Jacob Have I Loved (1989) - full transcript

Jealousy eats at Louise. Like Esau, Louise is a twin, a few minutes older than Caroline, who, like Jacob, is the family favorite. Blond, pretty, with a voice like an angel, Caroline is ...

(majestic music)

(light music)

- [Louise] In childhood
there's always one year

that changes your life forever.

For me, it was the year from
one Christmas to the next.

I lived on a tiny Chesapeake Island

with my twin sister Caroline.

Caroline always got what she
wanted and I hated her for it.

(light jazz music)
(seagulls squawking)

(radio buzzing)
(light jazz music)

- [Announcer] We interrupt this program

to bring you a special bulletin.

The Japanese have destroyed
the American fleet

at Pearl Harbor.

I repeat the Japanese
have bombed Pearl Harbor.

President Roosevelt is
expected to declare war.

(exciting music)
(shoes clomping)

- Caroline!



Caroline, the Japanese
have bombed Pearl Harbor.

- Oh please.
- It's true,

I heard it on the radio.
- It's Sunday.

We don't play the radio on Sunday.

- Oh fine, the whole world's at war

and I'm the only one who cares.

- If we are at war, it's a terrible thing,

but we have a president

and I'm sure he'll know what to do.

- Well, I know what I'm going to do.

- What?
- Volunteer.

Leave this Island and help people in need

all over the world.

- Oh Wheeze, nobody needs you.

And you're not gonna leave this island.

You're just not.

(light music)

- We're all gonna have to sacrifice,

but President Roosevelt
says it's important

to keep up morale.

- Easy for him.

He don't have to work with you.

- So I've decided what
we need is some humor.

And since humor is your weak
spot, I'm here to improve it.

- Ah huh.
- Why do radio announcers

have tiny hands?

- How should I know.

- We pause for station identification.

- Wee paws, (laughing) tiny hands.

(bucket clattering)

- You ain't never seen no radio announcer.

They're all the way to Baltimore.

- No see it's a joke.

- And besides, my grandma
says, you can't either trust.

- Call, it's a play on words.

- She says, President
Roosevelt's got them wrapped

around his little pinky finger.

- Call.
(boat horn blasting)

(exciting music)

- Wheeze no.



Slow down.
(bucket clattering)


Ain't never seen someone
favor a ferry like you.

- I'll be on it someday.

- And for thy merciful
bounty in thy name's sake,

we thank the lord.
- Amen.

- Mr. Rice says our theme
this year is peace on earth.

- That's a fitting choice.

- They shall beat their
swords into plow shares.

- But everyone's bombing everyone.

- You singing "The Holy Night" again?

- No grandma, Betty Jean Boyd's doing it.

- Why's that?

She can't half sing like you can.

- Well--
- Because Mr. Rice wants

Caroline sing something special.

Captain Billy says a war'll
start the crab prices down.

- It'll be a scarce winter.

- We could save some if you
took me on as your hand.

- You know I can't.

- Dooey Parker's hiring on with his daddy.

- (scoffing) Dooey's a boy.

I'm threw mama.

- You can't leave food, it's unpatriotic.

- Mr. Rice says, I have
a rare musical gift.

He said, if I continue my voice lessons,

I have every chance of being known.

So, since I'm gonna be famous I've decided

to write the story of my life starting

from the very moment of my birth.

Tell it mama.

- But you've heard it so many times.

- At least a hundred thousands
so there's no reason--

- Twins, Louise came first
just like Esau in the Bible,

all red and hairy.
(Caroline laughing)

- I was not.
- Then Caroline.

Like Jacob, grabbing after Esau's heel.

- Was I mama, was I
grabbing Wheeze's heel?

- You was too weak.

Couldn't neither breathe, and cold.

Midwife put you in a stove
pot, warmed you at the oven.

- I'm still very delicate.

- Heat come up, fixed you right smart.

- And where was Wheeze?

- Sarah Louise.

- You never gave us a moments worry.

- I was asleep.

While everyone was working on Caroline,

I was left alone in the basket.

Right Grandma?

- How should I know.

It was a long time ago.

♪ Repeat the sounding joy ♪

♪ Repeat the sounding joy ♪

- Valachi, valachi.
♪ Repeat, repeat ♪

♪ The sounding joy ♪

- Bravo.
(students chattering)

Yes, Louise?

- Mr. Rice, I'd like to make a proposal.

- Yes?
- Sir, I feel it is wrong

that we so selfishly celebrate
while around the world

thousands are suffering and dying.

- Your proposal Louise?

- I believe we should cancel Christmas.

(students scoffing)
(students laughing)

- Thousands were suffering and
dying when Christ was born.

Please take your seat, Louise.

♪ God rest ye Merry Gentlemen ♪

♪ Let nothing you dismay ♪

♪ Remember Christ our savior
was born on Christmas day ♪

- Nobody cancels Christmas.

- I'm leaving here, going
to school in Crisfield.

- Yeah, well that takes money.

- I got some.
- No, you don't.

You give all your crabbing
money to your mama

and she gives it for
Caroline's music lessons.

- Well, I'll just have to work harder.

- If I get up any earlier,
I'll meet myself going to bed.

- I'm going to work twice as
hard and save every extra dime.

And when I have enough, I'm going to get

on that ferry and leave
this island, forever.

(Call sniffing)

(light music)
(faint singing)

Hello Auntie Braxton.

- It's god's light sings through her.

♪ Amen ♪

(door clicking)

(buckets rattling)

- $2 and 45 cents.

- Well, you've had a right smart haul.

(paper crinkling)

- Mercy Wheeze, you
stink like a crap shandy.

(door squeaking)

- Well, maybe you ought to be grateful.

(door slamming)
- Why?

- Because that stink pays
for your music lessons.

- It does not.

I have a scholarship.

- What about all the ferry trips?

And what about all the
taxi fares to Salisbury?

- Daddy.

- Well, I help.

Every penny I bring in helps.

You ought to be down on
your knees thanking me

for all I do for you. How
dare you talk to me like that.

How dare you!
- Louise.

- Did I say anything wrong?

- By the time you wash
up, we'll be ready to eat.

- I didn't say anything wrong.

(church choir singing)
(bell tolling)

♪ Be still my soul ♪

♪ Thy best I am be granted ♪

♪ Will I be wise, be still my joyful end ♪

♪ Amen ♪

- Tonight the armies of Cane rise.

Nation against nation.

The voice of thy brother's blood
cryth until from the ground

And we reap Cane's bloody curse.

This is the legacy I hate,
and we pay its bitter price.

It takes away god's saving light.

Hate brings darkness into the world.

(slow organ music)
Hate is a sin.

And those who hate are sinners.

God will turn his back on them.

He will keep his loving light from them.

God shall damn the
haters to eternal night.

(Louise gasping)

(light clicking)

(cart rattling)

- Wheeze!

Look mom, Wheeze is here.

- Oh.

There's more in the hold.

- What's that?

- It's a recording.

- I can see that.

What's it of?

- La Boheme.
- La what?

- It's an opera.
(bag thumping)

There's a girl, Mimi,
and she's loves herself,

and they all go to this pub in the day,

and there's a parade,
and then she realizes

that she's in love with a poet.

And the both poor and
he's an artist in Paris.

And then there's a big
fight and resentment

with Mimi's best friend,
realizes that she loves Rodolfo.

(boots stomping)

- He's Hiram Wallace.

- Who's that grandma?

- Hope of every young girl's heart.

And Trudy Braxton thought she had him.

(laughing) But she was sore mistaken.

- Old Auntie Braxton.

- The old was young once.

Don't you forget it.

- Yes grandma.

- His folks was rich.

Even had a pasture.

Real grass with cows.

His daddy sent him off to school.

But he come home before he supposed to.

After that, wouldn't talk to nobody.

Then came the storm.

- What storm?

- He and his daddy worked the bay.

Their boat was the biggest.

Mast reached 50 feet.

Storm come up.

So they dropped sail and waited.

But not Hiram.

He got scared.

Feared the lightning would hit the mast.

So he grabbed an ax and chopped it down.

Town mocked him to his
face, called him coward.

A week later he was gone.

Never come back, 'til now.

- Well, he ain't here, so let's go.

- Really Call, the slightest little thing

and you're ready to scream and run away.

- Oh excuse me.

Didn't know I was in the
company of a war hero.

- Shh.

(grass rustling)

(pensive music)

- Mission accomplished.

No need to be scared, nobody's home.

Now we can go.

(window slamming)
(Louise screaming)

(ominous music)

(Louise gasping)

- You're under arrest.

Unless of course you've come for tea.

(bell tolling)

This town has a genius for gossip

so I, I guess you know who I am.

Who are you?

- My name's Sarah Louise Bradshaw.

- My real name's McCall Pernell,
but everyone calls me Call.

- I see, so if I want
you, I just call Call.

- (laughing) Just call
Call, you get it, Wheeze.

- Wheeze, Call, sounds
like vaudeville act.

Course, much better would
be wheeze and cough.

- (laughing) Wheeze and cough.

That's a riot, see Wheeze that's funny.

- This place sure is a mess.

Take forever to fix it up.

- My age that'd be a problem.

(Call laughing)

- Ah, we could help.

- Nope, I wouldn't ask.

- Why not?

- Well, I could pay.

- Pay?
- No, wouldn't ask.

- Why not.
- Ain't neighborly.

- That's very generous, I accept.

- Course, I can't be here.

My grandma needs me.

- And you're a girl.

- I'm as strong as anyone.

- Good, tomorrow, then 10 o'clock.

And now grace.

Rub a dub dub, thanks for the grub, Amen.

(Call laughing)

(light jazz music)

(water splashing)

(water splashing)

(crabs clattering)

Get your boxing gloves on
huh, come on I'll take ya.

- I'm supposed to be working.

- Crabby just like you.

You got a hard shell on, ready to fight.

(hammer knocking)

So, what's your plan?

When you grow up.

- I am grown up.

- Oh.

- My sister, Caroline's
going to be an opera singer.

(apple crunching)

She's got the best voice
in the whole state.

She's going to be famous someday.

Well, the whole Island loves her.

- That so.

- Yes that's so.

- I guess you love her too huh.

I asked about you, you talk about her.

Well, do you, you know any good jokes?

- Yeah.
- Yeah?

Tell me one.

- Psychiatrist dies and goes to heaven.

Saint Peter says, "You're a
psychiatrist, stick around.

"We might need you."

Psychiatrist says, "Yeah why?"

St. Peter says, "'Cause god
thinks he's Franklin Roosevelt."

(Louise giggling)

(Hiram laughing)

- God thinks his Franklin Roosevelt.

That's good, that's very good.

- I know.

- Well, I gotta get home.

Lots of work.

Thank you.

Been away a long time,
nice to find a friend here.

- Captain Wallace, see you tomorrow.

10 o'clock, your house.

(wind blustering)
(waves crashing)

♪ Fall on your knees ♪

♪ Oh hear the angels voices ♪

♪ O night divine, ♪
(woman sighing)

♪ O' night when Christ was born ♪

- No, I was much braver at that age.

♪ O' night divine, O'
night, O' night divine ♪

(audience clapping)

- Looks like the new misses is taking

right smart care of you.

(audience laughing)

- For our final selection this evening,

we will hear from a student

whose musical gifts are a
sweet benediction on our lives.

Miss Caroline Bradshaw.

(audience applauding)
- Aah.

(light piano music)

♪ I wonder as I wander out under the sky ♪

♪ How Jesus the savior
did come forth to die ♪

♪ For poor honorary people
like you and like I ♪

♪ I wonder as I wander ♪

♪ Out under the sky ♪

(light orchestral music)

(water splashing)

(swing creaking)

- Hmm.
(cutlery clattering)

Call says you met Captain Wallace.

What's he like?

- Old.
- Call says you're

working for him, can I come?

- No.

- Why not?

- Because you're too delicate.

And besides, it would ruin your manicure.

(door clicking)

(pensive music)

(water splashing)

- We cleared the jungle in Panama.

Built the canal.

Who'd of dreamed it?

Warring sister oceans meet in peace.

Don't bite your nails dear.

Hands are the heart's messengers.

- Yes sir.

- You need any help?

- No.

- Emery board, rounds out the nail.

Orange stick pushes back the cuticle,

and lotion every day,
a girl's best friend.

- Otis has offered me pay Wheeze.

I'd wait for you but--
- I'm not finished helping

the captain.
- But you've been working

for him for weeks, for nothing.

What about your money?

What about school in Crisfield?

- So hire on with Otis.

- The thing is we won't be working here.

My uncle fixed it.

- Fixed what?

- We'll be culling on a
work boat out of Baltimore.

I'm leaving here, Wheeze.

(Call sighing)

(buckets rattling)

(opera music)

(singing in a foreign language)

- Isn't it thrilling?

Someday, I'll sing like that.

- Sounds like a sick chicken.

- She's a woman in love
and she can't tell him.

She's tortured, she's confused.

Ah, what would you know about romance?

(needle scraping)

You scratched it!

Why do you always have to be like that?

You ruin everything.

You're going to end up just like grandma,

old and bitter and alone.

- It was an accident.

(seagulls squawking)

(Sandpaper scratching)

- My daddy made this.

It could do with some oil.

(bottles clanking)

(mysterious music)

Captain Wallace, look.

(ominous music)

- This island's damn full of snoops.

(trunk thumping)

(hammer banging)

(water trickling)

I guess you heard the stories.

- You're a coward, cut down your mast.

- I cut it, but not out of fear.

Out of anger and spite.

I wanted to be a doctor.

My father gave me that
bag as a sign of faith.

I was going to find a cure for typhus.

God gave me two things:

the love of healing and
the fear of what I love.

I wanted to be a doctor and I,

I didn't think I was good enough.

So I left school, came back here.

God cursed me.

So be it, I'd finish the job for him.

Storm came, I, I cut the mast.

Hurts when the soul's against itself.

Shame, fear, hate, they poison a life.

I was angry at the world.

I only hurt myself.

It took me 20 minutes
to cut that mast down,

50 years to set it back.

(wind whistling)

(faint background singing)
(piano music)

(boots squelching)

(oar scraping)

- You can't come in here.

- Can't I sing with you.

- You don't know the words.

(Caroline singing)

- Stop it.

Please stop it.

(ominous music)

(wood banging)
(thunder clapping)

(branch scraping)

- Oh lord, come down and
steal this evil wind.

- Papa?
- Storm's come up fast.

I gotta go sink the boat.

You best go down and get the
captain and bring him up here.

(wind howling)

- Oh Jesus, you told the storm on Galilee.

Peace, be still.
- No mother Bradshaw.

Be careful now Louise.

Take the light.

- The storm's his punishment for sinners.

(ominous music)
Oh no.

(rain gushing)

(thunder clapping)

(bell tolling)

- Captain!


`- Louise!

- Hurry, you've got to come to our house.

- It's blowing me.

(thunder cracking)

No Louise!

- It's a sign of fate.

- Come on, come on.

(light music)

- Hey Whee, y'all make out all right?

- Yes, sir, at least
the house is all right.

I gotta go check the captain's.

(pensive music)

(somber music)

(bell ringing)

(waves lapping)

(wood thumping)

- Well, that's that.

(rocking chair creaking)

We used to have cows.

The whole marsh was a meadow
back when I was a boy.

- We heard it, yes.

- Storm's a fearsome thing.

- You're one ought to know.

- It's not what you think.

He studied to be a doctor.

- I ain't a real doctor,
but I did medic aboard ship.

- Well, whatever tooked you from here,

we're grateful in seeing you home.

You best stay with us for a while.

- I can't think what your daddy's up to,

letting that heathen into our house.

Into my bed.

Ah my blessed, into my very bed.

(drawer slamming)
(lively piano music)

♪ Da da da da, da da da da,
da da da da, da da da da ♪

♪ Da da da da da da da
da da la da da la da da ♪

♪ La da da la da da la da
da la da da la da da da ♪

♪ La da da da la da da
da da da da da da da ♪

♪ Da da da da, da da da da,
da da da da, da da da da ♪

♪ La da da da la da da da da da da da ♪

♪ La da da da da da da da da
da da da da da da da da da ♪

(singing in a foreign language)

(frogs croaking)

- Louise, dinner's on the table.

(door clicking)

- She's peeking around for
that heathen captain of hers.

Ever see how she looks at him.

She craves him.

Yeah, that right Louise?

- Stop it, leave her alone.

- She thinks he craves her,

but I know who he's really after.

I'll not have him in my
house, much less my bed.

That's what he craves, to
get in my bed with me in it.

- Mother Bradshaw.

- Girls go to your room.

She's old, got to make allowances.

- He can't stay here.

- There's no other place for him.

- Yes, there is, he could
live with Trudy Braxton.

- That's ridiculous,
people can't live together

unless they're married.

- Well then, that's just
what they'll have to do.

- If you mention it to him I'll kill you.

- Oh Wheeze, it makes perfect sense.

She needs somebody to take care of her.

She hasn't been well.

He needs a place to live in.

Besides, they used to be sweethearts.

It's the last chance.

- (scoffing) I know
he'll never agree to it.

- Congratulations.
- Congratulations.

- Congratulations.
(horns honking)

- Congratulations.
- Congratulations.

- Mr. And Mrs. Wallace.
- Congratulations.

(light music)

- Mrs. Bradshaw, I got wonderful news.

It's Trudy's idea really,

and I agree wholeheartedly.

Her folks left a small
legacy and I've investigated.

It's enough to send Caroline
to music school in Baltimore.

Nothing would make
Trudy happier than that.

- Well, I don't know.
- Call could look after her.

It's not that far away.

Please, we want to feel
we made a difference here.

- I think I'll fix some tea.

(shoes thumping)
(door slamming)

- Your sister stole the blessing.

Romans 9:13, as it is written,

"Jacob, have I loved."

- Don't grandma.
- Who said it, Louise.

Who said it?
- I don't know.

- God, god said it.

"Jacob, have I loved
and Esau have I hated."

(lips smacking)

- Wheeze, please don't mind.

It means so much to me.

(boat's horn honking)

(light music)

(seagulls squawking)

(birds twittering)

- Crab season will be over soon.

- Then I'll oyster.

- You haven't told us
what you're gonna do--

- Gonna rot here, just like everyone else.

I don't understand it.

You were smart.

You went to college.

Why did you ever come to
this god forsaken place?

- I had some notion I
would find myself here.

- Well, did you, find yourself?

- I found very quickly that
there was nothing much to find.

- That's sickening.

You could have been
anything you wanted to be.

- I am what I wanted to be.

I'm not ashamed of what I made of my life.

I chose.

- Well, you're not gonna
make me like you are.

- I can promise you I won't.

I made my choice, you're
free to make yours.

(match striking)

(gas whooshing)

(coffee trickling)

- Father, I'm coming with you.

- You'll want some coffee then.

(upbeat music)

- Red signs, pinks, jimmies, busters.

You'll want these.

- I don't care about my hands.

- Them jimmies bite hard.

♪ Come every soul by sin oppressed ♪

♪ There's mercy with the lord ♪

♪ And he-- ♪

The oysters, they don't
crave music, but them crab,

there ain't nothing they like
better than a pretty tune.

♪ Come every soul by sin oppressed ♪

♪ There's mercy with the lord ♪

♪ And he will surely give you rest ♪

♪ By trusting in his word ♪

(handle squeaking)

- Hello Louise.

- Hello Mrs Rice.

- I hear you been helping
your father out on his boat.

- Mainly I just call the busters.

- Busters?
- The crabs that shed

before they harden up.

- Oh.

- See, crabs have a shell,
it's their skeleton,

only theirs is on the
outside instead of in.

And so then when they grow,
they get too big for it

so they got to shed and they bust out.

- Oh, busters.
- Busters.

And so then your female,
she finds herself a jimmy

and then they get married.

- Now, those are your doublers.

And then they go on a nice long honeymoon.

And then she swims down the bay

and waits for eggs to hatch.

Well, you know what I mean.

- You really love the water don't you?

(lively music)

- You've been a needed help to me, Louise.

I thank you.

(engine rumbling)

(wood scraping)

- Old Trudy died.
- Yes grandma.

- I ain't seen that old heathen about.

Guess he's dead too.

- Nope, Captain Wallace is just fine.

- He don't come round no more.

- Thought you didn't like him.

- Thinks he's too good for a girl

whose daddy don't own his own boat.

There's ones would have had him.

Coward or no.

By the time I was 13,

I was the prettiest thing on the Island.

But he was already gone.

I waited two more years,
but he never come back.

He was too old for me then.

But I would've growed.

- Grandma.
- Oh my blessed,

I would've growed.

(light piano music)
(seagulls squawking)

- Call!

- I joined the service.

Come back to say goodbye.

(door squeaking)

- Well, well. (laughing)

It's good to see you.

Both of you.

Come in, come in.

- I heard about Miss. Braxton.

I'm real sorry.

- Call's gonna stay through the holidays.

- Spend it with family, good.

- Well, and friends.

- So how's Baltimore?

And what's Miss Caroline got
to say for herself these days?

- She said, "Yes."

- Yes to what?

- Well let's just say
she answered her Call.

(Captain laughing)

- Guess it took you most of the trip down

to work that one out.

She's only 16.
- 17 in January.

I said we can wait but she didn't want to.

- What about her music?

- She can go on ahead.

I mean, I could help.

I could--
- Give her a safe harbor.

- You?

- You never did think I was
much to brag about now did you?

(wind howling)
(ominous music)

- Oh Wheeze, you should see Baltimore,

miles and miles of houses
with three white steps.

I get lost the minute I step outside.

Not like you.

You could find your way round any place.

You know, I never noticed it before.

Compared to where I've been,
everything here seems so small.

I guess I've just outgrown it.

♪ La la la la la la la la la ♪

- Don't sing that.
- Why not?

- Because I asked you not to.

- Oh Wheeze.

♪ La la la la ♪

- Stop it.

♪ La la la la la la la la la ♪

- I said, shut up!

- Please don't talk to me like that.

- I'll talk to you anyway I like.

- Well, I don't have to listen.

(pensive music)

What do you want from me Wheeze?

- I want you just for once
to think about somebody else.

- You wish I'd never been born.

Well, I can't help you with that.

- Help, it would never
occur to you to help anyone.

You're too busy grabbing
what doesn't belong to you.

(hand slapping)
(ominous music)

(wood smashing)

(bell tolling)
(choir singing)

Why did you choose her?


- Caroline was prepared for something.

Chance came, she took it.

- But I wanted to leave here.

- You couldn't leave, you
were too full of hate.

You would've taken it with
you wherever you went.

- But I don't hate her.

I don't even have that anymore.

I have nothing.

- That's so much lazy rubbish.

You wanna believe you lost the race

so you could spend the rest
of your life complaining.

- I've had two minutes
of happiness in my life,

and those were the two
minutes before she was born.

- Put your head to the wind, Sarah Louise,

find out who you are, apart
from your miserable jealousy.

Find the one gift that's yours.

'Cause that's a sign of god in you.

(solemn music)
(Louise crying)

- God hates me.

- Poppycock.

I knew from the moment I laid eyes on you

that you could do anything
you set your mind to.

What do you want?

You don't know?


- I love the water.

- You were never meant to
be a woman on this Island.

(light music)

(door clicking)

- Captain Wallace, can you come?

My wife, I think she needs you.

(door clicking)
(woman moaning)

Oh god, it's all right.

Baby came fast but something is not right.

- There's another.

- Oh.
- Oh my God.

(baby crying)
- Oh.

Oh. (groaning)


(light music)

- That's right,

you just holler.

- Oh, oh sweet Jesus.

Play for me, James.

Oh oh.


♪ Oh holy night, the stars
are brightly shining ♪

- Oh.
♪ It is the night ♪

♪ Of our dear savior's birth ♪

- Oh, Oh.
♪ Long lay the world ♪

♪ In sin and error pining ♪

♪ 'Til he appeared and
the soul felt his worth ♪

♪ A thrill of hope ♪

♪ The-- ♪
(baby crying)

Is he all right?

- He's small, so cold.

(grate scraping)
(exciting music)

- [Caroline] And where was Wheeze?

- [Louise] I was left alone in the basket.

(baby gurgling)

- [Captain] Merry Christmas, Louise.

(majestic music)