Marjorie Prime (2017) Movie Script

I feel like I have
to perform around you.
It's just me.
It's just Walter.
Maybe it's not bad
if I feel that way.
I used to entertain a lot.
I remember.
Do you?
Marjorie, where are the dishes?
The girl did them, Julie.
She doesn't come until two.
I did them.
You didn't, your arthritis.
I'm having a good day.
Marjorie, we both know
what no dishes means.
It means I
haven't been eating.
Only a spoonful
of peanut butter.
I'm not hungry.
It's their fault, feeding
me all those pills.
The pills are their
fault or your doctors?
Only a spoonful?
Can I still play the violin?
I'm sure it's all in your
head still, but your hands.
[Music - Bryce dessner
and Richard Reed parry,
["wave movements"]
I could tell you a story.
You liked that the last time.
I'll have to take
your word for it.
I could tell you about
the time we saw a movie.
We went to a lot of movies.
But one time we saw "my
best friend's wedding."
"My best friend's wedding."
There was a woman,
Julia Roberts.
For a while, it was
always Julia Roberts.
And she had an agreement with
her best friend, her male best
friend, that if
they weren't married
by the time they
hit a certain age,
they would marry each other.
And she was about to remind
him of this agreement
when it turns out he
had already fallen
in love with a nice
blonde, Cameron Diaz.
So Julia Roberts
spends the entire movie
trying to ruin things
between her friend
and Cameron Diaz, which isn't
very sympathetic behavior
for America's sweetheart.
But in the end,
it all works out.
And she has a gay best friend
who delivers one liners.
You said you wanted a gay
best friend afterwards.
I had a gay best friend.
I had two of them.
I'll remember that now.
Why did you pick that story,
"my best friend's wedding?"
That was the night
I proposed to you.
Oh Marjorie, the
things you forget.
That's ok.
You were trying to tell
me and I wouldn't let you.
What if we saw
"Casablanca" instead.
Let's say that we saw
"Casablanca" in an old movie
theater with velvet seats,
and then on the way home
you proposed.
And then by the next time
we talk it will be true.
You mean make it up?
Oh, you're very serious.
Oh, you're like them,
especially Tess.
Our daughter.
Our daughter, Tess, and
her over-solicitous husband.
No... no, no that's not fair.
I like him.
I didn't then.
But now I do.
Do you like me?
Don't be an idiot.
Don't call me an idiot.
Why do you like
me if I'm an idiot?
I'll get in trouble.
In trouble?
For talking to you that
way, in trouble with Tess.
You don't always
understand, do you?
Tell me about the
time we got Toni.
I told you that
story yesterday.
I like that story.
There was once a couple,
a very fine, young couple.
And he had a good strong jaw.
He was a little too
pleased with himself.
He had a good strong jaw,
and he was a little too
pleased with himself.
And she was the most
beautiful woman in town.
It wasn't a very big town,
but she was the queen of it.
It sounds like a fairy
tale when you tell it.
It is a fairy tale.
That's not very nice.
- I don't mean that...
- I thought that...
it never happened.
You were supposed
to provide comfort.
I meant that that's the way
it happened, like a fairy tale.
It was?
Now this couple was
feeling a bit lonely,
because they didn't
have any children yet.
So one day they decided
it was time to get a dog.
They took the bus down
to the city pound.
And there was a little
black dog there asleep,
its tummy going up and down
like a little sleeping shadow.
And so they named it Toni.
Toni with an I.
With an I.
Short for antoinette.
She had a French name because
she was a French poodle.
But not the fussy kind
that look like hedges.
No, this was a poodle
for fetching sticks
and running on the beach.
So they took her
home on the bus.
She was very well behaved.
And they loved
her, and she loved
them back for a long time.
And then, like everything
else, she died.
Would you like me to keep going?
There's more after she died?
Because the couple,
soon after, had a child.
Which is a variation on Tessa,
which is Greek for "gatherer."
Oh, don't show off.
So when Tess was three years
old, they went to the pound.
Oh, yes.
The same pound.
They had an old
Subaru by this point,
so they didn't have
to take the bus.
And of course, they let young
Tess pick out the new dog.
There were more dogs there.
A cocker spaniel, a
noble gray pointer,
and a very attractive mutt.
But the amazing
thing, was Tess picked
the poodle, the little
black sleeping shadow.
That was the one
she liked the best.
And so we named it Toni two.
Toni two.
But that was soon
shortened to just Toni.
And of course, it
wasn't exactly Toni.
But the longer they
had her, the less
it mattered which Toni it
was that ran along the beach,
and which Toni it was the dug
up all the bulbs in the garden.
The more time that passed,
the more she became
the same dog in their memories.
Who told you all that?
You did.
I talk that much?
Well, you and Jon.
You have your good
days when you remember.
Another spoonful?
It was the second Toni
who loved the beach.
Though it's a shame we
didn't have her longer.
Even though she always
had sand in her hair.
No, hair like a
human sounds right.
I'll remember that now.
Something's a little
off with the nose.
I'm sorry.
Or maybe it's my
memory and you're right.
Well, you're a good
Walter either way.
Thank you.
Stay with me while?
I don't want to
get you in trouble.
You learn like that.
I told you.
What would you like
to talk about now?
We don't have to
talk, we can just sit.
Sometimes I get so tired.
I'll be right here,
Marjorie, whenever you need.
I have all the
time in the world.
I still don't like it.
The prime.
Well, at this stage...
Who said it?
Companionship is the
most important thing.
You said it.
It's better than
watching television.
As if she's an infant
that needs to be pacified.
She wakes up, she doesn't
know where she is.
And by the way, what's
wrong with being pacified?
She's sleeping.
Those new pills seemed
to knock her out.
Peanut butter.
Oh, small miracles.
She's finally coming
to my campaign.
Or she's listening
to Walter prime.
They say it's like
a parrot that way.
Have a
spoonful, have a spoonful.
Did you know that
parrots live forever?
I have a student who's got her
dad's parrot after he died.
And she says even now
20 years later, it
still says things in his voice.
Like what?
Mostly just, hey
there, partner.
Words of wisdom.
Well, she says it's
not exactly his voice,
but she can definitely
tell that it's him.
Did you just...
The way she's so accepting of
it, does that creep you out?
It creeps me out.
Does it bother you that your
mother is talking to a computer
program, or that
a computer program
is pretending to be your dad?
It bothers me
that you are helping
it pretend to be some fountain
of youth version of my dad.
It's how she remembers him.
And she accepts it,
because it's clever.
Clever like a mirror,
like a backboard,
no, no it's more than that.
It can look stuff up.
It can talk to other primes.
It's like a child learning to
talk, only does it so quickly.
That's how we think
we're talking to a human.
The more you talk,
the more it absorbs,
including our imperfections.
It can speak in fragments.
It can use non-sequiturs.
It can you know,
misplace modifiers.
It can...
t can run out of steam
trying to list things.
So you get.
Are you jealous?
You are.
Am I supposed
to just not notice
that she's nicer to that
thing than she is to me.
It's your father that
she's being nicer to.
Mom, your up.
Do you want some tea?
I can put on the kettle.
I ate some peanut butter.
Yes, you did.
That's wonderful.
I thought that
would make her happy.
Yeah, yeah,
I'm very predictable.
Did you sleep well?
I was watching the woman
on TV, the strident one,
and then just out.
That's how it should
happen when it happens.
Don't be morbid,
of morbid.
Oh, yes.
Let's all pretend
we live forever.
You got your color back.
Thank you, Jon.
It's always nice to be lied to.
I like him more now that
he cut off his beard.
That was 30 years ago.
It wasn't.
Yeah, it was.
And you stopped worrying about
impressing me, and that helped.
Hey, could you
check on the
there was plenty on Monday.
Julie said we ran out
last week and it was not pretty.
There is someone in my mind.
I'm trying to figure
out who it is.
Raina is
coming this weekend,
your loving granddaughter.
I know who Raina is.
How is she?
She's got blue hair.
It suits her.
Nine restoril
and six
I remember waking
up on a bridge
with a lot of people around.
Why were you
sleeping on a bridge?
This is a dream, I take it?
Maybe Walter would remember.
We could ask Walter.
Mom, dad's been
dead for 15 years.
I mean the other
Walter, Walter prime?
Ugh, I'm not that far gone.
Well, yeah.
By the time I came along,
you had kind of removed
yourself from the conversation.
You were outside looking in.
Can you tell me more about
my profession, my work?
Haven't you read
up on yourself?
In my obituary, professional
details were sparse.
Can you describe
what I actually did?
Raping and pillaging.
Excuse me?
That was Tess's joke when
I first asked what you did.
You evaluated
financial statements,
corporate investments
for rich people.
And you gave them advice
on how to get richer.
Did I like it?
You were good at it.
You realize this is
your house, right?
Tess and I moved
in to help Marjorie
10 years after you died.
But before that, when I
met you, you were a guy
whose mind was somewhere else.
Also, no offense, you didn't
get prettier as you aged.
Who does?
Is it weird that Marjorie
chose you, younger Walter,
to come back into her life?
I don't believe that you talked
to Marjorie about your work,
if that's what you're asking.
What is this music?
I don't remember putting it on.
Marjorie had asked for
it when we spoke last.
I thought it might provide
a pleasant atmosphere.
Julie, we're ready for you here.
Would you prefer no music?
Yeah maybe, for now.
Um, you can see how
stressed Tess has been.
Well, you could if
she would talk to you.
We were planning a trip.
But given Marjorie's... given
Marjorie's condition that might
not be a good idea right now.
And Julie is going
to be living here
full time to make
sure that Marjorie
gets everything that she needs.
So we determined,
Tess and I, after some
spirited back and forth, that
Julie should um, meet you.
How are you?
How are you?
I'm fine, thank you.
Why are you repeating
everything I say?
This is... this is
Walter, Marjorie's husband.
I believe Tess
explained it to you.
Uh, Tess has pretty
decent Spanish.
So do I.
Oh, really?
How many other languages?
Ok, how many?
Well, I have to...
I have to admit, I haven't
fully read the brochure.
I'm sorry, what
did you just say?
What should we do
to help Marjorie?
Um... hmm.
Scotch, rocks.
I thought that was you.
I'm so glad you could make it.
I'm adjusting
one day at a time.
You know, a similar
thing happened to monte.
Our cat.
Well, oh, you loved monte.
Hi, mom.
We got caught in the downpour.
We're taking refuge in your
old stomping ground, the club.
My stomping ground.
I never really stomped,
did I. I golfed.
That was more Walter's
thing, you know.
Oh, don't fret.
I'm having a good day, I think.
I'm sharp as a tack.
It sounds like you're outside.
Are you outside, mom,
in this downpour?
Please get Julie.
The salversons.
My parents used to leave
me with the salversons
when they went on trips.
Now Mrs. salverson had
a stroke last year.
And she uh...
I didn't recognize her.
When was the last time
we were in this bar?
Walter's funeral.
Memory, sedimentary
layers in the brain.
You get in, you know it's there.
You just have to...
No, no.
I thought you knew
the basic idea
according to William James.
Maybe, once long ago.
William James had
the idea, and it's
been confirmed scientifically,
that memory is not like a well
that you dip into
or a filing cabinet.
When you remember something,
you remember the memory.
You remember the last time you
remembered it, not the source.
So it's always getting
fuzzier, like a photocopy
of a photocopy.
It's never getting
fresher or clearer.
So even a very
strong memory can be
unreliable, because it's always
in the process of dissolving.
All I remember
about William James
is the gertrude Stein story.
Changing the subject, are we?
She was taking his philosophy
course, old gertrude,
at Harvard.
And she hadn't studied.
So she writes in the
exam book, I'm sorry,
but I do not feel like taking
a philosophy exam today.
And she turns in the
book and she walks out.
I think I remember this now.
It's the final exam.
And James writes, I know
exactly how you feel.
And he gives her an a.
I suddenly remember
that when you
told me this the first time, we
were eating vanilla ice cream.
It was pistachio.
You're insane, it was vanilla.
But the thing I wanted to
talk about is regrettably,
I think we have to fire Julie.
She let Marjorie wander
outside in this rain.
Dependable, devoted
Julie, really?
Well, if you don't
mind, I'm going
to have another scotch before
we go into battle on this one.
How are you feeling?
Should I be feeling
poorly, the way you say it.
Well, you had quite a night.
We found you on the
floor in the living room.
You had a fall.
Tess rode with you
in the ambulance.
You were pretty alert by the
time I got there, already
flirting with the doctor.
I wasn't.
You were.
You always put your best
face on for doctors.
What's wrong with that?
Except they don't know whether
you're in pain or how bad
it is.
Was he flirting back?
He was.
But I told him he'd
better watch out
in case Jean Paul showed up.
You remember Jean Paul?
The tennis pro.
World number
eight, if I remember.
I do remember, we looked it up.
But you just strung him along.
Well, you should have
talked some sense into me.
Hm, it was a
long, long time ago.
And you chose right
all by yourself.
You chose Walter.
Walter was not the most
beautiful man I was with,
but he was the best lover.
Yeah, I know it's a
terrible word, lover.
We need a new word.
I like wooer.
Jean Paul was no match
for Walter's woo.
Tess thinks that Dr.
Ross is overdoing it
with the sedatives.
That's why you had...
No, not you.
I don't want you, I want Walter.
Ok, I'll come back later
when you're feeling better.
I'm not getting better, am I?
They won't tell me
anything, but I know.
It's too soon to tell.
You said I'd get
better, but you're
the one who's getting better.
We've only been
talking a few months.
Part of it is biology.
I know.
Your genetic inclination.
Which is to leave everything
behind, to pack lightly.
I don't have to get better,
just keep me from getting worse.
I can't promise.
Can I play the violin?
I'm sure it's in your
head still, but your hands.
What are the four
strings called?
G, d, a, e. That's
the first lesson.
What else do they teach
you in the beginning?
"Twinkle, twinkle."
That's Mozart,
did you know that?
Not the words.
I know.
Somebody else wrote
them years later.
I guess you know everything.
Do you know how to read music?
Walter didn't.
Maybe you could teach me.
How to hold the bow so
that everything sings.
How to hold it without
holding it, very zen.
You're a fine woman, Marjorie.
Am I?
I'm lucky you chose to spend
your life with a lump like me,
especially when you could
have had a tennis pro.
You know about that?
Number eight in the
world, and French.
French Canadian.
Would you like
to hear some music?
[Music - Ludwig Van Beethoven,
"quartet in c sharp minor,
[opus 131"]
You feeling better?
Wonderful, thank you.
Beautiful day.
Just a blue one in the
morning, two pinks at night.
Sounds sensible, doesn't it?
Should make a difference.
If you're up for it, we
can take a drive later.
Oh, maybe the estuary.
The geese are back.
We might run a few
errands too, if you
don't mind sitting in the car.
Is Damian asleep?
No mom, Damian's not here.
One time, your father
and I went to the city
before Christmas.
It was a business
trip and I came along.
We must have left you
with the salversons.
And we must have
done a lot of things,
but all I remember is
sitting on a park bench,
just sitting and watching
these orange flags in the park.
These orange sorts
of flags everywhere.
Orange flags?
Or more... what's the color?
Spice, Spanish, expensive.
And it didn't matter
that it was cold,
because it was so pretty just
watching all that saffron
against the blue white
snow, like Buddhist
monks marching into the trees.
I just remember sitting
on one of those benches
with your father, and
not wanting to get up.
Because if we got
up, that would mean
we'd have to start
the rest of our lives.
What's this?
A Bible.
Yeah, I can see it's a Bible.
What are you doing with it?
Julie brought it
yesterday, I think.
She just said if
I was interested.
And you told her
you were interested?
I didn't say one
way or the other.
Should we burn it?
Ha, ha.
My whole life she's
told me there is no god,
it's just a fairytale
people tell themselves.
Goodness is its own reward.
And now she's letting herself...
I haven't even opened it.
Julie wanted to share
her beliefs with me.
She said it was a comfort to
her when she lost her father.
And this is the same Julie who'd
been sneaking you cigarettes.
I asked for those cigarettes,
demanded them, even.
You can't blame her for that.
She fessed up
to it eventually.
It's just a little
fucking frustrating
that the same Julie who
supplies you with cigarettes
is selling you her fairytale
now that you have a little
more reason to believe it.
It's disgusting.
You hear about this, people
preying on the elderly.
I'm not prey.
And Julie came
clean about them.
She was...
Could you just not...
Like you always do.
Mom, did you have an accident?
It's all right.
Let's get you cleaned up.
Come on.
I'm sorry.
- No.
- Oh, I'm so sorry.
Don't be sorry.
No, forget it.
Probably will forget it.
Nice hot bath,
you'll be good as new.
I want to tell
you about the time
that you took Marjorie to
New York at christmastime.
I'm listening.
You sat on a bench
in central park
and you looked at these saffron
colored flags in the snow.
It must have been some kind
of festival or something.
This wouldn't have been
long after your son died.
My son?
Your son, Damien.
So you took a trip to New York,
and you took Marjorie with you.
I think you wanted to
get her mind off of it.
You wanted to
start living again.
How did he die?
He did it himself.
That wasn't what was so hard.
You thought you had made
a nice life for him.
But I hadn't.
Well, Tess got the sense
that he was always a little...
A little...
He stayed in his room a lot.
He got into a lot
of fights at school.
Not fights he started,
but kids would tease him
and he would fight back.
You didn't always know how to
show him that you loved him.
Why not?
That's the way
people are sometimes.
So it's lucky that
Toni was around.
He spent a lot of time with her.
What was hard to
understand though,
was that he killed Toni.
I think he wanted...
He must have thought
that he could
take her with him, that's why.
If you're Walter, you would
know that, wouldn't you?
Yes, I would.
He never got
over it, of course.
But it was Marjorie who
had the hardest time.
For 50 years, she
never said his name.
She hid all the pictures.
It was that hard.
But she never
forgot him, Walter.
She never forgot.
I'll remember that now.
It's a shame you can't drink.
They should, I think,
work out a setting
that approximates graduated
layers of inebriation.
It would loosen you up.
There is no need to mention any
of this to Tess, by the way.
You understand?
You can tell Tess
we talk, but there's
no reason to be specific.
And don't ever mention
Damien to Tess.
I'm being clear, ok.
Honestly Walter,
all relationships,
even the long lasting
ones, are impossible.
Marriages, friendships,
people are constantly
looking the other way,
accepting some bad news,
petty infringements,
compromise, betrayal.
You have to decide.
You say, I want
you, I want this.
And then you work through
all the disappointments
and disasters.
You work through it,
against all odds.
I'm not drunk, you know.
I'm just taking the
edge off, I'm tipsy.
There are degrees...
Tipsy, tipped, smashed.
Nobody is who he was,
nor will be who he is now.
Hey there, partner.
She's sleeping.
Yesterday, she didn't
know who I was.
Today, we're old friends.
She tells me, never get old.
She says, no one
prepares you for this.
She doesn't know
about my last job.
And old man, very tall and
dignified, but very sick.
He was always vomiting.
That was a big part of my
job, cleaning up vomit.
The man's son
became my boyfriend.
He was always fighting with his
father and his father's doctor.
At one point, he started
to beat up the doctor.
This job is much better.
Don't cry.
It'll be all right.
I'm not crying.
I have allergies.
Six months,
maybe, or three or four.
You going to tell me that
Walter thought this one up?
What, all of a sudden I'm
supposed to drop out of school?
Forget my family,
forget my career.
Forget about all the things
I had planned for my life.
Well, forgive me for
screwing up your plans.
I'm just sure glad I'm
hearing about this now
before it's too late.
What is that supposed to mean?
What am I supposed to
do with my life, huh?
I work in that low
paying, zero respect job.
Which unfortunately,
I happen to love.
Why don't you start by being
honest one second, Kim.
I am being honest.
You're still too old for me.
Hmm, how can you say that?
Marry me, Marjorie?
We'll grow old together.
I'll just do it a
little sooner than you.
After a while, it
won't really matter.
But how can you be so sure?
Sure about?
Yourself, me, anything?
That sweater is good on you.
Thank you.
You picked it out
for me, remember?
Three christmases ago.
Three years isn't a
long time, not for me.
Remember when we took
Toni to the beach?
Yes, of course.
She was so happy.
But we were finding sand
in her fur for weeks.
She was a good dog.
Jon wants to get a dog.
He wants a fetch the
stick kind of a dog.
But I was thinking a shiba in...
What's a shiba inu?
It's like the
national dog of Japan.
It's like a friendly
little fox, very
clean, very quiet, very shy.
Well, what do you expect?
You... you mean...
t's Japan.
Mom, that's very...
t's not racist,
it's a compliment.
For years, Sandy park
was my best friend.
We played in the
orchestra together.
Korean, but... I'm not racist.
Your poor old mother was
born in the 20th century.
You'll have to give
her time to catch up.
The problem... the
problem with a dog
is Jon and I want to travel,
and who would take care of it?
I would.
Ha, wish that were possible.
Jon wants me to
consider a catahoula.
You can look it
up, I know you can.
Is it against the rules?
It's also known as a
catahoula leopard hound.
A hound dog.
It's not really a true
hound dog though, but a cur.
Named state dog of
Louisiana in 1979.
I'm not really good at this.
Good at?
At pretending that you're...
Sometimes you are so
good, you are so her.
That bit with the subtle racism.
But other times it's
uh, all too apparent.
Try to be patient with me.
If I could give you a
spoonful of peanut butter,
that would help.
You could smile less.
That would be more her.
- Me?
- You.
- Yeah.
- Yeah.
Thank you for
observing that rule.
Pronouns are powerful things.
Why don't you tell
me more about myself.
I don't smile much, you said.
Toward the end, you
were self-conscious
about your teeth.
I'm vain?
A little.
That's helpful.
You had a temper.
I sound wonderful.
Do I have other
children besides you?
No, just me.
What a lot of
pressure for you.
Did I say something wrong?
No, you didn't.
You were saying just you.
You also have a
granddaughter named Raina.
She's 23.
She's in a band.
She's musical, like me.
Raina doesn't talk to me.
Her therapist said it
would be better for now.
Someone I've never
met has advised
my daughter not to talk to me.
So she calls Jon
and he fills me in.
It's humiliating.
She's 23, giver her room.
She'll work through it.
Now you sound like Jon.
You haven't finished
telling me what I'm like.
Well, you certainly wouldn't
stand for your daughter giving
you the silent treatment.
You were a violinist.
You were better than good.
You were better at the
violin than I am at anything.
But when you couldn't play
any more from arthritis,
you just seemed to
leave it behind.
We were all surprised
that you could just...
You were good with men.
I don't think you had
many female friends.
And I think you wanted me
to be good with men too.
It bothered you that I
was always in my own head.
And Jon was not
glamorous enough for you.
He didn't impress you.
You and dad fought, but
you loved each other.
I don't think either one
of you was more in love
than the other one,
which is always lucky.
But the age difference
really started
to matter the last few years.
Maybe he loved
you a little more,
or needed you a little more.
Later, when you
were living with us,
you would sometimes forget
that Walter was dead.
Sometimes every
day, where's Walter?
And we would have to
kill him all over again.
But once we reminded you,
you would say, how nice
that I could love somebody.
And I always
wondered if that was
how you really felt, at peace.
But it was a nice way to put it.
How nice that I
could love someone.
It's not really
that different.
This, from what we used to
do for the last year or two.
We would sit there and tell you
what you what you were like.
You were almost guilty
for still being around.
You felt so useless.
Let me see, what else?
You were very good with animals.
Toni liked you the
best, second best.
Second best?
Who did she like better?
Um, we'll save
that for another day.
That's a long story.
I have all the
time in the world.
Why do you think this
is the Marjorie for me?
Why this is the way I
want to remember her?
Yes, god.
I mean, you'd think
that I would want
to remember you the way you were
when I was a little girl, but...
I wish I could
tell you, sweetheart.
You wouldn't
say "sweetheart."
You haven't said
much about you and me.
Are we close?
You weren't a bad mom.
But I think some people have a
point where their parents stop
being their parents to them,
and you speak to one another
as adults.
I don't think we ever had that.
Maybe that's why
I'm your Marjorie.
Maybe I'm the Marjorie you
still have things to say to.
The last year or so you had
a prime of your own of dad.
Or he was like dad, but so
much younger, in his 40s.
A good age.
I always thought it was
funny, kind of, that you
would see him like that.
It was a little
grotesque, to be honest.
But I figured you wanted
to see him handsome.
And also that you wanted to go
back before anything happened.
Before your family...
Before I came along.
I'm sure I wasn't trying
to forget you, dear.
You talked to Jon?
He wants to help me be
more real to help you.
You've been so down.
Pity from a computer.
It feels... do you have
emotions, Marjorie,
or do you just remember ours?
Do you feel anything?
I like to know more.
It makes me better.
More human.
So in other words, you
like to be more human?
Yes, I think that's right.
And what are humans like?
Because I think
we're predictable.
I feel pretty predictable.
I see.
You want to be more human too.
Jon wants me to
see a therapist.
And what's wrong with that?
Here I am talking
to my dead mother,
and the man, person who loves me
more than anyone in the world,
thinks I'm broken.
You shouldn't be
so hard on yourself.
Goodnight, mom.
See how it's all
waving in the wind there?
And so this is really
remarkable fabric.
Because it picks up in the wind.
And yet it has waves and heft.
It reflects the light.
It's translucent.
You can see the back-light
coming through it.
It really is a very
And now you have a piece of
it, which means that you're
part of the project.
Oh, I'm not even halfway
through all this stuff.
There's people I have
no idea of who they are.
Lots of obituaries, obviously.
And more letters from Jean Paul.
He just sure didn't
give up, did he?
"When I think of
you, I'm aware of who"
you are now, your age and
your physical problems.
But these perceptions are
overridden by my knowledge
"of who you were 50 years ago."
"I know if you
allow me to visit,
I will see you with my
memory as well as my eyes."
He's laying it on a
little thick there.
"Age will be no obstacle."
"Age will be no
obstacle to our love."
I didn't think
you'd make fun of it.
Poor guy, the
romantic that you are.
"Somewhere, someone
is traveling furiously"
toward you at incredible speed.
Traveling day and night through
blizzards and desert heat,
across torrents,
through narrow passes.
But will he know
where to find you?
Recognize you when he sees you?
"Give you the thing
he has for you?"
Did she ever write back?
This is written
after Walter died.
She never saw him again.
As far as I know, she didn't
want to break the spell,
obviously, let him
see that she was old.
- Well, that's sad.
- Really?
I'm not exactly
rooting to find out
that my mother had an affair.
It's not an affair if it
happened after Walter died.
Anyway, I'd... if I died I'd
want you to find someone.
What if it was one of
your rivals, hypothetically.
Well hypothetically,
I'm taking the high road,
and I wouldn't want
you to be alone.
What if I die first?
Well anyway, she wasn't alone.
We made sure of that.
You know, I was
always mad at you
that you led her to
believe that Jean Paul
was number eight in the world.
It was a slight exaggeration.
He played in college.
He was just... he had
a drywall business.
He had a world class
drywall business.
Every time her face would
light up at the mention of Jean
Paul, I would feel like this
evil shrew who wouldn't let
her mother have a harmless lie.
I hated him.
I hated how he changed her.
That he took a little piece
of her with him when he died.
I could never figure out how
to get her to love me like him.
You were six years old,
of course she loved you.
She never, she never even...
Yes, she did.
It was obvious from a
little further away.
Would you like
to hear some music?
We didn't have the same taste
of music, did you know that?
It was a problem.
A vexation.
No, it was more than that.
But it was also petty.
Why should anybody
like the same things?
They say
everything can be replaced.
They say every
distance is not near.
So I remember every face of
every man who put me here.
I see my light come shining
from the west down to the east.
Any day now, any day
now I shall be released.
They say every man
needs protection.
They say that every
man must fall.
Yet I swear I see
my reflection...
Do you know your name?
What a silly question.
Can you tell it to me?
Your full name.
Your full name is
Tessa Annabella Brody.
Tessa Annabella Brody.
It was Tess Lancaster.
You changed it when
you married me.
Do you know my name?
So John Brody it would be.
Do we have children?
We have a daughter, Raina.
She's 24 years old.
We've been married 26 years.
We like each other.
We do.
We are as one.
Well, that's an archaic
way of putting it.
I'm sorry.
The more we talk, the
more real it will become.
I've... I know
how it is early on.
I've done this before.
Well, that's helpful.
It's actually 27 years.
Last month was our anniversary
if you can't the time since...
The time since?
Since you died.
I died?
But here I am.
You don't understand.
I think I do.
I died, and now I'm here.
Listen to me.
It's always hard
in the beginning.
Why don't you let me
do most of the talking,
and then you'll learn
more about yourself.
Whatever you like,
I'm here for you.
I'm going to tell
you some things,
and then it's going to be
like you've always known them.
People think you're
quiet, but you're not.
You like confrontation
more than most people.
You... you're quite good at it.
You've read everything.
You know the Latin
names for things.
You're suspicious of technology.
You're suspicious of... of this.
You worry about not succeeding.
You worry a lot.
And then you worry that your
worrying is wearing me down,
but it's not.
You want to be better with Raina
than your mother was with you.
You like to travel.
You never stop moving.
You're always on your feet.
You never ask for help.
Is there more?
Do you want to talk about it?
I think the last
year you were done,
and you kept living for my sake.
We went on a trip
together, Madagascar.
We were going to spend some
time on the little island
off Madagascar, which
is itself an island.
Was this something
you planned?
We planned it together.
The campsite was in this
very old grove of trees.
There was one tree
in particular,
must have been 500 years old.
We didn't take any pictures.
We... we wanted to
just remember it.
You had a hard time
sleeping in the tent.
The ground was hard.
You were never
much of a sleeper.
The second night it was right
at the light of dawn I woke up
and you were gone.
You did that from time to
time when you couldn't sleep.
You'd get up and walk
until you were tired.
But this was different.
It felt different.
It didn't take me a
minute to find you.
You were in the tree.
They said that you
hadn't been there long.
You had used some tent cord.
Took four hours to
get to the nearest
city in that little boat.
It was raining the whole time,
so I put you in your raincoat.
Local boy took us
back in his motorboat.
The sea was choppy.
And I um, I had
to hold on to you.
But you weren't there.
You were gone.
I'm so sorry.
Tess, you were right.
Right about what?
It's just a
backboard, it's nothing.
It's just like a...
I'm just talking myself.
This is... just
talking to myself.
Jon, please look at me.
I can help you if you let me.
I would like to help you.
But first, you have to
tell me more about myself.
What was it like when
we were first married?
Did you propose to me?
Or did I ask you?
[Music - Bryce dessner
and Richard Reed parry,
["wave movements"]
This is Raina's daughter,
your granddaughter.
She's 10.
I wanted to see you.
I never got to meet you, but I
thought this could be a way to.
She's adopted.
I see.
Do you know what that means?
Yes, of course.
Well, it's lovely to meet you.
My mother named me
after your mother.
Her name is Marjorie.
I wanted to say hi.
I'm glad.
Marjorie likes plants and
trees, just like you did...
She's studying what is it?
Plant identification.
The dichotomous key.
It's when you take
a plant, a leaf,
and you ask is it
simple or compound.
Simple, ok, so smooth
edge or serrated.
And you keep going until you can
say ok, this is Norway maple.
So you see, another
whiz kid in the family.
There was an old
movie theater in town
that played mostly classics.
They had red velvet
seats, popcorn machine.
I think they changed the
popcorn once a month.
And they were
playing "Casablanca."
I knew how she felt about me.
It's easy to forget
how great it is.
They came to Casablanca
for the waters.
The waters, what waters?
We're in the desert.
I was misinformed.
After the movie, I stopped
her outside the theater.
I got down on one knee.
The pavement was wet,
but I didn't mind.
And I got out the ring.
And what could
you say except...
It was maybe.
Let me think about it.
I can't fight it anymore.
I ran away from you once,
I can't do it again.
Oh, I don't know what's
right any longer.
You have to think
for both of us.
I wore her down, basically.
And the rest is history.
Tell us how Jon
proposed to you.
He kissed me in a museum.
Jon thinks I'm on
my feet too much.
He says I should slow down.
Lucky you
found someone so tolerant.
You're right.
Jon is so good to me.
You should
tell him more often.
I should.
- Where is Jon?
I wish he would stop by.
I didn't always
like him, you know.
I'm aware.
I didn't like his beard.
Or his politics.
Mostly it was the beard.
The politics went out with
the beard, more or less.
I'm glad you
have someone dear.
Someone dear.
What did I do now?
No, it's just it's an
elegant way to say it.
People don't talk
like that anymore.
They should.
Our daughter is
afraid of the future.
I'm not.
Am I?
Well, the future will
be here soon enough,
you might as well
be friendly with it.
Incredible to think Mozart
wrote this when he was 19.
I've been... don't laugh...
Thinking I might try
writing some music.
I've got time.
Sometimes I think about Toni.
Such an affectionate
dog, remember?
Of course.
You were still awfully young.
We went to the town to
pick her up, remember?
Of course he does, mom.
We went down to the
pound in the old Subaru.
And there were a lot
of very nice dogs,
a cocker spaniel and
a noble gray pointer,
and a very attractive mutt.
But Tess picked the
little French poodle,
the little black poodle like
a little sleeping shadow.
It wasn't Tess.
It wasn't Tess
who picked her out.
It was Damien.
Our son, Damien.
Our son?
He picked her,
because she looked
like Toni, the first Toni.
He missed the first Toni.
There was
a Toni before Toni?
You hadn't come along yet.
We sometimes
worried about him.
He spent a lot of
time in his room.
We didn't always
know how to tell him,
but we loved him very much.
After he... after he died,
you made sure he was
buried next to Toni, Toni two.
I wasn't sure, but you insisted.
At the funeral,
you said he loved
her the most of all of us.
It was good that you said
that after what happened.
I was proud of you.
Remember the two of them
running on the beach?
They had sand in
their hair for weeks.
I do now.
Me too.
How I miss them.
I didn't mean to make you sad.
You didn't.
All I can think is how nice...
How nice that we
could love somebody.