Reunion (2023) Movie Script




Good morning. - Morning!
Lovely day.
Yeah, it is.
And who might you be?
Are you looking for someone?
Right now, I'm out here enjoying this water.
This is the shit right here.
It's a blessing. - Praise the Lord.
Look, this is private property.
I need you to move on. - Eventually.
Say, you know a fella named Willy James?
I'm Mrs. James. - Stop lying.
Girl, you're fine as cat hair, ain't you?
Where's Mr. James?
Look, um, I think you need to bounce.
Matter of fact, let me go get him.
Ain't nobody here but you!
And I'm out here fittin'
to enjoying this water
betwixt my toes.
I'm about to call the police.
They call me Willy James, Sr.
Ain't no need for all that.
Y'all married or shacking?
Mrs. James?
Well, ladies sometimes call themselves
one thing and be another, no disrespect.
Just saying, if that be true,
that makes you my child.
You're William's dad?
Did he know that you were stopping by?
Well, we ain't... we ain't spoke in a while.
Y'all got kids?
What y'all got to drink?
Sweet tea? - Let me call William.
I'm sure he'd be glad to
know that we have a visitor.
Well, might, might not.
Like forward to being surprised either way.
Look, I... I don't mean no harm, I'm old.
Got a little sickness in me.
Like to see my... my boy again.
Tomorrow ain't promised.
I see he's doing good,
got him a pool, pretty wife.
I just want him to see the pride
in his ol' man's eye.
But you go ahead, you call
him, see what he say.
Might... might say,
"To hell with that nigga."
Might say it, but he won't.
Be that way with family sometimes
holding on to things they ought to let go of.
I'm ready to let go.
Hope he is too.
You can give us that chance, daughter.

Father, son, face to face.
Sight of his old man might soften his heart.
Forewarned is forearmed.
I'm just asking you not to arm him against me
before he get here.
You expect him soon? - So what happened?
Between us?
He ain't saying nothing?
He mentioned you a few times,
but he said things changed after his mom died
and he went to live with his aunt.
Beatrice, Mama's sister, bless her heart.
But trust and believe I was
still daddy to that boy.
He might not have stayed under my roof,
but I come and got him and
we went here and there,
did this and that.
I haven't met the rest of the family yet.
I've been hoping Will will
introduce me around, but...
Well, so let me be the first.
Ain't nobody else really matter no way.
I'm the papi!

Ay, papi.
Who are your people?
My mom wasn't into family like that, so...
How long y'all been married?
Six months.
Newlyweds, ain't that something.
Boy, I tell ya,
I'm surprised he let you out of the bed.
He's a better man than me.
When me and his mama first got married,
she used to keep a bat handy
'cause when I hit the door every day,
I was ready, willing, and able.
She used to grab that bat and say, "Nigga,
I gave you some last night and this morning.
Touch me again,
I'm gonna bust you in your head!"
After Willy Boy come along,
things cooled off a little bit,
but we were still man and wife
while we was being Mama and Daddy.
She loved that boy.
I'm sure she did.
He's, um, he's hard not to love.
Yeah, he is that.
Couldn't help but love her neither.
I tend to believe that's why me and Willy Boy
grew so far apart.
He just couldn't let go of
a little bit of that love
he had for his mama.
Of course, you never expect a boy
to love Daddy like he loves Mama,
but you understand.

Sweet tea?
Yes, ma'am.
Come on. - Yes, ma'am. Thank you.
I sure am thirsty too.
I'm gonna tell you, I ain't lying.
Yeah, that water kind of warm out there.
How it be warm like that?
I mean... - You got a heater out there?
I do. - Ain't that something.

It's nice right here.
Thank you, it's a blessing.
Oh, praise Him.
So, how long has it been
since you've seen him?
Five, six years, give or take.
Took me a while to find him.
Seemed like he talked to everybody but me.
You travel far?
I come a ways.
Where do you live? - Oh, I move around
pretty much wherever my mind take me.
Mind say, "Let's go," we go.
You must be retired.
Something like that. - How'd you get here?
I didn't hear you pull up in the driveway.
Got dropped off.
Met a fella on the dog.
Told him where I was headed,
he said he stay out this way,
had somebody picking him up.
He offered to let me ride along.
Nice. - Mm.
Oh, I'm just checking to
see when he'll be here.
It's a secret with us.
I got you.
Real pretty out here.
Yeah, we got deer and hawks
and everything out here.
Bet there's some good fishing out there.
I guess, I mean,
I see people in their boats all the time.
Willy Boy don't be out there
much as he love fishing?
I've never seen that man fish.
Oh, me and that boy used to
go up on the Scottsdale bridge,
fish for that channel cat and carp.
Couldn't hardly get him to go home.
Stay out there all night if you let him.
Y'all fish at night? I thought that was
a break of dawn kind of thing.
It depends on what you're fishing for.
Different fish bite on different bait
at different times.
Got some like crawlers, some like dough ball.
That's how you hook 'em.
Right bait, right time.
All you gotta do is reel 'em in.
Teach me something.
Restroom, daughter, where's your restroom?
Oh, come on.

And in case you are tired from traveling,
you, sir, can hang out in here.
Well now.
TV is here, and this room actually has
its own little balcony.
And you can hang out wherever, but, you know,
just in case you want some
privacy, you got it.
Oh, and the bathroom is
right here down the hall.
You never mentioned how you got here.
Oh, yeah, sure, sure I did, met a fella.
No, I mean to the city
from wherever your mind
told you to go before it
told you to come here.
Yeah, the gray dog.
What? - The bus, girl, the gray dog.
Those things still running? - Hell yeah.
Except these days, it seems like everybody
on the dog half crazy.
The driver is nasty too.
So, why not fly?
Well, can't see nothing.
Up too high.
I like to see where I'm going.
Turn my head, see where I've been.
I get it.
All right, well, you enjoy.
Let me know if you need anything.
All right, thank you.


You all right, daughter? What you crying for?

I'm... I'm good, Mr. James.
Uh, I just got some bad news about a friend.
(water trickling)

Okay, V.
You're okay, you're okay, you're okay.
Hey, you hungry?
Why don't I fix you something to eat?
You cook? - Well, yeah.
All right then.

So, what can I get for ya?
Losing folks is hard.
Folks we love.

How 'bout a sandwich?
You don't think I can cook.
Daughter, I do.
I'm just thinking,
why don't we wait until Willy Boy get here
and then we'll have a full meal?
It'll be our first meal as a family.
Sandwich or oatmeal.
That sounds nice. Are you sure?
Yeah, yeah, come here.
Come here.
Heavenly Father, life is precious, Lord,
but You told us in Your Word
that tomorrow is not promised, Father God.
Still, the flesh yet grieves.
My heart breaks for those
who sit at Your right hand.
Heavenly Father,
we ask You to comfort us, Lord,
and bless us with the peace that surpasses
all understanding of peace
which will guard our hearts and our mind.
In Jesus' name, we pray.




What you studying to be?
You saw my mess.
Graduate school.
Did you rest well?
Closed my eyes for a minute.
A minute? About two or three hours.
Snoring, huh? - To wake the dead.
So after you finish school...
Back to the classroom most likely.
Maybe administration, but probably not.
Addicted to crazy-ass kids.
You already a teacher.
Yes, yes, sir. Middle school.
They are insane,
but lovable and teachable, so...
Mm. Willy Boy ain't providing?
He does. And I do.
We're a team.
What does he do? - He's a master carpenter.
He's really good, too.
Mostly custom cabinets for wealthy clients.
Mm, that ought to be pretty good money.
Why does he need his wife in the street?
The classroom is not the streets, Mr. James.
You know what I'm saying.
Not sure that I do know.
Willy Boy's mama was in school.
Didn't even have a high school diploma
when we... when we started.
Went back, got that, kept pushing.
Sometimes, didn't hardly see her
from doing one class or another,
mostly at night,
and then homework and whatnot.
Me and Willy Boy at the supper table
staring at one another.

We looked up to her.
We loved her.
Best thing that ever happened to us.
Wasn't enough, the light in her eyes.
Yeah, she was climbing
for that light on the hill
and them folks up there.
Them high folks.
Maybe she just was trying to be better.
Better than who?
The best she could be.
A woman's best rests in
the bosom of her family.

Family is important.

Family is everything.
(doorbell ringing)

Look at my baby. - Look at my man.
Mm-hm. - Bring me anything?
So beautiful.
(indistinct lyrics)
Slide it to the right side
Why'd you ring the doorbell?
I wanted to be welcomed in.
Did you now? - Mm-hm.
(indistinct lyrics)

'Cause when we kick it in drive
We never turn back
Kick it in drive
So that's what you was going for.
Favorite thing to put between my lips.
Aunt Zula's cookies.
Is that right? - Mm-hm.
Thank you very much.
Oh my God.
(indistinct lyrics)
This is a nice house, huh?
Yes, sir.
You like it, huh?
Oh, hell yeah.
I love it.
(indistinct lyrics)


Willy Boy.
You didn't tell me we had company, babe.
Well, that there's my doing.
I asked her to let it be a surprise.
Well, not a surprise, really.
Just didn't want you making up your mind
about seeing me before you saw me.
A lot of miles between your heart and mine.
I'd like to see us traveling.
Well, not necessarily together,
but within waving distance.
Especially since you're a family man now,
got a baby on the way.

What's goin' on?
What you doin' here?
Came to see my son.
Well, you've seen me. You can go.
Look, I heard her cryin' on the toilet,
said she got some bad
news about an old friend.
She left that Pg test next to the sink.
Why's she cryin' about something like that?
Most would be happy.
Cryin', lyin'?
Need to get to the bottom,
boy, something ain't right.
You know what, I need you to leave.
Look, might not be about
family like she's supposed to be.
Presence of a child caused her
that much grief, maybe that's...
You're out your motherfuckin' mind.
Nigga, get the fuck outta my house.
I said get the fuck outta my house!

You okay, babe?
I was supposed to tell you. Me.
I was supposed to give you that information.
You know, it's all right.
Babe, that's your dad,
he just wanted to see you.
Baby, let it go.
Why, Will?
We're about to have a baby, and he's family.
He's gone, Nessa, just let it go, okay?
What happened, Will?
What happened when your mom died?
What happened between you and your dad?
I told you, I stayed with my auntie
and... I didn't see him much.
He said he came and got you all the time.
Y'all did things together.
Y'all fished at night.
Off the bridge.
He told me you were cryin'.
I was, for a minute.
I got scared, I guess, just...
not really ready for this.
Of course you are, babe.
You're great with kids.
Somebody else's kids, yeah, but...
what if, 24/7, I'm not that great?
We're not about to do this, all right?
Listen, we got this.


Now, tell me about this baby.
It's a baby, I guess.
You guess?
Well, that's what the test said, so...
Yeah. Boy or girl?
It's a home pregnancy test, babe.
It don't tell you all that.
We'll go to the doctor and get confirmation.
Yeah, well, what does your body tell you?
It agrees.
Let me see.
Let you see what?
Will, stop.
Stop playin', there's nothin' to see.
Let me see.
(indistinct lyrics)


(loud moaning)

(wind howling)
(indistinct lyrics)

(shower running)

Babe, I'm going to check
this busted sprinkler head.
Turning me away ain't gonna
bring your momma back.
I don't know what you thought you heard.
Heard her cryin' is all,
don't even meant no harm.
You a family man now,
about to know the love of
a father to son, daughter.
What I've done don't change
that kind of love, that bond.
I ain't asking you to forgive me,
I just want to look at you for a while.
When'd you get out? - Week or so.
Lookin' good, Willy Boy, strong.
Why'd they let you go?
Compassionate release.
Prostate cancer spread to my bones.
I ain't stressin'.
Get to see your momma again,
kinda lookin' forward.
Gonna miss that baby that's on the way.
Things coulda been different.
Yeah, but you've done all right.
Proud of you.
Why'd you do it, Dad?
Hot blood, I guess, losin' your momma.
Yeah, lost me too.
For sure, for sure.
Thought of him gettin' to live his life,
and I was all tore up.
He didn't kill her.
Sure he did.
Whatever mess he's puttin' in her head
drove her to do what she done.
I don't know if he was
gonna quit her or what.
Prosecutor said that there
was nothin' goin' on.
I ain't stupid, boy,
I seen the way she looked at him.
Seen the way she was startin' to look at us
like we was a mistake she made.
He built her up,
let her fall all the way back down.
What about me, Dad?

Told you.
Wasn't thinkin' straight.
Love and grief took a hold to me,
tore me away from you.
That's what I regret, Willy Boy.
Regret that with all my heart,
every day for all these years.
Can't take it back, would if I could.

Losin' you was hard as losin' her.

Hey, Mr. James, good to see you.
Dinner in 30, gentlemen.
Mr. James,
I hope you'll be staying for dinner.

We'll be up in a few, babe.

So they's down by 14,
stands full of terror,
and then my Willy Boy,
he take this five-yard hitch,
and there he go, ten yards,
twenty yards, thirty yards.
Oh, they on him, but he ain't lookin' back.
Still goin', still goin.
Feet, don't fail me now.
Fifty yards, sixty yards.
And then, this slew-foot nigga
come out of nowhere and brought him down.
No, no, no, but too late, too late!
Oh, they... they's on the ten-yard line
and ready to score!
Thanks to Mr. Willy Boy James.
Boy, folks went crazy.
Tore the weaves right off their head.
Grown men cried that day.
Yeah, they did.
I mean, I knew he played,
but he never told me about his glory days.
I did all right. - Did more than all right.
One sports writer said he's right up there
with Terrell Owens.
Yeah. Mm-hmm.
How'd you know?
- What do you mean, how I know?
I was there, boy, you know that.
You know, I mean, you didn't always know
I was there, but, you know, I...
kept my eye on him.
Kept my heart for him.
Looks like you enjoyed your
dinner, Mr. James.
Oh, looks like you was tryin' to
prove something, Mrs. James.
I don't believe you thought I could cook.
Well, if I didn't, I'm a believer now.
And... and... and in fact,
y'all got a toothbrush?
Somebody stole my... my bag on... on the bus.
Yeah, you know,
instead of puttin' it over my seat there,
I let 'em put it under... under the bus.
Come off, it's gone.
I got you. - Yeah, um...
but supper, yeah, supper was good, you know,
especially, you know, knowin' that sometimes
educated women get to thinkin'
they're too good to pick up a pot.
Your father stumbled on my office,
and he saw that your
wife was still a student,
and somehow he figured that I'm...
That, you know, like your
momma, movin' on up.
Oh, Mom could throw down
in that kitchen, now.
Handy with a skillet, you know,
when she wasn't in the street.
She was...
always thinking about us, Dad.
Always about us.
How'd your wife die, Mr. James?
Suicide, daughter.

She hung herself.
Oh my God! Babe...

Babe, why didn't you tell me?

She died.
Yeah, yeah.
How she died wasn't really her fault.
She was a hard-lovin' w...

You're grown up, boy.
Oughta be able to see how it was.

What did he mean, it wasn't her fault?
She was...
Well, he believes that
she was having an affair,
that she did it because the
guy was breakin' it off.
Who was he?
A teacher at the college,
but it doesn't make sense.
It didn't make sense, and it still doesn't.
She was happy.
Always talking about how
much she loved learning,
about how important education was.
Neither one of them even
graduated high school.
Yeah, she was...
She was so proud of herself.
Hell, I was too.
Used to do our homework together sometimes.
She would show me her grades,
I would show her mine.
We'd get five bucks for every A from Dad,
sometimes even a trip to Baskin-Robbins.
Oh, okay!
Did that cause a problem
between the two of them though,
your mom going to school?
Well, Dad seemed kinda
lonely sometimes at night.
She'd be in class or studying.
Before that, they used to
watch TV together at night,
rent movies, stuff like that.
I had to be in bed by 8:00,
but I would sneak out of my room sometimes
and catch them in the
front room slow dancing.
Yeah, man, he loved her.
And she loved him too, but...
this whole school thing just
sort of changed something
between them, you know?
People grow apart.
Ah, it wasn't that.
She used to say she was
helping to make our lives better.
The three of us.
Dad worked construction mostly,
and she worked full-time.
Cashiering, waitressing, things like that.
I'm sure they both wanted more for you.
Ah, well...
I wanted to be a magician.
A what? - Yeah, well, actually,
more like, uh, an illusionist.
You ever heard of Harry Houdini?
Of course, he used to, um...
he used to... escape stuff on stage.
Yeah, they would lock him in a trunk,
put ropes and chains...
And push him in a swimming pool.
Well, more like a lake.
No! - Yeah!
Oh, what?
But now my true inspiration was a brother.
Okay. - Yeah.
Peter Hooper.
I was about seven or eight,
I ran across this article
about the Black Houdini.
He was from Florida, had an escape act.
He was pretty famous,
but he could only perform
for Black folks in places
where they allowed us to go.
I never did find much about
him, but that was my guy.
I was gonna be just like Peter Hooper.
Okay, so wait.
Back when we first started getting together,
those handcuffs you used to
keep under your dresser drawer,
they weren't for me.
What were you doin' in my drawers?
What do I usually be doin'?
Shit, I... I really don't remember.
Lookin' for something, damn.
Lookin' for what?
Your ass was goin' through my shit.
I was making sure your
cute ass wasn't no serial killer.
For real, I mean, shit's crazy out here,
and a girl's gotta know what's what.
For real though, I thought you was a freak.
Just kept waitin' on you
to whip 'em out one day
and just... put 'em on.
Oh, so you... you want it now?
You don't know about now.
I got you, Miss Freak.
Well, I've had those since I was a kid.
I used to practice gettin' out of 'em.
They were actually part of an escape act
that I put together.
Hmm, okay, so, what's the secret?
Because I need to know if you put them things
on me one day how to...
get loose right quick.
Come on now.
You know a master never tells his secrets.
Okay. Well, Mr. James,
you are never escaping me.

And, uh...
you got them dishes, right?
Cooks never clean.
That's what I'm talking
about, that's my baby.
That's why I love you, big old burly man
can hit it and get them dishes too.
Shit, you might get some tonight.
Get some tonight?
I already got some, little momma.
And guess what?
Yeah, I'm gonna get some more tonight.
Trust me.
Okay, okay.
You're mighty confident, sir.
Hold onto that.
I gotta hit these books first,
and then, we'll see.

Just... look, no, don't tempt me.
Don't tempt me.
(indistinct lyrics)

It's beautiful out here.
Yeah, you got yourself quite a
spread, Mr. mine.
Yes, sir.
I'm glad you get to see it.
How'd you do it, Dad?
All of those years, locked up like that.
Day by day, son, day by day.
Twenty-five years, that's a...
that's a lot of days.
Nine thousand, five hundred,
and twenty-five days and nights.
Nights is the hardest.
Just you and whatever's on your mind.
That's when the loneliness come and sorrow
when you see the hand you had in it.
it's over now.
You're home, it's done.
Welcome home.
(birds chirping)
(glasses clink)

You know I want you to see your grandchild.
Ain't gonna be time for that, Willy Boy.
Dad, I gotta get you to a
doctor, a real doctor,
not one of those prison doctors.
However many it takes.
Gotta get you as much...
No, no, you don't owe me nothin'.
I squandered my time.
Got to live with it and die with it.
I'm not lettin' you walk away from me again.

(soft chuckle)
Oh, she got you in here doin' her job.
(Willy laughs)
Come on, Dad.
It's a new day, man.
Mm, yeah, some things just
right the way they is.
Like keeping women in their place?
A real woman knows. - Knows what?
Some women appreciate
their place in the world.
Ain't nothin' more wonderful, more beautiful
than a woman who enjoys bein' a woman.
Barefoot and pregnant?
Well, yeah, if she got pretty feet.
So, how is that different
from Black folks stayin' in their place?
How is saying women only
belong in the kitchen
any different from saying Black folks belong
in a white folk's kitchen,
cookin', cleanin', all of that?
Tell me something, how your hands feel
in all that dishwater, He-Man?
Hey, now, you know that
was my favorite cartoon.
Well, yeah, yeah, I remember.
Boy, if He-Man could see you now.
Yeah, but She-Ra used to
whoop some ass though.
Oh, She-Ra was just
comin' to help out He-Man.
See, a woman supposed to be
a good helpmate to her fellow.
Yeah, well, that's old school, Dad.
Vanessa has some studying to do.
That smells familiar.
(Vanessa screaming)
What's goin' on?
- Baby, something just went...
Something what? - Some thing, I don't know!
A spider or something. - A spider?
A spider, Willy Boy.
Like what, a daddy long legs?
I don't know, just kill it.
A big-ass spider.
Whoa! - Whoa, shit!
Kill it, Willy! Right there!
She wants you to get it
'cause you're the man, son.
Man got his place, a woman got hers.
Some things is what they is.
Come on, darling!
Cringer became the mighty Battle Cat...
And... and then Willy Boy said,
"And your momma's so fat..."
You know what I mean,
he went into that kind of thing.
He went there. No, for real.
What the hell are those things called again?
Wolf spiders,
and you're lucky it wasn't pregnant.
Wolf spiders carry their
babies on their back.
If the momma dies, you step on 'em,
they scatter, hundreds of 'em.
Oh, good Lord. - They're nasty.
Yeah, it is.
Goodness, I'm itchin' and shit.
Thank you for saving me today.
It's crazy. - You remind me of her.
Your wife? - Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
And she had them soft, pretty eyes,
but it seemed like she
lookin' right down in you.
I know she saw through me enough times.
What do you mean?
I'm coming late, or not at all,
tellin' a tale.
Wasn't no lipstick on my collar,
wasn't no ladies' perfume,
she just knew.
Mm-hm, it's something we feel.
Besides, we know y'all.
More specifically,
we know our own man, in particular.
So you cheated.
I ain't said all that.
Well, what do you call it?
Little boys are mannish
when they're trying to act like men.
There it is, out your own mouth.
Little boys trying to be men,
man being a man!
A man gonna be a man.
I'mma tell you,
it's a poor rat with one hole.
Excuse me?
Oh, I'm sorry about that,
I ain't meant no disrespect,
just an old saying.
Man ain't nothing but a critter,
just like the ones you got out here.
He apt to stray from time to time.
But man is not an animal.
He's better than that, he have to be,
'cause he's human,
with a heart and a brain, and...
Animals fall in love,
look out for one another.
Next season, it's on to the next and the new.
Man the only wild thing try to shake it off,
chain it up.
The Bible does say,
"He who findeth a wife findeth a good thing,"
and in that way, we are different,
better than the beasts of the field.
We will hunker down,
promise to love and cherish, but, uh,
a real man gonna walk, occasionally.
Hey, nothing rubbed off.
Don't worry.
He ain't picked up none of my habits.
But you said a man is gonna be a man.
Old-school fella like me.
Willy boy... William...
...he's... he's a new breed.
Modern man.
Made for a modern woman.
Need to call the exterminator
tomorrow in case there's more.
Jesus. More, roaming through the house?
Mating indiscriminately
in every nook and damn cranny.
No, William.
I-I can't stay, I can't do it.
I'm going to a hotel.
It's just a spider, one spider.
Mm-hm, okay.
What? It is, and we're downstairs
and it's upstairs.
Have you lost your mind?
You said it yourself.
There may be more in the walls right now.
They're not roaches, baby, okay?
No, William, they're spiders.
Book me a hotel, I'm leaving.
She ain't goin' nowhere. - I'm leaving.
You gon' be right here.
It gon' be you, him, and the spiders.
Itsy-bitsy spider is goin' up the spout.
Out came the rain, and what happened?
What happened?
(together) Washed the spiders out.
Okay, that used to be his
favorite nursery rhyme.
He always going "itsy-bitsy
spider" boy, shutup.
I ain't playin' with either one of y'all.
You ain't goin' nowhere.
I'm goin' somewhere. - Ooo-wee!
I'm about to go check on your dad, babe.
Cool, baby.
I'll be out in a minute.
(text notification chimes)

(phone ringing)
Aunt Beatrice, what's up?
Your father.
Yeah, he's...
He escaped.

Four, five days ago,
minimum-security prison hospice.
Just walked away.
I thought he might be trying to find you.
Have you heard from him?
Well, they told me he's very sick, Willy.
A year at most,
but they're still looking for him.
But he's...
he's dying.
He's a murderer, Willy,
so they're calling him armed and dangerous.
I've never told him where you were,
but I did tell the cops.
They were asking about other relatives,
where he might have gone, I...
I gave them your address.
I'm sorry. - It's cool, Auntie.
If he... I don't think he will,
but if he finds you, contacts you,
just tell him to turn himself in.
Yes, ma'am,
but I doubt he'll come here.
What'd the cops say?
Said if they determined he was in the area,
they'd be contacting Georgia authorities
for help in tracking him down.
So, do you think that
they're gonna come here?
You're his son, Willy.
You're all he talks about in his letters.
He loves you,
and you're all he's got.
Yes, ma'am,
but I doubt he'll come here.
He doesn't know where I live anyway.
How's Vanessa? - She's great.
All day, every day. - Good, good.
Now, have you told her about your
dad, your mom?
If she wants to know you, Willy,
that means she wants to
know where you come from,
who you come from.
It's okay to tell her the truth.
You are not your father.
Yes, ma'am.
Call me if you hear anything.
Okay, Auntie.
I love you. - Love you too, baby.

Mr. James?
Yeah, yeah, be right out.
You good?
Yes, ma'am, never had a better day.
(toilet flushes)
Your father is good, Mr. James.
What's going on, babe, what's up?
Have a seat now.

My dad...
Yeah, he's in the bathroom.

He was in prison.
Black man, America, prison.
I get it.
He killed somebody.
How long was he in jail?
Twenty-five years.

Wait, how did he take you fishing?
How did he go to your football games
and all the stuff...
I don't know.
I guess he read about it in the paper,
radio, TV.
It's like he was there watching, but...
We used to fish off the bridge
before Mom died.
When was he paroled?

He escaped?
He's on the run?

He was in hospice and just walked away.
My aunt says she spoke with police
and gave 'em my address.
They'll come here looking for him.
Sooner or later.
I just...
I'll go talk to him.
And he's gotta turn himself in.
You know how those cops are.
No shit.
I'll talk to him.
(he sighs deeply)
(knocking at door)
Yeah, yeah, come on, son.

I spoke with Aunt Beatrice.
Yeah? How's she doing?

She's... she's worried about you.
A good heart, that woman.
She got a call from the police in Tennessee.
Well, yeah.

They're not gonna stop lookin' for you.
Suppose not.
How'd you find me?
The grace of God, son.
Told you my heart was still for you.
Proverbs 16:9.
"Man's heart devises his way,
but the Lord directeth his steps."
You turnin' me in?

I want you to see a good doctor.

What does she want?

Well, I'd be lying if I said
she wasn't concerned.
She's worried that the police might...
George Floyd my ass.
(he laughs)
William, police are in the driveway.
Listen, okay.
Dan, Nessa, listen.
I'll go outside and talk to the police.
You take Dad to the basement.
William! - Listen.
This is my father.
He's sick.
I get it,
but harboring a fugitive is against the law!
He was never here, okay?
It's all right; I'll go out.
Ain't no need to get you all mixed up
in none of this.
You said your wife committed suicide.
I didn't kill her.
Loved her.
Killed that nigga she was fuckin'.
She lost her life pining
for that high-and-mighty motherfucker.

Come on.

(door slams)

Mr. James?
Evening, sir.
I'm from the Jackson County
Sheriff's Department,
but I'm here on behalf
of the Tennessee Department of Corrections.
It's about your father, William James, Sr.
Were you aware, sir,
that your father escaped
custody four days ago?
I haven't talked with my
father in a long time.
Yes, sir, but were you
aware that he had escaped?
You haven't seen him, heard from him?
I told you I haven't seen him.
I know you love him,
but you being here I don't
think is the best thing.
Hm. Can't have the riffraff hanging around.
An escaped convict.
Ain't gon' be around long.
What'd you hook up with him for?
Y'all ain't a fit
with your books and your degrees.
Willy boy a workin' man,
dirt under his fingernails.
Mr. James,
I don't know what happened
with you and Will's mom.
I don't know what happened
between the two of you.
But I love Will very much.
You don't get it. - Oh, I get it, I get it.
He's strong, good-looking,
got a big dick like his daddy, you like that.
But that ain't enough for the long haul.
Sooner or later,
you gonna go lookin' for something
high up the hill,
sniffin' for the kind of prestige
some light-skinned college nigga can get you.
You don't know shit about me.
- I can smell it on you,
seepin' through your skin like a disease.
And that baby you cryin' for
gonna hold you back.
High folk ain't gonna raise
no working man's child
or that child ain't sprung
from a workin' man's seed.
You're a sick motherfucker.
Sick as hell,
but I'll be damned if I leave this earth
and let you fuck up my boy's life!

You did that already.

Any idea where he might have traveled?
Like I said, we don't talk, so...
If you see him, hear from him,
give us a call?
Tennessee authorities say
he's armed and dangerous, so...
Just... got it.

(night birds calling, insects chirring)

Why do you hate me so much?
You don't even know me.
I don't hate you.
But like I said,
you're a lot like Willy boy's mama.
Thought I knew her well as I knew myself.
Adulteress, liar, deceiver.
She ate the fruit, the fruit of knowledge,
just like you.
Opened her up to all manner of wickedness.
Chewin' on them books,
lickin' the pages,
suckin' on every...
(sharp smack)

What's goin' on?
Your father seems to think...
That y'all cut from a different cloth.
That don't mean the Good Shepherd ain't
stitched y'all together
into a single garment.
Just want what's best for you.
What's up with the police?
He's gone, baby.
Okay, so what now?
I just want him to see a doctor.
Good idea.

Really, William?
Really? A doctor?
What are we supposed to do?
Hide him out while he goes through chemo,
radiation, or whatever?
This is bullshit and you know it.
First, uh-uh, not Nessa.
First, you won't tell me about him,
about anybody in your family.
And then, in a single
day, in one fucking day,
I learned that your mother committed suicide,
your father killed her lover,
and escaped prison after 25 years.
And now... and now,
you want us to be a part of a prison break?
We're not accomplices.
I will not let you go out like that.
There's too many brothers in jail right now
and you will not be another.
What do you want me to do?
Send him back to prison to die?
Everybody dies, William.
What did you say?
I said... - Shut the fuck up!
Who the fuck are you talking to?
I'll deal with this, Nessa, all right?
Appreciate you standin' up for me, boy.
Truth is, I would like to see that grandchild
when they get here.
Yeah, Dad.
For sure.
I'm sorry.
You sounded like him.
Like who? - Your father.
Never mind.
You know this is crazy, right?
I know you care about him
and you want him to be okay,
but, baby, you sound crazy.
It's irrational!
It's impossible, babe!
Baby, I love you,
and I need you to focus.
You have to tell him to go.
Even if you take him
yourself, this has to end.
Yeah, I know, babe. Listen.
I just need to get him to a doctor,
get him somewhere safe
where he can do treatment, okay?
(she exclaims)
And where the fuck is that, Will, huh?
Where's this place you keep talking about?
Baby, I don't know!
But I'll figure it out, okay?
You don't know?
(she laughs)
Sounds like Oz, Willy boy.
The Lion, the Tin Man, the Wizard.
Just follow the fucking
yellow brick road, Will!

Shame for you, Willy boy.
The Bible say "for better or worse."
Y'all ain't been married but a minute,
first worse come along,
she standing against you.
I know I ain't made it
easy comin' to see you,
but a test is what it is,
how strong this thing is that y'all got
the best you know right now.
Know what?
What does her not wanting
to be involved with the police
tell me about my wife,
about the state of our... our marriage?
That-that-that she's smarter than me?
Oh, she is that.
Look. They always smarter.
That's what God gave 'em.
We quicker, stronger.
They smarter, steadier.
A woman can live by head or heart.
If her heart is for ya,
she'll stand with you,
come hell or high water.
But if she's in her head,
she plottin', she plannin'.
They're tryin' to take so-called reason
and put it in the way of what you believe
in your heart,
what you know to be right and true.
That's just it, man.
I don't know what's right!
You're damn right you don't know.
That's my whole point, Willy boy.
Knowin', bein' 100 percent sure,
is what you're lookin' for in here,
but in here,
you just feel what's righteousness,
and then you step out on it.
That's the love in us,
son to father,
father to son.
Does she love you?
Or is she just thinkin' it through
to what's best for her in the long run?
(siren burst)

Now the bus arrived on schedule,
but nobody's seen or heard
from either one of them
ever since...
Wait, that's my husband!
Hold on. - Oh, boy.
Really sorry, sir.
Hello again.

I was just telling your wife
one our units found an abandoned car
just off the road a few miles from here.
Officers called the owner's residence
and found the owner had
gone to the bus station
to pick up a relative earlier this morning.
So what does that have to do with my father?
Well, no connection, really.
It's just nobody has seen or heard from
either the owner or the relative
the owner went to pick up since this morning.
Both men missing most of the day.
Look, I got the feeling
there was some bad blood
between you and him, your father I mean.
I guess I just wanted to
remind you to be vigilant.
Thank you, Officer...
Donaldson, ma'am.
Officer Donaldson, thank you.
Thank you, ma'am, sir.
Good night.
We'll keep you posted.
Good night again. - Good night.

Dispatch: Spoke with residents.
Everything's Code 4 here.
Be advised on 10-8.

(muffled shouting)


(fountain trickling)

William, those two young
men in that abandoned car...
That was this morning.
Where y'all headed?
We're about to, uh... - Go to the store.
Don't you need toiletries
and some draws, t-shirts?
Yeah, saw the cops pull off.

Figured the coast was clear.

Why'd he come back?
Just to, um...
To warn us.
Huh. About what?
About an abandoned car,
a couple of missing guys.
Oh yeah.
Yeah, they was probably gonna rob me.
Yeah, a couple of hip-hoppers
offer an old nigga a ride clear across town.
Come on. - What?
What the fuck?
Eh, do unto others before they do you.
Hey. - What did you do, man?
No, no, what did she do?
The cops are probably on
their way back here right now,
a whole army of 'em.
She didn't call 'em, but guess what,
I'm about to.

No, you ain't.


Don't go, Vanessa.
William, it's okay, I'm fine.
You quicker?
Bet she'd be dead before I hit the floor.

Look, man, you ain't got to do this.
Everybody here is tryin' to do right by you.
You think I've got this
gun in my hand for me?
I ain't standing for me, boy,
I'm standing for you 'cause
you ain't got sense enough
to know who's for ya and who ain't.
I'm the bullrock, boy,
a fortress betwixt you
and the god damn devil.
Now sit down.
Sit down!

He's got to admit when he's wrong.
Own his mistakes.

I want for you all to do what you need to do.
(audible breathing)
I'm gonna ask you to hear me out
and listen to what I have
to say for a short while.
It's about your mama.
I come to know your mama
ain't love me no more.
Thought her love for you had gone south too,
but I was wrong.
In the end, she sacrificed her life for ya.
Laid down her wicked pleasures,
tall dreams placed among the mighty.
Hold on, you need to hear
what I'm about to tell ya.
Once they home,
we up outta here and that's it.
Lockdown, solitary death.
You gon' never know how
much that woman loved ya.
Oh, I already know.
Damned if you do.
God's saving you sure as
Jesus died to save us all.
What... William, what is he talkin' about?
I don't know, baby.
Sit down.
You know, Willy Boy used
to be a hell of a magician.
Fuck this memory lane shit.
You got something you want
to tell me about my mom,
then fuckin' say it.
Always wanted me and his
mama to see some trick or another.
My favorite was seein' him
escapin' from this and that.
Locked closet, car trunk,
flippin' his hands and feet outta...
Outta knots and...
right in front of your eyes.
Willy Boy the Great.

Neither lock nor chain can hold him.
Greater than Peter Hoover himself.
This is bullshit.
You remember that old
freezer in the basement,
the one I got from Abel's corner store?

Gonna be your greatest trick ever.

It's all you talked about.
One day risin' up out that deep freezer
in front of the whole neighborhood.

We used to practice that
trick, remember, Willy boy?

You had it down pat
and you was ready for the big show.
That was the night before Mom died.

A fateful night indeed, Willy Boy.

A fateful night indeed.

Next morning it was you that found her.
Imagine all these years
not knowing what she did for ya.
(shuddering breath)

It's not worth it, baby.
It's not worth it.
Don't do this.
Baby, don't do this.
(gun clicks)
I'll stick her.
(heavy breathing)

Put that down on the god damn table.
Put that down on the god damn table!

(gun clattering)

Let's take baby mama for a little walk.

Hold up.

Willy Boy.

Wrap baby arm around that center post.

Dad. - Go.

Go on.

We all right, baby.

It's okay, baby.
Listen, you trust me, hm?

We got this.
(handcuffs locking)
We got us.

Now you just cool your heels.
Me and Willy Boy are
gonna go set up the show.

(Vanessa weeps)


You better kill me 'cause
I'm gonna fuck you up.
Yeah, yeah,
the old boys are always mad
at they daddy about somethin'.
I ain't killed your mama, boy.
Nigga, fuck you.
Don't you down talk your mama.
That woman laid down her life for you.
The alcoholic whore she was,
but in the end she rose above her nature,
redeemed herself in the eyes of God and man.
Your ass crazy.
Crazy about you, boy.
Slip 'em on.

It's all right, baby.
(handcuffs lock)
Look, whatever happened between you and Mom,
that was a long time ago,
but this is right now.
And that lady up there,
I love her and she's carrying our baby.
Oh, I'm trying to school you, boy.

Woman was born the bride of the devil.
That's why he used her in the garden.
She already belonged to him
when she exposed nakedness,
spoke in that soft voice,
touched his hand and smiled,
couldn't see straight just like you.
Mr. James, Mr. James!
Yes, daughter?
Yes, I'm your daughter,
and William is your son
and this is your grandbaby.
We're family.
We love you, we care about you,
and I know deep down
inside you care about us.
Mr. James, Mr. James!
(water splashes)
No! William!
William, get up!

Step up.

Step up!

Please don't.

No, please.
Step up, gal, and you best be steady.

Is your love true, Willy Boy?

You say yes.
What does he say?
Yes! Yes!
From the lips of the adulterous woman
drips honey,
and the speech is smoother than oil.
(water burbling)
The fourth drop.
The fourth is proof of thy love.
Your love,
true love can save him.
Your love, if it be true,
is like a lifeline,
good as the hand of God himself.
Please, Dad.
Please don't.
Step forward into the light, daughter.
Wash away your sins.
(water burbling)
Let your love... shine.


(water burbling)

(water burbling)

Vanessa! Vanessa! Vanessa!
Vanessa, Vanessa, Vanessa.
Oh, shit.

Vanessa, baby.
Vanessa, Vanessa, Vanessa.

(insects chirring)
How do you know that gun ain't empty?
(gun clicks, casing clatters)

(sets gun down)

Step up.

Love you, Willy boy.
(whooshing sound)

(ethereal vocalizing)