like me?
Thank you, Andy.
Thank you for coming
all the way up here.
-How are you doing?
-I'm fine.
Actually, I'm not. It's costing me $550
a day to learn to stop saying that I am.
-How can I help?
-You can't.
I became slightly too dependent
on the old Kickapoo Joy Juice.
A habit which they tell me
I picked up back in the Land of Oz.
Oh, Melissa.
I've got no one to blame but myself.
A fact which makes me slide
into these terrible lows.
Mom says I drag everybody down.
I guess she's right.
You don't drag me down.
You're sweet.
tell that to Darwin.
He took over custody of the girls.
-Oh, God.
-Here I am, popping tranquilizers...
...talking my head off
in single and group sessions...
...becoming one of the biggest
bores in the Boston area.
Have you thought
about painting again?
-I've thought about it.
-You were good, and you know it.
-You should keep it up.
-Maybe I will. I'll channel my rage.
Enlarge my vision. All that.
-How about you?
-You know, life goes on.
Does it? I'd forgotten.
I'm doing a lot of corporation law.
-Do you like it?
-Not enough.
I'm seriously thinking
of getting into politics.
Oh, my.
At a local level.
State legislature maybe.
You'll win. You always do.
-And how about...?
It's sloshing around in the cellar
of my leaky old memory bank.
Got it.
How about Jane?
Oh, she's fine.
Fine? That's a dirty word
around here.
She's pregnant, actually.
-Does she barf before breakfast?
-She does.
tell her welcome to the club.
It's time for your medication, Melissa.
You'd better go, Andy.
These things, they make me
soggy and hard to light.
-Well, that's okay.
-I'd bore the pants off you.
-Just go, Andy.
You were wonderful
to come, but please....
Please, just don't
come back here again.
I don't like being seen like this,
least of all by you, so....
Merry Christmas from Andy
and Jane Ladd and Andrew IV.
Greetings from Egypt. I'm trying to
start again in the cradle of civilization.
Seasons greetings
from the Ladd family.
Mother wrote you were planning
to marry again?
I was. I did. I'm not now.
Donner, Rhodes and McCalister...
...announce the partnership
of Mr. Andrew M. Ladd III.
Merry Christmas from San Antonio.
I can see the most incredible shapes
from my bedroom window.
And there's a pretty incredible
shape now sleeping in my bed.
I'm planning to run for Congress.
What do you think?
Go for it. I'm thinking
of moving to Los Angeles.
Do you know anyone in Los Angeles?
Does anyone know anyone there?
Joy to the world from all the Ladds:
Andy, Jane, Drew, Nicholas and Ted.
Remind me to send a check
to Planned Parenthood.
Andy and Jane Ladd and family
have moved to....
Merry Christmas.
Hey, you, what's going on?
Just when I move to New York,
you've scampered off to the suburbs.
-I find the suburbs generally safer.
-You're right.
-Congratulations on your election...
...Congressman Ladd.
Too bad you're a Republican.
I love all politicians...
...but I find Democrats
are better in bed.
I'm a liberal Republican with
a strong position on women's rights.
Doesn't that count?
I suppose it depends
on your position.
Paintings and drawings
by Melissa Gardner.
The Hastings Gallery,
88 Prince Street.
Opening reception,
March 20th, 6 to 8 p.m.
Note I've gone back
to my maiden name. That's a laugh.
I'd love to have one of your paintings.
We could use a little excitement
on our living-room walls.
-What would one cost?
-Come to the show and find out.
I never made your show.
Sorry, things came up.
Chicken again.
You're right again.
Actually, it's just as well.
I'm going through
what the critics call an...
...anarchistic phase.
They say I'm dancing
on the edge of an abyss.
You better stay away. I might
take you with me when I fall.
You better stay away. I might
take you with me when I fall.
Dear friends,
Jane tells me it's my turn... write the annual
Christmas letter, so here goes.
Let's start at the top
with our quarterback, Jane herself.
Not only has she been
a superb mother to our three sons...
...but she now studies environmental
law at the university...
...three evenings a week.
More power to Jane, so say we all.
We're also proud of all three boys.
Drew is captain of his Little League
team and excels at soccer as well.
Nicholas is the top reader
in his class, while young Teddy...
...already plays clarinet in the school
band at Dickinson Country Day.
I've enjoyed very much
serving in Congress.
All my life, it's been my wish to do
something in public service.
And it's been with great pleasure
I put that wish into practice.
Jane and the boys join me
in wishing each and all of you...
...a happy holiday season.
-Are you finished?
Dear Andy:
If I ever get another one of those
drippy, xeroxed Christmas letters...
...I think I'll invite myself out
to your ducky little house for dinner.
And while you're sitting there,
eating terribly healthy food...
...and discussing important things...
...and congratulating yourselves
on your accomplishments...
...I think I'll stand up on my chair...
...turn around and moon
your whole freaking family.
You're right. I apologize
for my annual Christmas letter.
Jane normally writes them, and
they sound better coming from her.
From here on in, I'll have to
stick to writing letters just to you.
As far as my family's concerned,
we try to keep our heads above water.
Jane and I took a trip
to deal with our problems...
...and the boys, for the moment,
are out of trouble.
I'm thinking of running for the
Senate this fall if O'Hara retires.
Senate, yet.
I don't know, Andy.
Haven't you heard?
It's no longer all boys.
By the way, start writing
care of my office.
Jane gets a little upset
when she sees your letters.
-Did you lose a molar last night?
-No. Why?
The tooth fairy just dropped that on
my desk. Note the number of zeros.
Good God, this is almost illegal.
It's a cashier's check,
so it won't bounce.
-There's no note or anything?
-Just this.
Hold up, Melissa, please.
-What's--? What's the story?
-I'm avoiding you.
-Is this guy bothering you?
-Don't I wish.
Well, why didn't you
at least say hello?
I knew if we met,
we'd end up having coffee... some New York-y joint,
and I'd have to fill you in on my life.
I go to an exercise class,
where I concentrate on my thighs...
...and I'm dating a younger man,
named Jean-Pierre...
...who concentrates on them too.
And I'm drinking again.
No, wait.
White wine only. Only after 6.
I give scads of money
to anyone who asks... they butter me up
at benefits.
And what's wrong with that?
-Except I hate it.
-You look too good to be hating it.
Cut the bull, Andy.
It's a dumb life, I wish you'd say so.
-You doing any painting?
-Well, why not take it up again?
-I've decided I'm deeply superficial.
I think you're sensational.
I always have.
I needed that.
Maybe I will go back to it.
Now, back to the hairdresser.
Oh, thanks for the
campaign contribution.
-You gave much too much, by the way.
-Oh, hell.
You're a symbol of righteousness
and rectitude in our godforsaken land.
Maybe it's just me that's godforsaken.
Congratulations on your election,
Senator Ladd...
...and greetings from Hickory Hill.
A slight regression in the liquor
department. It's in the genes.
God knows, my mother
has the problem...
...and my father too, in the end.
Anyway, I'm working on it.
Darwin's being a real heel
about the girls.
He's cut down on my visitation rights,
so when you get to Washington...
...I want you to write a special law
about vindictive ex-husbands...
...banishing them to lower Slobovia
forever and ever. Amen.
Seasons greetings from Senator
and Mrs. Andrew M. Ladd and family.
Seasons greetings indeed.
Is that all you can say to me
after all these years?
I swear, Andy, keep that stuff up,
and I'll moon the whole Senate.
Sorry, my staff sent that out.
Merry Christmas, old friend. How
are you? Where are you these days?
Living in New York.
Alone, for a change.
But the big question is,
who am I these days?
That's the toughie.
I keep thinking about that
strange old world we grew up in.
How did it manage
to produce both you and me?
A stalwart, upright
servant of the people...
...and a boozed-out,
cynical, lascivious old broad.
The best and the worst, that's us.
Don't be so tough on yourself.
Get back to your art.
I'll try.
Merry Christmas,
happy New Year and much love.
"Much love."
"Much love."
God, Andy, how sexy.
Do you remember how much
that meant in our preppy days?
If it was just "love,"
you were out in the cold.
If it was "all my love,"
you were hemmed in for life.
But "much love" meant
it could go either way.
Merry Christmas
and love from us all.
Saw you on 60 Minutes talking about
economic policy in Latin America.
You looked fabulous, but don't forget
to keep your eye on the ball.
-What ball?
-The ball... that money
doesn't solve everything.
It helps, but not as much
as people think.
Take it from one who knows.
That's the ball.
Merry Christmas with love.
What are you up to these days?
I'm trying to work with clay.
I'm making dogs, cats,
anything that moves.
I'm trying to get back to some of those
old, old feelings of the homeland.
I've got to find feelings,
any feelings, otherwise I'm dead.
Come down and help
me search. We could....
Well, we could at least have
dinner and discuss old times...
...couldn't we, Senator Ladd?
P.S. Did you know my mother
got married again... the age of 82... my father's brother, yet?
So you have to call her Mrs. Gardner
again, just like in the old days.
It seems the wheel
is coming around full circle.
Hint, hint.
On the way to the airport.
When you write, put "Mrs. Walpole"
on the envelope.
She'll pass your letters
directly to me.
Otherwise the whole office staff
seems to get a peek. I gotta go.
I'm having a show
January 28th to February 25th.
Would you come? I'd love to have you
see what I've been up to.
Maybe it'll ring a few old bells.
What I did with that one was
I took a rock...
...just a regular, garden-variety rock.
I took it back to the studio....
Notice that little man
who's just leaving?
-Yes. Why?
-He's the critic for The Times.
Oh, God, then he hated me.
You can't tell, Melissa.
After all, he came, didn't he?
And he stayed 10 minutes.
And he ate up all the cheese. Relax.
Have a drink. Oh, I'm sorry.
Have a soda, then.
-Oh, another fan.
-Who? What? Where?
Oh, my God. What is this?!
An official visit from the National
Endowment for the Arts.
You're under arrest.
Have some wine.
Have some cheese.
Have some art.
I've got five minutes, literally.
There's a contingent
eager to drop me at the airport... they can pig out at 2 1 .
But, hey.... Wow.
Wanna buy something?
Everything's going fast.
I wish.
We could use excitement
on our living-room walls.
Jane might not agree.
I'll just have to smuggle it
into my study, then.
What do you recommend?
Well, there is something over here
that might ring an old bell.
What is it?
I call it Kangaroo Jumping Over
a Glass of Orange Juice.
I made it out of that stuff we used
in Mrs. Mickler's art class.
-You remember.
And the stamps
are a secret tribute to you.
So how are you, by the way?
Oh, I thought that was a dirty word.
-Well, you look fine. I can say that.
-Do you like my hair?
-It's fine.
-Oh, well, go if you're gonna go.
Send me the kangaroo and the bill.
For you, it's a freebie.
I wish I could stay.
Why don't you?
Duty calls.
My mother always told me when
duty calls, hang up immediately.
Well, maybe I will someday.
I won't hold my breath.
Still too much starch.
I'll write.
That's what I'm afraid of.
Wasn't that Senator Andrew
Makepeace Ladd III?
I didn't know you knew him.
-We're lovers.
Since second grade.
I thought he was a family man.
-We're lovers through letters.
Some like whips. Some like chains.
This one likes letters.
Your mother was right, I hung up.
Let's go someplace.
I liked your grandmother.
I loved her a lot. And thank God
for the dough she left me.
Without that, we'd be meeting
on a little walkup on skid row.
Yeah, my mother once said
if I married you, I'd be set for life.
Granny said the same about you.
She clocked you for a winner
a long time ago, Senator Ladd.
-Where'd you get this?
-Granny took it.
It was our first play date, remember?
My mother was in Reno... Granny asked you over.
Even then, she thought
you'd be good for me.
I remember, the butler brought us...
...ginger ale and cookies
on a silver tray.
-We played kickball in the ballroom.
-We rode the elevator up and down.
And then we got stuck between floors,
and then you kissed me.
Maybe we're still stuck in that elevator.
Except...'re going up,
and I'm going down.
Knock it off.
Hey, what's going on?
I'm not sure.
...whatever it is, it should
probably go on in the bedroom.
Did you ever dream
we'd be so good in bed?
Two old Wasps going at it
like a sale at Brooks Brothers.
I figure a lifetime
went into that little tussle.
Let's go for an afterlife.
I love red roses.
I'm beginning to know
what they mean.
All I know is that after last night,
I have to see you again.
-When do you come back?
-Soon, I swear.
Not soon enough.
...are any other fundraisers
coming up in the near future?
Mrs. Walpole, are you
delivering the mail?
Darling, I'll have to ask you
not to telephone the office.
Every call has to be logged in...
...and most of them are screened
by overeager college interns...
...who like to run back
to Cambridge and New Haven...
...and announce
to their classmates...
...that Senator Ladd
is shacking up on the side.
The phones simply are not secure.
At long last, the letter
beats out the telephone.
-Oh, no.
-And guess what.
I'm writing this with my old Parker 51 ... father gave me
when I went away to school.
I found it in the back of my drawer
next to the Zippo you gave me.
I know you never liked writing letters,
but now you have to.
Dear Andy....
As for business, I'll be
in New York next Wednesday...
...and let's take it from there.
Sweetheart, I loved seeing you.
When's my next appointment?
I'll be stopping through
a week from Friday.
I have to go to San Francisco
to visit the girls.
Couldn't we meet on the way?
I don't see how we could
possibly go public.
Some country inn,
some deliciously seedy motel.
-I don't see--
-More than a few hours--
-Price we pay--
-Think about nothing--
I'm not sure I can change
my life so radically.
Other politicians have gotten
divorced: Rockefeller, Reagan.
Jane, the children, my constituency.
You've become
the center of my life.
If you left...
-...I don't think I--
-Because of the election...
...I don't see how we can.
How'd you get away
from those reporters?
Down the back stairs,
out the back door.
I'm going home to meet Mother.
Do you want to meet me there?
Not a good idea.
I want to see you
for more than a few hours.
Well, that's a tough one
at the moment.
How about some
weekend somewhere?
Some deliciously seedy motel?
Hey, how about the Danton,
for old times' sake?
We'll work out something.
Those lucky ducks.
Well, let's move...
...before someone recognizes me.
A reporter stopped me on the street.
What should I say if it happens again?
I suppose you know all this.
There was a crack about us
in one of the weeklies...
...and Mother heard some radio
talk show where they name names.
What should I do, go away? What?
They talked to Darwin, you know.
They tracked him down.
The son of a bitch said it'd
been going on for years.
Yeah, I wish it had been.
I hate lying.
Isn't there something
I can say to people?
Just say that we're good old friends.
Friends, I like. Good, I like.
Old, I'm beginning
to have problems with.
Just change the subject.
This too shall pass.
-Will I be seeing you soon?
-Better not for a while.
-I mean after the election.
-Better lie low for a while.
-I'll miss you terribly.
-Better lie low.
Last week, I sat by the phone
for three hours, hoping you'd call.
-Finally, I called you.
-We agreed not to use the telephone.
-I hadn't seen you in 10 days--
-The coming election, darling.
-Surely you can--
-If I wanna be re-elected--
You're Senator Ladd. I met you
at the benefit for Bosnia last March.
Oh, yes?
And you're the missus, right?
Don't I wish.
-Am I interrupting--?
-Yes, you are.
Well, excuse me.
Well, that didn't help.
-I'm sick of playing Bonnie and Clyde.
I've got a campaign meeting.
We'd better go back separately.
I need you, Andy.
-I need to be with you.
-Just hold on.
Hold on.
You're my anchor these days.
-I don't know....
-The election, Melissa.
The election.
I haven't heard from you
in six weeks, Andy.
Are you trying to tell me
something, Andy?
Is this it?
Congratulations on a landslide
I hear there's a White House
in your future.
Can we meet at your place
this Sunday?
Oh, thank God.
I meant that we have to talk, Melissa.
Talk? I'm scared of talk.
...I'm into letters.
-Who's that?
-It's just me.
My master's voice.
What's all this?
I was thinking it's time to move on.
You know, Andy, I don't have to.
I haven't sold the joint yet.
I could unpack in a minute if I--
If you--
If you and I....
That's what I wanna talk about.
Shoot. No blindfold.
I can take it.
This is the....
The toughest decision
I've ever had to make.
Oh, and you've made
some tough ones, Senator Ladd.
I honestly feel...
...that we've gotta go one way
or the other, and the other....
So you mean we're stuck
in the elevator again.
We are, sweetheart.
We are, and we've got
to get back to the ground floor.
-Which is?
-For me, it's my basic responsibilities.
-And for me?
-Your career, art, a life of your own.
-Get real, Andy, for once in your life.
-And "real" is what?
So long, Jane, I'm running
to Oz with the Lost Princess?
So once again, the princess
gets to run off on her own.
I have responsibilities, sweetheart,
to Jane, to my boys... my constituency, for God's sake,
who stuck by me... spite of all that crap in the papers.
Country, family, yourself,
in that order.
Your father would be proud.
I'm sorry. I know I sound
like a stuffy prig...
...but these things are who I am.
-Who you've become.
But I can't just walk away
from my whole life.
I can.
I have. Several times. Try it.
It's fun.
Oh, Melissa.
We'd last about a week, you and I.
We're carrying too much
baggage on our backs.
I suppose-- I suppose you're right.
All of a sudden,
this feels very...
We can-- We can still
write letters, darling.
Melissa, we can always have that.
Letters-- Letters are our strength.
Senator and Mrs. Andrew
M. Ladd III and family...
...send you warm holiday greetings
and every good wish for the new year.
Andy Ladd... that a picture of you?
Blow-dried and custom-tailored...
...and jogging-trim...
...hiding behind that lovely wife...
...with her heels together
and her hands discretely folded...
...over her crotch.
Is that your new dog, Andy?
And are those your sons and heirs?
And help?
Is that a grandchild
nestled in someone's arms?
God, Andy... look like the Holy Family.
Season's greetings
and happy holidays...
...and even merry Christmas.
We who are about to die salute you.
I just reread your last note.
What's this "we who are
about to die" stuff?
May I see you again?
I want to see you again.
Dear Melissa, your mother wrote...
...that you'd returned
to the Land of Oz.
I'm flying up Thursday to see you.
Don't, please.
Please stay away.
I've let myself go.
I'm fat. I'm ugly.
My hair is horrible.
I'm locked in the funny farm all week.
Then Mother gets me
on weekends if-- If, if I've been good.
They've put me on these new drugs.
Half the time, I don't make sense at all.
I can hardly do finger painting.
My girls won't even talk to me
on the phone now.
They say I upset them too much.
I've made a mess of things, Andy.
I've made a total, ghastly mess.
I don't like life anymore. I hate it.
Sometimes I think...
...if you and I had just....
If we had just....
Oh, but just...
...stay away, Andy, please.
Arriving Saturday.
Will meet you at your mother's.
I don't want to see you.
I won't be there.
I'll be gone, Andy, I swear.
I'll be gone.
Dear Mrs. Gardner:
The first letter
I ever wrote was to you...
...accepting an invitation
for Melissa's birthday party.
Now I'm writing you again,
about her death.
I want to say a few things on paper
I didn't say at her funeral...
...both when I spoke and when
you and I talked afterwards.
As you may know...
...Melissa and I managed to...
...stay in touch with each other
over the years...
...through letters. Even as I write this
to you, I feel I'm writing it also to her.
Oh, you're in your element now.
We had a complicated
relationship, she and I.
All our lives...
...we went in very
different directions...
...but somehow,
over all those years...
...I think we managed to give
something to each other.
-Damn right.
-Melissa expressed all those...
...dangerous and rebellious feelings...
...I never dared admit to.
Now you tell me.
And I like to think I gave her
some sense of balance.
Oh, hell, I give up.
Have it your own way, Andy.
Most of the things I did in life,
I did with her partly in mind.
And now she's gone.
I really don't know how
I'll get along without her.
-You'll survive.
-I have a wonderful wife...
...fine children and a place
in the world I feel proud of...
...but the death of Melissa suddenly
leaves a huge gap in my life.
Oh, now, Andy.
The thought of never again being
able to write to her, to connect to her... get some signal back from her...
...fills me with an emptiness...
...which is hard to describe.
Oh, stop, Andy.
I don't think there are many men
in this world who've had the benefit...
...of such a friendship
with such a woman.
But it was more than friendship too.
I know now that I loved her.
I loved her even from
the day I first saw her...
...when she walked
into the second grade...
...looking like
the Lost Princess of Oz.
Oh, please, Andy.
I don't think I've ever loved
anyone the way I loved her...
...and I know I never will again.
She was at the heart of my life...
...and already I miss her desperately.
I just wanted to say this
to you, Mrs. Gardner...
...and to her.
Thank you, Andy.