Would You Kill for Me? The Mary Bailey Story (2023) Movie Script

[ominous music]
[car engine rumbling]
-[mary] I was always told that
every story has two sides.
But for my mama, grandma
and me...
There were three.
And they all led to
what would become
The worst night of our lives.
[engine rumbles and turns off]
[man grunts]
-Damn glasses.
[breathing heavily]
-[veronica] willard...
-You think I wouldn't find out
what really happened?
-[ella] oh for the love
of god, willard.
Not in front of your kids.
-My kids?
Now I can't trust this slut
to take care of my jeep.
-[ella] mary...
-Why trust her
with anything else?
[door slams]
- [veronica] willard.
- [ella] it's okay.
-[veronica] try and calm down.
-[willard] oh, is that what you
want? You want me to calm down?
-[ella] sammy, mary, come here.
-[veronica] no, you got things
-[willard] now enough
with the lies!
-[veronica] I'm not lying.
-[willard] people all over town
are saying
There's another man
crashed my jeep.
-[veronica] no, no, no.
Just listen.
-[willard] exactly as I thought.
-[veronica] willard please,
just listen.
-[willard] as if you were being
faithful to me
When I was on my trucking runs.
-[veronica] no. No, willard.
Please just listen.
-[willard] now come here!
-[veronica] willard, no!
No. Stop.
-[willard] it's time to remind
everybody who's in charge.
-[sammy] daddy.
-[veronica] willard, no!
No, stop.
-[willard] how many men been
inside my jeep?
-[veronica] please!
-[willard] how many men
been inside you?
-[veronica] no!
[melancholy music]
-What now, veronica?
-Just give me a minute.
-Leave me be, mary.
-[ella] come here, it's okay.
[phone dialing]
[call ringing]
-[operator] 911, what's the
nature of your emergency?
-911? [sniffs]
-[operator] that's right.
-I wanna report a murder.
-[operator] okay. Um...
I just shot my husband.
- [operator] can you give me
your address?
[dramatic music]
[overlapping conversation]
-Go, go.
To the back.
Where's the vic?
-Please, we're not
the ones who...
-Was this weapon used tonight?
-Got a body.
-Call it in.
Was that rifle used tonight?
-She can't hear you.
She's deaf in one ear.
-Who are you?
-I'm... I'm the one
who called 911.
Took you long enough.
I've been out trying to get help
from a neighbor.
It's okay, mary.
Mama's here.
-You called 911?
-Only I didn't tell
everything true.
It wasn't me who shot
my husband,
It was my daughter, mary.
-Sheriff. Victim's still alive.
[dramatic music]
[background conversation]
-It ain't right they're not
in a holding cell.
-Why don't you find out
if we got a corpse first?
Go check with the doctor.
-Willard's my husband
so shouldn't I be knowing
What's going on around here?
These cops don't fool me
with their fake concern.
Ain't nobody came to our rescue
for all these years
Which is exactly why we had...
-Why you had to what?
Victim didn't make it.
Willard simms is dead.
-[ella sighs]
-Let's move these three
down to the station.
-I told you it wasn't me
who shot my husband.
-Sheriff ordered gunshot residue
tests for all three of you.
-All three?
-You ain't gonna find nothing.
-Who's next?
-You got nothing to worry about,
[dramatic music intensifies]
-Okay, thanks.
-Two of them handled the rifle
that killed willard simms.
Which means two
different explanations.
-You're free to go.
-I'm arresting you for
the murder of willard simms.
-I wanna sue for
false imprisonment.
-You have the right
to remain silent.
Anything you say can and will be
used against you
In a court of law.
-Do we get to go home now?
-Not exactly.
-I told you... Mary's
the one who done it.
- Mary.
- Mama.
-Don't worry, mary.
I'm gonna tell 'em everything.
-I wanna tell everything too.
-You shouldn't say anything
until you've been assigned
A court appointed attorney.
-That the same as a lawyer?
-It's exactly the same, mary.
I'm here for your benefit.
To see you through the upcoming
trial and its outcome.
-Why do I need a... Court
appointed attorney
If I already know
to tell the truth?
-Well that's the thing, mary.
I already told them,
you're not gonna testify.
You're not even gonna be
in the courtroom.
-What? I was there
when willard was shot.
-I'm gonna suggest
that you never repeat that.
-No one knows what happened
the way that I do.
I'm the one been living
this nightmare for 10 years.
-It's important for
everyone concerned,
Including the deceased,
that you share every detail.
We need to know not only
who killed willard simms
But also the events that led up
to his shooting.
Don't be afraid, veronica.
Tell us everything.
-Who's the most beautiful baby
girl in the whole wide world?
You are, mary bailey.
I'm gonna make sure you
don't want for nothing.
-That mean you're gonna
start helping
With expenses around here?
-You know I'd do anything
for my baby girl, mama.
-Except get her father
to leave his wife
And admit that mary's his baby.
-I told you I know what I did
was sin.
That don't make mary one.
Look at her.
I'm gonna find mary a new daddy.
A man who takes pride in family.
-Ain't no such thing
in this god forsaken town.
-There you are!
I'll figure something out mama,
you'll see.
For you, for me...
And especially for mary.
-You still got some growing up
to do, veronica.
Just try to do it with the right
kind of people this time.
-Just seems like being
a volunteer counselor
At church summer camp's
a good place to start.
But if anybody could screw
that up it'd be you.
Whatever you do
when you grow up...
Don't end up like her.
[baby crying]
-And now we'll head downstairs
And I'll show you the rooms
for arts and crafts
And indoor play when
the weather's not so nice.
And veronica, I'll pair you
with this young man.
I'll leave you both to it then.
Be good now.
-Hold on a sec.
Well that's better.
Um... I'm willard.
Willard simms.
- Hi.
- Hi.
I'm veronica bailey.
-Do you believe in destiny
veronica bailey?
-You know, when two people
are meant to be as one?
-Are you for real?
-Why do you ask?
Do I seem too good to be true?
[both laugh]
-Do we have to bring baby mary
with us everywhere we go?
-You'll understand one day
when you have a baby.
Ain't nothing like it, susan.
-Count me out.
I'm gonna move away
and never look back
Once I find me someone
who's as old as he is rich.
-Better off relying on ourselves
than any man.
-Well, don't that depend
on the man?
-Not polite to eavesdrop.
-Hi willard.
-I wasn't eavesdropping,
just passing by.
You on your way to the bakery?
-Well whatever you're having,
Whatever you want,
it's my treat.
Not used to people being nice
to you, taking care of you?
It's time you realize
How special you are,
veronica bailey.
I'm the one who's gonna make
sure of it.
Ain't that right,
sweet little mary?
See you there, ladies.
-What happened to not relying
on any man?
[upbeat music]
[women giggling]
-Ma went to
sears portrait studio
To take photos of her
and the baby.
She's gotten kinda possessive
with mary.
-I told you that's a good thing.
-Hi willard.
-Now you are too young
and beautiful to have a kid.
-Didn't pastor mccall say
no fraternizing
Between camp counselors?
-He also said no drinking.
Oh. Can I get an amen?
-[crowd in unison]
-I, uh... Thought I asked you
To stop telling everyone
you got a kid.
-Well, those are my friends.
They spend plenty of time
with mary.
My baby will never be
no dirty little secret.
I'm proud to be her mama.
-So you're okay with people
thinking you're a slut?
It's what I hear other people
saying, that's all.
I only wanna protect you.
-Got a funny way
of showing it sometimes.
Damn, you're beautiful.
Here, take a sip.
-You know I'm not old enough.
-Don't you trust me to know
what's best for you?
-You really take a drink.
Hey todd!
Hey. Listen dude.
I'm, like... Drunk as a skunk.
-Do me a favor
and kiss veronica.
-Yeah, tell me if you can taste
the booze on her lips.
Or her tongue.
-For real?
-I mean, I'm... I'm willing
if you are.
[blow thuds]
-What are you doing?!
-Proving I always got your back.
[car door shuts]
[willard] at least let me
-The way I was acting was...
Willard, wait.
-Are you shaking?
-What happened with todd...
It scares me.
-I would never do...
-But I've already been
with one bad man,
I can't make the same
mistake twice.
Not now that I got mary.
-Is that what you think I am?
A bad man?
Well you got my parents
to thank for messing me up.
You know, I swore I'd never be
like them, but...
I guess the more you try
to run away from something
The faster it catches up to you.
-Willard, wait.
I guess...
I don't really have the best
track record myself.
Dating a married man and having
a baby nobody wants but me.
My mama reminds me all the time
of what a mess-up I am.
-Don't you ever say that again,
There's nothing about you
that's messed up.
Don't you see this is why
I wanna protect you?
I wanna be with you forever.
You are the only one
on this earth
Who can save me from myself.
[door opens]
-Veronica! Do you know
what time it is?
You never fail to disappoint.
-You got the wrong idea about
what's going on out here, ma'am.
-I know what boys your age
are interested in,
Especially when it comes
to girls
Who ain't got no moral compass.
-Way past your bedtime,
veronica bailey.
Do yourself a favor and steer
clear of my daughter.
Ain't no good's come to anyone
who's ever known her.
Let's go.
[door slams shut]
-Hi. I'm picking up a cake
for veronica bailey.
-Coming up short?
-So you do remember my name.
Now I've seen you around town
lots over the past year
But you don't even
as much as say hi.
-Well my mama, she...
Besides, I heard you moved on
and got married.
-As if moving on is even
possible after meeting someone
As amazing as you.
What are the balloons
for anyway?
-Oh. I got 'em
for mary's birthday.
I was trying to get a cake too.
-Will this cover it?
-Heard you's about
to be a daddy.
-Ever hear of someone
trying to mend a broken heart?
-By getting my former
best friend, susan, pregnant?
-I'd leave her in an instant
If it meant we'd be
together again.
I don't care what your mama says
or susan or anyone else neither.
I'm in it for you and me.
-And mary?
I'm trying to buy her a cake,
ain't I?
-I don't know, willard.
Who says we're not wrong
for each other
After what happened last year
at church?
-I apologized for that.
I even made up with todd.
You forget you're the only one
who can save me from myself.
-I, veronica jo bailey,
take thee willard simms
To be my lawfully
wedded husband.
To have and to hold
from this day forward,
For better, for worse,
for richer, for poorer,
In sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish...
No wait, I remember.
[both chuckle]
To love and to cherish
'till death do us part.
-I can't say that willard
wasn't trying.
Um... Keeping us fed.
Paying the bills.
Making me feel protected.
He was doing little things
to show his affection.
- For me?
- Yeah.
-But... Willard...
He had another side.
One that would show up
without warning.
He blamed it on overreacting
when he was scared
On account of him being abused
when he was little.
Willard always promised
to do better.
That, uh... That he was
gonna change.
And I prayed on it,
I hoped on it.
I committed myself to it
Because of the wedding vows
I took in front of god.
But... Willard's promises
Never seemed to take
for very long.
-Oh mary. Hi.
Hi mama.
-Do something to deserve
that shiner?
-Nobody deserves
to be beat, mama.
Not even me.
We watch what we say
around mary.
-Well here's an idea.
Why don't you take her to live
with you and willard
So I don't have to raise
her anymore?
-You know there's not
enough room at willard's.
It's not always safe for mary
to be around him.
Hey, you know what?
Why don't we pick out
your favorite color
And we can paint
each other's nails?
Red's my favorite color too.
Why don't you wait for me
downstairs, okay?
- Okay.
- Okay.
Mary's here for her own safety
'till I can find a way
to leave willard
So that he doesn't maybe
come after me or mary
Or... Or even you.
-Willard simms don't scare me.
What I do find frightening
is that a child I raised
Would grow up to be like you.
Turns out I'm not the only
one who's disappointed
In the kind of person
you turned out to be.
-Nothing a little nail polish
can't fix. Right?
-Yes you are, mary bailey.
Don't you ever forget how much
I love you. Okay?
Don't forget that one day...
We're gonna be together.
-Mm-hmm. Yeah.
Safe and happy
without anyone telling us
How to live our lives.
It's just you and me, baby girl.
That's all that matters.
There we go.
[intense dramatic music]
-Admit it.
You're trying to cut me out.
-Out of what exactly?
Mary... She misses
living with me,
I was just trying to show her
some love.
-Yeah, what about me?
I mean, don't I deserve love?
-I wish you knew how much
I had for you.
Mary'll love you too
if you let her.
-Maybe we start thinking
about giving mary a brother...
Or sister.
-Yeah, one day. Sure.
-Come on, there's no time
like the present.
-I'm cooking.
Come on baby,
we'll prove our love.
To mary, your mama.
-The whole damn world.
-Please willard, not like this.
No, not this way.
Please don't do this.
-Come on baby, prove our love.
You and me.
-Stop. Please stop.
-What you described,
Is that how you became pregnant
with mary's brother?
-Mary's half brother, sammy.
His conception was...
No act of love but, still...
Love was all I had for my
new baby boy once he got here.
[baby fussing]
I'm not sure how, sammy,
But I'm gonna give you
and your sister, mary,
The best life that I can manage.
Baby brother?
-Mm-hmm. Sure is, mary.
This is sammy.
-Hi sammy. I love him.
-And he loves you.
-You'll never get away
from willard now.
Not after having his boy.
-Pastor mccall says
there's always a way.
-Church don't offer the kind
of sanctuary you think it does.
-Sunday school is fun.
-I know it is, mary.
We're gonna be spending lots
more time there at church too,
You wait and see. Okay?
-From me for you.
-Paid with my,
um... Allowance.
-Ain't you the sweetest.
-[willard] who, me?
-Did you get those
outta the trash?
Come on, mary.
Let's leave your mama to
the family she chose over you.
-Well, am I wrong?
-You can't say something
like that...
-She knows what's going on.
I raised her...
-But if you keep talking
negative like that
It's gonna start
rubbing off on her.
-I'm sorry but she's
a smart girl,
She knows what's going on.
-I didn't think you'd say
something like that...
-Excuse me.
- What, am I lying?
-Of course you're not.
-Mary and I was just playing.
Ain't that right?
My handsome little man.
You done good.
[bell tolling]
-Don't you worry none, sammy.
I'm sure your daddy
just got held up at work...
Or something important
like that.
Yeah. It's okay.
I told you to be here by 3:30,
So what's got you...
You're the last person
I'd expect to pick me up.
-Willard didn't leave me
much of a choice.
-I told you I could drive.
-I knew you was carrying on
behind my back
But you kept at it even while
I was having willard's baby?
-I tried warning you he was
no good all those years ago.
-Yeah, but then you went
and had a kid with him
When he and I was broken up.
-And here you are!
Following my lead.
Don't you need a ride?
-Did you put the baby down?
-Yeah, he's fine.
Let's just focus on willard.
[willard thuds]
-What's the baby's name?
-Sammy? You mean susan.
My two best girls.
-Willard, don't.
-You think you can boss me
around? Huh?
You tell me what to do?
Disrespect me in front
of the woman I love.
- Willard.
- What?
It's true, isn't it?
-I don't gotta take this.
-Well, you wanna leave
then leave.
You're gonna do it
the way you came...
With nothing.
-Let her take her baby.
-It ain't hers to take.
-No! No! No!
[baby fussing]
If you take my baby
I swear I'll...
What are you gonna do, huh?
Your own mama loves you
less than I do.
You leave and your kids'll
become wards of the state.
So I'd think long and hard
Before you start making threats
that don't add up to nothing.
-So ultimately you never left?
Even as your kids grew older.
Even as the abuse extended
to them.
-Well, honestly I didn't know
how to leave him.
I was flat broke.
I had to choose between
being free from willard
And feeding my babies.
-Wasn't there anyone
you could ask for help?
Like your mother?
-My pastor.
And you sure you ain't gonna say
Nothing to anyone,
pastor mccall?
-What you share here stays
between us and the lord.
-Willard says he's gonna take
sammy away
If I try and get divorced.
Sammy's only six years old,
it wouldn't be safe.
-You familiar with ephesians?
Chapter four, verse three?
"make every effort to keep
the unity of the spirit
"through the bond of peace."
No disrespect but I ain't know
peace in years.
I mean, it's bad enough
mama's always riding me
Even though we pay the bills
'cause she gambled
all her savings away.
Then there's willard's
cheating and...
This way of living ain't right.
Especially not for mary
or sammy.
I, uh... It's probably a mistake
Bringing all this up with you.
-No, no.
Maybe if I spoke to willard.
-Oh, no.
Promise you won't.
I know willard can come off
all sweet and polite but...
He's got a real dark side and
I don't want you getting hurt.
Alright? I got my hands full
Trying to keep him
from beating mary.
-Is that why you've been
bringing mary
By the church so often?
-Yeah, well she feels safe here.
It makes her less combative.
Sometimes she can be scary
protective of me around willard.
-I've noticed she has
a lack of patience
And even compassion at times.
-She's always saying
that one day she's gonna try
And stop willard.
-You don't think she'd actually
harm anyone, do you?
I don't know.
[ominous music]
-Can I do the next box?
-Yeah, you can do them later.
It's not your turn.
-You two aren't getting
in the way, are you?
-We're helping, mama.
-I know you are.
And what about you sammy?
-Well he wanted to do
all the heavy lifting
But I told him to leave it
to me.
-Well you and your sister
should go get your coats on
Before your daddy gets here.
You know he don't like
to be kept waiting.
-Okay. Come on.
-You always keep this place
looking so good.
-Not as good as you, veronica.
oh, perkins.
Don't you know lying's a sin?
Especially in church.
[car horn honks]
-A new car?
-A new car.
-Yeah, it's time I drove
something a little more rugged
To match my style.
-That there's a fine vehicle,
-I didn't know we could afford
something like this.
-I got my first check from
that cross-country trucking gig.
-Isn't that cool?
-Even though I can barely manage
the grocery bills?
-How is you being too stupid
To keep up with a bank account
my problem?
Hey sammy...
What do you say,
you wanna check it out?
- Yeah.
- Yeah?
Come on, get in the back.
Hey, hey, hey!
Careful, you ungrateful brat.
This car is worth way more
than you'll ever be.
- Oh, willard.
- What?!
Nothing to see here, bo.
Wait in the car.
-Where are you gonna go?
-Where do you think?
I'm gonna do what I always do.
Protect you.
[door slams open]
- Mama.
- It's okay. It's okay.
[ominous music]
Bet you're, uh, loving how that
vehicle handles mountain passes.
-Kinda like how you love
when I'm outta town
On my trucking runs.
[bo thuds]
-No, please!
-I'll kill you for looking
at my wife.
And then I'll kill her too.
-What on god's earth?
Willard simms,
what's gotten into you?!!
-Just helping out my fellow man,
pastor mccall.
-You alright?
-Yeah, just... Fell.
-Were you ever afraid
for your life, veronica?
-My children's lives.
That's who I was most
worried about
The weekend willard said
that I was gonna die.
-How long you been screwing
the man who wrecked my jeep?
It wasn't a man, veronica.
-Aren't you supposed to be
watching your brother?
-Mom needs help.
Willard's talking crazy.
-Some might argue your mom
Invites this kinda thing
on herself.
-[veronica] willard you know
I'd never do you wrong.
- [willard] come on, tell me!
- [veronica] willard, no!
- [loud thud]
- [gasps]
-You really think you
got what it takes
To end this nightmare, mary?
-I'll do whatever I have to do
to save mama.
-What'd you do to set him off
this time?
-Mama, no!
[blow thuds]
-Don't get up.
Unless you want another reason
to stay down.
-[crying] why don't you believe
it was me
That crashed your jeep?
-More than one person told me
It was another man driving
when it got all banged up.
-The same man that's been
bedding you.
-But you and me is a team,
-Except when I overhear you
talking to mary.
Trying to work out some
kinda plan to leave me
When I always promised
to protect you!
-Leave my mama alone!
-This ain't your concern, mary.
Get your grandma and get out.
It's between me and your mama.
[breathing heavily]
[dramatic music intensifies]
-You brought all this
on yourself
And now the rest of us
are suffering because of it.
Because of you.
-I can't risk willard taking
sammy and never let me keep him.
He said he'd kill me first.
Ain't nothing or no one
can save me now.
-You're supposed to be in bed.
I don't want you hearing
any of this.
-Somebody's gotta do something.
-Well don't look at me, mary.
You're the one always saying
you're gonna fix everything.
[ominous music]
[ominous music]
- [gasps]
- [mug shatters]
What in god's name?
-You're not actually buying
any of this,
Are you, your honor?
-I loved him.
I never wanted him to die.
Mary shot willard, not me.
[crowd murmuring]
[gavel pounds]
-I look like I'm guilty.
-I need you to calm down, okay?
-I want order in this court.
-I respect that, your honor.
[gravel pounds]
- I said order!
- I know, look at me.
- Oh my god.
-Hey. Hey. Not surprisingly
your daughter's testimony
Is full of lies and half-truths.
You prepared to reveal
what really happened?
Or do you let your 12-year-old
granddaughter take the blame
And be convicted of killing
your son in law?
[dramatic music]
-The people call ella bailey
to the stand.
Is your recollection
of what transpired
The same as your daughter's?
Mrs. Bailey?
- [whispering]
- okay.
Your honor, the witness is
hard of hearing on her left side
Because of an injury sustained
at the hands of willard simms.
[crowd murmuring]
[gravel pounds]
-How's this, any better?
Is your version of what happened
the same as your daughter's?
-My daughter told her... Truth.
Now I'll tell mine.
-Okay. Mama, you can feed mary
for a little bit.
I'm late meeting willard.
-Look, you know I'll do anything
for you and mary, sweetheart.
But is hanging out with willard
simms really a good idea?
-Mama. You just hate it
don't you?
That I'm young and pretty and I
got my whole life ahead of me.
And yours is practically over
Except for the time you spend
at church.
But now you got a new pastime,
raising mary.
-But she's your child, veronica.
-Mama. You know good and well
If I realized I was pregnant
before mary was due...
-Don't you say it.
-Why not?
This baby's the last thing
I need in my life right now.
So now that mary's here
she's your problem, not mine.
[car horn honks]
Bye now.
-Oh... Don't worry, mary.
You can always count on me.
God willing.
[baby crying]
[engine rumbling]
[girls giggling]
- Are we gonna wake your mama?
- No, it's fine.
[baby fussing]
-Hey, hey.
So? You gonna do it?
[thunder cracks]
Aw, I knew you was too chicken.
-No, I'm up for anything.
-That goes double for me.
-Prove it.
[girls giggle]
-Veronica! What has gotten
into you?
-Thought you said your mama
wouldn't hear us.
-It's that damn baby, keeps
waking up crying all the time.
[sighs] mary's wrecking
all of our lives.
-Get in this house.
-Make me.
-Do I have to remind you,
you're still underage?
-You can try and control me
all you want, old woman,
But it ain't never gonna take.
-You know the reason
I'll never stop trying?
'cause I'll never stop
loving you.
-See y'all tomorrow?
-Have a good evening,
mrs. Bailey.
-I'll pray for you
willard simms.
-Don't bother.
Already going straight to hell.
[both chuckle]
-So you warned your daughter
repeatedly about the dangers
Of her involvement
with the deceased?
-Objection, your honor.
Prosecution is leading
the witness.
-Willard simms was dangerous.
But so was...
So is my daughter.
Putting the two of them together
Was like mixing gasoline
with fire.
That walk to church
ain't so bad, right?
-Yeah. And Sunday school
is fun.
What is it, grandma?
-It just makes me so happy
That you love church
as much as I do, mary.
[glass shatters]
-You stay here.
-Stupid thing.
Come on.
-What on earth?
-It broke.
-Leave me be, mary.
-How about you go down
to the kitchen
And get a cookie out
of the cookie jar?
- But...
- We'll be along in a minute.
Can I help you find something?
-Have you got anything stronger
than this?
Something that seems natural
but taking in a giant dose
Would be powerful enough
to kill someone?
-Kill someone?
Or kill willard?
You know you can leave him
And move back in here
with me and mary.
-I can't exactly jump ship now
that I'm pregnant with his son.
-The more kids I have the more
money I get from the state.
But willard's never gonna
let me leave with his baby.
Not that I'm sure this kid
I'm carrying's even his.
So I gotta consider
other options.
-Like poison?
-Whatever it takes to erase him
from my life,
And with any luck, the planet.
-Wait. Okay. This is not
like you, veronica.
-You don't know me.
You never did.
I'm my own person and I'm gonna
do whatever it takes
To live the kinda life
that I deserve.
-Are you drunk?
-I'm high.
Not that I'd expect you to know
the difference.
You got any poison or not?
-Let's go, mary.
-You're the one that said I
could move back in with you.
-Yeah, but I didn't think
it'd be with willard.
Do you really think he's
a good influence on mary?
-Well find me that poison and we
can discuss other options.
-Where's my little man?
Hi buddy.
[chuckles] hey.
[clears throat]
It's mighty good of you
to make room for us, mom.
It don't make you feel old
when I call you that, does it?
-I just hope you do right
by mary and me, willard.
And the rest of your family.
-Why does your mom treat me
like the enemy?
-Gee, I don't know.
If it walks, looks and quacks
like a duck, what do you think?
-I think your mama don't know
what kinda handful you are.
Don't think I won't take sammy
and leave you high and dry,
You worthless slut.
That's right, that'd mean
less welfare.
You ain't got the guts.
Hey, you seen my glasses?
-No, I have not.
[voices on television]
- I work in a factory
that makes this doll.
Two bucks is too much.
-I'm very sorry sir but
your company charged...
-I know it was you, mary.
You hiding my glasses?
Tell me and I'll turn
the tv back on.
-I could help you find them...
-What'd you call me?
-You're sammy's daddy
and you're my daddy too.
-No, I ain't your daddy.
I ain't never gonna be
your daddy.
Now don't you go
and start crying.
There is nothing for you
to cry over.
Unless you want a reason to cry?
- No.
- Hmm?
-Hey, don't you raise a hand...
[blow thuds]
Mary! Mary, no!
-Get off.
-Mary, honey.
It's okay.
[phone dialing]
[call ringing]
-[operator] 911. What's the
nature of your emergency?
-Yeah. My, uh, son in law's been
threatening my grandchildren
With physical violence.
-[operator] are the
children hurt?
- No. Well...
- Ma'am, I'm sorry.
- No, but...
- Ma'am. Please.
- Well earlier...
- I'm sorry, we can't help.
-No, please.
-You'll have to call
social services.
[call disconnects]
-No one's coming, is they?
Don't look so scared,
I'm not the boogeyman.
No one wants to be
the bad guy, you know?
I'm not proud of my struggle.
You understand that, right?
Whether you do or not,
listen to me clear old woman.
Try and call for help again
and you will live to regret it.
-You don't scare me
willard simms.
no, maybe not.
What about your granddaughter,
I know how to hurt you.
-Things were worse than I
imagined they ever could be.
And I've been through
a lot in life.
-You say you made it
your mission to protect mary.
-Well my daughter wouldn't.
So I had to, or...
At least I tried.
But by the time mary was a young
lady she was already helping me
More than I could ever help her.
Mary cooked, cleaned
and took care of all of us.
Especially sammy.
Her love for her baby brother
was something to treasure.
-Alright, here's breakfast.
-And lunch. Am I right?
-We're not due for more food
stamps until week's end.
Willard didn't leave any cash
When he went on his
last trucking run.
-Don't worry, grandma.
-Willard's my daddy, not yours.
-Still makes you my brother
and I love you sammy.
-You can't go without eating,
-Done it plenty of times before.
Enough's enough.
Time you started treating
your kids as more than a way
To get an allowance
from the state, veronica.
-Leave me be, I was up late.
-You don't think I know that?
You don't think I hear
strange men
Coming in and out of this house
all hours of the night?
-You're imagining things.
-What if I was willard?
-Willard's not due back
from the road 'till week's end.
I need my beauty rest.
-No, what we need is food.
Now you take willard's jeep,
go down to the piggly wiggly
And see if we have
any credit left.
-I can't.
-Your kids are starvin'.
-The jeep's not here.
A friend borrowed it.
-You let somebody borrow
willard's jeep?
-He needed cigarettes,
He promised he'd bring it
right back.
-And how long ago was that?
-I don't know.
It's been hours.
[phone ringing]
[dramatic music]
-That your friend with the jeep?
-There was an accident.
The jeep crashed and it got
dented up real bad.
Willard's gonna kill me
when he gets home
And finds out his
new jeep's wrecked.
Especially if he knows another
guy was driving it.
-You think I wouldn't find out
what really happened?
-[ella] oh for the love
of god, willard.
Not in front of your kids.
-What, my kids?
Now I can't trust this slut
to take care of my jeep.
-No, you got things twisted.
-Now enough with the lies!
This is the weekend you die.
-Veronica, no.
-What other choice have we got?
How many times you call
the cops?
Willard don't make
any sense anymore.
All he wants to do is hurt us.
He said I'm gonna die
this weekend.
Which is why I need you
to kill him for me, mary,
While he's passed out drunk
in front of the tv.
-Veronica, please!
-I can't, mama.
I don't even know how
to use a gun.
-Sure you do,
we've been over it lots.
-Do you hear yourself?
What you're asking
your little girl to do?
-Mary's practically
all grown up.
You'd do anything for me,
wouldn't you?
You gotta shoot willard
in the head.
Kill him before he kills me.
-Mary, don't listen to her.
-One of us has to use this rifle
Before willard wakes up.
[intense dramatic music]
[dramatic music intensifies]
[gunshot echoes]
-I'll leave it to god to decide
who's guilty.
But I do know
who's not innocent.
-You've confirmed
battered woman syndrome.
And we heard from the gentleman
who testified the accused
Asked him to kill the victim
three years ago.
But you haven't yet revealed
what actually took place
In the room the moment
the deceased was shot.
Not to mention who actually
pulled the trigger.
What we've heard thus far
is hearsay at best.
I see no choice but to have the
daughter of the accused testify.
-No. No. I won't do it.
I love my mama, I don't want
anything bad to happen to her.
-You wouldn't be testifying
against anyone, mary.
You'd be telling your side
of things,
Helping everyone understand
what really happened.
-The decision's yours, mary.
No one else's.
-If you won't testify
We'll have no other choice
but to prosecute you.
-Now come on.
-She's under arrest for the same
murder charge as her mother.
-I'm sorry, mary.
They got us in the crosshairs.
-So what's it gonna be?
Tell everything you know
in court
Or go on trial
for murder yourself?
[dramatic music intensifies]
[reporters' clamoring]
- Mary!
- More details!
[reporters clamoring]
-You okay?
Shouldn't your foster brothers
and sisters
Bring in their own dishes?
-I help my grandma plenty
at home.
-Which is lovely.
But you know it's okay to have
fun every now and then, right?
[blows soap]
[laughing loudly]
[both laughing]
Come here.
- [blows soap]
- ooh!
[both laughing]
-I can't imagine
all the emotions
You must be feeling right now.
-I'm worried for my mama.
-I'm sure she's worried
about you too.
Which is why she'd want you
to do what's right.
-You mean... Testify?
I just want all this to go away.
So I could go back to being
with mama, sammy and grandma.
I don't wanna go to jail but I
don't want it for mama either.
-Nobody knows how all of this
will turn out.
But if they don't have
the full story...
Maybe if you spoke to your mom.
-If they let me,
Will you drive me to jail
to see her?
-Mary, your mom's been out
on parole
Since the day of the arrest.
Since the day you came
into foster care.
-That can't be true.
-I assumed you knew.
-Why wouldn't she come see me?
-Parole can be complicated.
Maybe she got busy and she...
-I'd like to be alone now.
-I understand, sweetheart.
[melancholy music]
- If you need anything...
- No.
-The people call mary bailey
to the stand.
-We don't want
your mother's story
Or your grandmother's story.
We want your story, mary.
-I always loved my mama and I
always wanted to be with her.
It seemed like I was always
waiting for her though.
[veronica giggling]
I couldn't understand why mama
lived life the way she did.
But... I figured she had
her reasons.
-We haven't got all night.
[both laughing]
- Shh!
- Shh.
-Keep it down, you're gonna
wake my mama up.
-Let's wake her up.
[both laughing]
What we need is another drink.
-Mary, what are you doing up?
You're supposed to be in bed.
-I wanna be with you, mama.
-Need me to handle this?
-No, no, it's good.
We're good.
Go on now.
Get back to bed, okay?
Next time I'm over I'm gonna
paint your fingernails. Okay?
-Can they be red?
-Uh huh, that's my favorite.
-All these stories in town,
you're saying it's all a lie?
-What do you mean?
[arguing overlapping]
-Usually it was me watching
over mama
Instead of the other way around.
-Why do people fight?
-I wish I knew, baby girl.
Your step-daddy keeps promising
that he's gonna do better
But then that promise
never sticks.
Willard's always talking
about me being the only one
That can save him from himself.
It just don't seem to be anyone
around to save you and me, mary.
-I thought a lot about
running away.
Ever since I could remember.
But I figured if I left,
who would take care of mama?
-What made you feel you needed
to protect your mother
From willard simms, mary?
-Being scared of my step-daddy
Was something me and her
had in common.
-Because he'd beat you both?
-Yes ma'am.
Beat everyone in the family.
A lot.
But those weren't the only times
we were scared.
-Somebody better find
my glasses.
-There was no guessin' what
my step-daddy might say or do.
Could be sweet as a baby bird
one minute
And mean as a rattlesnake
the next.
-Where are you mary?
-Sorta like a firecracker
That would go off all by itself
without warning.
-Sounds like a frightening way
to live life.
-I hid.
A lot.
-I promised after
last time that...
I wouldn't hurt you.
Not again.
[dramatic music intensifies]
-Think I don't know
where you get to
When you should be in school,
mary bailey?
-I was hiding from willard,
then decided I couldn't take
The teasing I was getting
in class
For wearing the same clothes
and never having lunch money.
-Oh, mary.
My heart breaks for you.
But you know I don't like
the idea
Of you missing your lessons.
-You're not gonna tell mama,
are you?
Or willard?
-Get your shoes on.
-Are you taking me to
the principal's office?
-You'll see.
Some of you know my
granddaughter mary,
Who sometimes decides
her place isn't in school.
Thought we might be able
to help her feel
More accepting of herself
So that all the teasing
she gets in class
Don't bother her so much.
-Welcome, mary.
We were just telling some jokes.
-In church?
-I like to keep things light
Between my Sunday
and Wednesday sermons.
Uh... Okay, I got one.
What do pirates
call noah's boat?
The arrrrrk.
[group laughing]
It's okay to laugh, mary.
-Try telling a funny joke.
[all laughing]
Guess I'll try harder next week,
won't I?
-All of a sudden I wasn't
thinking about hiding so much.
I finally felt like I had
a place I fit in,
A place I belonged.
If only I didn't have to go home
to willard
In between being at church.
-[willard] you telling me
what to do?
-[veronica] would you
let me explain?
-[willard] no, you're done
- [slap]
- [veronica screams]
-[veronica] please listen to me.
-[willard] no, I'm not listening
to anything
You say anymore veronica.
I am sick and tired of this.
Come here!
Now you need to respect me,
-[veronica] I'm sorry, okay?
-Now I'll show you what happens
when you don't...
[knock on door]
-Shh! Shh!
Willard, no!
-Stop it, stop it. Stop.
-I'm scared.
-Yeah, come in.
[suspenseful music]
-What the hell is going on
in here?
We was just...
-Wasn't talking to you, mary.
I was talking to someone
who matters.
Did she tempt you in here?
-I had a nightmare.
-So who should I hit first?
Hit me.
I told sam to come here
'cause I was scared.
You got more guts than most
people in this town.
-[crying] I peed.
-You have nothing to worry
about, sammy.
Accidents happen.
Here. You can wear these.
-Thanks mary.
-You're welcome.
I prayed hard for things
to get better
And I spent lots of time
at church too.
-So which is it today, mary?
You skipping school or you
here 'cause you wanna be?
-I'd be here every day
if I could.
Given more thought about
getting baptized?
-I want to. But...
-I know for a fact your grandma
would love for you
To identify with christ.
-It's mama and willard. He...
-More spankings?
We can't always know
where the path we're on
Will lead us, mary.
Some call our challenges
a test from god,
Like he's getting us ready
for something.
-Like what?
-Won't know 'till it happens.
When it does,
you gotta be ready.
For yourself and for everyone
you love.
-I wanna be ready,
pastor mccall.
When god calls on me to do
what I need to do,
I'm gonna be ready.
-Is it ready yet?
-Oh, it's ready.
Mmm. Smells good.
-It's perfect, grandma.
["we wish you a merry christmas"
playing in background]
-Well I can't think of anything
I want for christmas more
Than to spend it with you
and sammy.
[door shuts]
-Well if this ain't a norman
rockwell painting.
-Merry christmas.
-And same to you, mary.
-It's real nice of you willard
to pay for the turkey
And all the fixings
for christmas dinner.
-I'm glad you think so.
Come on sammy, get your coat on.
-Where we going?
-Uh... We ain't going nowhere.
We're going to my girlfriend...
Your, uh, mother's girlfriend
susan's house.
-We got a kid there too, so...
-Don't spill any of this
on the way to the car.
-Here buddy.
-What are you doing?
-I promised susan we'd bring
christmas dinner.
Forget who paid for this bird?
-It's not fair.
-Yeah, well keep being naughty
And it won't be santa
who punishes you for it.
I said coats on, let's go.
-Sammy come on, let's go.
Come on, get your coat on.
Let's go.
[door shuts]
-Remember what we learned
from pastor mccall, grandma?
Christmas ain't about gifts.
Or even special dinners
with all the fixings.
It's about jesus, right?
-You've got a beautiful soul,
mary bailey.
-What I got is the best
gift ever.
My grandma.
-I don't think there's a person
in this courtroom
Who isn't inspired
by your ability
To recall the happier times,
But now we need to talk
about the bad times.
Can you tell us about the events
Occurring in February
of 1987, mary?
[dramatic music intensifies]
-A new car?
-A new car.
-Yeah, it's time I drove
something a little more rugged
To match my style.
Hey, what do you think
you're doing?
-But... There's mud all over.
-This here car's worth more
than you'll ever be.
-I'm sorry, I was just trying...
-And what'd I say
about sassing me?
-Willard, no! Don't.
Not in front of...
-What the hell
are you looking at?
-That's when I finally
figured out why no one,
Not even other grown-ups,
Stopped him from being
how he was.
Everyone was right terrified
of willard simms.
He was a bad man.
-Is that why you decided to do
what you did to him?
-Do you understand
the question, mary?
-I never decided to do
what I did.
I was asked...
Well, told what to do.
Look mama.
-Leave me be, mary.
What if you said that
you crashed the jeep?
-Willard knows I don't drive.
Besides, you don't think he'd
hurt me for messing up his car?
-I can't really blame the guy
who crashed it for leaving town.
I wish he took me with him.
-And what about mary and sammy?
-I'm not able to collect welfare
without 'em,
That's the very reason I can
never leave willard.
I lose the checks
if I lose the kids.
Except you mary, willard
don't even want you.
- Veronica.
- What?
[car engine rumbling]
[dramatic music]
I bet he's drunk enough
to kill us all.
[car door slams]
-Damn glasses.
[breathing heavily]
[door slams]
-You think I wouldn't find out
what really happened?
-Now willard, you got
things twisted.
-Now, enough with the lies.
Now, people all over town are
saying there's another man
Who crashed my jeep.
Exactly like I thought.
As if you were faithful
when I was on my trucking runs.
There's my number one son.
Come here, buddy.
Come here buddy, it's okay.
-Sammy, sweetheart.
Was your mama kissing
one of her friends?
Or maybe another man
when I was away on the road?
-Did you trained him like
a parrot?
-Just try and calm down.
-Is that what you want, huh?
For me to calm down.
Actually, that's a fine idea.
-Willard, wait. Wait.
I was gonna tell you.
I just didn't know how to talk
to you, how to contact you.
- [blow thuds]
- [screams]
-For the love of god, willard.
Not in front of your kids.
-My kids? My kids?!
[glass shatters]
I can't trust this slut
to take care of my jeep.
Why should I trust her
with anything else?
-How do I know sammy's
really my blood, huh?
Maybe I should kill him and see
if his real daddy steps forward.
-Leave sammy be!
-What's gotten into you?
-Tell me if he's really my son!
-[crying] stop it.
-I swear to god, veronica.
I will snap his neck right here
in front of you!
-[crying] please stop.
Please let him go.
-It's a weak man who can't
control his own family.
Guess it's time to remind
everybody who's in charge.
-[crying] no.
-Who's first? Hmm?
[dramatic music]
-This is the weekend you die.
-Go put your brother to bed,
-Yes mama [sniffs].
Is he passed out?
-Yeah. We gotta get
outta here.
-And go where?
-What happens when he wakes up?
-Who says we're gonna let him?
-[mary] things were quiet
but in a bad way.
Sammy's sleeping.
-Is your step-daddy
still passed out?
-Far as I could tell.
-So this is the weekend
that I'm gonna die.
-I wish prayer served us better.
-There's only one way out.
Willard's gotta die first.
-Mary, you're too innocent
to be hearing all this.
You remember how to use
this gun?
-I'd fire the rifle if I could,
I'm too broken to hold it.
You're not mary, you're strong.
I need you to save me.
-Killing's a sin.
-But not if it's to keep someone
else alive, someone you love.
-What jury's gonna convict
a little girl
Of trying to protect her mama?
Mary'd never go to jail.
It's one bullet to the head,
that's all it'd take.
-To the chest then,
just shoot him in the chest.
Just make sure he's dead.
Come on.
Oh... [winces]
[crying] pick it up mary,
You can do this for me,
right mary?
[dramatic music intensifies]
You can do this for me,
can't you mary?
[dramatic music]
[dramatic music]
[willard snoring]
[dramatic music]
[trigger clicks]
[dramatic music]
-The gun won't fire.
-Give it here.
[gun cocks]
It's loaded.
What are you waiting for?
Go. Go.
[suspenseful music]
-[breathing shakily]
[suspenseful music]
[trigger clicks]
[willard snores]
It's not working.
-Oh, for the love...
The safety was still on.
-[crying] I'd do anything
for you mama but not this.
-We got no other choice, mary.
Think of your baby brother.
Do you want sammy dead?
[suspenseful music]
-Please let the gun fire.
-Is he dead?
-What now veronica?
-Just give me a minute, mama.
-Leave me be, mary.
[phone dialing]
[phone ringing]
-[operator] 911. What's the
nature of your emergency?
-I wanna report a murder.
I just shot my husband.
-[operator] can I get your
-It's 16 tanner trail.
-[operator] okay now, ma'am.
You all hold tight there.
-It's okay, mary.
It's okay.
-Veronica? Where are
you going?
-We don't got the fastest cops.
I'm gonna head on down the road
to my girlfriend's to celebrate.
[willard groaning]
-What's that?
-What's what?
-Tv's still on.
[tv static]
-[raspy breathing]
- We gotta get sammy and go!
- What?
-Willard, he...
-I don't understand.
-Please grandma, he's coming.
[door opens]
-Where's the victim?
-Please, we aren't
the ones who...
[police sirens]
-Was this weapon used tonight?
-Got a body.
-Call it in.
-Who's the real victim here?
The abusive man who's now dead
Or the woman on trial who didn't
even pull the trigger.
Both are responsible
for another crime.
The crime of taking away
a young girl's childhood.
Not simply by the monstrous act
she was compelled to do
But all those years before it.
When will mary bailey be allowed
to be a little girl?
One man's been convicted
for his abuse in god's eyes.
The other abuser's fate
lies in your hands.
[suspenseful music]
-Has the jury reached a verdict?
[crowd murmuring]
With mercy.
Meaning no death penalty.
Ten years in prison.
No chance for parole.
[crowd murmuring]
Order. [gavel pounds]
Deputy, you can escort mary
bailey to her foster parent.
[emotional music]
[emotional music]
-[reporters clamoring]
mary! Mary!
Will you ever forgive
your mother?
Do you think you can trust
her again?
-Got a joke for you.
-What kinda car
would jesus drive?
-A christ-ler.
[both chuckle]
-I'll use that one in church.
We miss you there, mary.
Ain't nearly the same
without you.
-Kinda surprised my brother
and grandma aren't here.
-Well your brother's being
adopted by the foster family
He's been staying with.
And, uh, your grandma...
I wish I weren't the one to have
to tell you this.
-Something happen?
-No, your grandma's fine.
Only she...
She moved out of state to live
with your mom's brother.
-Are you here to adopt me?
-My wife and I looked into it.
But we're told that it's best
you're not raised in town.
You should be where no one
knows your...
Your history.
You got the kinda strength
none of us do, mary.
I'm afraid you're gonna have
to rely on it a spell longer.
-I don't wanna be
strong anymore.
I wish you was my daddy.
-Me too.
Don't ever lose hope.
-Pastor mccall...
Is it a sin that I still love
my mama?
-You kidding me?
That's god working through you,
If we hate those who wronged us,
we're no better than them.
And I know deep down
your mama must love you.
It's a gift you're giving
yourself if you remember that.
Now you decide how or what
could represent that bond
You and she might still share.
No one has to know but you.
-Except maybe one day mama?
-Maybe so, mary.
Maybe so.
[emotional music]
-Been waiting a long damn time
for this day.
Well... You're the last person
I'd expect to pick me up
and take me in.
-Hi mama.
Alright, I know it's not
all that much.
I got you a towel
and a toothbrush.
Um... But... I hope
you'll be comfortable.
-Wait. So...
Is this how it's gonna be now?
Just being civil
with one another,
Just light words now and then,
nothing more than that?
It's alright, mary.
I know after everything
that's happened...
-Actually why don't you
to come with me.
Let's sit.
-That's my favorite.
-Nothing a little nail polish
can't fix.
-I wasn't sure if you could
forgive me for...
Forget, never.
I've been through a lot to get
to where I am today.
Most of which sammy and I
Should've never been put through
to begin with.
But that don't mean
I'm not able to move on.
To... Live life.
To find peace.
I can't expect to move on myself
If I'm not ready to offer you
the same kinda grace.
[emotional music]
-I love you mary bailey.
-I love you too mama.
[emotional music]
-Well, do you wanna go first?
[emotional music]