BEFORE MIDNIGHT script ( the part Celine and Jesse start walking to the hotel….)….this is indeed a life lesson, no kitsch, no fantasy, no blog…This movie is part of the trilogy “BEFORE SUNRISE, BEFORE SUNSET, BEFORE MIDNIGHT”, the story of two teenagers meeting in ’93 at the age of 20, then after ten years, then after ten years, filmed in real life…
No. We have much less to compare
ourselves to maybe. Most women who
achieve anything in life, the first
time you hear about them, they’re in
their 50’s, because it was so hard
for them to get any recognition before
then. They struggle for 30 years or
they raise kids and were stranded at
home before they could finally do
what they want. Actually, you know
what? It’s kind of freeing. We
don’t have to spend our lives
comparing ourselves to Martin Luther
King, Gandhi, Tolstoy…
Well, what about Joan of Arc, right?
I mean, she was a teenager and she
saved France. So…
Who wants to be Joan of Arc, okay?
Forget France. She was burned at
the stake and a virgin! Okay?
Nothing I aspire to. What a great
Okay! All right, all right, all
It’s just so weird.
What do you mean?
Oh, just this. Us. Walking, having
Oh, I know.
… About something else than
scheduling, food, work.
Yeah, I mean, how long’s it been
since we just wandered around
Do you hear what I hear?
What, oh! No small feet. Nothing
being knocked over, nothing we have
to clean up, no injustices being
Yeah. So when was the last time?
When we had nowhere we had to be?
You remember walking around Luxembourg
Do you? I used to kick your ass at
ping pong on those concrete tables.
Hey, congratulations! You beat a
woman pregnant with twins!
Well, it’s better than losing to a
pregnant woman with twins.
Such a gentleman! Yeah.
Hah-ha! You know what I think? I
think its from the time we leave our
parents house until we have kids –
that’s the only time your life is
completely your own. You know I
think I had about a decade of that.
It was great. It was just like one
long, flowing… a day, a week, a
year, there wasn’t much difference.
No, I used to keep track of time
through jobs and boyfriends and stuff
like that. Now I can tell you every
detail of the past seven years based
on what was happening in the girls’
Yeah, right. Totally.
You do that too?
Yeah, I mean time’s demarcated now…
No, no, I’m just surprised. I’m
surprised you do that too. No but,
okay – quick test.
August 2009. Come on, it’s a quick
one. What was happening?
August 2009 – we were on vacation
with your parents. Nina got the
chicken pox first, quickly followed
I’m so impressed.
Yeah. So do I get a gold star?
Maybe. Hey. Can I ask you a
If we were meeting for the first
time today on a train, would you
find me attractive?
No, but really, right now as I am?
Would you start talking to me? Would
you ask me to get off the train with
Well, I mean, you’re asking a
theoretical question. I mean, what
would my life situation be? I mean
technically, wouldn’t I be cheating
Okay. Why can’t you just say “yes”?
No, I did. I said, “of course”!
That was –
No-no-no! I wanted you to say
something romantic and you blew it.
Oh, okay. Alright, wait – if I saw
you on a train, okay, listen. I
would lock eyes with you.
And then I’d walk right up to you
and I’d say, “Hey, baby. You are
making me as horny as a billy goat
in a briar patch.”
He grabs her ass.
Stop it, that’s disgusting! Billy
goat. No, the truth is, you failed
the test. And the fact is, you would
not pick me up on a train. You
wouldn’t even notice me, a fat-assed
middle-aged mom, losing her hair.
Losing her hair?
Yeah, that’s me!
You set me up to fail. Honestly,
Okay, true. True.
Alright? Alright? But in the real
world, baldy, on game day when it
mattered, I DID talk to you on a
train. I did that, it was the best
thing I ever did.
Really? Look at the goats. Hello.
Hey. Alright. You know, that’s not
even a good question, all right?
The real question would be if I DID
ask you to get off a train…
Would you get off with me?
No, of course not. I have people
waiting for me.
Yeah, see, so?
You know, and
A forty-one-year-old horny billy
goat? How creepy! I’m creeped out
right now. Help, politzia!
I can’t believe I’m 41.
Yeah, me neither. You’ve gotten so
old. I never thought I’d sleep with
anyone over 40.
Yeah, yeah… what?
Actually, you know what? You’re the
oldest guy I’ve ever slept with.
Well, that’s something. That’s good.
I know I’m not the oldest guy you’ve
That conference in Warsaw?
Lech Walesa… oh, what are you
It’s okay. It was before we were
together, you can admit it. I can
remember the way you talked about
how he “opened your heart”. You
definitely blew him. Definitely.
Oh, okay. You’re really crazy.
That was Gorbachev, okay? You
geographically challenged, football
obsessed, donut loving American.
That was Gorbachev.
I’m sorry, I got my Eastern Bloc
leaders mixed up. Okay?
And I didn’t blow him at all! Okay?
Take it back!
Okay. All right, okay. Okay!
So was it Vaclav Havel? Or –
All right, you know..
EXT. WALK PART TWO – EVENING
They’re now walking through a small, very old town.
Listen to this. I was going to wait
to tell you this until later but,
whatever. I’m so bad with secrets.
What? You have a tumor in your brain?
You’re going to die?
No, no, no, no. Nothing like that
alright? Well actually, it’s kinda
like that. My grandmother died.
Yeah, my dad texted me right before
Oh, I’m so sorry. Why didn’t you
Ah, I know. Well, everybody’s been
expecting it. You know, she lived a
long time, had a great life. She
Okay. She didn’t live much longer
after your grandfather died, though.
No, barely a year. I mean the funny
thing is, this woman was a frickin’
She was a nurse in the war, she took
care of all of us, you know. I mean,
she never said an unkind word about
Ah, I wish I’d met her.
No, it’s okay, because by the end,
you know, she just really wasn’t
into meeting new people. I mean
after a lifetime of being sweet as
pie – once grandpa died, she got
Well you know, it happens, she was
in mourning, no?
Well, my dad said she was just waiting
How long were they married?
How is that even possible? How old
will we be if we’re together seventyfour
Mm… well, when would we start
I guess from the first time we had
Okay. Yeah, good. So, so um, 1994.
Under His Breath)
Okay. ’94… fifty-six years from
Okay. We will be ninety-eight.
Will you be able to put up with me
for another fifty-six more years? I
need to know! Okay? ‘Cause I don’t
know if I’m gonna be able to put up
It’s crazy if you think about all
the change they saw. I mean, when
they met neither one of them had
electricity. He used to take her to
school on his horse, right?
Oh, that’s so romantic… it’s
I know. When they graduated, he was
valedictorian and she was
What is that?
He was top of the class and she was
I bet she knowingly got a couple of
answers wrong just to make sure he
didn’t feel threatened.
Well, if she wanted to get laid,
she’d better have.
Yeah, obviously like you-know-who.
Right. Well, anyway, so I called my
dad, right? After I got the text,
Yeah, yeah, of course, yeah.
… You know, tell him I was sorry…
but I think I kind of screwed up.
At some point I told him ‘Hey Dad,
you’re an orphan now.’ He didn’t
think that was funny.
No, it’s not funny at all.
Yeah, I guess not.
He’s next, then you.
I know. Well, he told me that my
grandparents want to have a joint
service. They want to have their
ashes intermingled and be buried as
Your grandfather didn’t have a
No, remember? They vowed to each
other they’d never have to attend
one another’s funerals.
Oh, yeah. I kind of like the idea
of you attending mine.
Imagining you in a suit, clean shaven
for once… and holding hands with
the girls… I don’t know, I like
You’re gonna outlive me.
Well, I’ll see. I guess one of us
You think you want to go to the
service with me?
Uh, it’s not going to be in Paris.
How bad do you want me there? I
mean I would come but it’s really
expensive with the flights…
Just skip it – it’d be simpler to go
(To Barking Dog)
Well you know, if I’m not there it’ll
be easier for you to fuck your
Yes, that’s true.
Yeah. Isn’t that common where you
come from? I mean… you didn’t
answer the question.
Will you be able to put up with me
for another 56 more years?
I am looking forward to it.
Shit, you’re really working it.
(Spanish accent returns)
Ze nectar of your sex ages like a
Uh-oh, my hairy Spanish lover is
Greek. I’m Greek now, for sure.
Oh! Look at this! Wow. This place
sort of reminds me of this film I
saw when I was a teenager. It was a
black and white film from the 50s.
I remember a couple walking through
the ruins of Pompeii, looking at
bodies that had been lying there for
centuries. I remember the bodies
caught in their sleep, still lovingly
holding each other. I don’t know
why, sometimes I have this image in
my mind when, you know, we’re asleep
and you hold me.
What, of being buried alive under
molten ash, that’s what you’re
That’s not very fun.
Well… I don’t know, it’s not
horrible. They had some bodies with
little kids sleeping between them…
Oh, that’s nice!
Yeah! I guess I was young and a bit
morbid – I mean at that age you
romanticize the idea of dying with
the person you love.
Well, you wanna die with me?
Maybe, if it were, you know, our
first night together, then, a long
time ago. But now, no. I’d like to
Well, I just wanted you to say
something romantic and you blew it!
Putain de merde!
Oh, no! Putain de merde, I blew it.
Okay, if we’re both 98 you can ask
me again, but anytime sooner…Ehhnt!
They are walking by an old, tiny Chapel.
Hey, this is the chapel I was telling
you about. It’s from the Byzantine
era, it’s like a thousand years old.
Can we go in?
Yeah. I think so. Check this out.
INT. CHAPEL – AFTERNOON
It’s a shrine to Saint Odilia, a
patron saint to eyesight. People
come from all over, they leave little
dedications to the blind, to help
I’m sure it works.
He is looking at the old faded paintings on the walls.
Maybe. These paintings here, they
make me think of those Japanese monks,
you know, with their deal on
impermanence. They like to paint
with water on rock on a hot day so
by the time they’re done it’s already
Celine notices all the icons have been subtly defaced.
All the eyes are scratched out. Is
that about the blindness?
No, I thought that too, but the
caretaker guy, he told me that the
Turks did that during the Occupation.
That’s it! I’m never eating Turkish
Oh, okay. Well, that’ll send a shiver
through the international community.
Okay fine, then I’ll never suck
another Turkish cock.
Now THAT’s gonna have a global impact.
Oh, that’s terrible. No, I forgot
you’re a closet Christian. Is it
really bad to make blow-job jokes in
Jesse just shrugs.
Kind of is, okay? But we’ve done
The girls asked me again what our
wedding was like.
Yeah? What’d you say?
I said it was very low key.
Yeah, very low key. So low key I
don’t even remember it.
I don’t know why they want us to be
married so badly. It’s important to
We’re in a church. You want to get
It’s just all those fairy tales they
like so much, you know? Remember
when they were little, at the end of
every cartoon they watched, they’d
be all “Oh they’re getting married!”
Even if it’s Pinocchio and his dad,
or Donald Duck and his nephews.
EXT. WALK PART THREE- EVENING
They are now walking through the town on their way to the
So if we’re going to spend another
fifty-six more years together…
… What about me would you like to
That’s another one of your can’t-win
questions. I’m not answering that.
What do you mean? There’s not one
thing you’d like to change about me?
… If I could change one thing about
… It would be for you to stop trying
to change me.
You’re a very skilled manipulator,
you know that?
Well, I’m onto you. I know how you
Yeah. I know everything about you.
Here we go. Let’s go through here.
I don’t think you do, actually.
No? Well, I know you better than I
know anybody else on the planet.
But… maybe that’s not saying much.
I mean right now?
This is great. You know?
I feel close to you.
But sometimes, I don’t know, I feel
like you’re breathing helium and I’m
What makes you say that? Huh?
See? I’m trying to truly connect –
What? Come on, I’m just being
– And you make a joke! That’s exactly
what I’m talking about!
Oh, listen, come on, come on. If
we’re ever going to truly know one
another, I think we’d probably have
to get to know ourselves better first.
Yeah. Do you remember this friend
of mine? George, from New York.
Oh, no, that was before. That was
He was this friend of mine that,
when he found out he had leukemia,
and he was probably going to die, he
confessed to me that the first thing
that came to his mind was relief.
Relief? But why?
Well, before he found out he had
nine months to live he was always so
worried about money, and now his
thought was, great! I have more
than enough money to live for the
next nine months, I’ve made it!
And then he was finally able to enjoy
everything about life, even like
being stuck in traffic. He would
just enjoy looking at people…
staring at their faces. Just little
And then what happened?
What do you mean?
Well, like, is he still alive?
No, he died. A long time ago.
Last night I had this dream where I
was reading a book. It was a lost
classic, “The Rovers”.
Yeah, like roving around, you know,
wandering? It was all these young
Okay. Is that a real book?
No, no, no.
But it was really great.
It was fresh, funny, experimental,
it had all this energy…
I love that you read books in your
I know, and they’re always really
I have major action hero dreams,
like I’m flying around like a
superhero, breaking through walls.
And at the end, I have an orgasm.
Well, I’m gonna try to make your
dreams come true, babe.
They arrive at the waterfront. The sun is now setting over
EXT. CAFE – EVENING
They are now sitting at an outdoor table with a couple of
glasses of wine, staring at the last bit of the fireball,
Still there. Still there. … Still
there. Still there. … Gone.
They sit in silence. Eventually, Jesse looks over at Celine
and notices she’s moved. He just takes her hand. The sun
is now gone.
INT. HOTEL LOBBY – NIGHT
As they are checking into the hotel, Jesse is signing various
HOTEL CLERK #1
I need your credit card.
Oh, I think the room is paid for.
HOTEL CLERK #1
Yes it is, but the credit card is
Right, of course.
Another HOTEL CLERK (#2) emerges from office with his two
I am such a fan of these two books.
My husband gave me your book on our
first date and then when your second
book came out, we read it out loud
Would you please sign them to us?
Yeah, of course, of course.
I love the art work on these Greek
editions, it’s really nice. Uh,
what do you need?
Make it to Sofia and Pavlos.
Okay. How’s the Greek translation?
As Jesse signs the books, the Hotel Clerk starts paying
attention to Celine.
Well, it’s called “Afti ti Fora,
Ekini ti Fora”
“Ekini ti Fora.”
But I’m not sure it’s a great one.
Well, that’s because you never read
it in English, right?
Exactly. … That’s great. Could
you sign them too?
Yes. You’re the real Madeline, right?
Madeline? Not really. People assume
it’s me but it’s – it’s not me at
all. He’s got a big imagination.
Would you be so kind? It would mean
so much to my husband.
The book is passed to Celine.
I can’t sign a book I didn’t write.
It doesn’t make –
Jesse passes the books to Celine.
She’d be happy to.
Okay. Thank you.
I’m happy to.
She begins to sign.
Okay. Thank you.
Great. Thank you so much.
INT. HOTEL ROOM – NIGHT
Celine and Jesse enter the room.
Check it out!
Wow, this is nice!
Clean… air conditioning… I love
it! Oh my god.
Wow, oh wow, that bath tub.
Jesse goes over to the table to examine what’s on it.
Hey, check this out. Stefanos and
Ariadni got us a bottle of wine and
a couple’s massage.
They are so nice, we have to get
them a present before we leave.
I know, we should remember to get
something for the kids, too.
Yeah, I know. For sure. Wow. I
miss the girls.
Jesse seductively touches her.
Mmm, I don’t.
Then kisses her. She eventually looks out the window.
This is such a nice view. Look.
The only view that I am interested
… Is right… here. Here. Let’s
He slowly undoes her top, revealing her still-perfect breasts.
They kiss passionately.
(touches his chin)
It’s funny. I never noticed until
today but… all the red in your
beard is gone. It used to be one of
the things that made me fall for
you, it’s crazy.
Well, it’s not gone, it’s just white.
You’re not gonna tell me that your
love is dependent on pigment, are
No, but you know, I see the red in
our girls’ eyelashes. I look at
them and it makes me think of when
You know what I’m looking forward
Is waking up next to you alone.
You mean without Nina and Ella jumping
on our heads.
Exactly. I haven’t heard you think
in years now.
I used to wake up to that sound of
your eyes opening and closing, and
that brain of yours going two million
miles an hour. I miss it, hearing
When you said you could hear me think,
I really thought you could. But it
was just my eyelids. How dumb and
romantic of me.
It’s my favorite thing.
I miss thinking, too. No more
thinking in the morning, no more
I’m looking forward to it so much, I
don’t think I will sleep.
I’m looking forward to right now.
Okay, then stop talking, so we can
They kiss until Celine’s cell phone rings.
Oh, shit, who is it?
Celine crawls out of bed and heads across the room toward
I said they could call in case of
emergency only. Hope the girls are
okay. Okay. Oh, it’s Henry. Okay.
Celine picks up.
Hi sweetie – are you okay? Are you
in London? Oh! Oh, already?
Oh, no, we found it. Uh, we’ll mail
it tomorrow morning.
Yeah. Ohh, they miss you, too.
I’ll kiss them for you. Okay, I’ll
tell him. Good luck with your mom –
I love you too. Bye.
Celine hangs up. Jesse gestures for the phone are again
He’s fine. He says he’ll call you
from Chicago when he lands.
Why can’t I talk to him? That’s
twice you’ve done that. C’mon, you
could have just handed me the phone.
You know I want to talk to him.
Well, he didn’t have time to talk –
he said they were boarding.
And what’d he forget? What was that?
His science project. But we’ll mail
it tomorrow. It’ll be fine.
You shouldn’t have said that about
What? What did I say?
“Good luck with your mom.”
I mean, come on –
I didn’t mean anything by it.
I know, but it’s not good. It just
reminds him of the whole thing. I
just wish you wouldn’t do that…
Oh, like you think he forgets?
That’s so American to just sweep it
under the carpet and act as if it
Why put it into his head? You know?
What if he doesn’t want to be thinking
about that right now? He’s too
It means nothing.
It means something. It does.
Alright, I even made a joke the other
day that his mom and I should try to
settle it in one big mud wrestling
Mud wrestling? You said that?
And he laughed. He might have more
of a sense of humor than you do.
We just talked about that. When you
say bad things about his mom, what
he hears is bad things about himself.
Well, I didn’t say anything bad about
his mom. I made a joke; it’s as
much on me as it is on her.
Well you’re right. I know, I know,
I know. Just why conjure it up at
all, you know?
Jesse gets up out of bed and goes across the room, goes to
Celine’s purse and turns off her phone.
I think he’s old enough now. I mean,
he knows how bad it is between his
mother and I.
His mom and me.
And I didn’t do anything, it’s all
coming from her towards me. Okay,
she hates me; yes, I fucked her
husband a long time ago. Or should
I say, he fucked me?
Making a joke about the fact that
his mom and I don’t love each other
is not the issue. That’s not going
to traumatize him. That already
happened, alright, and now you’re
trying to transfer your guilt and
No, I’m not.
You know, on the contrary, if he can
make a joke about it, maybe he’ll be
able to live with it better. That’s
what I think.
Okay. You’re right. As always.
Let’s just not talk about it, okay?
It’s nobody’s fault if his mom is a
drunk and abusive psychologically.
Don’t say that!
I mean, it makes me sick that he has
to be with her, but I guess judges
assume that women have the mother
instinct. She has the mother instinct
Jesse goes to the bathroom and washes off his face.
Yeah, after all, it is a Greek myth.
It’s actually a play by Euripides,
A woman killing her kids to punish
her ex-husband? That’s basically
what she’s doing, she’s hurting him
to get to you.
No, she’s making my life hell through
him, that’s what she’s doing. You
know, sometimes, you say things that
just go too far.
Okay, stop blaming me for everything
that is wrong in this whole thing
with your wife, okay?
Ex-wife! Ex-wife for a long time!
Okay, you should have dealt with it
a little better back then. She
wouldn’t have hated us so much.
Okay–I screwed up. And I love this
little re-write you do: everything
that isn’t perfect in our life gets
laid at my feet…
And now you’re putting this shit on
me about Henry?
What shit? What’re you talking about?
Jesse takes off his pants and returns to the bed. Celine
immediately begins putting on her top and gets up.
Let me tell you what I’m talking
about: the moving to Chicago and
giving up of my life. Now that you
mention that Henry needs you, how do
you think that makes me feel? I’m
miserable! Alright? How can I take
that job now? Tell me!
Tell me. I’ll feel too guilty! Nono-no-no-no!
Look, look. That’s a choice you’re
making, to look at it like that,
It is in the nature of women to be
Okay, I can’t even say that fucking
word! I just naturally feel bad
about everything. And you give me
that look, like it’s my fault.
That look, the I-forgot-to-put-in -the-bag-the-science-project-look.
I know you blame me.
I didn’t say anything.
No. You didn’t say anything. You
didn’t have to. Yeah, yeah, it’s
always my fault.
Celine walks across the room, sits on the couch, and turns
on her phone again.
I read on the fridge at work – you
know those magnet words that people
make sentences with? Someone had
put together, “Women explore for
eternity in the vast garden of
Wow! That’s a sure sign from God!
Yeah. That line is so damn true and
it’s been for ten thousand years.
But that’s enough! Okay. I don’t
want to be one of these women. Like
marriage is important to gays or
contraception to women rights – it’s
the same with giving up my hopes,
with the millions of women that have
had to give up their hopes. I am
not going to do it. This is bigger
than me. This means more than me.
Jesse bursts into applause.
Wow! Bravo! The Nobel committee is
taking note. I’m just – hold on a
second, I’m gonna alert Sweden, okay?
I mean, it must be a full-time job
carrying that much feminine
You suffered so much growing up in
middle-class Paris! I mean, the
agony in the trenches of the Sorbonne
in the post-feminist era. I can’t
You’re an asshole. You know what
sweetie, when are we moving to
Chicago? I want to make sure we are
able to find a nice house and I can
sew the drapes and pick matching bed
So this is how you now want to be
spending this evening? I mean, this
is what you wanna do tonight?
Well, you started it.
No. You are the one who will not
shut up about it. But if you want
to talk about it, I mean, really
talk about it. I would prefer to
have an unemotional, rational
conversation. I mean, do you think
we can do that? Would that be
Here we go. Unemotional, rational.
You always play the part of the one
and only rational one and I’m the
irrational, hysterical, hormone-crazy
one because I have emotions. Yeah,
you sit back and you speak from your
big perspective which means everything
you say is level-headed and true.
I don’t always do anything.
The world is fucked by unemotional
rational men deciding shit, alright?
Politicians going to war for no
reason, corporate heads deciding to
wreck the environment, Cheney,
Rumsfeld – very rational men.
Cheney and Rumsfeld? Yeah, okay.
The final solution? Very rational
thinking behind it.
Oh, okay, so we’re there now? Us
versus the final solution? Okay!
Let’s do it, alright? Let me ask
you this, alright? Do you think
Henry’s life would be helped by a
more consistent presence by you and
Here we go…
Jesse gets up from the bed, puts his pants back on, and joins
Celine on the couch.
No. You won’t drop it, so let’s
talk about it. Alright? Let me
just ask you one question. Do you
think Hank’s life would be better
served by a more consistent presence
from you and me?
Yes! I think it’d be better if he
lived with us…
… And I think his mom is a fucking
alcoholic, hateful cunt that used
the time that we were in Paris and I
was giving birth and almost dying to
legally move Henry out of New York.
Okay. I agree with you.
Unfortunately, we cannot go get him
out of America but we could, if we
wanted to, go to him. Now, I know
it would be a big move, but what do
you think? I mean, is there any way
you could be happy in the U.S.? Is
that just out of the realm of
possibility? That you could find a
comparable job there?
Comparable job? Are you kidding?
Why am I the one that always has to
make the compromises?
Oh, Jesus Christ. Don’t be so
Well, moving to Chicago is pretty
fucking dramatic to me.
I’m not saying we should move. I
just want to talk about it. Can you
be my friend for like two seconds so
we can talk?
Okay, two seconds.
Alright. Do you remember that time
that you were like 35 minutes late
to pick the girls up from school
You always get like this when you
drop him off. You’re sad, so you
start a fight. He’s fine. He’s a
great kid. Okay? But the truth is,
he doesn’t need you the way he used
to. You missed the opportunity to
be with him everyday of his childhood,
you just did. And you can cry about
it but he’s growing up. You’re a
great father in other ways. You got
divorced, like millions of other
people. Was it ideal? No. Listen,
if in one month, you still want me
to quit my job and give up everything
I have ben working towards all these
years, just ask me. But right now I
feel the same way I always have. I
would move back to the US if that
diseased ex-wife of yours would give
us joint custody. But every other
weekend amounts to shit Jesse, that’s
less than thirty days a semester and
I don’t think it’s worth it for us
to change our entire lives over that
kind of time.
I know, you’re right.
Right, right? See? I’m being the
Oh, it’s just such a shitty position,
you know? I mean Hank didn’t do
anything but he’s the one getting
kicked in the teeth.
We all get dragged through our
parents’ lives. If it wasn’t me,
your marriage would have ended over
something else and you know that.
Or even worse, he would have been
raised by two miserable parents.
I know. I just really fucked that
You mean you fucked up by moving to
Paris to be with me?
No. That’s not what I meant…
I knew that was going to cost too
That’s not what I meant at all!
I told you not to do it.
I moved to New York with you for two
years and gave up everything, but I
needed to be home to give birth to
the twins because it was a complicated
birth and I wanted to be with my
mother. And you wanted it too!
Okay. That’s the one thing I asked
from you, the one thing. And now
you’re going to blame me forever.
Stop it will you? Stop it. If you
don’t want to move back to the States
we won’t. End of story. I’m just
trying to find a way where I can be
more of a consistent presence in his
life, and ideally I’d like to do
that as a family.
‘As a family?’ Or what?
What the fuck does that mean?
I feel a passive aggressive threat
in everything you say. Either do
this, or I will resent you for the
rest of our lives.
No? Am I Right? You know what?
I’m sensing something… I think the
problem is that you don’t want me to
have a more substantial job. On
some level, you feel threatened by
my achieving anything that could
diminish your status in our
My status in our relationship? I
teach two courses a semester at the
fucking American school. Ok wow,
that’s really some status.
Now I don’t think it’s any coincidence
that you feel that way at the same
time that I have a truly exciting
This whole train of thought is
complete horse shit and you know it.
I have a question for you. If we
didn’t have the girls, all our crap.
Would we even still be together?
What? I mean you are the fucking
mayor of crazy town, do you know
that? You are.
You know what I think? I think you
need to move to Chicago. I think
Henry needs you and I think I need
to stay in Paris with the girls and
take this job.
Why are you doing this, huh? That
is a ridiculous idea.
Like I’m gonna lose you and the girls?
No. Why do you make everything so
Jesse, you’re unhappy with me. You’re
blaming me for taking you away from
That is a completely irrational
response to something I am just trying
to feel my way through.
Listen, Jesse. We’ve just spent the
last six weeks here and it’s been
great. You’ve been able to write
everyday and the weather’s been nice.
But I didn’t want to come to Greece
All right? There could be a
revolution any second…
People eat a lot of feta and olive
oil, they act all happy but they
actually talk about how “angry” they
are… and it confuses me and I don’t
know what’s going to happen in the
next few weeks.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Let me tell you
what’s going to happen alright. The
same thing that always happens:
Alright. You know what? I have had
absolutely zero time for myself, I
have ten thousand emails I have to
answer that I didn’t answer…
And you think I don’t?
I spend all day making dinner, wiping
both you and your son’s pee off the
toilet seat, while you talk to your
fellow novelists. Blah, blah, blah,
you’re a genius, blah, blah, blah,
no, you’re a genius. And the second
we say goodbye to Henry, you suggest
that maybe I should give up my dream
job because you feel bad.
Oh. Okay, now it’s your dream job?!
This afternoon you weren’t even sure
you wanted it but now it’s your dream
job. Do you ever listen to yourself?
Yes it is my dream job! Just because
I have doubts doesn’t mean I don’t
All right? But what do you care?
Every day you go on your two hour
“contemplative” walk under the olive
trees. Socrates… you should get a
It’s an hour.
No, by the time you leave, and by
the time you’re actually with us
again, two hours. You know, I could
never do that. You’re very good at
taking care of yourself. I take
care of myself, AND everything else.
We’re going somewhere, you pack your
bag, I pack EVERYTHING else.
You would never let me pack the girls’
Because there would be no shoes and
plenty of dirty underwear.
So says you.
I’m happy you have time to contemplate
the universe and have existential
problems because I don’t – I barely
have time to think. I work, I babysit,
I work, I baby-sit.
Jesse wanders off into the bathroom to take a pee.
Could you hold on a second? I just
have to tune up the string section…
You know what? The only time I get
to think now, is when I take a shit
at the office. I’m starting to
associate thoughts with the smell of
Well, that is a good line – I want
to use that in a book someday.
I’m sure you will – and that’ll be
the best line in the book.
She walks over and talks to him directly while he’s in the
And by the way, you may never, EVER,
use me or anything I say or do in
one of your fucking books again!
And that goes for the girls, too.
Jesse comes back out.
Well, A) You shouldn’t have hooked
up with a writer. B) You weren’t
in the last book or the one I’m
writing now. C) I’m gonna write
about whatever the fuck I want.
As always, OUR life works for YOU.
No, no, no. Don’t give me this put
upon housewife bullshit. Okay this
is not the 50’s.
I’m sorry to ruin your perfect little
narrative of oppression with the
truth but I am the one who’s at home
everyday dealing with the bullshit
cause you’re at work until 6:30.
You take the girls to school, and I
pick them up. That’s fair, that’s
our deal. We live in Paris, France
Yeah, and you remind me of it every
I have orbited my entire life around
you and you know it. So I am sorry
if this Summer’s vacation – and it
is a vacation – because all I’ve
seen you do is frolic in the sea and
shove greek salad down your throat.
Ok, but it is not indicative of you
spending your life in some kind of
You know what I love about men?
They still believe in magic. Little
fairies around who pick up their
socks, little fairies unload the
dishwasher, little fairies sunscreen
the kids. Little fairies who make
the fucking Greek salads that you
eat like a pig.
Okay, listen to me, all right? You
are great at taking care of us. You
are. I mean you take care of the
kids, you take care of your friends,
you take care of the world. Alright?
And you were like that before you
were a mom and now its only magnified.
But, and I’ve been telling you this
for years – you gotta do a little
bit better job taking care of
yourself. Ok, you do.
Okay, stop patronizing me, all right?
I’m the one at home every night at
6.00, not 6.30. I am reliable.
Have you ever booked a baby sitter,
ever, in your entire life? NO.
What is the name of their
Stop quizzing me, all right? It’s
really fucking boring.
Yeah, okay. You know what? I’m at
home every night and I make dinner,
I give baths, and I read bedtime
stories. Sometimes you’re there,
sometimes you’re at a university
event or a publicity tour. Ok?
When you get “inspired” you keep on
writing. I get inspired too
sometimes, you know that?
You want to write? Great. Write.
No, but you remember I used to sing
and play guitar and write songs?
I’d still like to do it. But I don’t
get to – there isn’t time.
Okay. Well, first off, my writing
isn’t a hobby. Secondly, I wish you
would find the time. You somehow
manage to find the time to complain
about 8 hours a day. I mean, I love
the way you sing. Okay? I fucked
up my whole life ’cause of the way
you sing. Alright? If you took one
eighth of the energy that you spend
on bitching, whining and worrying…
If you put that energy into playing
scales, I mean you would be like
fucking Django Reinhardt.
Okay. All right. Whoops. You forgot
And quickly re-enters.
You think you’re winning?!
(almost losing her
Very few people realize what it is
like for an active or passionate
woman to have a child. Some friends
told me, “you’ll see, you’ll want to
throw them out the window.” Okay,
but the truth is I never wanted to
hurt them once but I thought about
ending it all for myself a hundred
times. I was so confused, and you
were always away on a stupid book
tour or because of Henry’s custody
shit and I didn’t want to be a burden.
Now I know why Sylvia Plath put her
head in a toaster.
It was an oven.
Don’t play with words. You know
what I mean – toaster, oven. Same
thing. You know how many times I
was alone with the girls crying with
no clue what to do? Do you know the
guilt a mother feels when she doesn’t
know what to do?
Do you think you have sole ownership
of that feeling?
I don’t think you understand, okay?
You know what my secret fear is?
With every man? Is that they all
want to turn me into a submissive
Okay, no one could EVER do that, all
right? I promise, it would be easier
to fit your head into a toaster than
to turn you into anything submissive.
The whole conversation has taken on a calmer tone.
I don’t think I’ve recovered since
giving birth. When they were born,
I had no idea what to do. People
expect women to have instinct that
kicks in, like a female baboon. But
I had no idea how to do anything. I
loved them so much, and I was doing
everything wrong. And you were away
so often, calling me, asking me how
my day went, and I couldn’t even say
it to you because I felt so ashamed
for being so clueless.
Look, I think you did great.
No, I didn’t.
No, you did. Well, you did a good
job faking it, then.
I remember the only way I could get
them to sleep was to drag that stupid
double stroller down the stairs and
walk them for hours and hours in the
middle of the night, all the way to
Pigalle and back. I almost got mugged
once… I mean, the only reason why
the guy didn’t attack me was is that
I looked so pathetic. The only upside
of being over 35 is that you don’t
get raped as much. I read it – its
Jesse laughs. The tone shifts.
(he takes her hand)
Once I remember I was watching the
twins on a trampoline, you know, and
they looked so beautiful. And I was
happy because they were happy, you
know. One of them had this hulahoop
that she was using as a jump
rope, but then the other one wanted
it so they started fighting over it.
All of a sudden I saw it all, this
petty jealously and selfishness… I
remember thinking: this is the natural
human state – always a little
discontented, you know? I mean,
look at us, here we are, in a garden
of Eden and we can’t stop fighting.
I don’t think there is one natural
human state. The human state is
multiple. If that’s what you see
when you’re watching the girls play,
that means you’re depressed.
Okay. Maybe I am.
Celine is slowly getting revved up again.
When I see them fight, I see beautiful
energy of going forward in life and
not letting anyone step on them or
take away what they want. I like it
when they fight – it gives me hope
Well that’s because you see anger as
a positive emotion, you know, and
you only end up hurting yourself,
your work, your kids, me.
And you never get angry?
When I do, I don’t see it as a
You know something? The way you
write in your book, people come up
to me and think I make love to some
wildcat Henry Miller type… HA!
You like to have sex the EXACT same
way every time.
When you got it, you got it.
Kissy, kissy. Titty, titty. PUSSY.
I’m a man of simple pleasures.
Yeah, very simple, and I’ve been
meaning to tell you that lately.
You’re no Henry Miller, on any level.
You know what, this room gives me
the creeps, I was expecting something
quaint, like the real Greece.
This place is pretty real.
What the hell are we doing here
anyway? This is all too planned,
like we’re supposed to have this
great evening. There’s no room for
spontaneity, it is all gone from our
lives. It’s stupid and it’s not
Okay. Well, obviously, right?
Right, yeah … and I curse Ariadni
and that perv Stefanos for doing
this. A couples massage – what the
fuck is that? That sounds sleazy to
We don’t have to do it! Okay? C’mon,
this place isn’t so bad. I like
hotel rooms… I think they’re sexy.
Yeah, I know you do, Mr. Book Tour.
Mr. Radisson Hilton. And I know
that time when you were doing that
reading in Washington, when your
cell phone supposedly broke that
night – how convenient. Swear on
our kids that you didn’t fuck that
lady from the bookstore. Emily.
Swear to me you didn’t fuck that
Emily girl. And I’m not jealous
because I’m not the jealous type but
I just wanna know, be a man and admit
I am giving you my whole life, okay?
I’ve got nothing larger to give.
I’m not giving it to anybody else.
If you’re looking for permission to
disqualify me, I’m not going to give
it to you. I love you and I’m NOT
in conflict about it. But if what
you want is a laundry list of all
the things about you that piss me
off, I could give it to you.
Yeah – I want to hear.
Okay! Well, uh, let’s start at number
one – okay, number one, you’re fuckin’
nuts, alright? You are, good luck
finding somebody else to put with
your shit for more than like 6 months.
But I accept the whole package, the
crazy and the brilliant. I know
you’re not going to change, and I
don’t want you to. It’s called
accepting you for being you.
Yeah okay, I asked you a question.
If, while I was carrying the double
stroller down the stairs and getting
ass-raped in Pigalle, you fucked
that little Emily Bronte girl?
Ok I don’t know. Emily… what Emily?
What are you even talking about?
The one who wrote the nice emails
about Dostoevsky? “Oh Jesse, you’re
so right, “The Grand Commander” is
the deepest passage of all Russian
If you’re asking me if I’m committed
to you, the girls, and the life we’ve
built together, the answer is a
So you DID fuck her! Thank you very
Do I ever ask you about the time you
went to go visit your old boyfriend
after his mother died? No. You
want to know why? Because I KNOW
the way that your fucking French ass
works, and I guarantee that you at
least blew that guy, but I also know
that you love me, okay? I’m okay
with you being a complicated human
being! I don’t wanna live a boring
life where two people own each other,
where two people are institutionalized
in a box that others created – because
that is a bunch of stifling bullshit.
Petrified, she exits.
Jesse sits alone waiting for her to return.
Enter Celine. She walks in, sets her room key down.
You know what’s going on here? It’s
simple – I don’t think I love you
She exits. Jesse sits there, gazing from the cold cup of
tea, to the door, to the full glasses of wine, to the rumpled,
empty bed. Celine doesn’t come back.
EXT. OUTDOOR CAFE/BAR – NIGHT
Jesse finds Celine sitting near the same table where they
saw the sunset earlier.
I don’t want to talk right now.
Are you by yourself? Are you waiting
Yeah, I’m by myself and happy to be.
I’m an angry person and I hurt my
kids, my work, and everyone I love.
Oh. Well, just my type.
Jesse sits down right across from her.
Okay, I’m not in the mood – I came
here to be alone.
Yeah, listen. I’ve just been checking
you out from across the cafe and I
don’t want to make you uncomfortable,
but you’re by far the best looking
woman in this place.
Thank you very much.
I’d love to buy you a drink, maybe
talk to you, get to know you a little
bit… you know. Are you here on
Ok.. You have a boyfriend?
Sorry to hear that. God, you want
to talk about it?
I don’t talk to strangers.
But that’s the thing, I’m not a
stranger. No, we’ve met before…
You are mistaking me for someone
No, we even fell in love.
Really? I vaguely remember someone
sweet and romantic, who made me feel
I wasn’t alone anymore. Someone who
had respect for who I was.
That’s me. I’m that guy.
I don’t think so.
Well, see, I know something about
tonight that you don’t know.
Really. What is that?
Something important. See, I know
because I’ve actually already lived
through this night.
I’m a time traveler.
I have a time machine up in my room.
I’ve come to save you just like I
said I would.
Save me from what?
Save you from being blinded by all
the little bullshit of life.
It’s not bullshit.
I assure you, that guy you vaguely
remember, the sweet romantic one who
you met on a train? That is me.
Guess I didn’t recognize you… you
look like shit.
What can I say? I mean, it’s tough
out there in time and space. You,
on the other hand are even more
beautiful than I remember.
Bullshit! Jesse, this is not a game.
You get all cute, you get in my
panties and the next thing I know,
I’m buying peanut butter in Chicago.
You’re not going to make it better
by some little pick up line.
I’m not trying to pick you up – no,
no, you misunderstood me. I’m only
here as a messenger. I’ve just
traveled all the way from the future.
I was just with your 82 year old
self who gave me a letter to read to
you. So here I am.
I’m still alive in my 80’s?
How’s my French ass?
Nice. Really nice.
I don’t care about the way I look.
Let’s just say, there’s even more of
you to love. Okay, do you want me
to read the letter to you?
Do I have a choice?
Oh sure, I mean, if you’re not
interested in what you have to say…
No, no, no. Read it.
Okay, here I go. Dear Celine, I’m
writing to you from the other side
of the woods. This letter is lighting
Okay stop it. I would never write
this – it’s too flowery, “Other side
of the woods,” what fucking woods?
What’re you talking about?
May I please continue?
I am sending you this young man.
Yes, young – and he will be your
escort. God knows, he has many
problems and has struggled his whole
life connecting and being present
even with those he loves the most.
And for that he is deeply sorry –
but you are his only hope. Celine,
my advice to you is this: you are
entering the best years of your life.
Looking back from where I sit now
these middle years are only a little
bit more difficult then when you
were 12 and Mathieu and Vanessa danced
all night to the Bee Gee’s “How deep
is your love.” Celine, you will be
fine. Your girls will grow up to
become examples and icons of feminism.
Yeah, well, you know what I just
noticed, there’s a Post Script at
the bottom, looks kind of important.
Maybe I should just skip over the
rest of this boring stuff and get to
Yeah, skip away. Please, skip away.
Okay. You sure?
Okay, all right, well.
The boring stuff.
Jesse scoots his chair closer to her.
(looks around, lowers
Yeah, it’s like financial tips,
horoscopes, boring stuff. Okay, here
it is… P.S. By the way, the best
sex of my life happened one night in
the Southern Peloponnese. Don’t
miss it. My whole sexual being went
to a new, ground-breaking level.
Yeah, I don’t know what that means.
Okay, Jesse, can you stop this stupid
game? We’re not in one of your
stories. Okay? Did you hear what I
said to you back in the room? Did
you hear me?
Yes, I heard you – that you don’t
love me anymore. I figured you didn’t
mean it but if you did, then fuck
it. You know something? You’re
just like the little girls and
everybody else – you want to live in
some fairy tale. I’m just trying to
make things better here. I tell you
I love you unconditionally, I tell
you that you’re beautiful, I tell
you that your ass looks great when
you’re 80. I’m trying to make you
laugh. I put up with plenty of your
shit, and if you think I’m just some
dog who’s gonna keep coming back
then, you’re wrong. But if you want
true love – this is it.
This is real life. It’s not perfect,
but it’s real. And if you can’t see
it, then you’re blind, alright? I
Jesse crumples up the napkin/letter he was reading from and
tosses it on the table. What follows is a lengthy silent
sequence where they just sort of stare at each other,
seemingly going through everything past and present.
So what about this time machine?
What do you mean?
How does it work?
Well… it’s complicated.
Am I going to have to get naked to
Jesse’s mood shifts, and the camera starts to slowly pull
away from them as they continue talking.
Yeah, actually. Yeah, it’s been a
real issue, you know, clothes don’t
travel well through the whole spacetime
Wow. You’re so smart.
You know, there’s something I have
been thinking about, about your
letter. You mention something about
the southern Peloponesse? We’re in
the southern Peloponesse.
Do you think it could be tonight
that you’re still talking about in
Well, it must have been one hell of
a night we’re about to have.
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