Dolores Claiborne (1995) - full transcript
Dolores Claiborne works as a maid for a wealthy woman in remote Maine. When she is indicted for the elderly woman's murder, Dolores' daughter Selena returns from New York, where she has become a big-shot reporter. In the course of working out the details of what has happened, as well as some shady questions from the past and Selena's troubled childhood, many difficult truths are revealed about their family's domestic strife. This is cleverly portrayed with present reality shot in cool blue tones blending seamlessly into flashbacks shot in vivid color. As small town justice relentlessly grinds forward, surprises lie in store for the viewers....
Leave me be!
Let go of me!
Let go of me, Dolores!
Let me go!
Got a certified letter here.
Never believe what happened
down at the dock.
Dolores Claiborne, what the hell are you...
Oh, my God.
What have you done?
Put it down. Do you hear me?
Just put it down.
Oh, my God.
You killed her.
- So you lose the picture.
- Not happening.
It's half a page.
I'll let you write the caption.
- Come on, Peter. It's crucial.
- It's salad.
I'm setting up the whole campaign.
It's a better piece without it.
You already said it was brilliant.
I said it was wonderful.
- There's a difference?
Half a page.
I only left it in so you'd cut it out anyway.
I'm ready for Arizona.
You should see what I have
for the malpractice piece.
- The surgeon's ex-wife-
- Wait a minute.
Had her on the phone
for 20 minutes last night.
- I haven't assigned you that story.
- You will.
Come on, Peter. There's a book here.
I deserve this.
Why does every story have to be do or die
You're not the only writer here, okay?
I've got a dozen people out there
to keep happy. You know that.
So now you're not only not fucking me
anymore, you're fucking me.
What is it, Helen?
There's a fax here for Selena.
No, it's a clipping
from the Bangor Daily News.
Housekeeper Held for Questioning."
- "Mrs. Dolores St. George of-"
- Where's the cover sheet?
They're hardly out of the 19th century
Are you kidding?
No, there's no motel. One restaurant.
They've got me sleeping
on a cot in the town hall.
Tell him to relax. This is no vacation.
I'll be back on the mainland
as soon as I wrap this up.
- Can I help you?
- Yes. I'm looking for Dolores Claiborne.
And you are?
I'm her daughter.
I'm John Mackey.
- Detective, Maine State Police.
Would you please call
- Get him to come right out.
- Yes, sir.
No smoking. Public building.
We've met before, Miss St. George.
You were about 13.
What year was that, the eclipse?
Must have been, what, '75?
I was the investigator...
...when your father died.
We met at the hearing.
What's up, John?
Miss St. George is here.
Oh, my gravy.
- Jonesport High.
- Of course. How are you?
- It's been quite a while, I guess.
To be honest,
I'm surprised to see you here.
Your mom's been pretty firm
about us not trying to contact you.
- I didn't know Dolores made any calls.
- She didn't call.
I saw the Bangor paper.
It was faxed to my office.
And where's that?
I came up from New York.
Look, is she here or not?
- Yeah. She's right upstairs.
- Thank you.
Is she under arrest?
Detective Mackey came last night,
and we're just starting.
We've scheduled an inquest
for Monday morning.
We'll sort things out over the weekend.
If she's not under arrest
why is she in custody?
Right, okay. Vera Donovan is dead.
There's an autopsy in Machais
And, you know...
...she died from a fall.
Your mother was the only person
with Mrs. Donovan at the time.
That was her job, wasn't it?
I'm afraid, Miss St. George...
...there's a little more to this
than what you may have read in the paper.
What are you doing?
Straightening up this friggin' mess,
is what I'm doing.
Gorry, but this place is a dump.
Jesus. You're a suspect, you're not a maid.
Just leave that be.
There's someone to see you here.
I told you, I don't want no lawyer.
It's your daughter.
Look at you.
You cut your hair.
You call her?
Is that what you did?
- Jeezly crow, you got some nerve.
- She's here on her own.
Look at you.
Is it really you?
- Hey, Ms. Claiborne!
- Kill anyone else today?
Not yet. When I change my mind,
I know exactly where I'll start.
- Go home.
- Where's the car?
Right there across the street.
You've been living at the Donovan's.
It's a crime scene now.
I got my own house, and you know it.
We'd like her to stay here for at least
the next four days.
If I decide to make my grand escape
to South America, I'll let you know.
- I'd appreciate it.
- One last thing, Mrs. St. George.
Name is Claiborne!
I changed it when Joe died,
and you know it.
I'm very sorry, Ms. Claiborne.
I'm sorry, but I think it's for the best
if you got some legal representation.
You're sorry, are you?
Last time you were sorry was
when you had to use the pay toilet...
...and the string on your pet dime broke.
I'm just muzzy here,
trying to think of what to say.
All grown up...
You turned out a beautiful woman, Selena.
I just can't believe you're here.
That makes two of us.
There must be a reason
why you go out of your way...
...to antagonize them like that.
Sometimes being a bitch
is all a woman has to hold onto.
It's a rental.
You pay by the day or by the week?
I assume that's your way of asking
how long I'm staying.
Good gorry, you're more nervous than me.
I have to be in Phoenix on Monday.
It's a big story. I'm trying to get out of it,
but it may not be possible, all right?
I didn't kill her.
I didn't push her down
that friggin' staircase.
That's what you want to know?
Well, I'm telling you.
I did not murder that bitch any more
than I'm wearing a diamond tiara.
He's got an eyewitness...
...who puts you standing over a dead body
with a rolling pin.
When did you start smoking?
Are you not listening to me?
They're talking murder here.
You're lucky I didn't have to post bail.
Spooky, ain't it?
Can't stand out here all day.
What a mess.
A regular bunch of artistes.
Look at this mess.
Cheese and crackers.
Friggin' little bastards.
I've got an idea who they are, too.
Let me try.
Get in the house.
Selena, I said get in the house, right now.
I am in the house.
It's cold, I know.
God, it's a dust bowl.
Thank God I kept the electric up.
I got some wood.
We'll have hot water pretty quick.
Clean linens upstairs, last I looked.
Longer you stand there,
the more boogery it's gonna feel.
It's off three years, at least.
I'd know that if I called more often, right?
You called Vera's last Christmas.
The lines go both ways, Mother.
Look, this isn't gonna work.
I need a phone.
I'm gonna stay at the motel.
What about Riner's Inn?
Must be five years ago by now.
There's phones in town.
- We've gotta go shoppin' anyway.
- I'll go.
I'll take care of it.
You don't know what we need.
I'm assuming it's everything.
You know what? I've got a game.
Do you know how to count by fives?
You don't. I can teach you.
I know you are. You're smart.
Let's count by fives. You want to play
hide and seek? Ready?
5, 10,15, 20...
Where is she? Where did she go?
I can't find Selena anywhere.
I hear an awful lot of thunder upstairs,
but I can't find Selena anywhere.
Where is she?
Is she lost?
What was that I heard?
What did I hear?
I don't know. I think I heard something.
There you are.
Let me help you. That's my job.
- You must be starving.
- All these calls.
Ended up longer than I thought.
You'll want a nice, hot bath. I got this.
I spent an hour finding this radiologist...
...just so that he could tell me
he won't go on record.
Is that your new story?
You say there's hot water?
Why don't you go on up
and get yourself fresh?
It won't bite you.
Must be a lot of pressure.
All them famous people...
...talking to them.
I framed the picture.
You and Richard Nixon.
He was selling a book.
I got a scrapbook.
Saved all your articles.
Drugstore in Jonesport puts them aside
I used to read them to Vera...
...when she was clear enough to listen.
You've done so well for yourself.
Is that what you think?
How well I've done?
Hell, even Miss Vera Kiss-My-Back-Cheeks
Donovan couldn't help but be impressed.
Her look when she saw
that picture-on-the-cover story...
You would've thought she passed a brick.
Maybe you ought to slow down.
Believe me, I know my limit.
Don't that sound familiar?
I'd leave it alone if I were you.
I've seen my share of drunks, is all.
That's all I'm sayin'.
What did he have to be happy about?
I suppose making sure everyone was
as miserable as he was.
Is that why you killed him?
Oh, tough question, I guess.
Don't feel too bad, Ma.
I asked Jean Harris the same thing once.
Let's face it, Mother.
We barely know each other.
We haven't spoken in years, and that's
as much your doing as it is mine.
You didn't kill Vera, great.
You've got nothing to worry about.
If you did, then you deserve
...let's not pretend we're in some goddamn
Norman Rockwell family reunion here.
I'm sorry, Ma, but that's where we are.
And as for Dad...
...the few memories I have of him...
...I'd like to keep.
Are you listening to me?
We made tapioca!
We did. And it's not instant either.
And with real cream.
And the next thing you'll tell me
is you made it just for me, right?
Oh, McCrea, there's that St. George smile.
- Don't you look just like my mother?
- That's enough fooling around.
Tell her she's got homework to do.
You better do your homework.
Theo called about the chain winch.
He's got them parts sittin' there.
Says he'll go as high as $250.
I changed my mind. I ain't sellin'.
It's not worth $100. You said so yourself.
He's got those boats in dry dock.
He needs the damn thing.
Ain't that the point in AA,
helpin' out your buddies?
Besides, if I get that thing runnin',
it's worth $250 a month.
Goddamn it! The soda's warm!
I only got home a half hour ago.
It went in first thing.
It's hard enough drinkin' this stuff cold.
What's so fuckin' funny?
They're split clear the way up.
Well, ain't that a scream!
You're pretty goddamn frisky
all of a sudden, Dolores.
Let me guess. I'll bet that Vera Donovan's
got a whole freezer full of soda.
Take them off. I'll mend them after supper.
What's the deal?
You kiss that rich summer ass all day long,
you got nothin' left for me.
Just remember, your father used to scrape
my old man's boat...
...so don't be gettin' high and mighty
If you still had the boats,
we wouldn't need the extra money.
A big old smiley moon.
This is just for you.
Want to see the dark side?
Yeah, I guess it is pretty funny.
I hope you haven't been walkin' around
like that all day long.
Why the hell'd you make me do it?
14 times 4 equals 28?
Sure it is. It's 14.
You take 14...
...you bend it till it snaps in half...
Could I have another, with raisins?
Not till after dinner.
- You were right about that real cream.
- He loved the raisins.
He said it's my best ever.
Mom, the cabbage.
Move it off the heat for me, will ya?
I'm just resting here a minute.
She run her mouth off
till she got tuckered out.
Plum tuckered out.
Do you want me to set the table?
That'd be nice. Thank you, dear.
Stay tuned now for Walter Cronkite.
Each girl is representing a lifeguard station
up the length of Alquinin Beach.
"Algonquin," you goddamn flylander.
Damn it, that better not be one
of my mother's dishes.
You ought to take a look at this.
You might want to see
what an ass is supposed to look like.
Them guys on the boat...
...everybody saying what a looker you are.
You know what I do?
I come right to your defense.
I say, "Shit, she may be ugly now, but you
should've seen her when I was drinkin'."
My mother warned me
you'd let yourself go.
Fat ass, lousy cooking...
...running that goddamn mouth-
Guess what, Joe? I ain't tired anymore.
You better sit back down,
if you don't want this in your head.
Go on back to bed, honey.
Your father and I are just having
a little discussion here.
Is everything all right?
Isn't it, Joe?
Right as rain.
You go ahead, honey.
Go on back to bed now.
...ain't you gonna get a payback.
Go on. All I ask is that you do it quick.
Don't let Selena see the mess
once it's over.
You want to run me down?
You go right ahead.
You can be as mean and hurtful
as you want.
But this is the last time
you will ever hit me.
You do it again...
...one of us is going to the bone yard.
Well, make yourself useful, woman.
Bring me a towel for my head!
I'm bleeding all over my goddamn shirt!
That was one lesson he got the first time.
Maybe the only one.
It's been a long day.
You must be tired.
What do you want me to say?
"Thanks for sharing?"
Been looking all over for you.
It's as cold as Christmas.
What are you doing?
I couldn't sleep.
Catch your death out here.
Tell me about Plan B.
I want you to tell me
you've got a plan, Mother.
If it's about money, it shouldn't be.
I've got my sociable security.
I can still work. I don't need much.
You need a lawyer.
These guys don't say "get an attorney"
unless they mean it.
It's you I'm worried about, Selena.
Let's not get off track here.
You're my daughter.
I know that probably feels like something
better left alone, but it's true.
You're still my Selena.
You're still my good girl.
I can't help but be worried for you.
My God, your hands.
I guess if you want to know
...you look at their hands.
That's what 22 years of Vera Donovan
will do to you.
Mrs. Donovan, I promise
there won't be any boys.
You're excused, Susan.
But Mrs. Donovan, please!
Look on the bright side, dear.
You may not have gotten the job...
...but think what fun you'll have
...what a bitch Vera Donovan is.
I've been working since I was 13 years old.
Started by housekeeping in a hotel.
By the time I left there and high school...
...I was cleaning three floors all by myself.
I took care of my father's house
after my mother passed on.
I'm married and I have a daughter.
This is a big house, but I'm a big woman,
and I can do a good job.
I do not pretend to be an easy woman
to work for.
This house has a number of rules.
I'm sure you've heard them second-hand.
But I'll tell you in person...
...so we can avoid a teary scene later on.
I like all the windows open every day
for at least two hours...
She did have her ways, did she ever.
I don't know where she got them,
but I know she was a prisoner of them.
The silver has to be checked and...
...cleaned every week. It may look clean
to you, but I like to see my face in it.
The tubs had to be scrubbed out every day
with vinegar and baking soda.
Tablecloths, napkins, handkerchiefs...
ironed and starched.
Mildew was grounds for firing.
Now, that was one thing you didn't...
...ever want to get wrong.
You could've cut off
her high-flown snobbish nose...
...and she'd still smell a sheet
that had hung outside...
...from one baked in the dryer.
Excuse me, Mr. Donovan.
Do you have to do that now?
Talk to the Missus.
He only came up once all summer.
Most of which he spent
ignoring her anyway.
She could've easily had the clothesline
near the house.
But not Vera Donovan. No, ma'am.
She had to have the south wind blowin'
through her linens.
And that meant trampin' up and down
that hill twice a day when it was fair.
Isn't this glorious, Jack?
Six pins, Dolores!
You know that's the way I like it.
Six pins, not five!
Don't you want a cocktail?
Three square meals of bitchery
all summer long...
...but I kept my head down
and my mouth shut.
Every week that $40 went in the bank.
There wasn't a damn thing
she could say about it.
Thanks a lot.
As much as she crabbed
that whole summer...
...I must have done something right.
Come Labor Day...
I'm sure your winter schedule
is rather hectic...
...but I need someone to touch up
the house once a week.
Keeping the mice company.
I could do that for you.
$12 a week was...
...what I had in mind.
That'd be fine.
I'll see you next Memorial Day.
That winter, Jack Donovan passed on.
He died in a car crash in Maryland.
I wasn't sure what to expect from Vera.
Gorry if she didn't show up in high spirits.
I believe I told you more than once...
...I want the welcome mats
with the letters facing out and not in.
She'd sold her place in Baltimore.
She was moving up permanent.
Get that out of here and put that there.
And take away this disgusting sofa.
It took two days to load in
her majesty's palace.
She offered me full time and I took it.
I took it.
I knew what kind of hell it would be.
Hell ain't something
you get thrown into overnight.
The real hell comes on you as slow...
...and steady as a line
of wet winter sheets.
Snot leaking offyour nose.
Your hands so cold and raw...
...you start wishing they'd go numb.
It's only December.
You know by February...
...the skin's gonna be cracked so bad, it'll
break open and bleed if you clench a fist.
But you go to the next...
...and the next and before you know it,
those sheets stretch out 20 years.
Nobody made you stay there.
- I needed the money.
- Not in the beginning, not $40 a week.
That's when I needed it the most.
Not for me, for you.
So it's my fault.
You think your father cared
if you ever got off this island?
Here we go.
I put that money...
...every week, I put it away
in your account...
To get you out of this place,
once and for all.
Well, it worked like a charm.
A little morning walk?
Just packing up the speed boat
so as I can make my big escape.
Something we can help you with?
We need a hair sample.
How was that?
We need a piece of your hair.
We're running some tests.
- Are you now?
- Just a strand.
I think we'll take a pass on that.
...right now it's voluntary.
I'd appreciate it, is all.
Bring your scissors, did you?
I said we'll pass.
I'll have a warrant here this afternoon.
You want it...
...you cut it.
Actually, I need to pull it.
We need the root.
Take what you want.
I ain't doing any beauty pageants
- Anything else?
- Mother, enough.
We spoke to Sheila Jolander last night.
She said she'd heard you more than once
threaten to kill Vera Donovan.
Is that true?
If she'd come every day not once a week,
she'd have heard more.
- Get in the house.
- Vera, at the end...
...the way she got, it's a wonder
I didn't say it every hour.
You go ahead, Mr. Mackey.
You scribble that down in your pad there.
You make a note on that.
As long as you write down
that saying a thing and doing it...
...are two separate things.
But, your wife probably
already told you that.
Dolores, that's enough.
...died 12 years ago of bone cancer.
Okay, I guess we'll press on here.
I want to get into Vera's.
I got things up there I need.
Clothes and my personals.
We can go over tomorrow. We're shipping
out Vera's body this afternoon.
Fine by me.
What the hell did I just see?
That's the last guy in the world
you want to make an enemy out of.
I ain't making one, I'm keeping one.
What is that supposed to mean?
You're gonna tell me
you don't remember him?
That's all well and good, Miss St. George...
...but you told me that at the time
of your father's death...
...you were working as a maid in a hotel
...at the hotel...
Mrs. Devereaux said...
...she was surprised to see you.
She said your mom was pretty strict about
not letting you spend the night there.
Isn't that true?
So why did she let you stay
on that particular weekend?
Problems at home, perhaps?
Your mom and dad...
...is that a happy situation?
Miss St. George?
Because of the eclipse, the hotel was full.
So the money...
They said that we'd make twice as much.
So this was all about money?
My mom let me stay.
They said that we'd make twice as much.
So your father...
...that was just a coincidence, was it?
How long are you gonna let this go on?
The sooner she starts telling the truth,
the sooner we'll be done.
If he's out to torture someone,
I'd be happy to get back in the hot seat.
Anybody who accuses me of killing
my husband, go ahead and call me Dolores.
Detective Mackey, you understand,
he's just doing his job.
Trying to turn an accident into a murder?
Making a girl who just lost her father
cry her eyes out every night?
If that's just doing his job then
you'd better put him down for overtime.
All right, let's split them up.
Slow down, John.
Five minutes, alone, without her.
I only need five minutes!
I said, "Enough."
So don't be talkin' to me
about makin' enemies.
No, sir. No, ma'am.
That son of a bitch has been waitin'
a long time to pick over my bones.
Hand me that ax.
Just look at this window.
Little piss squirts!
I ought to call their parents
and have them come over and pay for it.
Now I gotta go buy glass and...
...putty and God knows what else.
Could have burned down
the whole goddamn house.
I thought the malpractice story
was the most important.
If you'd left the number
I'd have called yesterday.
Yeah, right. Look.
The radiologist I told you about...
...he got cold feet.
But, the intern, Levitt...
...he's a talker.
I thought you were going up there
to see your mother?
It's a small domestic drama up here, Peter.
I can be in Phoenix Tuesday.
It'll be over Monday.
Family things, I've been through it.
They take a lot.
I am telling you, it's not a problem.
We both want me to do this story.
I'm out of here Monday at the latest.
You want a wet dream?
Wait till I tell you what Levitt said.
Are you there?
I gave the piece to Maureen.
Look, I'm sorry. I couldn't wait.
The magazine has to be first on this.
It has nothing to do with you,
you know that.
So, I guess you're fucking Maureen now?
Nice try. Come on, Selena.
You couldn't tell me to my face?
Look, I never promised you-
You goddamn pimp.
- I need this story, Peter.
There are other stories, better stories.
Bullshit. This was the one.
Selena, it doesn't have to be-
I'll do this again.
Shouldn't you be off somewhere
analyzing my mother's hair?
Well, I was thinking how hard
it must be for you.
Protecting her like this.
She's a hearty soul, isn't she?
Might just live another 50 years.
Next eclipse is due in '96.
If she gets away with it this time...
...she might actually have
another chance to...
...kill again, before she's through.
Is that something you want
on your conscience?
I had a problem with that myself.
You know, we're probably more alike
than you'd care to believe.
We live alone...
We have our work.
My cases are my family.
In 30 years, I've handled 86 homicides.
I've closed 85 of them...
...to my satisfaction.
I underestimated your mother.
It won't happen again.
You sent that fax to my office...
"For God will bring every work
... with every secret thing...
... whether it be good or evil."
You son of a bitch.
Vera Donovan's on my head.
The next one's on yours.
You know, Selena...
...I can't help remembering...
...you were a wonderful cook.
I can't even defrost.
You put supper on the table
three nights out of five.
I was working, I'd come back...
...you'd have the house clean,
homework done and food on the table.
You're just out of practice, that's all.
You'll find someone to look after.
It'll all come back to you.
Someone to look after.
You must have boyfriends.
Beautiful girl like you,
smart and out in the world.
Are you tellin' me there's nobody?
I'm telling you there's a lot of nobodies.
Come on out here, Dolores!
Friggin' little bastards.
Get off the island,
you goddamn murdering bitch!
Come on down here,
you little ass-picking squirts.
How many people are you gonna kill
before they put you away?
Come on! Come on, you little chickens!
Going to jail this time!
I know who you are.
Chester Lavelier and the rest of you.
Come on down here.
You got something to say to me?
They're gonna put you in the chair!
What are you doin'?
What does it look like?
Selena, you've been drinkin'.
I wish you wouldn't.
Look at me.
Look at me. You see how I am right now?
What good is that gonna do?
Because in 10 minutes...
...I'm going to be fine.
Just give me 10 minutes.
Just give me 10 minutes!
I saw your father last night.
Did you help your ma kill your dad?
Who is this?
You fat, ugly cow!
When I find out who this is, I'll hang
your privates from Battiscan Light!
Selena, stop that!
Honey, it's gonna be all right.
- My God!
- Get away!
It was a bad patch.
You had a bad patch,
and now you're feeling it all over again.
I had a fucking nervous breakdown,
Don't say words like that.
It was a hard time. You got through it.
Oh, what am I doing?
You just needed a rest, that's all.
You snapped out of it just fine.
You can't have one of those...
...and get a full scholarship
to Vassar College.
It was just a bad patch.
I must have been out of my mind
to come back here.
Here! Over here!
What did you do to him?
Nothing, baby. I promise.
Shit! Look at this!
Selena, let me take these from you here.
Dolores, I'll take you upstairs.
I'm gonna ask you to...
...step very carefully on the way up.
Still taking blood samples here.
If you feel more comfortable...
...you can always use the back stairs.
John, is it all right if we go upstairs
and get her things?
He got a search warrant, so...
...had to go through it for evidence. Yep.
It's pretty routine.
Okay, let's get this over with.
You can pack up and take anything
...bagged or tagged.
I know that doesn't leave much.
I'll give you a hand here.
Dolores, is that it then?
No. I got something in Vera's room.
This room's off-limits.
I'm still going through things here.
What's this then?
It's my scrapbook.
It's Selena's articles.
I'd read them to Vera.
Almost got away with it, didn't she?
I read that. That's good stuff.
You really got him to open up there.
Couldn't you clean up after her?
- What kind of people are you?
- You put that back!
You'll tell me this is evidence?
- That's exactly what I'm telling you.
- Dolores, you put that down.
I'm tryin' to do you a favor here
and that's the way you act?
I ain't leavin' here without my scrapbook.
I'll see you day after tomorrow,
9:00 a. m. at the town hall.
Don't put your fur up, Frank. I'll be there.
I have a feeling we could wrap this up
It's not gonna be like last time.
Is that so?
Let's just go. Okay?
Now you listen to me, Mister Grand High
Poobah of Upper Butt Crack.
I'm just about half past give a shit
with your fun and games.
My husband's death was ruled an accident
and you know it better than anyone.
"Death by misadventure," to be exact.
I'm sure there's people who'd tell you...
...I had plenty of reasons to kill Joe.
But Vera, why the hell would I kill her?
All I am is out of a job...
...a nice room to sleep in.
You don't need a job, do you?
I'd say $1,600,000...
...is quite a motive.
Your mother's a wealthy woman, Selena.
What the hell are you talkin' about?
I spoke to Vera's lawyer
in Baltimore last night.
- She left you everything.
- Look, John-
Every last cent.
She can't do that.
You're a millionaire, Ms. Claiborne.
Wait a minute.
- This isn't the place to be bringing-
- Back off.
That's plain crazy.
She'd never do that.
Did she keep it a secret
from you, too, Selena?
Or maybe you knew about it.
Because this will...
I mean, hell...
...it's only eight years old.
You want to wait for the District Attorney
Or should we take care of this now?
Get in the car, Mother.
Get in the goddamn car!
You had no idea she left you the money?
I swear it.
That bitch. The malicious,
high-flown, harpin' bitch!
Cut the bullshit!
You can afford a lawyer now.
We're quite fine, thank you.
I wish I had killed her.
Leavin' me that money.
I wish I had!
I wish I had killed her!
What happened in that house?
Look who's up.
What else is new?
How long this time?
Since you last made sense?
About two days, I guess.
Just leave me wet, don't you?
When I'm not thinking straight enough
to keep on you.
That's what you do...
Yeah, it's a regular party around here
when you're snoozin'.
Where's my china pig?
There's only 200 of them around.
Which one you want?
Are you being smart?
No, Vera. If I'd been smart, I'd have done
workin' for you a long time ago.
Let's see what you got left.
Goddamn it! Are you gonna sit here
and marinate in it? Come on.
You're gonna get on this fanny pan
one way or another.
There we go.
Your chariot awaits, Your Highness.
Now hold on with your good arm.
Hold on this time.
Push with your good leg.
I don't know why you make me do this.
I hate this nightgown.
Your days of silk and satin are over, Vera.
From now on it's wash 'n' wear.
You're poisoning me...
...aren't you, Dolores?
That's what you're doing.
When I'm ready to settle your hash,
I won't use poison.
I'll just shove you out the window. There'll
be one less smelly bitch in the world.
Don't we have a hair...
...across our ass today.
I want my china pig!
Get off your royal duff and go and get it.
We both know you can do it.
Do you good.
You need the exercise.
What I need...
...is someone who'll do as they're told!
Don't go too far, Vera.
I'll go as far...
...as I damn well want!
...is what's going to pass as living...
...I'll damn well say what I want!
"Oh, this little piggy had champagne.
"This little piggy ate beans."
I'll fix you some tea. You'll feel better.
I won't feel better.
I never will.
I'll never feel better again.
Oh, my God.
What the hell are you doing?
Get out of my way, Dolores.
Where do you think you're going?
What in God's name has gotten into you?
Let go of me, Dolores!
Leave me go!
Oh, my God!
Oh, my God.
Don't try to talk.
I'm going to go call the doctor.
You're gonna be all right, Vera.
You just lie still, don't move.
You're gonna be fine.
Dolores Claiborne says I'm gonna be fine.
What a relief it is...
...to have a professional opinion.
Why'd you do this, Vera?
...the smell of being old.
...and I want to be done.
Will you help me, Dolores?
Will you please...
...help me die?
Don't let me die in some hospital.
Kill me now.
If you really want to help me...
Dolores, got a certified letter here.
You don't believe me, do you?
You think I killed her.
What I think doesn't mean shit.
It's the rest of the world
you better start worrying about.
I made a list of attorneys.
These are all the big muscle firms
in New York.
It could take a couple of days,
that's why on Monday...
...you're not gonna say a word.
In case you missed it,
I'm trying to help you.
You think I give a fiddler's fuck
what anybody else says about me?
What you think is the only thing left
I can't send you to prison.
You think that's the end of the world?
Gorry, that'd be a relief.
Sit and sleep...
...three meals served every day.
Maybe you're just happier being miserable.
Is that it?
Is that it, Mother?
If it makes it easier for you.
Vera's a bitch. She's abusive,
she's mean, she's cheap.
Why not leave?
Why not just walk?
Like they do in New York?
Someone hurts me...
Believe me, I learned that long
before I got to New York.
I'm not the one that hurt you.
What is that supposed to mean?
You're blaming him?
Is that what we're into now?
He was a drunk.
Barely got out of his own way.
...maybe he hit you.
I don't remember it.
You don't seem to remember
much of anything.
But then, he's not exactly around
to defend himself, is he?
You honest to God don't remember,
Here's the goddamn list.
You do what you want with it.
That's why you're so unsettled, ain't it?
Don't you mean "boogery," Mother?
If you're attempting
a meaningful analysis...
...perhaps we'd best define our terms.
A cornerstone of critical thinking...
with an agreed vocabulary.
Go have another drink.
No, I've had my fun for the night.
You sit down right this minute
and you can just stow that Vassar shit.
We're gonna sit down at this table,
you and me...
...and we're gonna have a drink.
When we're through...
When I'm through...
...you can run upstairs and take whichever
of those little pills makes you feel the best.
Don't say a goddamn word.
Before you get too deep in that
to make sense...
...take a look at her report card.
I saw it.
Everybody slips now and then.
Can I be excused?
Not till you say how an honor student...
...who skips the seventh grade...
...goes from straight A's to C's and D's
in two semesters.
Will you leave her alone already?
It's not like you were some great genius
No Claiborne wasn't even born
in a hospital, for chrissake.
May I please be excused?
No, you may not.
Yes, you may. Go right ahead, dear.
Thanks a lot.
You better learn to stow it.
You'll drive her right out the door.
Mom, what are you doing here?
Thought you and I might ride back
on the ferry together. You mind company?
Beautiful, ain't it?
You used to be beautiful too.
Why ain't you anymore?
When was the last time
you washed your hair?
It's drugs, ain't it?
You're 13 years old, you're smoking pot.
Where do you get it?
How long's it been going on?
I don't do drugs, Mother.
Whatever trouble you're in
won't change my love for you.
I can't begin to help you out of it
till you tell me the truth.
Are you pregnant?
You want to end up like me?
Dumb and stuck?
Think I push you so hard
in school to stay in a uniform...
...and clean up after people forever?
Is that what you want?
I'm not pregnant.
What is it?
What the hell's going on with you?
- Leave me alone.
- I won't leave you alone.
We'll ride the ferry all day till you say...
Leave me be!
- Why won't you talk to me?
- Don't touch me!
I got you.
Get off of me!
What is the matter with you?
Talk to me!
Where did you get this?
What're you doin'?
This is your grandma St. George's cameo.
- It's mine.
- What did you do?
Did you go in your father's closet?
- Selena, did you steal this?
- No! It's mine.
Oh, my God.
As you can see, Mrs. St. George...
...this account's been closed out
by your husband.
How can that be?
That's my life savings. How can that be
when I got the passbook right here?
You see, Mrs. St. George, that is...
...was what we call
a custodial savings account.
That means either parent
can countersign and make a withdrawal.
This doesn't show any withdrawals.
How'd he get the money
without the goddamn passbook?
Mrs. St. George...
...if I could ask you
to keep your voice down.
According to this, your husband stated,
"Passbook was lost."
He asked to be issued a new one.
It's common enough.
Common be damned.
I opened this account!
Who do you think put the money
in the bank to begin with?
Please, Mrs. St. George.
I'm sorry, but I assure you
what we did was not only legal...
...but standard bank practice.
Maybe it's legal and maybe it ain't.
I can't believe standard practice
means you don't make...
...one single goddamn phone call...
...to the person whose name
is on the account.
I'm very sorry-
Say you're sorry again, I'll kick your butt
till you look like a hunchback.
It's 'cause I'm a woman, ain't it?
If I'd been the one passing off a fairy story
how I'd lost the passbook...
...and asked for a new one...
If I'd been the one who started drawing out
what took 11 years to put in...
...you would have called Joe.
I suppose it's one of two things.
Either he's buried it in a mason jar
in the backyard, or else...
...he opened up a new account.
You don't have to tell me,
but I hope you'll think for a moment...
...about the grief and heartache you could
have saved me by making just one call.
I'm asking you to please tell me
whether he's opened a new account here...
...or if I've gotta start digging holes
around my house.
As soon as the luncheon silver is clean,
I want the guest rooms aired out.
I'll want to go over the linens
for the daybeds in the study...
...and the sun room.
No, Joy, I don't like those colors together.
Dolores, did you check on the flowers?
Must you look so trod-upon, Dolores?
In 36 hours you will have
the uniquely thrilling experience...
...of standing at the epicenter
of a total solar eclipse.
I've got guests traveling 800 miles
for something all you need to do is look...
Did you see Dolores?
As soon as the caterers arrive, I want you
to make sure they have everything needed.
I've made a list.
I want no last-minute frantic runs
Do you hear me?
Would you put on some tea?
- Are we quite finished?
- I'm sorry, Mrs. Donovan. I truly am.
I insist all women who have hysterics
in my drawing room...
...call me by my Christian name.
So, enlighten me, Dolores.
What turns a stone-hard woman like you
into the blubbering mess I see before me?
Joe stole my money.
I went to close out my account...
It was money I'd been saving for Selena.
$3,000. I went to get it out
and it was gone.
Well, don't look to me, Dolores.
All my money's tied up in cash.
Planning on playing the stock market,
I was going to leave.
I was going to take Selena away with me
tonight before he gets back.
...isn't that dramatic.
And why, exactly, are we running away?
Well, go on, Dolores.
Perhaps it's not as bad as it seems.
Give it to me. It's mine!
Oh, my God.
It's your father.
He's been at you, hasn't he?
What are you talking about?
- What's he done to you?
- He's been touchin' you, hasn't he?
What's he done to you?
You've gotta tell me the truth.
Leave me alone!
You crazy old lying bitch!
You're a fucking psychotic.
- You think I'd make this up?
- This actually comes to you?
- How can you not remember?
- I remember you hitting him!
That I remember.
I remember the blood on his face,
the drinking, the fighting, but this?
- You're not responsible.
- Mackey's right. You are dangerous.
- Fuck you!
- You gotta believe me.
No, I don't.
Don't try and stop me.
I'm going to the hotel.
Mrs. Devereaux needs extra help
for the eclipse.
- I'll be back in a few days.
- We talked about this.
I don't care what we talked about.
I don't want to be here when you talk
to Dad about your crazy ideas.
Come back here right now!
Just leave me alone!
For 12 hours sleep, you don't look so good.
I need to be in Arizona.
It's a big story and I need it.
I packed your things.
You had stuff lyin' around.
Coffee's on the stove.
What is it?
It's Detective Mackey's report. Here.
I don't want it.
How remarkably brave, Mother.
I'll make some calls.
You'll have your phone
turned on tomorrow.
I'll take the report.
I'm gonna fax it to a lawyer.
You can expect a call tomorrow.
And when you talk
to that lawyer, Mother...
...you damn well better do what he says.
You'll miss your ferry.
You want to hang yourself?
Go into that inquest tomorrow
and start shooting your mouth off.
I'm sorry, Mother.
"Sometimes being a bitch is the only thing
a woman has to hold onto."
I hope I'm doing this right,
'cause I never worked one before.
Don't these Japanese make
the cunningest little gadgets?
You're sleeping now, Selena...
...but I know when you get up,
you're gonna leave.
By the time you hear this,
I figure you're in Arizona.
By now it's all been said and done.
You can forget about the lawyer.
I'm gonna go down tomorrow
and talk to those people and...
...I ain't makin' a stink about it no more.
I'm telling you now
what I'm gonna tell them.
I just thought you ought to hear it
firsthand, is all.
How far has he gone, Dolores?
She says it ain't never happened.
And she screamed and cried
and denied it so bad, I know it's true.
The way she's been acting around him,
I should've known it sooner.
How far has he gone?
He wasn't always like this.
When we started out
it wasn't a dream come true-
Has he fucked her?
I don't know.
I don't know.
But if he hasn't, he's gonna soon enough.
He's working the boats.
He'll be back tomorrow.
I was gonna use that $3,000 to get us
as far away from here as possible.
And how far is that, Dolores?
You've never been more than 50 miles
away from this island in your life.
How long do you think
it would take him to find you?
It's a depressingly masculine world
we live in, Dolores.
Maybe I'm wrong.
What if you're right?
Husbands die every day, Dolores.
...one is probably dying right now,
while you're sittin' here weeping.
...and leave their wives their money.
I should know, shouldn't I?
Sometimes they're driving home
from their mistress's apartment...
...and their brakes suddenly fail.
An accident, Dolores...
...can be an unhappy woman's best friend.
Don't you just love the bossa nova?
I found them in New York.
I just had to have them.
Hi, how are you?
There's a buzzer going off in the kitchen.
You'd better check it.
I'm sorry, Mrs. Donovan.
We're going as fast as we can.
They're callin' for rain.
Oh, don't worry.
I'll have my eclipse.
I'm sending you home, Dolores.
You've done a wonderful job
and it's all under control.
I want you to go and share this remarkable
experience with your husband.
He will be back, won't he?
I suppose so.
I've got you two eclipse viewers
and two reflector boxes.
I thought you and Joe might like them.
...sometimes you have
to be a high-riding bitch...
...being a bitch...
...is all a woman has to hang onto.
Thank you, Vera.
Now, go on home.
Pam and Sheila can clean up.
...eclipse at 5:00.
I wouldn't miss this for the world.
I got some binoculars.
I'm going to find myself a good spot.
You sorry piece of shit.
What the hell are you doing back?
Got the afternoon off.
Welcome home to you too.
Don't start with me, Dolores.
She's working at the hotel.
Looks like you bought out the whole store.
What's all this?
A present to celebrate the eclipse.
I've felt so good lately,
I thought I'd share some of my happiness.
What do you got to feel happy about?
Well, Jesus Christ.
You don't want it?
I can always pour it down the sink.
Vera sent us some thingamajigs
to watch the eclipse.
Yeah, like I give a shit.
I don't want to fight with you.
Let's just try and enjoy the day.
That won't be hard.
That crowd. Looks like D-Day.
Look at them.
The whole goddamn island's out there.
I hope it rains.
Hope it comes down so hard
it drowns them all.
What the hell has gotten into you?
Ain't nothing gonna happen any more
than a thunderhead going across the sun.
Eat up, Joe, before the flies beat you to it.
Okay, here we go.
Isn't this what all of you and all the rest
of them fools been waiting for?
Better get your butt out here.
She's disappearing, all right.
I got another surprise for you.
Did somebody invent a pill
that'll cure ugly?
You know the money
in Selena's bank account?
Yeah, well, what about it?
You took it.
Don't you look sour.
- I guess it is pretty funny, ain't it?
I fooled you right and proper, didn't I?
You fooled me about a lot of things, Joe...
...but I guess I finally caught up with you.
You already spent $500 of it.
What'd it go for, Joe?
There you go, selling me short.
It was set aside for school.
You blew all our money, you may as well
run through hers, while you're at it.
You can't even wipe your ass
for $3,000 these days.
I spent the day with the people
at the bank.
It turns out you weren't supposed
to do that.
Lie to them.
Make them break their rules.
What did you go and do?
I got all that money
given right back to me in cash.
All but the $500 you pissed away.
So you can just go and fuck yourself.
That is if you can get that limp old noodle
of yours to stand up.
I told you what I'd do
if you didn't stop being fresh with me!
You believe me now, do you?
Yes. Yes, Joe!
Oh, my God.
Look at that.
You'll see plenty of them if you don't start
tellin' me where that money is.
I buried it...
...in the yard.
Out by the field.
Let's just go get it back where it belongs,
why don't we?
Believe you me,
there better be every last cent of it.
You'd better save the big talk
for your pals at the barber shop!
I wonder if they'll think
you're such a stud...
...when they find out the only ass
you can get...
...belongs to your 13-year-old daughter!
- I don't know what you're talking about.
Then how come you look like the devil just
grabbed them little raisins you call balls?
She's a liar. She's a little liar.
And a goddamn tease.
How could you do it, Joe?
After everything I did for her...
...she's mouthing off like that,
telling lies like...
When she gets back I'm gonna get my belt.
I'm gonna get my belt.
The only thing you're gonna get is
a long stretch in Shawshank Prison...
...for child molesting!
The more you run, the worse it's gonna be.
Get off me!
You're gonna get your payback now, bitch.
And it's gonna cost you more than money!
You're mine now!
Give me your hand
before I fall all the way in, please!
Help me before I fall all the way in,
You don't know what you're doing.
Where are you going?
Oh, God, what're you doing?
Dee, come on!
Where are you going?
What are you doing?
I swear, you're gonna die.
Somebody help me, please.
- Oh, goddamn it!
- Nobody can hear you.
You bitch! Oh, you just better hope
I don't get out.
The eclipse lasted six and a half minutes.
They said it was some kind of record.
It was a lot more than a thunderhead
passing across the sun.
It was beautiful.
I burned the dress...
...and I dropped the whiskey bottle
out near the well.
I started askin' folks if they'd seen Joe
off on a bender somewhere.
Besides Mackey showing up
and making trouble...
...it was easier than I thought.
That's what happened...
...plain and true.
And I don't care no more who knows it.
I guess all I do care about...
...all I ever cared about...
...is that you're safe and sound.
I lied to you.
And I lied to myself.
Now it's time to pay the piper.
Here we go.
One coffee, $1.
Out of $5.
Okay, one coffee, one hot cocoa,
that'll be 60 cents.
McCrea, it ain't worth half that.
There you go.
You look cold enough
to climb inside a clam shell.
Here, this'll warm you up.
What's wrong, you don't want it?
It's hot chocolate for you.
Come on, let's take the top off.
You got that little thing I give you?
Let's have a look at it.
You know, this is very special, Selena.
My mother got it from her mother.
You know, I'm not gonna give it
just to anybody.
It's very special for you, okay, sweetheart?
It's a very special thing for you.
Your hands cold?
- Here, give me your hands.
- I'm fine.
Nobody's gonna see us, sweetheart.
Here. Come on. Give me your hands.
My cocoa will spill.
I'll buy you another one.
- Come on, let me dry your hands.
- All right.
Oh, gosh. Your hand's cold.
No, Daddy, please.
Come on, now. You know how to do it.
I showed you.
Remember how I showed you?
Nobody's gonna see us.
Come on, baby.
You remember how I showed you?
Come on, that's it.
Oh, that's it.
You're my good girl.
I love you, Selena.
You're my good girl.
You want your change or what?
No. You keep it.
I was gonna kill her, Your Honor.
She tried to do it herself...
...but she was still alive.
She begged me to finish what she started.
I didn't know if I could do it or not.
By the time I got back from the kitchen
she was dead.
Just your good luck, I guess.
They tell me you've waived your right
I tell you, I've married people
who've brought lawyers with them.
Let's just get this over with.
Before I sign Detective Mackey's report...
...there are a few things
I'd like him to clarify for me.
...I have several witnesses...
...who say they were present when
you threatened the life of Vera Donovan.
Now that's true, is it not?
Why don't you just go ahead and ask me
what you really want to know?
In due time, Ms. Claiborne. In due time.
- Is it true you made those threats?
- Of course, it's true.
She told you herself on Saturday.
I'm sorry. This is a closed hearing.
The woman sitting over there, the one
without a lawyer, that's my mother.
This isn't a trial.
I have every right to be here with her.
Selena St. George.
Don't stop. Let's just wrap this up
and get back to the mainland.
This report is incomplete.
Maybe before you sign off on this-
We're in the middle of a questioning here,
Miss St. George.
My mother did not kill Vera Donovan.
That's funny. I've got 30 pages here
that say she did.
This thing is totally circumstantial.
I've covered enough courtrooms
to know he's got no hard evidence.
Circumstantial? Samuel Marchant, page 6!
Tell him what's not in the report.
You've had the whole weekend
to get yourself a lawyer.
What is it that's not in the report?
These two women loved each other.
Now that's something we'd like to hear.
...we definitely missed
in our investigation...
...isn't it, Frank?
Why don't you tell us
about this great mutual affection?
Your personal observations.
How'd they get along when you'd visit?
Christmas, birthdays, holidays...
...whenever you could tear yourself away
from your judicial reportage.
Why don't you tell us, Miss St. George?
When was your last visit?
Fifteen years ago.
You must have some memory.
These women were together for 22 years.
My mother spent the last 10 caring
...24 hours a day, 365 days a year...
...for $80 a week.
You should quit while you're ahead.
He says they hated each other.
I want to know if you hated each other
so much why you stayed together?
There were other jobs...
Why go through 20 years of hell?
- Why, Mother?
- Please, Miss. This is embarrassing.
You're supposed to be a professional,
We know I never visited.
In the past few years,
who else has been in that house?
Doc Collin came once a month.
Let's not forget Sammy Marchant.
Nobody else gave a damn
whether they lived or died.
All they had was each other.
That's why you stayed together.
I mean, is that what you do
when you hate someone?
You trade off your life for...
...what, 20 cents an hour
just to keep them going?
Please, all this is very touching.
...is a little more than 20 cents an hour.
My mother never knew about the will.
Come on, Miss St. George.
The will is eight years old.
You were there, Frank.
When Mackey told her about the will.
You think she knew?
He is not on trial.
Neither is my mother.
She seemed pretty surprised, I guess...
That's how I saw it.
You want us to believe
that they were best friends...
...and alone for eight years
and they never even talked about it?
I think people can keep secrets
a lot longer than eight years.
A $1,600,000 secret?
Did you know about the will,
Vera made it pretty clear she was plannin'
on takin' it all with her when she went.
I figured when she died there'd be
some laundry and a fare-thee-well.
Isn't that convenient?
You don't believe her?
Then I tell you what, Detective.
We may be in the presence
of a truly gifted criminal mind.
For eight years she's a heartbeat away...
...from being the richest woman
on the island.
So what does she do?
Does she wait one year
and let Vera drown in the tub?
Three years starving her?
You're digging in deeper.
Smother her in her sleep?
My mother's plan is far more brilliant
She waits through eight years of bed pans,
sponge baths, diapers and bed sores.
She waits eight years until Vera's
already got one foot in the grave.
Then what does she do?
- We know.
- That's your theory, isn't it?
She waited eight years
to throw her down the stairs.
Yes. To make it look like an accident.
An accident? She ransacked the kitchen
for a rolling pin.
How will beating Vera to death
look like an accident?
She panicked, just as you're doing now.
Sammy Marchant brought the mail
every day at noon.
- Why not wait?
- She panicked.
- She knew she had to finish-
- How do you know?
Fourteen years' experience.
- You've never been wrong.
- Not when it counted.
- That's right, you're 85 for 86, aren't you?
- Yes, I am.
- One case away from a perfect record.
- This report is the truth.
Truth? Bullshit! Why don't you tell him
why we're really here?
Because she's done it before.
Wait a minute.
Is there some prior felony here, John?
No, there's not.
They wouldn't indict her.
Eighteen years ago...
...my father drank some scotch...
...and fell down a well.
Detective Mackey didn't think
it was an accident, which is...
...why we're here today.
What do you think, Selena?
I think that I owe you an apology.
I called you a son of a bitch.
You said you thought we were a lot alike.
And you were right.
We've both spent the past 18 years
prosecuting this woman.
We came out here...
...I know I did...
...believing she was guilty.
We forgot this case is
about Vera Donovan...
...not my father.
And what if it wasn't an accident?
...it's been 18 years.
I don't know what this has done to you...
...but let me tell you, it's consumed me.
I have lived with this every day of my life.
But it was wrong...
...and I won't do it anymore.
And if I can say that, my God...
She didn't kill Vera Donovan.
You've been out here looking
for a smoking gun.
There isn't one.
All you've got is a 30-page description
of a suicide.
I'm asking you...
...as an honorable man...
...with all of your experience...
...all that you've seen...
...would we be here now...
...if this was anyone other
than Dolores Claiborne?
This report's the truth!
I'd like you to know that if you go
to trial with this, you'll fail again.
You'd better ask yourself
how you want to finish your career.
I've got a long list of New York lawyers...
...who'd just love to take you
and this case apart in front of a jury.
Come on, let's go.
They can't hurt you anymore.
This is your ball game.
I'm gonna leave this up to you.
Even when it's warm here, it's cold.
It won't be like that in Arizona.
There is no Arizona.
I don't have to go.
It was a lie.
...the story, the book...
...it's all over.
Do I still have to worry about you?
I don't know how to feel
about what you did.
Maybe I never will.
But I know you did it for me.
I don't want to lose you again.
You're not gonna lose me.
You go on.