Sincerely, Brenda (2018) Movie Script

(film projector clicking)
(somber piano music)
(doorbell beeps)
- Thank you.
(somber piano music)
- Hey.
Hey old man!
- What can I do for you?
- I know who you are.
You thought I'd forgotten?
- Do it, do it!
(water spraying)
(somber music)
(knocking on door)
- Charles.
Oh, Charles.
(somber music)
Jeez, what happened to your lip?
- Nothing.
- What do you mean nothing?
- I was in a fight.
- A fight, how'd you get in a fight?
- I'm okay, I'm fine.
- Charles.
Charles, have you been drinking?
- No.
- Charles, I can smell it.
Don't lie to me.
Why didn't you call me?
- I bought a bottle but I poured it out.
- You bought a bottle and you poured it?
10 years of sobriety, Charles.
It only takes a moment to go back.
I lost five years when Frank died.
- Here we go.
- Charles.
Brenda is gone.
How did this really happen?
- I deserved it.
- Do you need me to stay?
- I'm fine.
(melancholy piano music)
- [Clarice] You need to
call your boys, Charles.
You need to tell them about their mother.
- [Charles] I know.
It's been a long time.
(melancholy piano music)
- [Clarice] Call them, Charles.
- [Charles] I know, I know.
I will.
(melancholy piano music)
- Here, come here, let me do it.
- Grace, I've tied a Windsor knot before.
I know what I'm doing.
- Well, tonight it doesn't
have to be a Windsor.
- Yes it does.
- No it doesn't.
Come here.
You know,
tonight is a really big night for you.
- Yeah, I know.
- [Grace] I mean, you have
worked so hard for this.
Enjoy it.
- I will.
Thank you.
And you have no idea what you're doing.
Windsor knot, Grace, come on.
- Okay, look, I have a solution.
- Really.
- Yes.
Trust me.
- What's that?
- Look at it.
I wanted to wait till after the ceremony,
but I can't, I'm just too excited.
- Gross Grace.
- Gross,
did you even look at it?
- It's a pee stick in a bag.
- Well, read the pee stick.
- Well, I'm guessing since
you went through the time
to put it in a bag that we're probably--
- Pregnant! (laughs)
You're not excited.
- What?
No, I am, I'm excited.
- I'm trying not to get too excited,
'cause it's too early, you know?
- Yeah.
- Everything's gonna be okay, right?
- Everything's gonna be all right.
Everything's gonna be okay, all right?
Right, okay.
(soothing piano music)
- I'm proud of you, baby.
(cellphone buzzes)
- You know, everything's gonna be
different now that I'm partner.
You understand that, right?
- I know what I'm signing up for.
(cellphone buzzes)
Isn't that your father?
(cellphone buzzes)
Answer it.
(cellphone buzzes)
- Hello?
Yeah, I'm good, how are you?
(melancholy piano music)
Yeah, don't worry about it, I'll call.
Okay, bye.
my mom died.
We have to go to Lansing tomorrow.
(melancholy piano music)
- When are we coming back to see him?
Is it true what people are saying?
- I don't know what people are saying.
- Is that why he's in prison?
- Lower your voice.
- My friends keep telling
me that he killed that girl.
Mom, mom!
- Boy, what?
- When are we going
back to see dad?
- We're not going back.
That ain't no place for you and your
little brother to be visiting.
Now stop asking me all these questions.
- It's not fair.
- Boy, if you don't shut up.
- I hate you.
- You know, I never wanted you.
I never wanted any of this.
Donovan, life isn't fair.
And the sooner that you figure this out,
the easier it'll be.
Wipe them tears outta your face.
Your daddy's gone, you a
man now, you understand me?
Do you hear me?
- Yes ma'am.
(melancholy music)
- I'll say something.
took this picture the
day before Frank died.
Frank's my husband.
He died of a sudden heart attack.
I won't be long winded.
But Brenda was there for me
during my darkest moments.
Always there.
She never judged me, never criticized me.
I'll miss you, Bren, and I love you.
- I'll say something.
I didn't know Brenda.
But Donovan is a great man.
So I think she had
something to do with it.
And you too, Charles.
I'm glad to be here.
Even though it's a sad occasion.
But I'm excited to get
to know you all better.
(soothing piano music)
- It's like a doctor's office up in here.
Grace is beautiful.
- Thanks.
- I'm sorry I couldn't
make it to the wedding.
- Couldn't or didn't, Charles?
It's two different things.
Like, I called Michael
about Brenda several times,
and he's still not here, where is he?
It's so disrespectful.
I told him even if it was
about money I would help him.
- Yeah, he's been through a lot.
- Yeah, well I've been through a lot too,
Charles, and I'm still here.
- Your letters, they helped me
make it through when I was away.
I know that couldn't have
been easy with your mother.
I appreciate it, thank you.
I've been, been doing good.
I'm recovered, I haven't
had a drink in 10 years.
- That's great Charles.
Good for you.
- Donny, I know I made some bad choices.
- Charles, let's not
do this today, please.
- I know I wasn't the best
father for you and Michael.
- What are you doing, man?
- I'm trying to open up.
- Open up?
This is not the time to.
I can't do this with you right now.
(melancholy piano music)
- We made it to the state finals.
Can you come to my game?
- Donovan, you know I can't
come to any of your games.
- You never make it to my games.
- Boy, you know I work.
I'm too tired to be sitting up there
with all them screaming Negroes.
- You didn't work tonight.
- Donovan.
- You could have come tonight.
- You don't need me there.
You got your coach, your friends,
and all them little
girls cheering for you.
What you need me there for?
What you need is for me to
keep a roof over your head.
(melancholy piano music)
- Oh my God, are you kidding me?
- What are you talking about?
- These trophies.
- Grace, I told you I played basketball.
- Yeah, but you didn't
tell me you did all this.
- Because it's not a big deal.
It's just trophies.
- Baby, you don't talk about this stuff.
These accomplishments.
- Because it doesn't matter.
- Don't do that, don't shut me out.
You need this.
You need this time, you
need this opportunity
with your family to make things right.
- You have no idea what
you're talking about.
- Yes I do.
- No you don't.
- There are things you
don't know about me too.
You know, things that I don't tell you.
- Oh, you mean like how
you used to be a stripper?
- You wish!
What was she like, your mother?
One good memory.
- Well.
Every Saturday, Soul Train would come on.
And she loved Don Cornelius.
For years, she would always
put on this yellow dress.
And force me and Michael to
sit down and watch her dance.
She would always have
this look on her face,
this I don't care about
the world kind of look.
Just pure joy.
I used to think she was the most
beautiful woman in the world.
one day it all stopped.
The dancing, the singing, the music.
It all just stopped.
- A moment of transparency.
Was that so hard?
- Well, that's all you're
getting, so I hope you enjoyed it.
- My father had an outside family.
One day, this woman
shows up on our doorstep
with his 14 year old son and eight
year old daughter, demanding money.
In that moment, it was
like my entire reality
was just ripped away from me.
I didn't know who my dad was.
And my mother was so in love with him.
She forgave him and
accepted his second family.
- Did you ever forgive him?
- Eventually.
What did she do to you?
- She.
- You don't have to tell me right now.
We are not our parents.
We're better.
And she is going to be better than us.
- She?
- Yes, she.
God spoke to me.
- Oh, God spoke to you, okay.
Well, God spoke to me too, and
he said, we're having a boy.
So apparently you're
listening to the wrong God.
Why are you laughing, 'cause
that's what he told me.
He said, Donovan, we're having a boy.
And I said, okay, cool, God.
- I don't know what God you're talking to.
This is a girl.
- No, shut up,
we're having a boy.
- This is a girl.
- No, it's a boy.
- Give me my girl.
It's a girl.
- Why would it be a girl?
We don't need, I can't deal with that.
You know I can't deal with that.
- You're gonna have to get ready.
- Okay, yeah.
(Grace laughs)
(woman laughing)
What was that?
- I don't know.
(people talking indistinctly)
- Stay here.
- I'm coming with you.
- Stay here.
(people talking indistinctly)
- I just want to say,
can you hear me?
(woman laughs)
- Keep your voice down.
It's my brother, this is my big brother.
Say hi, darling.
- What's the matter with you, man?
- What's the matter with you?
You're not happy to see me?
I mean, God, Donny, how long has it been?
Five, 10, 15, I don't have
enough fingers, Donny.
I've missed you.
It's been a real long, long.
I almost cussed in the house of the Lord.
- This ain't a church.
- Excuse me, who are you?
Who is that?
- I don't know, who am I?
- I've been calling her
Valerie the whole night.
- What is going on?
- Go back to bed, Grace, it's fine.
- Grace, you're Grace, right.
- It's a hell of a first
impression you're making, man.
- You're so serious.
It'll all be better in the morning.
Trust me.
- Um, excuse me.
Do one of you guys mind giving me a ride?
There seems to be no Ubers available.
- Can I borrow your car?
- Come on, Grace.
- Thanks.
Nice meeting you, Grace.
Valerie, let's get you home, girl.
- What'd you call me?
- You're driving though.
(woman laughs)
Donny ruined the party, he's
a party pooper, let's go.
(somber piano music)
- [Woman] You were a dope photographer.
- Were?
- Yes, were.
You know, before you sold out.
- Whoa, sold out?
- Before all the celebrity
cover shoots and models.
All this fake stuff.
It's not you.
- Really.
And you just know me so well.
- I used to study your stuff.
Your early work, your raw
stuff, the real stuff.
You could always find
such beauty in the void.
What happened?
- Real don't pay the bills.
- Seriously, what happened?
(melancholy piano music)
- Mikey?
I thought that was you man.
- Lonzo.
- What's going on, little Mikey.
Little snotty nosed Mikey.
How you been doing brother?
- Better, man.
- I bet.
Mr. Hollywood, yeah, models, sun, beaches.
The models.
- You really like that word,
don't you?
- Yeah man, I'm saying
all the reasons why you
ain't been back home.
- It's not even like that.
- Hey now, listen,
what you doing home?
- Brenda died, man.
- What?
- Car accident.
- [Lonzo] Man, I'm sorry to hear that.
I was just talking to her last week.
How you doing man?
- I don't know.
- Well, how's your dad?
How's Donovan, man?
Now, where is Donovan?
- I don't know.
He here though, so.
- He here though.
- Yeah.
- All right man.
- Scratch that, what's good with you?
- Oh man, you know,
I'm good man, I dabble.
You know, making some moves.
Legal moves, no, legal moves man.
- Right.
- Boy, don't look at me
like that.
- I know you, Lonzo.
- No, I'm on the up and up now, man.
Listen, listen, we need to talk.
Because I've been thinking about
moving out to Hollywood, all right.
- Oh yeah?
- Yeah, I got some ideas.
So I need to holler at you.
Yeah, it's like, you know
what I'm talking about, man.
- I got you.
- We could partner up.
We could, you know, do a few things man.
You know what I mean?
- For sure.
- You know what I mean, right?
- Yeah we can see what you do.
- Hey man, listen.
Since you been back, you talked to Denise?
Well, you need to.
- Yeah?
- Yeah, yeah, she's
singing at Gregory's now.
And she good too.
- I'll check that out.
- Listen, get down there
as soon as you can.
- There go your boy.
- My boy?
- Yeah.
- Donovan in the flesh?
- Are you kidding me?
- Oh man!
- What's up bro?
- What's up?
- How you been?
Oh, good to see you, man.
- Good to see you too.
- Hey, tag team's back again!
Whoop there it is
Whoop there its
Boom shaka laka
- Y'all are so lame.
- Shut up man.
- Yeah, whatever.
- Hey, this is my wife Grace.
And this is my good friend.
- His only friend.
- Shut up.
- My good friend Lonzo.
- The one and only.
- Hey, watch yourself.
That's my wife.
- I see why I didn't
get an invite to the wedding.
- Yeah, about that man.
It was a small wedding.
- So small I didn't
even get an invite.
- Now listen.
Mikey just told me what happened
with your mom, I'm sorry to hear that.
We're praying for y'all.
All right?
- [Donovan] I appreciate that, man.
Thank you.
- Let me get out of here.
- All right.
Love you man.
- I love you too.
- Yeah, good to see you, bro.
- Ideas, I got you.
- All right, 'zo.
- All right.
- Thanks.
- Thank Grace.
- Thank you.
- Sure.
- Look, I'm sorry about last night.
- [Grace] It's no problem.
- [Donovan] Grace!
(somber music)
(bed squeaking)
(Michael groans)
- Will you accept the mission?
And I'll stop bullying you.
- Brenda!
(Donovan grunts)
- Now, we're gonna go around the house,
and we're gonna look for
dad's magic juice, okay?
If you scream again.
(somber piano music)
- Donovan, Donovan, I got it.
(somber piano music)
- Oh my God, Michael!
Oh my, it's been, Charles, how long?
- A long time.
- It's been a long time,
look at you, so handsome!
Do you remember me?
- I could never forget my
first crush, Miss Clarice.
- Oh boy, stop.
Look at you, LA must be treating you well.
- Yes, ma'am.
I'm doing all right for myself.
- All right.
- We thought, we thought
we'd have some food.
And sit down.
Chat about lost times.
- Lost times.
That's what you call them?
- You know what, let me
take these in the house.
I'll see you guys in the house.
- Yes ma'am.
- All right.
- You look good.
I'm recovered.
10 years.
(coin clinks)
(door slams)
(people laughing)
- My memory is 100
times better than yours.
- Oh, my memory's bad, you
hear what she's saying?
- 100 times, wow.
- 100 times.
You're welcome.
- Charles.
Stop that, now it's uneven.
You see that, Grace, it's uneven.
- Mr. Charles, it's all
about the presentation.
- Thank you.
- Nobody here but us.
- It's tradition, right?
- Tradition.
- I've gotta teach my sone not to do this.
Now look at, now look at.
Oh, you welcome to it.
You know what?
(Donovan hums)
- Yeah, rub it in.
- Delicious!
- You know what, take your grown self
over there and grab me some salt.
- Uh-oh.
(somber music)
Somebody didn't get
frisked at the border.
- Oh, Charles, I'll take that.
- No, that's okay.
- Charles.
Give it to me.
- I'm fine.
- Give it to me.
- It's mine!
Why so shocked?
We're celebrating, right?
Isn't this the party starter?
(dramatic music)
Here's to Donny and Grace.
Wonderful marriage.
That's good, Charles.
10 years of being sober, that's just,
that's just fantastic, isn't it?
You can do better.
Let's not forget the real
reason we're here, right?
Who took the easy way out.
(dramatic music)
Carry on.
(dramatic music)
(melancholy piano music)
- Found another.
(melancholy piano music)
I dare you to taste it.
- No!
- Come on, taste it.
- No.
- Taste it!
(melancholy piano music)
(Donovan laughs)
But you a baby.
- No I'm not.
- Yeah, you are.
- Gimme this.
(melancholy piano music)
- Whoa!
(melancholy piano music)
- What?
- Why did you bring alcohol
into this house, man?
- We're all grown, Donovan.
And honestly, I thought
Charles was still a drunk.
I figured he would
appreciate some fine whiskey.
Times have changed.
- You know what, times have changed.
Look at you, man!
You haven't changed at all.
The world does not revolve
around you, Michael.
- Why are you even here?
- What?
Our mom died, man.
She died, that's why I'm here.
But the real question
is, why weren't you here?
- Doesn't matter, I'm here now.
- Dinner's almost ready.
You can come, whatever, I don't care.
- Hey, why you acting
like everything is okay?
- Everything is okay, Michael.
- It's not.
Look, denying the truth doesn't
change the facts, Donovan.
- Most righteous and eternal father,
we thank you for allowing
us to be together today.
Even though the circumstances
are not the best.
We still praise your name.
Thank you for taking care of my sons,
and allowing us to be
together under one roof.
I pray continually for their coverage.
I thank you Lord for protecting
them when I was not able to.
We praise your name.
We praise your power.
And your mercy, and your justice.
In the name of Jesus
Christ, bless this food
and the hands that prepared it, amen.
- Amen.
- Amen.
- So you're religious now?
- I prefer spiritual.
- There's a difference?
- Yes, there is.
- Don't imitate him.
- I've been on a spiritual path.
To find a higher power.
When I was in Alcoholics Anonymous.
- Your father has set
such a remarkable example
of strength and perseverance.
Because being an alcoholic--
- I am not an alcoholic.
- And how's that working out?
- Okay, I'm sorry.
A recovering alcoholic.
- Recovered.
Recovered, I prefer recovered.
Recovering, that term locks you
into a perpetual cycle of negativity.
And I can't subscribe to that.
- Okay, okay.
Well, he hasn't had a drink in 10 years.
- Wow, that's wonderful.
- All because of spirituality?
- And discipline.
And faith, and prayer.
A lot of prayer.
- Where was this spirituality
when I was a kid?
I'm just curious.
- Mike!
- I'm just kidding.
Listen, really, lighten up.
You know, we're celebrating, right?
Let's eat.
- Hey, do you boys know
how your parents met?
- No actually.
- No, well you know what,
I'll tell the story.
- Let me tell it.
- No, I tell it better.
- Tell the story.
- Okay.
Okay, well Charlie and I were
friends first, longtime friends.
And then Brenda and I became friends
long before she ever met Charlie.
So you all follow?
- So mutual friends?
- Yes, exactly.
So, total transparency
here, I had a crush on him.
- Hey now.
- What?
- Okay.
Back in the '70s, disco and
rollerskating was a thing.
And Brenda and I were
coldblooded on some skates,
honey, and we looked good doing it.
I had this signature pair
of hot pants I used to wear.
- Excuse me, hot pants?
- Hot pants, girl.
You know the little tight short shorts,
you all call them daisy dukes.
I would glide around that
floor with my sexy long legs.
- She thought she was hot stuff.
- Oh, I knew I was hot stuff.
And your father thought
he was all that too.
- I had to have my
sugarfoot fro, and muscles.
- Oh no, I think you're
recalling somebody else's memory.
Anyway, I had invited
Charles to skate with me.
I was gonna ask him out that night.
I don't think I ever told you that.
- No you didn't.
- Okay, anyway.
Brenda shows up, wearing
this absolutely beautiful
yellow flowing dress, just gorgeous.
Your mother was always so
beautiful, and she had this smile.
That was just electric.
So anyway, Charlie finally shows up.
Locks eyes with your mother.
Now, he didn't even know she was with me.
He just sees this beautiful girl
floating around the rink, smiling.
I didn't even exist anymore.
He just watched her all night,
but wouldn't say a word to her.
- What's the matter, Charlie,
didn't have any game?
- No I didn't need to say anything.
I was a good skater too.
So I just rolled over there,
took her by the hand, and we danced.
- Lies, please, it didn't
even happen like that.
- I still remember the song.
- Oh yeah?
- [Altogether] Anita Ward, Ring my Bell.
You can ring my bell
Ring my bell
- And she fell in love.
- Something like that.
A year later, Donovan was born.
- What was he like?
- Just like any other kid.
- See, he never talks
about this stuff to me.
What was he like?
- He was determined.
And caring.
And relentless.
When he wanted something, he would get it.
Even if he didn't know how
to, he'd figure a way out.
I remember when he was
seven, this was just before
Michael was born, a kid down
the block had this dirt bike.
- (laughs) The cherry red BMX dirt bike.
I remember that.
- And Donny wanted it.
He just cried and cried
because we said no.
- I did cry.
- And Michael was on the way,
and the bills were piling up,
we didn't have any extra money.
Anyway, Brenda used to
make these cinnamon rolls.
So she had made a whole
bunch of these rolls
for a party she was going to.
So Donny snuck in the kitchen,
took about a dozen of these
rolls, marched on down the block
and started negotiating with this kid.
Do you remember that?
- I remember that, yeah.
So I told him that I would give him
unlimited cinnamon rolls
if he gave me his bike.
And he did. (laughs)
- And so, did you uphold
your end of the bargain?
- Yeah, I did, and
Brenda was so mad at me.
I got in so much trouble.
She was so mad because she had to make
cinnamon rolls every
month for like a year.
(family laughs)
- That's the kind of kid he was.
- See, you never tell me stuff like this.
- What was I like, Charles?
- You were quiet, shy.
Once you got behind that
camera, you came alive.
And look at you now,
making a living with it.
- Snapping pictures.
- Yeah, there's a little
more to it than that.
- You were a mama's boy.
Always up under Brenda.
Sometimes, I used to think I didn't have
anything to do with
bringing you into the world.
- What are you doing right now, huh?
And what is all this?
Why are you putting on a show?
- What do you mean?
- Prayers, reminiscing about
happier times, times
that I don't even recall
as being very happy.
- Michael, come on, man!
- You don't even know me, Charles.
You barely knew Brenda!
- Hang on a second.
- You didn't know her well enough to know
that she did not want to be cremated.
She didn't believe in it.
But look at her, a pile of
dust while y'all sitting
around the table laughing and
talking about cinnamon rolls.
Man, I'm out.
- Michael.
- I just want a minute alone.
- I know, I just wanted to...
You can smoke bro, that's cool.
- [Michael] When'd you stop smoking?
- When I met Grace.
She hates it, you know?
Our relationship literally hinged on it.
- So what'd you replace it with?
- Guns.
- Guns.
- Yeah.
- What, did you collect them?
- No, no, I shoot 'em.
You know, like at a range.
But Grace doesn't know, so.
- Go ahead.
It's funny, man.
I remember you gave me my first
cigarette in the back yard.
- Yeah man, you threw
up all over my J's too.
- Them boys were clean too.
- You got so sick, bro.
- [Michael] They were horrible.
- I remember Brenda came
out and she saw them,
and she was like, ain't nothing
a little bleach can't fix.
- Bleach.
- I was so mad.
I did not want to bleach those things.
Then she made us smoke a whole pack,
thinking that would create
some kind of aversion.
- Didn't work.
- Obviously.
- I wonder if she suffered.
Brenda, she's just been running
through my mind, over and over again.
Do you think she deserved it?
- You asking me or you telling me?
- Hey, Donny, we didn't
exactly win the parent lottery.
- I don't know, man.
I think they did the best
they could, you know.
- Keep telling yourself that.
- What are you doing man?
- What?
- You know what I mean.
What was that at dinner, what was that?
- Donny, like, two days
of prayer and a dinner
don't make up for 22 years.
I mean, he trying to clear his conscience
or tick off some little box
on his little 12 step program.
I don't have time for that man,
he can miss me with that nonsense.
- Why you so angry man?
- You should be too.
- Listen to me, Michael.
When I went away, I left
everything in the past.
All behind me, it's done.
It's through man.
- Smoke and mirrors.
and mirrors.
- Did you enjoy dinner?
- I did.
- Well, good.
- Thank you so much.
- It's so nice to meet you.
- It's so nice meeting you too.
- You know what, why don't
you go in there and relax.
We've got this.
Seriously, go on Grace, sit down.
We got this.
- Well, thank you guys for everything.
- Oh, no problem.
- She's a sweet girl.
What's wrong?
- Nothing.
- Charles, we've been
friends for 30 plus years.
I know that look, what's wrong?
- You know, he wasn't lying.
- Who?
- Michael, when he said
I don't know him, I don't.
- Charles, the good thing is the both
of you are still breathing.
- Clarice, I got that feeling.
It's all coming at me too fast.
Brenda, and the boys, and Abigail.
- I know.
- I've been praying.
God ain't listening.
- He's listening, but all
you're doing is talking.
Maybe if you slowed down, you'll
get what you need, Charles.
- The only time I slowed
down was in a bottle.
- Oh, Charles.
You know, the moment I
decided to quit drinking,
Maurice was 10.
It was three years after his father died,
and I was supposed to be taking him
to a friend's birthday party.
But I wanted to get wasted instead.
He was so mad.
I had made a promise to him.
But I chose my addiction.
He stormed out of the house angry.
I passed out.
I remember
waking up to the police
knocking at my door.
And I answered, confused.
All I remember was them saying
that my baby had been hit by a car.
I didn't hear anything else after that.
You know, that's why they
say this life is nothing
but the sum of our choices, Charles.
And that's why we have to choose wisely.
So you need to choose wisely.
You finish up these dishes.
I got a long day tomorrow.
- Thank you, my friend.
- Always, Charles.
(melancholy piano music)
- I wear it like my complexion.
A cocoa brown hue that has a deeper story.
Painted all over me like
the mirror's reflection.
She is my guilt.
She is my glory.
For who would I be without her
imposing on my every decision?
Like a misty fog distorting my vision
of who I could really be if I had not
lived a life with guilt as my guide.
(melancholy piano music)
- Grace?
- I can't sleep.
- Either can I.
- [Poet] Guilt has built me.
Brick by brick and stone by stone,
I have been built and
rebuilt again, and still
I've made guilt my home.
- She's beautiful.
- Yes she was.
She's angry at me.
You can't tell by looking at her face.
See the way she's touching her elbow?
- Yeah.
- That's what she used to do
when she was upset.
It was an unconscious tic.
Maybe a warning.
- What did you do to her?
- Many things.
- [Grace] Well, they
couldn't have been all bad.
- [Charles] This is
just before I went away.
- Where did you go?
- Prison.
This is the part where you say,
why'd you go to prison, Charles?
- Well, it doesn't matter why.
You're here now, right?
(piano music)
- That's Abigail Johnson.
Pretty little girl.
Every year since I've been out,
I go by and see her mother.
I never get out and talk to her.
I just sit there.
Not a day goes by that I don't imagine
what she could have become.
Today's the anniversary of the accident.
I just wish I could go back.
- If only we could
all go back and change things.
- Hey, baby, we're just
watching old home movies.
- Let's go, Grace.
- Donovan, we're talking.
- I'm not asking.
(somber piano music)
- [Charles] Son.
- We're leaving in the morning.
- [Charles] Donovan.
- Why did you have to
tell her that story, man?
- Because it happened, Donovan.
It happened.
I prayed for you boys, for years.
I prayed to God to take care of you.
Because I couldn't.
- You know, I appreciate your prayers,
but I needed more than that, man.
I needed you.
I needed you.
(melancholy music)
- [Poet] There's nothing about me
that my guilt don't know, she listen so
cunningly and hangs onto my every word.
How could I let her go?
- [Woman] Are we going to
address the elephant in the room?
- [Michael] There's an elephant?
- There is definitely an elephant.
You used to be married once?
- Excuse me?
- I do my research.
- You call going through
my stuff research?
Where's the journalistic
integrity in that?
- Wait, wait, I wasn't
planning on writing about you.
- Now, Adriana, I'm serious.
Get your stuff and get out.
- You all are in for a treat.
You all are going to love
and adore the beautiful
soulful sounds of Denise.
- Can I get a whiskey,
neat, please.
- ID please.
- [Announcer] Give a warm round
of applause for Miss Denise.
(audience applauds)
- Thank you.
I'm gonna switch it up
just a little tonight.
Y'all don't mind if I
do me for a bit, do you?
- Come on girl.
(audience applauds)
- Good.
You enjoy the music?
- Yeah, it was dope.
You did a pretty good
job, I was feeling it.
If you ever need some
photos, album artwork,
or promotional materials,
just let me know.
You know I got you.
You still photogenic.
- Still?
- Yeah, still photogenic.
- [Denise] Oh wow, no way.
- [Michael] Yeah, you remember that day?
- Our first date.
- Yeah.
I found this in my room.
- Goodness.
You know what, you're still somewhat
of a decent photographer.
- Oh, so you follow my work.
- Well, yeah, I might have looked
you up on Facebook once or twice.
- So you approve then?
- I approve.
- But, more importantly, you've
been Facebook stalking me.
- Whatever. (laughs)
Whatever, whatever, whatever.
- You know, Denise, I,
I really missed you.
- I've,
let's not ruin the vibe.
Okay, we got a good vibe going right now.
- You haven't missed me at all.
- Michael, seriously.
- Denise, come on.
- Why did you come here tonight, Michael?
For closure?
- I really missed you.
I missed your smile.
You know, I needed to
see that right there.
That's what I needed to see.
I flew all the way to
Michigan just for that.
- Why did you leave?
- You wouldn't understand.
- No see, I've asked myself
that question for years.
Trying to make sense of it.
So, I need you to help me understand.
You owe that to me.
We were two months from our wedding.
I was ready to be with you
for the rest of my life.
(cellphone buzzes)
Hey you!
Yes, yes, yes, the show was
great, I killed it as usual.
Yeah, I am ready.
I'll be out front.
I love you too.
I need to go.
- Is that your boyfriend?
- Fiance.
- Do you love him?
- I do.
- Do you?
- I have to go, and that means you too.
(melancholy music)
(door slams)
(furniture crashes)
(dramatic music)
- It's your favorite, I remember.
No, no!
- You need to go to bed, Michael.
- Let me pour you another drink.
It'll be good for you.
Don't be rude, Charles,
have a drink with me.
- This isn't helping you.
- Okay.
Don't think.
I forgot that you cremated her.
Yeah, all she, all she ever
wanted was a traditional burial.
You hated her.
- I didn't hate her.
- Oh stop lying.
- I loved her like I love you.
- Liar!
Don't be rude, Charles,
come on, have a drink.
- You hear that?
Donovan, I heard talking.
- You don't know what I went through.
- I know what you went through.
- You don't know, you weren't here.
- I couldn't be here.
And I'm sorry.
- Donovan!
- [Michael] I know you Charles,
better than you know yourself.
(Michael talks indistinctly)
(dramatic music)
- It's Michael.
- It's always Michael.
(Michael talks indistinctly)
- It's your fault that I'm like this.
I defended you.
Day after day after day.
Being talked about, being chased around,
having rocks thrown at
me, I fought for you!
But you weren't here to protect me.
(dramatic music)
- I'm sorry.
- Stay here, Grace.
- No, I'm coming with you.
- Grace, how many times
to I gotta tell you,
this does not concern you.
- It does concern me.
It concerns both of us.
- Stay here, please.
- I'm coming.
- I said stay here!
(dramatic music)
- Let's just have a drink together.
Father and son.
Just have a drink, all right?
We both know you want to.
- Come on man, stop it,
what are you doing, bro?
- Donny, yes.
Have a drink with us, Donny.
- Come on man.
It's been a long weekend for everybody.
Let's just go to bed man.
- Don't, don't do that to me!
Don't you patronize me.
- [Charles] It's okay, Donny.
(Michael talking indistinctly)
- [Donny] Look at it, is this okay, huh?
Is this okay, I am sick of this!
- There he is.
- Shut up.
- It took awhile, but
you finally showed up.
- Shut up.
See this is the reason that
I left, you understand that?
- You're just like her.
Yeah, you been running from it,
but you can't run from who you are, Donny.
- I am nothing like her.
- You've been running your whole life.
You couldn't wait to leave me here.
- Are you kidding me, man?
I went to college.
What was I supposed to do?
Sit around here and rot
like everybody else?
Man, you are so narcissistic man!
You had no idea what I did for you.
- Man you were never,
ever much of a brother.
- Are you kidding me?
(men arguing indistinctly)
- I was.
When Charles went to
prison, who was there?
I was.
And when you had your nightmares,
and you couldn't sleep at night,
who was there, Michael, I was.
- Donny.
- And who was there for me, huh?
Who was there for me?
- Donny, Donny.
- Get off me!
Are you kidding me man?
(dramatic music)
Is this what you wanted, huh?
(men shouting indistinctly)
- [Michael] What you gonna do now,
what you gonna do now, Donny?
- I'm so sick of you, sick of you!
- [Michael] Let's do this.
What, what, say something, say something.
You're not big and tough now.
Get off me, man!
What's wrong with you?
- Donovan.
- What?
- You think I'm that little boy?
(dramatic music)
- Grace, Grace!
Grace, oh my God.
(Grace sobs)
Look at me, look at me, it's
gonna be okay, all right?
Charles, call 911.
It's gonna be all right,
it's gonna be all right.
All right, just calm down,
it's gonna be all right.
Charles, dad!
Call 911.
(somber music)
- Right.
- All right, it's gonna be okay.
(somber music)
(people talking indistinctly)
- Thanks.
- So I'm going to be a grandfather.
- I never should have come here.
- You got any names picked out?
I imagine Grace had the name
before you all even met.
I had your name picked out
before you were even a thought.
Dark warrior.
My fighter.
I knew I was gonna have a boy first.
You didn't come into the world easy.
You and your mother almost died.
Most terrifying experience of my life.
- Asher.
- Out of Asher his bread shall be fat.
And he shall yield royal dainties.
- It means blessing.
I chose the name because
I just wanted him to
be something different.
You know?
I wanted him to be better.
- He will be.
- But maybe it's not meant to be.
- What's not meant to be?
- We lost three babies, Charles.
And this time, I don't know, I just.
I feel like it's my fault.
- The last time your
mother came to visit me,
she came to tell me to never
come around you all again.
I agreed to stay away.
I was wrong.
But your mother,
she loved you the best way she knew how.
You're not like your mother.
You're not like me.
You came through us,
but you're not from us.
Donnie, you will be a great father.
- Sir, you can go see her now.
- Are they okay?
- Everything's gonna be fine.
Come with me.
(somber piano music)
- Why would she keep these from me?
(somber piano music)
It doesn't even matter,
'cause it's just words.
It's just a pile of
words, of broken dreams,
hopes and apologies, and regrets.
Just a whole bunch of
nonsense, just nothing.
Just a pile of nothing.
- I wouldn't be here today if
it weren't for these words.
- Yeah, well, these words couldn't stop me
from getting my tail
whipped every day at school.
They couldn't stop the nightmares.
I see her.
(somber piano music)
That night just plays over and over.
And over in my head.
You were so drunk.
Worse than I'd ever seen.
You turned and you smiled at me.
You never smiled at me like that before.
Do you remember?
(somber music)
- You're old enough to drive.
You wanna drive?
- I guess, I guess.
- Here, put your hand here, right there.
There you go.
All right, now watch the road.
Hey, put your other hand right here.
(somber music)
Good, good, you're doing
it, you're doing it.
Okay, stay right in
the middle of the lane.
Don't let go.
All right, you're doing it.
It's all you.
(dramatic music)
- She came out of nowhere.
- Dad!
(Charles shouts)
- These words can't fix that.
They can't fix that I killed that girl.
They can't fix
that it was all my fault,
they can't fix that, that she's dead.
They can't fix that.
- [Charles] It's not your
fault, you were just a child.
(melancholy music)
- I killed that girl.
- You didn't.
- I killed her, it was all my fault.
(melancholy music)
It's all my fault.
A day did not go by that
I wish I could go back.
(melancholy piano music)
She's not here because of me.
And then you left me.
You left me.
(melancholy piano music)
I didn't know what to do.
- I'm so sorry.
(melancholy piano music)
- [Michael] I just wanted a dad.
(birds chirping)
(soothing piano music)
- Good morning, Charles.
I have something for you.
Brenda wrote it, she planned on giving
it to you in person.
- She knew I was clean?
- Of course, old timer.
I was just waiting on the
right moment to give it to you.
(uplifting piano music)
(uplifting music)
(melancholy music)