A Map of the World (1999) - full transcript

School nurse Alice Goodwin lives with her husband and two daughters on a dairy farm in a small Wisconsin community. After an accident on her property involving a friend's child, the town turns against her and Alice finds herself fighting charges of child abuse.

I used to think
if you fell from grace,

it was the result of one
stupendous error.

Or else, an unfortunate

After all...
I was an outsider.


What did I know
about farm life?

Get him off the table, please.


Here. Make yourself useful.

Just eat your food.
I'm not hungry!

Claire, what is this?

But when the fall happens,

it can happen anywhere.

And so, gradually,

you don't necessarily
sense the motion.


There you go.

You see, it takes
at least two...

...and generally three
things, to alter the course

of a life.


I hate you mom!

I know you do.


You slip around
the truth once,

and then again,

and maybe one more time.


...there you are.

Feeling for a moment
that it was sudden.


Your arrival,
at the bottom of the heap.


Hi ladies!


Oh, Howard, look.

Don't go!
After today,

I'll be home all summer.

Don't go!

Don't go. Don't go.
Don't go.


- Don't go, don't go...
- Jesus.

Don't go...



Come on buddy.
Wilma's here.

Don't go, don't go!

- Good morning.
- Good morning!

Shoot. I meant to ask you,

can you stay late today?

No, not today.

Edgar's got an appointment at the eye doctor.

He needs me

to drive him, you know
how he is.

That's fine.

Next time, if you give
me more warning...

I love the girls, and I'd
do anything for you.

It's not a problem!

Girls, be good!

Wave goodbye...




All better. Ok?

There you go.

What is it this time, Robby?


Are you sure it's okay?

It's more than okay.
I'll pick up the girls.

Come by when you're done.

You'd think today would be
a breeze, but no.

That Mackessy kid
is working my nerves.

Oh not again.

That mother of his.

Spending her welfare checks
at the racetrack.

Some people should be
allowed to have children!

I gotta go.

What's he got?

Same thing he had when
you sent him off the school

this morning.

Come on, honey.

When you have children,

occasionally you have to

think of them first!

Mind your own
goddamn business!

This is my business!

You know, I should thank you,
Mrs. Mackessy...

It's your negligence
that keeps me employed!

Shut up!

You, I'm warning you,
if he comes to school sick

one time next year,

just one time!

I will have no choice
but to report you!

Well I'll report you!


Get me out of here!

- Thank God!
- Yeah!

There are some wicked
things I'd like to do

to these kids.
- Shh!

Careful, or I'll report ya.


we'll be right down.

Make yourself at home.


Ready, set...


Oh, look how beautiful
you two look!

Oh gosh. Muah!

- Look Mommy!
- And you...

Oh my, look at you!

- Thanks a lot.
- Oh, we had fun.


Oh, Theresa?

- You missed a spot.
- I did?

- Made you look.
- Ha, that's very funny!


Okay girls,

time to go home.
- Say bye-bye.

- Thanks for coming.


You want us to bring
anything tonight?

Just you and
your perfect family!


I hadn't taken
into consideration

how cold the whip cream
would feel so...

...imagine my surprise

when he goes squealing
down the hall like a pig,

and it completely shriveled
up! I mean, it was so small.

Alice, is this necessary?

Well, and then to top it off
he gets mad at me,

because he can't stand
the thought of my spending

money on a dairy product
when I can just

skim my own cream
off the top of the milk pail.

More wine, Alice?

Oh no, I'm wasted.

Oh, what the hell!
It's summer!

Fill 'er up.

Dan, tell them about
the ice cubes

and the video
you brought home.

- What!
- Dan, you pervert.

A video, I had no idea.

Somebody stinks!

I wonder who it could be.

I think Dan
is trying to change the subject.

Change your diaper,



- Oh I miss this age.
- Don't go there.

Ugh, you can't possibly

You don't have an Emma.

Yeah, but she's
so independent.

She's so impossible.

Sometimes I don't
even like her.


Oh Lizzy, look at your legs!

Oh, she's gonna have
great legs.

- You think?
- Mm-hmm!

And when
it finally comes out...

...it's just....
Oh, it's just

Howard! Howard!

- I don't miss it.
- You don't?

No I don't.

Yeah, well that's funny
because I seem to recall

just yesterday, somebody
who looked just like you

begging me to help
milk my cows.


Leave him alone!

- He doesn't miss it!
- Shh!

My husband, a cow is born
and suddenly it's all worth it.

So um... what are
you doing tomorrow?


What am I doing tomorrow?

Hey, can I take the girls?

Are you sure?

Sure, I'm sure.

We'll have fun!

- Thanks. Bye.
- Bye.

- Hey!
- Hi.

You got room?

I thought you were asleep.

Oh my god! It's so hot.

Why do you always
have it so hot?


Oh, we're growing!

Let's hope.


Mommy, wake up!

Mommy, wake up!

Mommy, wake up!

Good morning.


My snuggle toy.

Mommy, sometimes...

sometimes Barney, he um...

Mommy hates Barney!

Oh, it's not that
I hate Barney, it's just...

What are you doing?!

- Honey, I'm sorry.

I wasn't thinking.

Why did
you do that to me?!

I didn't do anything to you!

You did!

Stop it!


I'm gonna count to three.
If you don't stop,

you're gonna go
sit in the chair.


Emma I'm warning you!


This is your last chance!


- Mom!
- Two and a half!

Mom, let go!

Let go!


Stay there.

Claire bear,
what are you saying?


Egg lady, egg lady,
egg lady, egg!

Egg lady! Egg lady!

You're not to move!

But Mommy...
- Don't move!


let's see...

That right?

Thank you.

Thank you!

Have a nice day!


Not funny.

Neh, neh, neh!

Neh na neh!

Neh, neh, neh!

Welcome back.


Honey, what are you doing?

What am I doing?

I'm about to suffocate this cat
instead of our daughter,

that's what I'm doing.

I'll be in soon.

I think I'm handling it
fine, Howard.

I really think I am.


Where's Emma?

Hi Audrey.

- Hey Lizzy!
- I'm under here, I promise.

- New sandals?
- You like them?

- Very you.
- Thanks.

Here are diapers,
and swimming suits,

and a change of clothes.
- Okay.

What happened?

Oh God...

It's Emma. She wants
another mother.

- Are you interested?
- I know, I know.

No, you don't know.

Bye girls!

I got to go, Dan's waiting.

He's not working today?

Oh, he's gonna be
working all right...


Lucky you!

- Rent another video.
- Maybe we will.

Maybe we'll make one!

Okay, bye!

Ask nicely!

Can you just ask nicely?

Is Audrey here?

Yes. Audrey and Lizzy
are both in the living room.

And in a little while...

...if we all get along,
we can go swimming.

Okay? So behave yourself.


What's so funny?

She burped!

She burped!

Okay girls, I'm ready!

What is that?

What is that?

Is that a penny?

Oh sweetie!

Give it to me!
You know better than that!

Emma bet me!

What's wrong with you?

I like that!

Where's Lizzy?

Girls, do ou- did you
see where Lizzy went?





Stay here.





Where are you sweetie?


Have you seen Lizzy?






Oh my God...



She's breathing.

They don't know what sort
of brain activity there is.

The next few hours
will deter-

I thought she was
in the living room.

I don't...

...she how she...

Claire was eating pennies.

I told her you were
gonna take her swimming.

I told her she was
a good swimmer.

- Am I allowed in there?
- Uh, sorry. Only family.










How is she?

Her eyelids fluttered
this afternoon.

What's that mean?

Where are Emma and Claire?

I called my mother.

In Bosnia?

In Minnesota.

- Oh.
- She hasn't left yet.

Who else could I call?

I'll be home soon.

Soon as Lizzy is well.


Mommy's gotta go.

Okay? I'll call you later.

You mind your grandma
now, okay?

Have you been praying?

Have I been saying what?


What if Lizzy
doesn't get better?

Father, I'm Howard Goodwin.

How is she?

We're in, uh...
Need of the Lord's help.

You can say that again, Joe.



Alice, something's happening.

They're fed and asleep!


What happened?

It's over.

Oh my God...

- What do yo-
- Mom, there was nothing

they could do.

Honey, you cannot wear
corduroy when it is

100 degrees!

Go buy yourself a suit.

You ought to own one.

So if you do,

you'll have it for
occasions like this.


Do you know what I could
do with the hundred or so

dollars this is gonna cost?

Thanks, Nellie.

We'll find him
something presentable.


Come on. Hurry up.

These people are going
to have heat strokes.


Just don't talk, okay?
Just don't talk.

I heard the mother
insisted the undertakers put

a diaper on the girl.

Oh my word.

They were planning to
put on underpants

until she started screaming.

She's not even
toilet trained yet!


The whole thing.

That school nurse
and her husband were there.

I knew there was something
wrong when they painted

that barn blue.

There's Theresa.

Thank you.

- Keep moving.
- Don't force me.

Don't force me!

Will it
ever happen to us?


Not until you're very old.

You really do
take him everywhere!

I'm not sure
I should leave you.

Ah, we'll be fine, Mom.

I could call them tonight
and tell them that...

We'll miss you,
but we'll get along.

Besides, they're
counting on you.

Oh, look who's up!

You should go.

Where are you going,

Oh, well I'm going
to take care of some

babies that are
less fortunate than you.

Hey! Turn that back on!


I hate you mom!

I hate you!

Emma, lamb, don't speak
to your mother like that.

Okay, girls.

Let's go for a ride, okay?
Come on.

I want that!

I want som-
We'll get another one!

Where are we going?

Alice, dear. I, I, I can't help
but worry about you.

You just need to...

...be more positive.

And not think such
dark thoughts.

I need some air.


You scared me.

I'm sorry...


I know.

But it's helping right now.

- I didn't...
- Don't.

There's nothing to say.

That's a terrible thing.

It's hard for me
to see you right now.

I know.

No, you don't know.

Oh! It's amazing how much

a person can cry.

You know, I...

I decided to write down
all the things I...

...I could remember
about her.

I was terrified
there wasn't much.

But I started...

...right at conception,
and... God. It all came back.

Every doctor's visit.

Hearing her heartbeat
on the stethoscope thing.

The birth...

Her first tooth.

Everyone says,
you know...

"Go on with your life,
keep busy, plant a garden,

take a vacation."

My sister thinks
I should get a puppy.

And Dan still gets up
at 40'clock every morning...

...work, work, work,
like nothing's happened.

And Audrey, well, she's doing
the best of all of us.

She's running around shouting

"My sister's in heaven!
My sister's in heaven!"

Me, you know...

I eat, I shower.

I'm afraid to leave
cause I keep thinking...

...maybe Lizzy
will come back.

And we won't be home.

Where are you going?

Well, we thought Cape Cod
but now we're thinking

the Grand Canyon.
I don't want to go.


I know you're sorry, Alice.

I'm even sorry you're sorry.

But that doesn't
do me any good right now.

Don't ever tell Dan
I smoked, okay?

Bye Gramma!

Bye Gramma!

Bye Gran!


Okay, come on.

Let's get up.

Come on, come on,
come on. Let's go.

Stop it.

You know,
I know you Alice.

Someday you're gonna
turn this into a story.

You're gonna tell
a bunch of dinner guests

about the time you were
so depressed,

I had to dress you myself.

You're gonna say something
about how I had to

dust off your feet to put on
your socks. Come on.

Come on. Look alive.

I can't!


Come on,
come on. Up! Up.

Up, up, up!

Claire misses you.

And Emma is in a mood.


There's a school board
meeting tonight.

They're discussing contracts.

- You should go.
- No!

We can't change
what happened.

No one blames you.

You know that.

We have to get on with things.

Now, come on.

You know, I hear you,
and I-

I understand exactly what
it is you're trying to tell me,

but... you know,
we are in a bad position here.

Even though our
community is...

...is still growing, we are
faced with these massive

budget restraints.

And that's just the way
it is people, there's not

a thing we can
do about that.

So I'm gonna have to
ask you for your help here.

- Hi.
- Okay? We have all

got to consider carefully
the kinds of changes

that we need to make.
I mean, whether it's to

curriculum, or...
or staffing, or to the

building itself...

Mrs. Goodwin?

I'm Detective Grogan from the
investigation unit in Racine.

I'd like to talk to you
for a minute, if you don't mind.


Just for a minute.

This is Officer Melby.

As in Marcus Welby?

We're trying to get some
information about

Robbie Mackessy.

Oh God...

Not pleasant memories
I take it?

I think you could say.

You have a relationship
with Robbie?

Oh... pfft.

- What's funny?
- Kids are usually

afraid of the school nurse.


Yeah, I'm a tall person
who carries a needle.

You know, I have to go.
- Oh, just...

Just a few questions.
Please Mrs. Goodwin.

The more we know about Robbie,
the better we can assist him.

Uh, what sort of trouble
is he in now?

We're not able to
comment, I'm afraid.

We wonder if you
remembered any

strange behavioral

Oh well.

His crazy mother always
brings him to school sick.

What kind of sickness
did he have?

Oh God, I mean,
you know,

sore throats,
ear infections, you know,

the common cold, you know,
you name it.

- I, I have to go.
- Are you okay?

Uh, no.
I- I'm not well.

I'm sorry to keep you
standing. Why don't we sit?

This really won't take
much longer.

You see, I'm sick.

And I really can't...

We just have a few
more things to ask.

You want to know the truth?

I am trying,
to have a complete

nervous breakdown,
and no one will let me

do it in peace!

What's the matter?

Mrs. Goodwin?

- Mrs. Goodwin...
- I hurt everybody.

- Hey.
- Hi.

How'd it go?

- Fine.
- Okay?


You alright?




- What's the matter?
- Nothing.




Did you get a raise?

- Are you alright?
- Mm-hmmm.

What's so funny?

You okay?


- Yes?
- What?

Come on...

In case you hadn't
noticed, there's no food.

There's a list on the table.

for getting up, by the way.

No sweetheart.

Keep in motion, Alice.

For the sake of the kids,
just keep in motion.

Want a bite?

Emma, get in the car.

Get in the car!

Get in the car!

Oh, the list.
I forgot the goddamn list.

Stay here!

Motion, Alice. Keep in motion.

- Alice Goodwin?
- Yes.

We have a warrant
for your arrest.

- Charge of child abuse.
- What?

Just come with us, please.

Right this way.
Towards the car.

Put your hands
on the front of the car.



You have the right
to an attorney,

if you cannot afford one,
one will be appointed by the courts.




Robbie Mackessy says
I did awful things.

What's going on?

I'm in trouble, Howard.

- Will someone please expl-
- Read the piece of paper.

- Explain to me what's goin-
- Howard...

What's this? I don't have time
to read this.

What you need to do,

what you need to do
is take care of the girls.

I'll call as soon as
I sort this out.

- Ma'am.
- No, please, giv-

- Give me a minute!
- I'm going with you.

- No! No Howard.
- Alice, I...



Sir, why is she being
arrested, please...

Oh, sweethearts,

be good okay?

- Listen to Daddy.
- Ma'am let's go.

- Stay in the car!
- Where is she going?

Do we
have a lawyer?

No, we don't have
a lawyer.

There's a guy, there's a guy
in Racine. His name is...

...is Reverdy.
Theresa knows him.

He's supposed to be
the best, okay?

Call him!

Officer, is there somebody
I can call?

Wh- who do I call?


Alice, wh-

Come here. Come here!




Ow, Daddy!


Mommy doesn't
do it that way.

Hello, yes?
This is my one call.


This should teach me,

Did you read the warrant?

Robbie Mackessy says
I did things to him.

His mother has had it in
for me for years.

I said to the deputies
in the car, I said,

"Aren't you sick of this
kind of thing?

You call this
child abuse?"

You know last year,
a third grader

was charged with
fourth degree abuse

for pulling another boy's
pants down

on the playground.

Alice, why?
Why you?!

You've got to understand
I'm in here now.

It's gonna take more
than the truth

to get me out.

Did you get Reverdy?

He's on vacation
until Thursday.

I've got to call out
to another lawyer.

I only want Reverdy.

I'll just talk to one of
the public defenders

here in the meantime.

I need to come see you.

No, listen...

You couldn't see me now
anyway. They're about to

take me up!

the visiting time,

for my group,

is 2:15 on Sunday.


Don't come if you can't
find a sitter. Call Wilma.

I don't want the girls
to see me in here.

Is that the t.v.?

Alice, listen to me.

I don't want them
watching t.v.

Don't worry.
I will be alright.

That's Mommy!

This is just an indication
of things to come,

for the next life.

I'll be in hell.

And you'll be in heaven
with the girls.

...and reckless endangerment
of a minor.

The arrest comes on the heels
of a recent drowning

of a two year old girl
on Mrs. Goodwin's property.

I was kidding.
That was a joke.

More coffee?

Boy, go out of town,
look what you come back to.

- More coffee?
- Please.


Is something wrong?

A school nurse...

...is a person
in a position of trust.

And communities become
outraged when they perceive

that trust
to have been violated.

What are you saying?

Well they bail is outrageous
for someone like Alice.

How much?

It's 100 thousand.

This can't be...

...pleasant for you.

Mine, mine.
Beautiful kids.

Well, what if we
put up the farm?

Oh I doubt they'd accept it.

It's your only asset.


They think you'll run.


I can argue with the judge.
I can make a motion to have

the bail reduced,

but you got 1400 parents
in a feeding frenzy.

I think we're gonna
have to live with this.

I uh, I've done some

I made it my business
to get acquainted with

Carole Mackessy.

The boy's mother.

She's kind of trampy
looking. Which is good for us.

On the other hand,
she cries easily.

Which is not so good.

One other thing...

Can you tell me about
the little girl that drowned?

She's in jail?!

Uh, mom, she's just been
mistaken for someone else.

What did you say
they think she did?

And uh, all I need
is the uh...

...bail money.
Uh, to get her out.

Well I don't see why
you should have to pay

if it's a mistake.

I need...

...Nine... 90 thousand.

19 thousand?!

Oh, Howie,
y- you know I'm very short on reserves right now.

I love her dearly,
but sometimes I think

she brings troubles right down
on her own shoulders.


I gotta go.

Uh, the girls
are in the tub.

Don't worry.
We're over the hump on this.



I'm hungry.

Mommy would
never let us have that.

Is that right?

Hi Wilma.

Hi Wilma.

Oh hi Wilma, Edgar.
How are ya?

Come on, get in the car.

Mommy coming home?


When's Mommy
coming home?!


Always sort laundry
by color.

And this is important...

...don't ever put cotton
in the dryer.

I bought you
some law books.

I want novels!

I want Laura Ingalls 'Wilder,'

Crime and Punishment!

I'm kidding.

Um, I have to go.

Um, and pictures
of the girls,

and a picture of you too.

Now remember,
2:15 p.m.

Howard? Are you there?

I'm here.

And I hate to be a nag
about this, but...


Don't bring the girls.


You've probably
heard about Alice.

Uh, if you could watch
Emma and Claire,

on Sunday, around uh...

Oh, I don't think so.

And if you'll excuse me,
I'm just on my way out the door.

Hi, Howard Goodwin here.

I'm in a kind of a bind.

I just want you
to know, I've been

praying for you. I pray
for that poor child.

I pray that your wife
is not beyond healing.

I don't know how
you're gonna live with her

if she ever gets out.

My daughter
says that your wife

used to stare at the girls
while they were naked

in the shower after gym class. She says your wife

kept moving her hands
up and down he-

My girls were wondering
if they could come over

and help you
with your chores.

I know you don't
know them very well,

but they always look forward
to when you deliver the eggs.

I'll pay you.

Be good girls!

Thank you.

Can you deliver these
to my wife please?

She's right there
in number four.

Alice Goodwin.

See the girl next to me?

Howard, don't be
so obvious.

That's my cell mate.
She killed her kids.

- What?

She's so fat, she didn't
know she was pregnant.

She gave birth to twins.

- Alice.
- The babies were black.

And she didn't want
her mother to find out,

so she killed them.

- Alice, whe-
- Two things.

Don't ask your mother
for money. Don't.

I beg you. I could not
face her if she had to

pawn off any of her jewels.

And please, don't sell
any land.

But I want
you out of here.

They have to give me
a trial in three months.

I'll be home in no time.

They have nothing to go on.

Don't look at me
as if I'm cracked!

I'm not saying I deserve this.


Are you okay?

You look sort of... awful.

Well, people are, um...

- What?
- People are...

What are people saying?

That I'm some vicious woman
who runs from funerals

and tortures children
with rectal thermometers?

I have a right to know,
so I can defend myself.

Tell me what's
being said!

You know I bet
Darla Hunter's been talking.

Remember the time
Darla's kid and Emma

took off all their clothes
and played operating room

and then Darla calls me up
and accuses me of having

a sexed up house.

That's a good one,
isn't it Howard?

A sexed up house!

Yeah, I explained to her
we belong to the once

a month, missionary
position club.

I'm gonna write you a letter.

I'm alright.

How are the girls?
They alright?

They okay?
Where are they this afternoon?

Another thing,

tell them the truth.
As much as you can.

Tell them once
in a rare while,

people blame the wrong
person for their own troubles.

And tell them I hope
they're gonna be good,

and to do what the-

Tell them I love them!

Tell me...

How exactly does
someone like you

fuck a kid?

Cause as far
as I can tell,

you ain't got no dick
to do it with.

Less you have something.

You crazy.

Women people, we do this
to each other a lot,

more so than men do.

"Who she think she is?"

the fairy godmother, ya'll.

See? That's what
I'm talking about.

She don't take nothin'
from nobody.

That is why I like Oprah.

Shoot, I could be Oprah.

Though, who could be me?

Nobody'd ever seen
anybody that looked like me,

Here it come.
Look, look!

Uh-oh, look! Look!

Look goddamnit!

Shut the fuck up!

You shut the fuck up.

Shut yo AIDS filled ass up.


You better be careful,
before I come over there

and bite yo ass!

Shut up now.

Move! Move!

Tell her!

That's what I'm talking about.

Well ain't you
even gonna look at 'em?

Could I then?

I wish that I had, um...

...pictures of my babies.

I wish there was something
here I could kill myself with.

Aw, don't cry
my blubbery fat elephant!

She gon' take care of dat
sweet, greasy, fat pussy.

Leave it alone.

Tell me,

what'd you use?


Big ol' banana.

I've been accused
of sexual abuse,

if that's what you mean.

- Accused?
- Accused.

Don't tell me.

You innocent, right?

Hey everybody!

Grandma's innocent!

Yeah, me too!

I hate that nigger.


I said I hate that nigger.

Three other children
have come forward.

Norman Frasier,
Tommy Giddings,

Donna Struck.

What can ya...

What can you
tell me about them?

There are 700 kids
at Blackwell.

How could I possibly be
expected to remember...



Norman Frasier...
I pulled out a tooth once.

Donna Struck...

I remember checking her
for scoliosis

in the girl's shower.
I just ran my hand...

...down her back.

The gym teacher
asked me to!

I'm just an LPN,
I really don't even know...

And the other one...

I- I don't
even know who that is.

Tommy Giddings.

Can you think
of anything else?

Time's up.





The preliminary
hearing is for...


If you will.

It's a time for the defense
to get information

from the prosecution.

It's the time...

...you find out who
your friends really are.

Thank you so much.

You know...

Alice... I...
I've been doing this...

long enough.

And, uh, I gotta say...

I've never seen anyone
take to it so well.

What's your secret?

Didn't you ever want to run
away to a desert island?

Let us in!

Protect our children!

All rise.

Alice Goodwin....

...has violated the trust
of this community.

She said...

"I hurt everybody."

She said

"There's wicked things I'd like
to do to some of these kids."

She said she'd come after me
if I tattled.

Indistinct chatter, overlapping]

Mm, mm, mm!

Hey everybody,

da baby fucker's back!

How'd it go?

Would you
just hold still?

I am!

- Stand still!
- I am!


Anybody home?

Theresa.... hi.

What's this all
about, Howard?


We had our papers saved,
I saw the headlines.

Uh, come in.

- How are you?
- I'm fine. Fine.

Alice always said I had
high threshold for filth

and squalor.


I'm coming. It's a...
cherry stain.

- I'm trying to...
- Let me.

Emma, take off your shirt
honey. We'll get it out.

Howard, boil some water.

We only got home
this afternoon.

I hate this country.

We nearly tripped
over a pile of papers

in the hall, and I'm standing
there... reading...

Saying out loud "What?"

And who should come along
but Kathleen Brooks,

of course,
the model Christian.

Making sure I've heard
the dirt.

When she said
Robbie Mackessy I just

shut my mouth
and closed the door.


Let's go upstairs, and get
into our pajamas. Okay?

That a girl.

What happened?

She said "I hurt everybody."

That's what I love about her.

She blurts out these
one liners, and you want

to gag her.
It's so refreshing.

I know.


I can imagine why she would
say that. Can't you?

But what if these things
people are saying...

Don't be ridiculous.

This is Alice
we're talking about.

I'll bring
them back after supper!

Hi girls!

I have this terrific urge to read poetry to my fellow inmates.

They'd probably sit on me
and stuff my face

with toilet paper.

What's that sonnet?

They that have
the power to hurt,

but will do none.


It's about how great
you are, if you don't give in

to the temptation
"be cruel."

You know, how noble
it is to be...

Strong and at the same time,

Don't you want to know
how the girls are?

How are they?

They've been going up
to Theresa's.


And they like it,
and I think it's good for them.


How is... Theresa?

She mind taking the girls?

She feeding you?

Well you don't have
to look so sheepish.

What does she bring
you down, lunch boxes

with roast beef sandwiches
and her famous fruit salad?

She does!

I can see it in your face.
She brings you fruit salad.

She makes me lunch,
on occasion.

Well I'm glad!
I'm very glad.

I can rest assured

that you're getting the four
major food groups.

We have to talk about
how we're going to get

you out of here.


- Now, Reverdy says...
- He's great. Isn't he?

How are we gonna pay him?

You think I'm innocent,
don't you?

Of course you do.

Oh Howard, you're just
as steady as can be.

And I'm living in my head!


I just wanted this visit
to be perfect.

You talk as if you're
an old fart, Howard.

Like you grew up in these
parts and aspired to be

an old fart.

That's awfully nice of you
to say that.

Yeah, well, I mean that
as a compliment. I really did.


I gotta get back to work.

- Unfortunately.
- Not yet. I made dessert.

- Come here Claire.
- Huh?

Which one do you want?

Apple or blueberry?

Psst, psst.



Very good, Claire.

blueberry, blueberry!

Hey, Dan.

- Hey.
- Hey.

You're home early.

I'm sorry.

For what?

We're gonna go.

Let me wrap up the pie.

Daddy, the pie.

Oh, right.

Okay, I'll be right back.

They have
no business being here.

They're our
children's friends!

I don't want the-

Don't be afraid.

Come on in.

Hey Debby...

I know something
you don't know!

You know how...

...and this just
drives me crazy.

How sometimes you just
can't tell nothin'

by just lookin' at it.

I be walkin' down the street
past Alice here,

and think she was
the perfect person.

Now come to find out,
she just like you fatso.

She a baby killer too.

What does that mean?

It's the real reason I'm here.

Oh yeah!

Oh yeahhh!


It's right there!
It's right there!


Being cooped up make
a person feel real church-like

after a while.

When you get out...

...that air feels good.

I'll be dead soon.

I'll be dead
before Christmas.

There's more to us
than our bodies,

it's just the husk
of something that...

that fly in the air
as soon as my heart stop.

Oprah, she outlive us all.

That's why she
my shining star.

There's the pond,
Emma! Let's go!

Come on!


Howard, it's okay.

It's okay.

Dear girls,

your paintings
are beautiful.

Where I am,
I can't make paintings.

But if you open
my top dresser drawer,

you'll find something I made
for my mother when she

had to leave me.

It's a map of
a make believe...


That's nice.

Thank you.

May I have it back?



Can Audrey stay over?

It's fine with me.

Oh, not tonight.
Daddy's in Chicago.


Oh, I'll tell you what,

we can stay a little longer.

I miss her too much.


Hello all you white girls

...who think you not racist
cause you just

love Oprah!



...we are talking to
baby killers.

Our first guest,

is Debby.

She strangled her two
nigger babies in the backseat

of her car.

Welcome Debby.

It's kind of quiet up there.


Our next guest...

...is Alice!

Alice likes to drown
her babies

in her very own pond.

Alice, Alice.

- Welcome Alice.

You could stay
just a little longer.

- I'll carry her home.
- I really should go.

Oh, look at them.

- Lizzy...
- Shh, shh.

It's okay. It's okay...

Shh, shh...

Yeah, yeah...
- When did you first realize

that you were a baby killer?

I repeat...

When did you first realize
that you were a baby killer?

You know, one of the reasons
I like you so much...

...is you do all the talking.

It is very...


Oh girl!
- Fucking bitch!

That's all.

How come Theresa doesn't
come around anymore?

If Mom can't ever
come home,

can we go live
with Theresa sometimes?

So we can be
with a lady?

She has a family
of her own.

But I want Theresa.

I want Theresa.

I want Theresa!

I want
Theresa! I want Theresa!

Oh my... God...

Excuse me.

She don't even know
what hit her.

- Hmm.
- Who?


Some of them girls
were saying Dyshett

beat on you, but...

I seen it. I seen
every single move.

Just when Dyshett
was about to get on you...

...you went into a blur.

You bumped over,
and bam your head goes on the table,

Then you fall back
on the floor and smack!

Your head falls
on the cement.

She didn't hurt me?


You hurt yourself,
honey bun.

You have to keep up
your strength, Miss Alice.

Give me that pillow Debby.


You look like...

...something chucked
with that new hairdo, girl.


Look for her in that window.
That one right over there.

Here she comes.


Okay, now lift.



You stay right here, okay?

Alice, pick up the phone!

What happened to you?

I don't know anyone here.

Tell me what happened!


Come on. Come on.

Come on.

She can't come down today.

Why not?!

Why not?!

- Cause she's sick.
- She's not sick.

She just doesn't
want to see you.

Where are we going?

- Come on, just walk.
- No! I don't ever want

to go home with you.

- Emma come on!
- I hate you!

- Shut up.
- Let go of me!


Let go of me!

I bumped my head.

You don't get bruises like that
from bumping your head.

I'm fine!

- What happened?
- I'm... fine.

Look, if you don't tell me
everything, I can't help you.


What is it?



- I'll tell Howard you're fine.
- How is he?

- What do you think?
- I don't know.

I haven't heard from him
in days.

Something is going on.
I... I'm worried he's gonna go and do something stupid.

She's from Milwaukee...

...and she wants to
open up a place for...

...underprivileged city kids
to you know, come out

and have some fun
and games.

I don't care if she
builds a golf course.

Well of course, you know,
extensive renovation

will be required, so...

That's why your offer
will be considerably less.

Look, t-to be honest with you
my sister is dying of leukemia.

The medical bills,
as I'm sure you can imagine...

- Oh I'm so sorry.
- Please just make it happen.

You want me to?

'Dear Alice...

I think I'd be a good
used car salesman.'


'Mainly because I've lost

all of what you used to imagine were my redeeming qualities.

I'm no longer calm,
or moderate.

This afternoon
Emma called me a liar.

I'm sorry about
bringing the girls.

It was a mistake.

Claire and Emma have
learned to cry like adults.

They sit by themselves

and cry without making
much noise.'

'We need you with us
for plenty of reasons, but...

...not least to gently
help the girls

shake off a few years
so they can again

have a tantrum.

What a relief that would be.


Come on.

What kind of kids you got?

We're playing.


What are their names?


I said that we were playing.

How old are they?


Are you missing
your babies?

I- Is that it?

Debby get some tissues!

Oh God...

I miss my babies too.

I got three babies at home,
but they stay with my Mother.

She's got two.

Two little girls.

Don't cry Miss Alice...

I got two babies.

Just like you.

Sorry I haven't come down.

Haven't taken
Emma and Claire.

I felt kinda mixed up
for a while.

I didn't feel
like I could see you.

How's Alice?

I've gotten
a letter every day this week.

She's terrified
I'm gonna sell the farm.

She always knows.

Well we can't
stay here anymore.

It's obvious.

Even if she's acquitted...

...but you love it here.

Yeah, yeah I do.

But more than anything,
I need to get her out of there.

You're a good person,

Your babies
have nice clothes.

Oh, thank you.

Yours has a beautiful dress.

This is nice.

I'll be able to ride
my bike down the driveway.

You are so lucky.

Let's not all have
these long faces, please!

Can I have that?



Oh, no honey. It's yours.

Plus, you need it more
than I do.

Daddy got us
Barbie's dream house.

What pretty flowers.

What's under your hat?

You're not so pretty


...where's the cat?

Not pets allowed.


Can we go visit
Theresa soon?

We'll have to call her
one of these days.


One of these days.

This is great.

What was jail like?


It was like being in a
large litter of hamsters.

- In a small metal cage.
- Really?

You mean you had one
of those wheels to run on?


Oh, shh!

What's so funny?

It's a joke I have with Mom.

Well, I wouldn't want to get
between a private joke.

Sweet dreams.

Sweet dreams.

Did you miss me?

Of course I did.

Did you miss me?


These babies had no
mother or father whatsoever.

Or a beautiful home
to live in.

Now when are you girls
gonna come and visit me

in Minnesota?

Oh, didn't Howard tell you?

I can't leave the state.

I know I keep saying it,
but I just love this house.

Don't you


Did you ever think

of putting that chair
over by the window?

No. Not really.

Well here,
I'm gonna help you.

what are you doing?

Oh, just a little


Put it back.

Well I'm happy
to see you too.

You look so handsome.
So official.

Now tell me,
aren't you glad

this great farm experiment
is over?

Tommy Gidding's mother
was a waitress

in the same restaurant where
Carole Mackessy worked.

Norman Frasier's mother
is her hairdresser,

and Donna Stuck's mother
is her best friend.

I leaked this coincidence,

and miraculously, all three
dropped their charges.

Even better!

The judge has approved
my motion to keep

any mention of Lizzy,
the drowning,

the whole episode...


It's inadmissible.

And for dessert...

God. We have Mrs. Shepherd.

You are going to love her!

Love her!

She's gonna be our,
o-our star witness

with higher billing
than even you!

Having fun?

I wouldn't be any good
if I didn't.


you can rest assured,

rest assured that I'm
enjoying the prospect

of getting our story,
the real story, out!

So she unzipped
the pants first,

and then
she unbuttoned them?

I forget!

Do you like
your Mom's boyfriends?


Your t.v. has 64 channels.

And your mom lets you
watch whatever you want?


Do your mother's boyfriends
ever stay the night?


Did you ever see
naked people on t.v.?

Is the court paying for tissue?

She tied
me to the chair.

She tied you to the chair?

- She said she'd bite me.
- Did she bite you?

She said she'd bite me
if I moved.

She said my blood
would come out!

Your blood?

She always pushed me down.

So, the nurse, tied you
to the chair,

and pushed you down.
- Yes.

And she bit you.


So Mrs. Goodwin tied you to the chair,
pushed you down, and bit you?

Stop asking me that,
you're hurting me!

I'm hurting you?

I said,
you're hurting me!

No further questions,
your honor.

You know I wish...

You wish?

What do you wish?

That that Robbie Mackessy
had been the one to drown.

Oh Howard, not now.

Well wouldn't he be
better off at this point?

I swear I've never met
anybody like Reverdy before.

Makes me sick.

Makes me feel like
I want to vomit.

Uh-huh. I'm gonna
get the girls.

Or we'll be charged
for the next hour.

You know, you never
listen to me!

You know that?


I am listening.

I just don't know
what else to say.

Robbie didn't drown.
Lizzy did.

If not Reverdy, who?

Maybe I should have
copped a plea,

and served a sentence.
Would you have liked that?

I could say 'I'm sorry'
every minute for the rest

of my life, and it still
wouldn't be enough.

I'm sorry for Lizzy,
I'm sorry for Robbie,

I'm sorry for Theresa,

I am sorry Reverdy
makes you sick.

I'm sorry for you,
and for Emma, and for Claire.

I'm sorry!

I am just plain sorry!

And maybe, just maybe...

Reverdy will get me off.

And we can try
to begin again.

Or whatever.

I didn't believe him
at first.

Then he started
getting nightmares.

Would you like some water?

No, ma'am.

Please continue.

I didn't know
what to think.

I kept asking him,
and he told me the same

story over and over.

And I still didn't believe him.

Then he started
wetting the bed.

I just knew something
bad had happened.


You came to the house
to have sex?


After the sex,

did you ever spend
the night?


Where was Robbie...

when, you and...

his mother were...

...having sex?

I don't know.

Robbie came to my door.

He looked so frightened.

He took me by the hand...

Where did he take you?

He took me into his house.

Into the den.

This isn't easy for me.

I appreciate that.

Mrs. Shepard,
what did you see?

It was dark,

the music was loud.

But I could see her.

Mrs. Mackessy.


Tied to a chair.

And a man was behind her.

Biting her neck.

I'm gloating.

I'll pay for it someday.

But I can't help it
right now.

I'm gloating.

What is it Alice?


Yes, we were
neighbors and friends.

Did your children
play together?

Very often.
Several times a week.

Did you ever...

...suspect Alice Goodwin of...

Neglect? Or foul play?


You never saw anything..

Signs, or any flares
to alert you?


Your daughter was always
happy to go t-


I'm sorry.

Your daughters were always
happy to go to the Goodwins?

Yes. Thrilled.

Would you allow...

your daughter to stay

with the Goodwin family
at this time?

I can't impress upon you
enough that Alice

would never inflict...

She never did
any of those things.


Answer the question please.

Mrs. Collins...

Would you allow your
daughter to stay

with the Goodwin family

at this time?



Sexual abuse,

reckless endangerment,
child abuse.

And how did you plead?

Not guilty.

And how did you find the jail?


Your honor,

I think my client
deserves the chance

to say a few sentences
about the time she spent

in jail as a result
of these charges.

She was beaten,

and suffered a severe injury.

So severe, she had to be

You may proceed.

Now, how did you find
the county jail?

I was in awe.

You were what?

I was in awe
of the women there.

Not an experience
you'd care to repeat,

I take it?

No, but...

In all of the...

25 visits we have
recorded here,

Mrs. Goodwin...

Did you ever touch Robbie

in an inappropriate way?

I'm sorry, what was
the question?

Did you ever touch
Robbie Mackessy

in an inappropriate way?


Godamnit Alice!

I don't know-

How could-

I don't know what the fuck
you think you're doing!

I told the truth.

You told the truth.

Something you neglected
to tell me!

I don't know
what to do, Howard.

I don't know
what to do.

Let Oprah be the judge.

Oh Jesus.

Let me, and Robbie,
and Mrs. Mackessy

and Howard, and Theresa,
and Dan...

Let all of us
come before Oprah.

And let the studio
audience decide.

You just tell me what
you did to that fucking kid.

I hit him once
on the face.

It was a slap.

Robbie was a difficult
kid to treat.

He was disrespectful,

he made personal remarks...

His contempt overwhelmed
me one day...

...and I slapped him.

I know that's no excuse.

Is slapping Robbie Mackessy
one of the charges that's been

brought against you?


What did you mean...

Mrs. Goodwin,

when you said to...

...Detective Groban
and Officer Melby:

that "I hurt everbody."?

What did you mean by that?

Our neighbor, a two year old,

had just recently drowned
in our pond, and I wa-

This is inadmissible!

Will Counsel please
approach the bench.

Are you playing
games with me, Paul?

Because if you are,
you'd better tell me right now

and I'll declare a mistrial
and we can start this

whole thing all over again.

Now, Miss Durkin,

Your colleague has
opened the door,

and I want you to know
you can have as much

latitude as you want.

Are you aware...

that it is against the law
for a school employee

to hit a child?

Yes, I am.

And still you struck
Robbie Mackessy?

That's correct.

Did you report
your conduct?

No, I did not.

So you lived with the
knowledge that you hurt

Robbie Mackessy, just as
you lived with the knowledge

of the other abuse?

Stick to the facts.

"I hurt everybody."

That's what you said
in your admission

to Officer Melby.

What do you mean
by 'hurt everybody?'


For a parent...

Not taking action,
not doing a certain thing,

can be just as damaging
as striking a child.

Not paying attention.

Turning your back,
just for a moment...

Letting go of their hand
when they need you.

Sometimes it seems that
every minute, there is peril.

Everything fell apart

those few weeks
after Lizzy drowned.

The Officers and I...

...we were having
a general conversation.

Or so I thought.

I meant that I was human.

And that therefore I had

hurt the persons
closest to me.

Did you tell your husband
that you hit Robbie?


So, you were
secretive about it?

Yes, I was.

It has taken me
a long time to know

how to remember last year.

On occasion I've
thought that we are

where we belong.

City people
return to the city.

Come on girls, let's go!

What I wanted
to tell Howard is:

that there is so much good,

and if we're not careful,
it can slip away from us.

Oh, look at these
beautiful animals.

There's your dad!

There's my girls!


Hi daddy!
Hi daddy!

Here you go!

Oh my gosh...

The gate is open.

Have fun!

Can I have the car keys?

- Please?
- Sure.


Have a good time!

Sometimes it seemed
that Howard could hardly

stand to ask me
for the smallest thing.

That it was difficult
for him to get out the words

"Please pass the salt."

All the same,

it was about forgiving.

I understood that forgiveness
itself was strong.


Like strands of a web...

..weaving around us.

Holding us.

It's so good to see you!

We are no longer
friends, really.

And yet I know that we are a part of each other's lives

in much the same way
an ex-lover,

or dead parent is only slightly beneath one's consciousness
by day.

That's exciting!

And always behind
closed lids in sleep.

When I
was very young,

I used to sit before
my map of the world,

imagining myself
in an ideal country.

Alone, and at peace.

Now, if I can
make the world over...

If I can make
an impossible new world,

this is who you would see.

You would see Emma,
Claire, Howard, and me.

All together, outcasts
making a perfect circle.

Put the napkin
on your lap, please.

You hungry Claire bear?


Two little pieces
of salad for Claire.