The Half of It (2020) Movie Script

[roaring, whines]
[female narrator] The ancient Greeks
believed humans once had four arms,
four legs, and a single head
made of two faces.
We were happy.
So complete that the gods,
fearing our wholeness would quell
our need for worship, cleaved us in two...
leaving our split selves
to wander the Earth in misery.
Forever longing.
[bird calling]
for the other half of our soul.
[wind whistles softly]
It is said that when one half
finds its other...
there's an unspoken understanding.
A unity.
And each would know no greater joy...
than this.
-[students chattering]
-[locker clatters]
[narrator] Of course...
the ancient Greeks
never went to high school.
[bell rings]
Good hang out.
Whatever. [sighs]
[narrator] Or they'd realize...
[train horn blaring]
[narrator] ...we don't need the gods
to mess things up for us.
[crossing bell dinging]
If you ask me...
people spend far too much time
looking for someone to complete them.
How many people find perfect love?
Or if they do...
make it last?
More evidence of Camus' theory
that life is irrational...
and meaningless.
[printer whirring]
And that, my friends, is some
A-plus love philosophy right there.
Or A-minus if Mrs. G is in a bad mood.
Either way, it's an A or you don't pay.
Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers,
the immoral persons.
And everyone who loves
and practices lying...
[train horn blares in distance]
[boy] Ellie Chu!
Chugga chugga Chu Chu! [laughs]
[harmonizing on single note]
[teacher] Fantastic. [sighs]
The angels weep with joy.
Next up...
the winter talent show.
Mandatory for all seniors.
This is your last chance
to strut your stuff. Mandatory.
[muted] Once again, the wall tubas
must be checked out before use.
These are very delicate instruments
with sticky valves.
Some bad news.
Someone left their Dr. Pepper
in our storage cupboard.
-Imagine a world without flutes...
-[students whispering]
-[girl] Did you mute me, Bruce?
-[Bruce, softly] No, Kaitlin, I didn't.
[Kaitlin whispers] I can tell
if you mute me, Bruce. I can tell.
[boy 1] Jerry's parents are in Spokane...
-[boy 2] I'll bring the Xbox.
-[sends text]
[phone vibrates]
[soft chuckles]
[teacher] ...please bring it back.
-No questions asked.
-[phones vibrating]
[students giggling]
Is there a problem?
[students, overlapping] No, Mr. Flores.
[Mr. Flores] Next up, we had an issue...
[girl whispers] I heard his sister
went to Seattle with the church.
She's majoring in sociology.
[overlapping whispers]
Hey. Send this down to the big guy.
-[girl] I think I'm going deaf.
-Oh, thank you very much.
No, but honestly, man,
the man I want to be when I'm older
is not the man I am today,
you know what I'm saying?
[girl whispers] Aster!
-So, you've just gotta keep living, man.
-[girl] Always has her head in a book.
-You've just gotta keep living life.
-[Mr. Flores tapping] Choir, stand up.
Let's all turn to page 49.
[guitar playing
"Annie's Song (You Fill Up My Senses)"]
You fill up my senses
Like a night in a forest
Like the mountains in springtime
Like a walk in the rain
Like a storm in the desert...
-[narrator] In case you haven't guessed...
-[song continues]
...this is not a love story.
[coach] Are you men or are you losers?
-[boy 1] Come on, ladies, let's go!
-[boy 2] Coming through!
[narrator] Or not one
where anyone gets what they want.
[choir continues, Aster's voice clear]
Come fill me again
[coach] Munsky!
Come let me love you...
-[students chattering]
-[indistinct PA announcement]
[teacher] Notice the lack
of fire and brimstone in No Exit.
We are the source of our own hell.
-[bell rings]
Five hundred words on Sartre's use
of thwarted desire, Monday.
[students chattering]
-Six different takes on Plato. Impressive.
-Just the one.
That's what I tell the bartender.
How come you never turn me in?
And have to read
the actual essays they'd write?
-You know I'm going to E-dub.
-Damn shame.
Damn full ride.
I can live at home and, plus,
I get to stay in lovely Squahamish.
-It's not that bad.
Okay, it's not that good either,
but it's what's happening.
I spent four of the best years of my life
at Grinnell.
And look at you,
back home in Hell-quahamish.
You're right.
Stay away from the liberal arts.
-Try not to get fired over the weekend.
-Are you kidding?
Everyone in this town fears God,
but you know who God fears?
The Teachers Union.
-[rock music plays over truck radio]
-[boy] Chugga chugga Chu Chu.
[boys laughing]
[boy 2] Hey!
Hold up!
[Ellie] Whoa!
What is wrong with you?
[stammers] I'm sorry. I, uh...
Ten dollars for three pages,
$20 for three to ten.
Not in the over-ten-page biz.
No, I'm not trying to cheat.
Nobody is. Whose class is it for?
No, it-- it's not... Um...
-What's this?
-A letter.
-Who writes letters these days?
-I-- I thought it'd seem romantic.
-Can't help you.
-I-- I just need a few words. Good ones.
I'm not writing to Aster Fl--
To some girl.
It'd be wrong. A letter is personal.
It's supposed to be authentic.
-That'd be awesome.
-No! I can't be you being authen--
Get a thesaurus, use spell-check.
Good luck, Romeo.
-[Ellie scoffs]
-No, I can pay more for authentic.
-[dramatic music plays on TV]
-[characters speak indistinctly]
[electricity buzzes]
[in Mandarin]
Did you call the power company?
They don't understand my accent.
Did you try?
Best part.
"I think this is the beginning
of a beautiful friendship."
[dramatic instrumental soundtrack
playing on TV]
[in Mandarin] I'll call tomorrow.
[dramatic instrumental soundtrack
continues on TV]
-[line rings]
-[woman] Inland Power And Light.
I'm calling for account 460A38.
Please hold.
[classical music plays over line]
[automated voice]
Please re-enter your selection.
Bill. Extension.
Please hold.
[classical music plays over line]
[plays upbeat tune]
-[classical music continues over line]
-[students chattering]
[items clattering]
[sighs] These hallways are murder.
I'm Ellie Chu.
Yes, I know.
You've only been playing my dad's services
every Sunday for, like, four years.
You're his favorite heathen.
He can't handle mediocre accompanists.
Even if they are saved.
Remains Of The Day.
Loved it.
All that barely repressed longing.
[bell rings]
"I'm Ellie Chu"?
[woman on phone] Yes, I know. Your bill
is three months overdue, Mrs. Chu.
If we don't get a minimum payment of $50,
your power will terminate tomorrow.
Fifty dollars, one letter.
After that, you're on your own.
[boy] "Dear Aster Flores:
I think you're really beautiful.
Even if you were ugly,
I'd want to know you,
because you are smart and nice, too."
[Ellie] "It's hard to find
all those things in one girl.
But even if you were only
two of those things, I'd be into it.
But you're, like, all three,
just to be clear."
She's like all three.
Thanks for clarifying.
"About me.
Some people think
I'm the cutest one in my family.
Those people being my grandma...
who's dead now.
Never mind about my dead grandma.
All I'm saying is that I like fries.
I like dipping them in my milkshake.
Is that weird?
It's actually really tasty.
Would you like to try that
with me sometime?
I work part-time and I have a truck.
Let me know whenever.
Paul Munsky, second string tight end...
-So what you're trying to say is--
-I'm in love with her.
Have you ever spoken to her?
I'm not good with words.
But you know you love her?
I know I think about her when I wake up.
And when I'm doing my sprints.
And when I'm eating my mom's bratwurst
and when I'm saying my prayers--
That just means you're stubborn.
Not that you're in love.
No, it's love.
Love makes you screwy.
Don't you get screwy?
[Ellie sighs, mutters]
This whole section needs...
Although, that fry thing does sound good.
A dangling modifier.
Oh, I get it.
Get what?
You've never been in love.
[Paul grunts]
You want a letter about love?
I'll write you a letter about love.
One that'll make herfall in love with me,
not storm off in a huff like you're doing.
-[indistinct TV chatter in French]
[in Mandarin] This isn't even American.
How are you going to learn English?
[in English] Best part.
[Mr. Chu, in French] "Longing...
longing for a wave of love
to swell up in me."
[Paul] You sealed it.
No, I'm sure it's good.
[Ellie] Hushmo me.
[Paul] Hey.
-[bicycle squeaking]
-She wrote back.
-[brakes squeal]
[Paul panting]
[Aster] "I like Wim Wenders, too.
Wouldn't have plagiarized him, though."
Who's Wim Wenders
and why'd you cheat off him?
-I didn't cheat off of him.
-No, I looked up "plagiarize."
-I kind of cheated off him.
-I paid you!
-But this is good.
It's like a game.
She's, like, challenging us.
But in a good way.
So, uh...
we're... we're still in the game.
Yep. Mm-hmm.
We are. So...
Game on, Aster Flores.
Game on.
-[Ellie] "Dear Aster: Okay, you got me."
-[crossing bell dinging]
"I sometimeshidebehind
other people's words.
For one thing, I know nothing about love.
I'm 17.
I've lived in Squahamish my whole life."
[Paul] Such a downer.
-It's not a downer.
-A major downer.
-Ask her to hang out.
-[Ellie scoffs]
[Ellie] What exactly is...
hanging out?
You know, uh, hanging out.
-But, like, what do you do?
-[boy] Munsky, what's up?
Uh... uh, confession.
-Want to go to Joey's and hang out?
[Ellie] "I hang out with my friends.
-I keep my head down."
-[can rattles]
-[Paul sighs]
[Ellie] "I'm a simple..."
-[woman] Paulie!
This meat won't grind itself.
"Which is to say...
if I knew what love was,
I would quote myself."
[boy] Right here, man.
People, air, weather.
Why would we ever leave?
[soft piano playing]
[pauses playing]
-[Paul] Psst!
-[soft knock]
[softly] In here!
[softly] Isn't this sacrilegious?
[whispers] She wrote back.
[Aster] "Dear Paul..."
-[Mr. Flores preaches indistinctly]
-"You know it takes 11 muscles to yawn?
This is the sort of weird fact
I find myself recalling
-to keep myself from..."
-[Mr. Flores continues indistinctly]
"...well, yawning."
We believe that God loves us.
"Or showing anything I feel really."
-[Mr. Flores] We believe blindly and...
-"So, yeah...
I turn to other people's words, too."
[man] ...imagine how the right gravel
can change your life.
[in Spanish]
Sweetheart, sit up straight, please.
Like a lady.
[Aster] "When you're a pretty girl,
and I know it makes me sound conceited,
but that's why you're even writing me,
[chair squeaks]
[Paul sighs]
[Aster] "When you're a pretty girl,
people want to give you things."
It would look so cute on you.
-[Aster] "What they really want..."
" to make you like them."
"Not like them as in, 'I like you,'
but like them as in, 'I am like you.'"
so cute on you.
Oh, you-- you mean right now?
[Aster chuckles]
[Photronique's "Check Me Out" plays]
Check me out, check me out
I'm underground...
[Aster] "So I'm like a lot of people.
Which makes me kind of no one."
Every inch of my design
Is far from grace... [fading]
[Paul whispers] Uh...
-Can I text her now?
-Too soon.
No, I'm gonna do it.
If you want her to think
you're like everyone else.
[sighs heavily]
[Paul taps on his cell phone]
[alert chime]
[Ellie] "I never really thought about
the oppression of fitting in before.
The good thing about being different
is that no one expects you
to be like them."
[Paul running] Hey, wait for me!
[Aster] "Doesn't everyone
think they're different, but...
pretty much we're all different
in the same way?"
-[bell rings]
-[Ellie] "Says the girl
perched on the rarefied peak
of Mt. Popularity."
Taco time.
"Easy, Mr. I Know Nothing About Love.
I may surprise you."
[girl 1] So, where do you wanna go?
[girl 2] I want to go somewhere
where I could get pajamas.
[girl 1] Do you wanna go to Gap?
[girl 2] The one in Tukwila has a GapBody.
[girl 1] I love GapBody.
It has, like, 15 dressing rooms.
[girl 2] Oh, it's the better Gap.
[girl 1] So much better
than the one in Wenatchee.
[girl 2] Ugh.Wenatchee...
Oh, my God. Go look at Molly's posts.
-[girl 1] Eww.
-[girl 2] She looks so gross.
-[girl 1] She looks so gross.
-[girl 2] Why would she post that?
[girl 1] I have no idea.
[girl 2]
Trig checked in at Dick's Fry Fry.
[girl 1] Aster is so lucky.
[girl 2 scoffs] Totes lucky.
His family owns half of Squahamish.
[girl 1]
Hers doesn't even own their house.
[girl 2 laughs]
-You're so rude.
-[girl 1 giggles]
You know that it's true.
-[girl 2] Yeah, it's true.
-[girl 1 laughs]
[Ellie] "What's surprising is people
don't see what they're not looking for."
[Aster] "The obvious unseen."
[door shuts]
this is why half my class
is failing their essays.
I'll be reopen for business soon enough.
And this can't go on much longer.
"I've been thinking about what you said
-about seeing and not seeing."
-[indistinct chatter]
[man] Yes, I do!
[Aster] "I had a painting teacher
once tell me that
the difference between a good painting
and a great painting...
is typically five strokes.
And they're usually
the five boldest strokes in the painting.
The question, of course...
is which five strokes?"
[Ellie] "I get it. After one's slaved away
at making a pretty good painting,
the last thing you'd want to do
is make a bold stroke and potentially..."
[Aster] "Ruin everything.
That's why I gave up painting.
Still, I wonder if that
is how I'm living my life."
Hey, babe?
Which one?
Right one, right?
Let's do this.
[Aster] "It's a...
pretty good life.
Probably the best life one could hope for
in Squahamish."
-[indistinct TV chatter]
[Ellie] "Perhaps...
but how well
do you really know Squahamish?"
"Oh, so that's your boldest stroke?"
[Aster] "I'm into the slow build.
What was that?"
[Ellie] "Decisiveness.
But, please,
take all the time you need to be bold."
[Aster] "Is this bold enough for you?"
[Ellie] "And thus was abstract art born."
[Aster] "And transformed."
[man] Hey!
-[thunder rumbles]
-[Aster] "Or not."
[Ellie] "Everything beautiful
is ruined eventually.
Maybe that's the thing.
If you do ruin your painting...
you gotta know
you have everything in you
to get to that
pretty good painting again."
[Aster] "But if you never
do the bold stroke..."
[teacher speaks indistinctly]
[Ellie] "You'll never know
if you could've had a great painting."
[teacher] ...triangle is different.
All polygons with three sides.
Take one side away,
now it's just an angle.
Add a side, that's a square.
[Paul] When does the dating start?
This is dating.
No, dating is burgers
and fries and shakes.
And maybe another order of fries.
-I'm gonna text her.
-Wait, what?
-At a certain point, you've gotta close.
-We're not at that point!
We'reway past that point.
-[text chimes]
-[crowd cheering]
[tires spinning]
-[engine revving]
-[cheers continue]
[music plays softly on radio]
[Ellie] Oh, my God.
I've gone... [groans]
"Little sister hacked my phone.
Can we take this to a safer platform?
Ghost Messenger?
My handle's...
Smith Corona."
-Who's Smith Corona?
-Just a guy.
-[Paul] Crap.
-[Ellie groans]
[cheering continues]
Whoo! Whoo! Whoo!
I'm the king of the mud!
Babe! Babe, did you get that?
Caption it, "Mudding king."
[all] Mudding king!Mudding king!
Mudding king! Mudding--
[phone chimes]
[automated voice] New ghost message.
-Yeah, we did it!
[lid rattles]
[upbeat rock music playing]
She prefers abstract to representational.
If she brings up Remains Of The Day,
talk about how the movie loses out
by not spending more time on the Nazis.
[Paul] Relax. I got this.
-[Ellie] But--
-[Paul] It's a date, not a book report.
I got two of them signed when he came
to Powell's Books last year. [chuckles]
I drove all night to get there.
Oh, uh...
You've probably already read it.
-Thought you'd like one.
-Uh, yeah, totally.
No, I-- I love, uh...
[Paul over speaker]
I mean, the-- the ones in the book.
I mean, like, more of those Nazis.
Am I right?
Uh, speaking of Nazis...
thank you for meeting me here.
My dad...
he isn't a Nazi exactly, but, uh...
he can be pretty strict.
You know, people talk.
Um, yeah. Talk. Ugh.
It's nice...
to make a new friend, though.
A friend.
They use Reddi-wip.
It's, uh... from a can.
Uh... but it's okay.
[sighs heavily]
[Paul] It wasn't that bad.
What about that date wasn't bad?
You have nothing in common.
Not yet, but--
Game over.
[Paul panting] I can't give up.
[Ellie] Look, you and Aster Flores,
not gonna happen.
-[boy] Chugga chugga Chu Chu!
-[Paul] Hey!
-Who are you calling "Chu Chu"?
-[boy] Shit, let's get out of here!
[Paul] What kind of wusses say dumb shit
and then drive away?
Yeah, you'd better run!
[Ellie] Aster Flores thinks
you're into abstract art
and repressed British literature.
-None of that is you.
It could be. I started reading
that Remains Of The Day book.
-Yeah. I fell asleep a few times,
but I'm still reading it.
That's gotta count for something.
There are no points for effort.
Isn't that what love is? How much effort
you put into loving someone?
[thunder rumbles]
Well, whatever love is,
-we just blew it with Aster Flores.
-[phone chimes]
No, I can do this.
We can do this.
[rain pattering on roof]
I'll pay you double.
You don't have to pay me.
Don't be weird, dude.
Why else would you do this?
No, I've got savings.
[Ellie] Next date is three weeks away.
-Three weeks?
-You told her you're slammed
-with football training.
-I-- I did?
Yes. Also, you're in a debate
on who's the better Hepburn.
[Mr. Chu] Who there?
[in Mandarin] Ba, did we wake you?
School project.
Hi, Ellie Chu's dad.
We don't have time to school you
on everything Aster thinks you are,
so we have to be selective.
Deep versus broad-based learning.
-We spy on her,
then cram you on her greatest hits.
Oh, cool.
-Are you ready for this?
[hushed] Are you ready for this?
Yes, sir! Yes, sir!
So, in No Exit,
three people are trapped in hell.
A door opens, but nobody leaves.
That's nuts. He can't stand these people.
A door opens and he doesn't leave?
[Ellie] He's trapped in hell.
It's a metaphor for existence.
[Paul] My nana hated Minnesota. She left.
[Ellie] Your nana wasn't one of
the great thinkers of the 20th century.
-[Paul] Nana's not trapped in hell either.
-[Ellie groans]
Hey! Hey, where are you going?
The hell's got into Munsky?
You're like some marvelous, distant,
well, queen, I guess.
You're so cool and fine.
[Hepburn] I don't want to be worshiped,
I want to be loved.
Key thing about The Philadelphia Story
is it's a plea for tolerance.
Check this out. I'm calling it
taco sausage. Do you want a bite?
No. So tolerance...
Two hand foods, one great taste.
Conversation is like ping-pong.
I hit one and then you...
What the...
[crowd groans]
[crowd gasps]
-[crowd groans, shrieks]
-[Aster continues giggling]
[instrumental spy music playing]
We're writing a profile
on the student we most admire.
Oh, cool, cool.
-Views on women in the workplace?
-Does Aster like lean meats?
[both] What are you doing?
-I'm good cop.
-Then how come you aren't smiling?
I'll smile when you follow the plan
that I carefully--
I'm surprised more kids
haven't asked to interview me. Huh.
I'm going in.
I'm going in with my smile.
Looks like The Moose have a man open.
[Paul] You're not hungry?
Not if it's not time to eat.
Now that's weird.
Hey, uh, can I ask you a question?
I don't want to try a taco sausage.
Why Squahamish?
Just, like, your dad seems so unhappy here
and you also seem kind of unhappy.
-I gotta go.
-No, no, no, wait.
No, you're not taking this seriously.
I have a ton of work I have to do.
No, just, you're so smart.
Like, too smart to, like--
Waste my time trying to win you a girl
who'll never look your way?
-No, it just seems weird.
-You're weird!
No-- Yes.
-Enjoy your happy life in Squahamish.
-No, no...
The thing about No Exit is it's like how
what I really want is to run my own shop,
with new recipes. And-- And FYI,
taco sausage is really effing good.
Okay, but I'm the fourth son
and my family's been making
the same sausage for 49 years
and it doesn't matter
if they're going broke, or out of style,
they're Nana's recipes.
If Ma can't haveNana,
at least she can make her sausages.
If I break away, it'll break her heart.
And it's either her heart or mine.
So I stay.
[Ellie scoffs]
[sighs heavily]
We had to go
where my dad could get a job.
He studied trains?
PhD, no less.
So, uh,
he became the station manager
at Squahamish.
To start.
The plan was to be promoted
to system engineer.
Or anything engineer.
Squahamish was a jumping-off point.
It turns out speaking good English
trumps having a PhD.
Or one from China anyway.
And my dad, he--
Doesn't speak very good.
-He's not bad.
-I don't speak very good either.
What's your excuse?
How do you feel about pot roast?
I should get back to the station.
I know, but we've gotta eat.
-[engine starts]
-[boy] Mom!
[girl] Tommy, stop friending my friends!
Would you like to weigh in or are you
just gonna scream throughout the meal?
I'll deal with the dog wrestling.
-It's your fault!
[overlapping shouts]
[Paul] Or we could go to your place?
[jaunty instrumental music plays on TV]
[cutlery clinks softly]
Match energy, match strokes,
and just say one thing.
Where were you born?
In Squahamish.
What about you?
Okay. Good. That wasn't so hard.
But where were you born?
I don't need talking practice.
It just seems
like a really short conversation.
[Ellie sighs]
I was born in Xuzhou, China.
When did you come here?
When I was five.
-What do you like about Squahamish?
I've never been anywhere else.
Me neither.
[Mr. Flores]
How does Satan get his message through?
Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers,
the immoral persons. [groans]
Does he write letters?
-No, he causes us to question.
-[phone vibrates]
Question our lives, our path.
Our very faith in God.
-Satan plants the seed of doubt...
-[phone vibrates]
...and, from that seed, grows sin.
Sin is everywhere.
We're lucky to live in a good town
like Squahamish.
But the world is changing.
Let us stay strong against Satan's call,
lest sin creep in and destroy
the good life God has prepared for us.
[school bell rings]
You know what it's like to finally meet
someone your age who gets you?
You know where else you can meet
people your age who get you?
[Paul] You should send some emojis.
[whispers] I'm not sending her emojis.
Do pineapple, owl,
caterpillar with glasses.
[Ellie] What does that mean?
That doesn't mean anything.
Glasses make the caterpillar look smart.
Favorite food?
Braised pork over rice. Yours?
[both] Taco sausage.
-Does braised pork have five-spice powder?
-How do you know five-spice powder?
I kind of creeped in your cabinets.
I'm always looking for new spices.
Giving up on the taco sausage?
Oh, no way. I've been writing to the paper
in Wenatchee for months now.
If I could just get the guy to taste it.
-The gateway to greatness is Wenatchee.
Hey, you gotta try it.
What do the other Munskys think?
They haven't tried it.
Taco sausage has a nice ring to it.
Yeah, right?
What was your mom like?
Young, funny, dead.
No, before she died.
Young, funny...
She sounds cool.
I bet she would've tried
the taco sausage.
[chattering indistinctly]
[rain pattering outside]
What do you like about Aster?
She's pretty...
and she's never mean.
And she smells like fresh-ground flour.
Just wondering.
What else could I like about her?
I don't know.
[distant thunder rumbles]
How her eyes look right into yours.
she twirls her hair when she's reading.
her laugh...
busts out like she can't help herself
and she stops being so perfect
for just a few moments.
She has at least five different voices.
How you could live
in an ocean of her thoughts and...
feel like she knows,
like really knows...
I'm so stupid.
-I just meant--
-No, I'm so dumb.
-Like a real idiot.
-Don't think that I--
-No, what you said.
That's what you say when you love someone.
No, I-- I was just talking.
-I would never, ever actually--
-No, it is.
And-- And you don't even care.
I mean, I love her and I can't even...
[Paul sighs]
You try...
harder than...
anyone I've ever met...
I mean, with the possible exception
of my dad with my mom...
to show a girl that...
you love them.
And if love isn't the effort you put in...
what is it?
[soft chuckle]
-[toaster dings]
[indistinct chatter on TV]
[train horn blares on TV]
[Ellie] I can't believe you drink Yakult.
[Paul] Stadium vending machine.
Coach is gonna provide it free.
Keeps him regular.
The only Asian grocery
is three hours by bike.
Do not run after her train.
Do not.
Do not! Ugh.
-[Paul] It's kinda sweet.
-[Ellie] Kinda trite.
[Paul] Uh, it shows that he cares.
[Ellie] It shows he's a moron.
Who outruns trains?
That girl's thinking, "Thank God I got out
before wasting my life on that idiot."
She looks sad.
Then she's a moron, too.
[crickets chirring]
[soft guitar playing]
[sets phone down]
[Ellie] Safe and sound
As the night tore and spun around
[slow guitar song plays over radio]
[bicycle spokes spinning]
[bike rattles]
[Ellie] Lost track of time
practicing for the senior talent show.
A little freaked about it, but whatever.
Aster. If she brings up immigration,
you've been talking about the recent--
-I know.
-When in doubt, if the name is Italian,
probably an artist.
-If French, it's probably--
We could do it over and over
-And over again
-Over and over...
Uh, sure.
I'm probably gonna crash and burn, but...
thanks for sticking it out with me anyway.
-not like you didn't pay me.
-[gentle scoff]
Well, uh...
You're not gonna crash and burn.
Believe me...
[sighs heavily]
You're totally gonna crash and burn.
And now we're alone...
[country music plays softly over speakers]
-I was wondering--
-What about the immigration bill?
Sorry, uh... go ahead.
No, no.
Oh, uh...
The immigration bill.
Uh... right?
[hesitantly] Right?
Come on, dude.
[country music continues softly
over speakers]
We don't have to talk about...
serious things.
What were you about to say?
Oh, uh...
It's still cool that we're...
Yeah. Yeah, it's cool.
[music continues over phone speaker]
[phone vibrates]
You messaged me?
Uh, yeah.
[Aster texting]
[phone dings]
[softly] You're not just a girl.
[phone dings]
-[Aster giggles]
[Aster texting]
[whispers] I think you are...
You are...
[Paul over speaker]
I don't want to be just friends.
Wait, what?
No, no. Bad. Sit!
I think you're pretty and funny
and smart and your laughter, it's like...
an ocean of thoughts.
Like five oceans of thoughts. Like five...
I like you.
[Gordon Lightfoot's
"If You Could Read My Mind" playing]
I don't... I don't know what to say.
Yeah, me neither.
I'm not a good talker.
That's okay.
[soft chuckle]
[patrons muttering]
[woman] Okay.
When you reach the part
Where the heartaches come
The hero would be me
But heroes often fail
And you won't read that book again
Because the ending's
Just too hard to take
[Paul] What up, haters?
Who rocked their second date?
-Number 86, Paul Munsky!
-[music plays softly over speakers]
And now, his side-girl's gonna rock
the senior recital.
[scoffs] It's a piano solo.
-You're gonna be awesome.
-I'm gonna be puking.
You're always playing for an audience.
On the side.
Not on stage, alone.
-[Paul] You're gonna crush it.
Oh, did I tell you that some food guy
from the paper in Tukwila wrote me?
He must have heard about me
from the guy in Wenatchee.
He likes how my sausage sounds
and he wants to try it.
Boom! It-- It's Munsky time.
Hey, look at you.
what did you and Aster talk about?
Uh, I don't know.
You know, we got milkshakes and fries.
And we held hands.
It was, uh, quiet...
And then she had curfew,
so we walked back to her car and...
I kissed her.
does that...
The kiss.
I kissed her.
How do you know she wants to be kissed?
She gives you a look.
A look?
Yeah, like, um...
Okay, she gives you a look and,
when you see the look, you make your move.
Otherwise you look like a real putz.
-And now we've got, like, a date date,
not just a friend date, when she gets back
from some youth group in Sacramento.
There are dressing rooms, you know.
-I'll just get this.
-No, it's just...
You know, without the jeans
and the flannel shirt...
you look weird.
Gee, thanks.
It just doesn't look like you.
Uh, all girled up.
I know.
Go to the dressing room.
I'll toss you some things.
But you're a dude.
I have a sister.
[horns playing on, off-key]
Well, our next senior
needs no introduction.
What up, Squahamish! Moose!
-[crowd cheering]
You know who I am!
I know who I am!
-Let's do this!
-[band playing Berlin's "Masquerade"]
-[cheering continues]
The painted faces on the street
Caricatures of long ago
Oh, they were young and oh-so sweet
Down beyond the boulevard
Knock on doors and empty halls
-And still sometimes remember
-Oh, my God!
The masquerade's forever
-[music continues, muted]
-[crowd cheering]
Ellie Chu, three minutes till go time.
Last chance to pee.
They reached for tomorrow
-[crowd sings along]
-But tomorrow's more of the same
[whispers] Chugga chugga.
[soft laughter]
[crowd cheering]
[crowd] Trig!Trig!Trig!Trig!
Trig! Trig! Trig! Trig!
-Trig! Trig! Trig! Trig!
-[music stops]
All right, let's give it up next for...
Ellie Chu.
[shouts] Chugga chugga Chu Chu!
[students laughing]
[plays harmonious minor chords]
[broken string twangs]
[begins song again]
[broken string twangs]
-[students snickering]
-[string twangs]
[overlapping whispers]
[soft clattering, sliding nearby]
[softly] Play your song.
[students whispering]
[plays soft notes]
[playing gentle, harmonious notes]
Here we are
Took so long
Came so far
I slept
Half the way
On your shoulder
Safe and sound
As the night tore and spun around
And we had to get lost
To be found
[song ends]
[applause continues]
When did Ellie Chu get kinda hot?
[frogs croaking, bugs chirring]
-Come on.
-Senior recital after-party! Whoo!
-[hard rock music playing]
-[people chattering]
The Chinese girl came!
-[all] Chinese girl!
-[girl] Ellie Chu.
I just wanted to tell you
we've had math together all four years
and I always wanted to say
that I like your nails.
Yeah. Can't get the bike grease out.
They look badass.
Do you want to play Drinkers of Catan?
Okay. So it's like Settlers,
but just, when you cross a fairway,
you take three shots
and you just keep going.
-[boys] Oh!
-That's a lot!That's a lot!
That's so much!
I will trade you wheat for rye.
Oh, bourbon it is.
[Paul] Thanks.
I want you to know...
that I can tell
I have been drinking spirits.
Because I have to pee far more often...
than would be indicated by plain punch.
So don't think
I haven't been monitoring the situation.
Cool, cool.
How many cups have you monitored?
Let's get you home.
[Paul sighs]
[phone vibrates]
-[exhales heavily]
-[phone vibrates]
[basement door opens]
[mom] He's at practice,
but you can leave it in his room.
[Aster] Yeah, it's just something silly
I thought he'd like.
[phone vibrates]
[approaching footsteps]
[Paul's mother chatters indistinctly]
We went as far asSekiu once,
but we never made it
all the way to California.
You're quite the little traveler.
I would love to go to California.
-[Aster chuckles]
-Oh, it's Paul's Chinese friend.
I didn't hear you come in.
I was just, um, dropping off some books.
-Aster was just dropping off-- Tommy!
-[loud whirring upstairs]
Hands off the grinder!
-[indistinct shouts upstairs]
-[door slams]
So, uh, you-- you and Paul, you guys...
Oh, God, no. No, no, no.
He is, like, totally, 100% into you.
You know about us?
He wanted to do some extra reading so...
I lent him some books.
He's doing extra reading?
For you.
That's, uh...
That's sweet.
It is.
[chuckles] On our first date, uh...
I just kept...
talking about books.
I think I almost drove him off.
I can be such a nervous idiot.
You could never be an idiot.
I mean, Paul would never think that
about you, because he's way into you.
-I should get back to the station.
-No, yeah, no.
Oh, it's just some silly thing I made
on my trip.
I like this stroke off to the side.
but hopeful.
He'll love it.
Can I come with?
To the station?
I already lied to my dad
about where I'd be.
I have the day.
[crossing bell dinging]
[train horn blares in distance]
You get to do that every day?
Twice. 6:40 a.m. and 11:40 p.m weekdays.
12:10 p.m. and 9:20 p.m weekends.
Give or take an hour.
That is awesome.
-It's a real blast.
-No, it's-- it's so...
master of the universe.
A teeny-tiny universe. [sighs]
Oh, well. At least you rule something.
Hey, what about those?
My dad doesn't trust them.
Do you want to get outta here?
[Sharon Van Etten's "Seventeen" plays]
I know what you wanna say
I think that you're all the same
Constantly being led astray
Where are we going?
-You think you know
-To my favorite secret place.
Something you don't
Downtown hot spot
Halfway up the street
I used to be free
I used to be 17
Follow my shadow
Aroundyour corner
I used to be 17... [fading]
[birds twittering]
Are these deciduous trees?
[Aster] I wouldn't know.
We don't have trees like this
in Sacramento.
Everything's reversed, so...
things die off in summer,
turn green in winter.
Is that where you grew up?
Born there. Moved here.
My life story.
[water splashes]
Is that long underwear?
I almost forgot.
There's no cell service here, so...
[man over radio]
And the Lord said, "Let..."
[rock music playing]
It's like no one can reach us here.
Ellie not here.
Oh, this is for you.
Taylor Swift's yacht saves the day.
[Aster laughs]
-[music plays softly on radio]
-You know...
I don't think I've ever hung out with
a girl and not talked about boys before.
-Don't be.
It's nice.
Paul's cool.
He's confusing.
It's like when I'm with him...
I feel...
I feel safe.
He's a sweet guy.
Then it's like he...
writes these things that feel...
not safe.
Not safe?
I overheard Trig
talking to my dad about...
our future wedding.
I mean,
he hasn't even asked me yet, but...
he's just...
so sure.
And maybe that's love.
I should marry Trig.
Should I?
Oh, well.
God doesn't know either,
if it's any consolation.
I don't believe in God.
That must be so nice.
It's not.
I wish I knew what I believed.
I keep asking God for a sign.
And then Paul's letter
appeared in my locker.
never felt so...
[chuckles softly]
It's... [scoffs]
It's silly, right?
It's not silly.
You know what is silly?
-What are you-- No, stop!
-[Aster laughs]
-Come on!
-No. I--
Did you layer?
-I am a Russian doll of clothing.
[Chicago's "If You Leave Me Now"
plays softly on radio]
Gravity is matter's response
to loneliness.
Who said that?
How could we let it slip away?
I don't know.
We've come too far
-Then you said it.
-To leave it all behind
How could we end it all this way?
When tomorrow comes
And we'll both regret...
My mom loved this song.
She said every song, movie, story...
has a best part.
[soft instrumental bridge playing]
Was that it?
Are you asking or saying?
[instrumental bridge cresting]
A love like ours
-Is love that's hard to find
-That was it.
[whispers] Yeah.
How could we let it slip away?
We've come too far
To leave it all behind
How could we end it all this way?
I hope you find something good
to believe in.
-I'm getting married, Walter.
-You can't. You're a newspaper man.
That's why I'm quitting. I want to go
someplace where I can be a woman.
-[Walter] You mean be a traitor.
-[woman] A traitor to what?
[Walter] To journalism.
You're a journalist, Hildy.
A journalist? Hell, what does that mean?
[in Mandarin]Paul made
a braised pork sausage. Pretty tasty.
Yours is in the microwave.
[TV chatter continues]
[garbage rattling]
[Paul sighs]
[Aster] Hey.
[indistinct sports radio chatter]
Hey. [soft chuckle]
Do you believe in God?
Uh... of course.
Yeah, no, of course.
I, uh... I got your painting.
It was-- It was pretty.
[strings twang]
[sports radio chatter
continues indistinctly]
Big game this week.
Uh, training.
I'll, uh...
I'll see you after?
-Um, cool.
-[chuckles] Okay.
[car starts]
[car pulls away]
[man] Paulie,
are you marrying the garbage out there?
-[train horn blares]
-[rooster crows]
-[players grunting]
-[whistle trilling]
[announcer] Looks like another blowout
with the Squahamish Moose down by 49.
Fourth down on their own ten-yard line.
Less than a minute left on the clock.
Players are lining up for the punt.
-Whoa, bad snap.
There's an awful lot of confusion
out there.
Looks like the punter
is trying to free the ball up
and salvage a few yards
out of this horribly crooked play.
[crowd cheering]
[softly] Behind you!
-Oh! The punter takes a savage hit.
-[coach] Come on, Munsky!
-[crowd cheers]
And Number 86 Paul Munsky's got the ball.
Fifty! Forty!
Thirty! Keep going!
Keep going. He scores!
[cheering continues]
Squahamish Moose have scored!
First time in 15 years. [chuckles]
We're on the board!We're on the board!
We're on the board!
We're on the board!We're on the board!
[announcer continues indistinctly]
[drink rattles]
-All hail the pride of Squahamish.
You, uh,
you didn't have to get me a Yakult.
Oh. Yeah, take one.
No, no, I don't, uh, want a Yakult.
Uh... Nah, I need to talk to you.
Okay. Uh, my hands are full. Could you...
-So good.
-Uh, hey...
-What are you doing?
-You don't want me to kiss you?
[stammers] Is there someone else?
[Aster whimpers]
Aster, this is not...
We're-- We're not...
-You, um...
Uh... [scoffs softly]
You like Aster?
[groans, sighs]
[breathes deeply]
It's a sin.
You're going to hell.
[Trig] I'm onto you...
Ellie Chu.
[Ellie scoffs]
[whispers] This is a nightmare.
I know why you're always hanging around.
Popping up everywhere.
it was just supposed to be one letter.
-I didn't think--
-You're in love with me.
Yes, Trig.
I am in love with you.
I get it.
[Mr. Chu] Get away! Go home!
Hey, hey, hey!
This is cashmere fleece, man!
-Get out!
-All right, all right, all right!
[TV playing indistinctly]
[Ruen Brothers' "Break The Rules" plays]
Been a minute since we've been here
I'd be wrong to say
That I don't need you now
-Or need a friend
-[overlapping chatter]
Oh, it's nice to spend
-[crowd chanting] Chug!Chug!Chug!
-Time with you
Chug! Chug! Chug! Chug! Chug! Chug!
[crowd cheering]
We've been waiting and watching
Waiting for our hearts
To take the stage
-See the lights
-[family bickering indistinctly]
Oh, it feels right
Right next to you
[mother] Paulie, garbage duty!
-Got it, Ma.
-Break the rules
[boy] Mom!
Get out of here, man!
And oh, how our hearts all wonder
Oh, how they roll like thunder
-Is it right to break the rules?
-[audience laughter on TV]
And oh, how our hearts all wonder
Oh, how they roll like thunder
Did we ever break the rules?
See you next month.
[haltingly] Did you and Ellie...
break up?
No, we weren't, um...
She seems...
No, you don't, um...
see her.
See what?
Who she is.
Could be.
[in Mandarin] When Ellie's Ma died...
I fell into a dark hole.
I didn't move for days.
A few days later...
I woke to find Ellie in the booth...
manning the switch.
She looked up at me.
Just 13... an adult already.
And I...
[in English]
Have you ever loved someone so much...
you don't want anything about her...
to change?
[congregation] Holy, holy, holy
Merciful and mighty
God in three persons
Blessed Trinity
[song ends]
[Pastor Shanley]
Outside are the dogs, the...
-You're late.
-[Pastor Shanley mutters]
I had to grind something.
And to close our Easter services...
our final reading today
will be from Trig Carson.
[low murmurs]
"Love is patient.
Love is kind.
It does not envy.
It does not boast.
It is not proud."
Which is why...
I love...
this little lady.
[low murmurs]
And why she'll make me a fantastic...
[murmurs continue]
will you?
[crowd applauding]
-[Ellie] No!
-[crowd gasping]
I, um...
Uh, um...
Love isn't...
It isn't--
Thank you, Ellie.
-Love isn't pretending.
[crowd gasps]
Uh, I know, um...
because I've been pretending.
Only for a few months, but...
it sucks.
[whispers] Paul.
And I've been thinking about how much
it would suck to have to pretend to be...
not you...
uh... your whole life.
I always thought
that there was one way to love.
Uh, one right way.
But there are more.
Uh, so many more than I knew.
I never want to be the guy
who stops loving someone...
for loving the way that they want to love.
And thank you, Paul.
That was...
Now, let's give Trig--
-[Ellie] I also have been pretending.
-[crowd gasps]
I've been pretending that--
Don't worry, everyone, I, uh--
I think I know where this is going. Um...
Look, Ellie, I am so, so flattered, um...
-but, see, you and I are never--
-You know, Trig,
I have been writing your papers
for the last four years.
[crowd murmurs]
And if you'll forgive me...
I'm just gonna rewrite you one last time.
Love isn't patient and kind and humble.
Love is...
[stammers nervously]
Love is...
Love is messy.
And horrible and selfish and...
It's not finding your perfect half.
the trying...
reaching and...
Love is...
being willing to ruin
your good painting...
for the chance at a great one.
Is this really the boldest stroke
you can make?
[crowd exclaiming]
[Mr. Flores] Aster!
-[door shuts]
-Everyone, please, take your seats.
-[overlapping chatter]
-Everyone, take your seats.
So I'm the good painting?
Mommy wants you to know, in case
you are gay, Mommy still loves you.
-I'm not gay, Mom.
-Thank God.
I might want to change
our sausage recipe, though.
Are you insane?
-I love that recipe!
-Whatever Dad said!
[overlapping arguments]
Now that is some divine intervention.
[turns on faucet]
[in Mandarin] This is a lot of dumplings.
Six days, 18 meals.
To Grinnell.
We didn't come here
so you could be like me.
We came here
so you could be like your mother.
[in English] You don't mean dead, right?
[in Mandarin] God, I hope not.
[crickets chirring]
[train horn blares in distance]
[Ellie] You haven't been to church.
[Aster] I'm busy.
You need four portfolio pieces
for art school, so...
Art school?
That's great.
Yeah, well, nothing's great yet,
but we'll see.
What's going on with you?
I'm headed east to Grinnell.
-I'm leaving tomorrow--
-That's great, Ellie. Take care.
I'm sorry.
It was just...
supposed to be one letter.
I never meant to hurt you.
Deep down, I probably knew the truth.
You really didn't use enough emojis
in his texts.
I don't know what they mean.
A puppy or...
-a sausage--
-I should have sent you a sausage emoji?
Fair point.
For what it's worth...
it's not like the thought
never crossed my mind.
You know...
if things were different.
Or I was different.
You could never be different.
"Am I sure I'm different?
-How do I know I'm sure?"
-Hey, I can be sure.
"I mean, what does God think?"
[scoffing] Oh, my God.
-And on, and on, and on, and on.
-And you know, you-- you watch.
Okay? In a couple of years,
I am gonna be so sure.
Good luck with that.
[chuckles softly]
Find something good in Iowa
to believe in, heathen.
I'll see you in a couple years.
-[crossing bell dinging]
-[train horn blares]
[brakes hissing]
I'll keep him busy tasting new ketchups.
Nice write-up in the Town Crier.
Yeah, Munsky Sausages is gonna blow up.
I might get to Iowa before you do.
I'd better get going then.
[phone chimes]
The caterpillar does look smart.
Too smart to be crying on a platform
like a wussy.
I'm not crying.
-[man over PA] Next stop, Cle Elum.
[train horn blares]
[softly] Paul, what are you doing?
Stop! Stop! What are you...
[sobbing laughter]
[sniffling, laughs]
[sniffs] Moron.
[exhales softly]
-[Ruen Brothers' "Break The Rules" plays]
-Been a minute
Since we've been here
I'd be wrong to say
That I don't need you now
I need a friend
Oh, it's nice to spend time with you
We've been waiting and watching
Waiting for our hearts
To take the stage
To see the lights
Oh, it feels right
Right next to you
And oh, how our hearts all wonder
Oh, how they roll like thunder
Is it right to break the rules?
And oh, how our hearts all wonder
Oh, how they roll like thunder
Oh, did we ever break the rules?
Been a lifetime I've been trying
I've tried to find the words
To speak my mind
Oh, my friend
We'll come back here again
That's all we can say
But since you're next to me
Bitter or sweet
I'd like to think I made you smile
And in a little while
We'll laugh like fools
Break the rules
And oh, how our hearts all wonder
Oh, how they roll like thunder
Is it right to break the rules?
And oh, how our hearts all wonder
Oh, how they roll like thunder
Did we ever
Break the rules?