The Perfectionist (1985) - full transcript

Barbara and Steward are happily married and have three kids. But one day Barbara decides that her children are old enough now and she can quit as housewife and start to study. Against the will of her husband she employs babysitter Eric while she attends university. Steward reacts increasingly nervous about the presence of another man in his family and brings their marriage into a crisis.

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(plucky music) (water splashing)

- Tom! - No I won't!

- Get him, get him, get him! ♪ Nah nah nah nah nah

♪ You can't catch me

- [Boy] Ow, Emma!

Blimey, they'll pay for this.

- Wasn't me!

Get him!

(water splashing) (boys grunting)

- Right, that's it, we're going home.

Just get out of the pool.



- Told you once, I've told you a dozen times.

(pot clatters)

(family chattering)

- [Stuart] Out of there, Tom.

Get out!

Come on, Tom, get out of there.

- Tom, what are you doing?

That's not ours.

- But that's my towel. - Shaun, let him have it!

(horn honks) - That's my towel.

- [Barbara] Bye.

- Bye. - Yeah, bye.

- Bye. - Bye.

(horn honking)



- Come on, Nicky.

- [Shaun] My towel.

- I'm not going through another one of those afternoons

ever again in my life, right?

Those little bastards have totally wrecked the yard.

- They get on well together, our kids and theirs.

- Oh yeah, they're real soulmates.

Genghis Khan meets Attila the Hun.

Honestly, if I hear Su talk about

that marvelous course she's doing once more,

I'll strangle the bitch.

- I thought it sounded terrific.

I wouldn't mind doing something there myself.

- Oh come on, Barb.

It's some tinpot college out in the wilderness.

- Well, it may not be a grand institution like yours,

but they have some interesting courses.

- Yeah, like what?

- Well, there's a degree in welfare studies.

- Welfare studies?

What kind of a course is that?

- You deal with ethnic minorities.

- Oh no, not more multiculturalism.

If I hear that word once more.

- Well, we bring these people into the country,

dump them, and leave them to fend for themselves.

- The fastest growing disadvantaged group in this community

are the families whose mothers

shoot off to do idiot courses.

(water trickling)

If you really wanna do a course, then by all means do one.

- [Barbara] But?

- [Stuart] Do you have to do it right now?

We could use a bit of support right now.

- [Barbara] Why don't you finish your thesis?

- The worst thing I could do for all of us

would be to hand the thesis in too soon.

For the sake of all our futures, it's gotta be right.

Of course, could've finished it five years ago

if I'd been prepared to be as slapdash as you are.

- [Barbara] Well, finish it for heaven's sake.

- It's gonna be a major breakthrough.

I'll be able to pick my chair

at any university in the world.

- And what'll that do for me?

I get to be the great man's wife,

never taken seriously by anybody.

- My achievements are for all of us.

- Your achievements are for you, Stuart.

I want my own.

- We can't afford it just now.

You'd have to find somebody to look after Nick,

and mind the kids when they get back from school.

It's just not on.

(Barbara sighs)

- [Nick] Vroom, vroom, vroom, vroom, vroom!

- Give it to my, Tom!

You've already got some.

(juicer whirring) (kids shouting)

- No!

- Vroom, vroom, vroom, vroom!

- Ah, excellent.

Hang tight.

Listen to this.

The Russians and the Americans

are to hold preliminary talks-

- Choco biscuits, I'll tell Mum

what you did to her potted plant.

- Possibly resulting in a meaningful summit.

I mean it'd be laughable

if only the future of the whole world wasn't at stake.

- What about your mother?

What about your mother?

- What do you mean, what about my mother?

- [Nick] Vroom, vroom, vroom!

Vroom, vroom, vroom, vroom-

- She's always said she'd love to mind Nick.

- Darling, my mother couldn't even mind me

and she was 30 years younger then, and I was a model child.

- Sure. - They're mine.

- They are not. - Nicky, what are you doing?

- I put it in the bin because it's got pips in it.

Vroom, vroom, vroom, vroom.

♪ To the window nah nah nah nah nah ♪

- I'll beat you there. - No you won't, I am.

- Geronimo!

- Wait up, Dad. - Okay, hop in.

Put your belts on. - I'm getting in first!

- Where's Nicky?

Oh, there he is, come on.

- [Shaun] Move over.

- [Tom] Hey don't get on my seat belt.

- [Shaun] Move over.

- [Barbara] Try not to fight

with your mother again, darling.

- [Stuart] Well, she's a monster.

And don't entertain any delusions that she'll mind our kids.

- [Barbara] I think the trouble is

she needs an interesting life.

(wonky music)

- Would you open this please, Jack?

- Can't you wait?

They'll be here in 20 minutes.

- I want some now.

- [Jack] Shirley, once in your life, can't you wait?

- No I can't, you shall either open this bottle,

or I shall smash it against the wall

and pretend I'm launching a ship.

- Why should I worry?

- Pour one for yourself.

- Not for me, I've been drinking too much lately.

- Your son, his wife, and our three grandchildren

are on their way.

Only possible way to cope

with a situation like that is to be drunk.

- [Jack] Barbara, do you think it's wise

to be going back to college right at this moment?

- [Barbara] Well, I've got to start sometime, Jack.

- Stuart, you've just been made

acting head of your department, haven't you?

- Yes.

- [Shirley] Jack, don't interfere.

Let them work it out for themselves.

- I'm concerned.

Stuart's got new responsibilities, a heavy teaching load.

He's gonna need every second he can get

to work on his thesis.

- [Barbara] Jack, if I waited for Stuart

to slow down of his own accord, I'd be waiting all my life.

- Barbara, Stuart's thesis

is going to be a world breakthrough.

- I've been hearing that for nine years.

- Do you think what he's trying to achieve comes easily?

- Jack, stop cross-examining.

- I'm concerned.

- Jack, I've been battered into submission for 12 years now

by the myth of Stuart's genius.

- Myth?

He won the University Medal, it's no myth.

- If I hear about that University Medal once more,

I'll melt it down and pour it in his ear hole.

- That's charming.

- She's just being provocative, Dad.

- Don't patronize me.

Jack, all I want is a chance.

After all these years, I feel I'm entitled to it.

- Do it now, Barbara.

Stuart will never slow down.

Men never do.

- Why should he have to slow down?

- Ever since he was a little tot,

all he's ever done is work, work, work,

and honestly, it's made him so boring.

I should have gone overseas, but I married Jack.

- [Barbara] I think it's a tragedy.

- What, that she married me?

- No, that she didn't go overseas.

- So do I, but I've only got myself to blame.

- Well, no one forced you to marry me.

- Why couldn't you have gone overseas with her?

- Why?

Because I was becoming one of the city's top barristers.

- And Shirley could have been one of our top actresses.

- Grab the opportunity while you can, Barbara.

I'll look after the children.

- You will not look after the children,

you've got too much to do around here.

- I'll do what I damn well like.

Now call the children, we're ready to eat.

- Don't really go.

(Nick squealing)

Vroom, vroom.

(Nick squealing)

(ice clinking)

(car thudding)

- That's enough, Nicky dear.

- [Man On TV] Gosh, what are we waiting for?

(engine revving)

(tender music)

(car honking)

(people chattering)

- Oh excuse me, can you tell me where lecture room E7B is?

- Oh look, I'm sorry, I'm new here myself.

- [Woman On TV] Don't overdo it, you're crying oh.

Let's go, Joe.

My opportunity.

- [Joe] Yeah, it's good to be back.

(door slams)

- Mommy!

- Oh, Nicky.

- He was no trouble, no trouble at all.

- Can I get you a drink?

- Oh, thank you dear, would you?

He was no trouble, but at the end of the day,

one does feel one can use a drink.

- Differently had I known.

- [Woman On TV] Well, you wouldn't mind.

Coco and I didn't know, so now we're quitting.

- [Man On TV] I'll know when.

- [Tom] Why can't we get the stuff that doesn't sting?

- Because that's for babies, now stop whinging.

- Hi, Tom.

Barbara, he's eight years old.

He should be under the shower doing it himself.

- Listen, there's a chance they'll take Nick

in the college creche, but not 'til second term.

- Oh, that's a pity.

- Is that all you're gonna say, that's a pity?

- Well, I told you my mother wouldn't be any use,

but you went straight ahead

and enrolled to start at the college.

- We're gonna have to hire someone to look after him.

- We can't afford it.

- I've managed to cram all my lectures into two days

so I can work at home for three.

That'd be about $80.

- $80!

- I calculated that if we cut down on clothes allowance,

drink flagon wine, and eat out only once or twice a month-

- [Tom] Mum, the soap's getting in my eyes!

- Tom, get in the shower and do it yourself.

- We're not descending into third world poverty

just so that you can go out and save the poor.

- Stuart, it's only for a term.

Three months of flagon wine,

or a wife who's round the twist, take your pick.

You look after him.

(Tom buzzing)

(plucky music)

- Tell ya, my life's been hell since Su started that course.

They go back, they get a bit of education,

suddenly everything to do with men is rotten.

Everything to do with the marriage is rotten,

everything to do with everything is rotten.

Every guy I know who's let his wife go back to college

is having trouble with his marriage.

- Really?

I didn't realize that.

- Sharkey's wife had an affair with her tutor,

and walked out on him.

(Stuart panting)

- Suppose I could make it at nine

if you really want me to be here at nine.

Tuesdays could be a bit of a worry.

Mum gets her blood tests on Tuesdays.

Gotta take her to the hospital.

Tuesdays could be a bit of a worry.

- Look, if they much around I'll just give them a smack.

If you let 'em get away with anything,

they'll just take advantage of you.

How much you paying?

- I've got kids too, two boys mainly.

That's okay, though.

My boys very good.

Sometimes my sister can take,

sometimes I bring them with me, okay?

Okay.

(dog barking)

(Barbara sighs)

(someone knocking)

- [Barbara] Yes?

- I have come about the babysitting job.

But if this is not such a good time.

- Have you had any experience with young children, Erik?

- Oh sure, I was the eldest of a big family.

Not so nice in some ways, but then again,

you learn a few tricks.

- And now you're touring around the world.

- Yeah, everywhere there is to go, I've been,

but I often run out of money,

so I have to look for work.

I've had some strange jobs, I can tell you.

- [Nick] Mommy!

- Oh he's woken up.

- Right hand green.

(spinner rattles)

Right foot red.

Blue, I mean. - Oh.

(spinner rattles)

- Right hand green.

(spinner rattles)

Left foot blue.

(spinner rattles)

Left hand green.

(Nick laughs)

(gate squeaks)

- Nick asleep?

- Yeah, I read him

about the jolly swagman and the billabong,

which is quite a strong political statement, by the way.

(Barbara laughs)

- I suppose it is.

- Yeah, really.

This guy takes a sheep because he's hungry,

and the police guys drown him.

Does your husband know his son reads this sort of stuff?

- Stuart, he wouldn't know what his sons read.

- Yeah, that's real sad how hard Stuart has to work.

I don't think it is so good for the boys.

- It's not so good for anyone.

(sultry music)

(water splashing)

(cartoons blaring)

- Hi, where's Mum?

- [Tom] Out the back.

(birds chirping)

(gate squeaks)

- Stuart, you're home early.

Stuart, this is Erik.

- Oh, are you doing the same course, are you?

- No, Erik's applied for the babysitting job.

He stayed today to see if he and Nicky get on well together.

And they did, very well.

- Hi, Mr. Gunn.

Barbara has been telling me of you.

- Erik comes from Denmark, dear.

Over there a lot of men are child minding.

Most men in Australia would think it was beneath them.

- Oh yeah, Australian men are still all macho.

In Denmark, we think this is not so good.

- [Barbara] So do I.

- Oh come on, Barbara.

That image is years out of date.

Are you a student, Erik?

- Oh, not so much these days.

I studied once to become a teacher,

but I thought, what is the use of all that study

if at the end, I cannot get a job?

- [Barbara] Why don't you want him?

He was marvelous with Nicky.

- Nicky's friendly with anyone.

- [Barbara] Wouldn't it be best to call a plumber?

- Yeah I did, it's after hours, so it's 98 bucks minimum.

(Barbara gasps)

- [Barbara] That's outrageous.

- Yeah, in my next life I'm gonna come back as a plumber

and retire at 30.

- Is it because he's a man?

- No, it's his values.

It's obvious he hasn't had a decent job for years.

- I think it might do the boys good

to come into contact with someone who's a little relaxed.

- You want them to be dropouts, do you?

- [Barbara] Not at all.

I do think he might be pushing them a bit too hard,

especially Shaun.

- Barbara, too many middle class parents bring their kids up

to think this is a fairy tale world

instead of preparing them for the cutthroat reality.

(water hissing)

Will you get another bucket?

(water sputtering)

(cartoons blaring)

(dog growling)

(dog panting)

(woman screams)

- Listen boys, Daddy's not used to getting breakfast

so I would be really glad

if you did everything you could to help him.

Shaun, are you listening?

- Yeah. - What'd I say?

- Dad's not used to getting breakfast,

so I've gotta help him.

- You ran down the batteries on my game.

- I did not! - Did so!

I saw you last night!

- He did.

- You did, it was last night!

- I saw him! - Eat your breakfast.

- Pocket money.

I'm not giving you these. - Nick, Nick.

Give it to him. - No!

- Can we quieten it a bit please?

- Give it to him, Tom. - Darling, orange juice?

- What?

- I asked you to fix orange juice.

- Oh yeah, they didn't want any.

- I want some.

- They have to have it.

Nicky, sit down.

Oh god.

- I'll get a cloth.

- You go and have your shower, darling.

I'll finish off here.

- No, no, you've gotta get to your class.

- I have to stay back a few minutes

and show Erik where everything is.

Wipe that up.

- You spilled it. - Well, you wipe it up.

Here's food, and here's all the crockery you'll need.

- Barbara.

Your food, it's not so good for Nick.

There is a health food shop I have noticed on my way down.

I will take young Nick, and we will buy some things

that are better for him, yeah?

- Oh.

All right, then.

I'll leave you some money.

- And of course, this applies to you.

We have to sit down and have a talk sometime

about what you eat.

- What?

- We Danes are too frank, I'm sorry.

It's none of my business.

(ice clatters)

It's just that when I see a woman

with such beautiful complexion and hair,

it makes me sad that she eats processed foods.

- Oh.

Well,

sometimes it's just a matter of time and convenience.

I can't make sense of this psychology text.

- It's just a matter of mastering the jargon.

- Why do they have to use so much of it?

- They don't like people thinking

they're saying something simple.

(Barbara laughs)

(wings flapping) (birds squawking)

- I'm going! - Night night, Joella!

- Hang on, I'm goalkeeper, I'm goalkeeper,

I'm goalkeeper, I'm goalkeeper.

(boys shouting)

- I wouldn't mind a cup of coffee.

- Oh, won't you be late?

- Too bad if I am.

The day's when Gordon could walk through the door,

have a drink stuffed in his hand,

and his meal on the table by half past seven

are over for good.

(Barbara chuckles)

(boys shouting)

(sultry music)

I found Oslo so pretty.

I went on a boat, and there were all these

beautiful wooden houses among the trees in the hills.

I even found Denmark delightful.

One of the most enlightened

and civilized societies on Earth.

- We are ahead in some things, yes.

(Su chuckles)

- [Su] I want him at my place.

(Barbara giggles)

- You haven't got a child minding problem.

- Yeah, but I've got plenty of other problems

and he'd fix all of them.

(Barbara giggles)

Stuart must be fuming.

- Mm, he is.

- I'd be very nice to him if I were you.

And to Stuart.

(Barbara laughs)

(bottle thuds)

- What's the celebration?

- Happy marriage.

Kids are all in bed at last.

I thought we could sit down and get quietly sloshed.

- Barbara, there's nothing I'd like more.

- [Barbara] But what?

- Well, this is the first time in weeks I've had a chance

to get a clear run at it.

- Darling, you must learn to relax.

Underneath that obsessive routine of yours

is a person trying to get out.

- I'm not obsessive.

I'm organized, sure, but I'm not obsessive.

- Stuart, I love you, truly I do,

but why are you such a perfectionist?

- What's wrong with that?

- What's wrong with it is that your life is dominated

by the fear of making a mistake.

Why do you think you never get around

to finishing your thesis?

Because it's gotta be flawless, perfect.

- Well, it does.

I have a commitment to excellence.

- And the time you spend trying to attain excellence

leaves you no time to be human.

Honestly Stuart, I don't mean to be cruel

but I sometimes wonder if there's flesh and blood

under your skin, or circuits.

(bottles clink)

(cork pops)

(gentle music)

(glasses clink)

Cheers. - Cheers.

Mm, hey this is great, yeah.

- The wine's not as good as the champagne.

- The wine is fine.

- You've got very nice hands.

- Yeah?

- Whenever I've been drinking,

I start to notice people's hands.

When I've been drinking a lot,

I start to notice other things,

course I'd never do anything about it.

- Yeah?

(both giggling)

- [Barbara] Left foot on green?

- [Erik] Put your right foot on green.

But no, I'm on that one.

- [Barbara] You are?

Is that one vacant?

- [Erik] Yeah, that one is vacant!

Oh my god!

(Erik groaning)

- I'm sorry.

- I think it's broken.

- This is really stupid.

(both laughing)

(door slams) (cartoons blaring)

(whistle trills)

(dog barking)

(whistle trills)

(whistle trills)

- Hi, Dad.

- [Man On TV] Nothing is more important than taking it easy.

(dog barking)

- [Stuart] He's only supposed to be here

on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

What was he doing here today?

- He was just visiting 'cause he was lonely.

He doesn't know many people out here.

- [Stuart] So instead of doing a day's study,

the two of you sit around and get drunk.

You're not gonna stick with this course, are you?

- Yes I am.

- Oh yeah, just like you were

going to read all of Shakespeare,

and only got five pages into "King Lear."

And then, oh you were gonna learn the flute,

and then it was Italian.

You bought 10 Linguaphone LPs,

and never got past the vegetables.

- When I've finished my degree,

I'm gonna get a master's degree.

And when I get that, I'm gonna get a PhD,

and if I get it before you get yours,

I'm gonna make you call me doctor, even in bed.

(Barbara laughs)

Hello, doctor.

(Barbara giggling)

(water trickling)

Nicky, don't do that.

It makes the shower hot.

Why aren't you having breakfast?

- Daddy isn't there.

- [Barbara] Stuart, are you getting breakfast?

- No, I'm going for my run.

- So you're just gonna dump everything back on me?

- Well, if you've got enough time to sit around all day

getting drunk with gentlemen friends,

then I think I'm perfectly entitled to resume my running.

(Nick giggles)

(plucky music) (Stuart panting)

- No, no, no, no!

- Nicky, we've talked about this.

Shaun, Tom!

Come give me a hand with Nicky, please?

(horn honking) (Nick shouting)

(cartoons blaring)

Shaun, Tom!

Shaun, turn off that television and come here at once!

Nick, Nick!

(boys shouting)

(frantic music)

(birds chirping)

(horn honking)

- Good morning.

(Barbara sighs)

(vacuum whirring)

(Stuart panting)

(vacuum whirring)

- Ah, Erik.

Barbara gone?

- Yes, Barbara is gone and she is very upset.

- Oh, is she now?

- Stuart, there are some things

about the way you treat Barbara which are,

let's say, not so good.

- I'm not so sure that's any of your business.

- Okay, sure, tote that barge, lift that bale.

I'm not Erik Larsen, certified human being,

who perhaps knows a little

about other certified human beings, I'm just Erik,

who's paid a few dollars and does what he's told.

- Erik, Barbara has chosen to enroll

in some piddling course at some obscure college,

and disrupted the whole of this household doing it.

- She just wants to prove

that she can do something in her own right.

- She won't last six months, Erik, believe me.

She never sticks at anything, and this'll be no different.

But, in the meantime,

a genuine piece of work like mine suffers,

and the children suffer,

all because of her delusions that she's a scholar.

- This is very, how would you call this, arrogant, yeah?

To assume such things?

- Erik, I was the top graduate of my final year.

I won the University Medal.

Now, I don't know if this enrages you or not, Erik,

but I am more intelligent than she is.

And if there were any real justice in the world,

my studies would receive priority

because they are 50 times more important than hers.

- This course she is doing sounds very interesting.

- Yes, her teachers are going to go tell migrants

to keep dancing and waving handkerchiefs around their heads.

My PhD could change the direction of modern economic theory.

- Stuart, to put it real flatly-

- Bluntly, for Christ's sake.

- Sorry?

- In English, we put things bluntly, not flatly.

- What is bluntly?

- Forget it.

- Stuart, even if your work

is more important than Barbara's,

the marriage is not going to be real good

if you don't respect what Barbara's trying to do.

- So I'm supposed to pretend, am I?

- No, just respect that her work

is as important to her as yours is to you.

And accept her as an equal.

- Erik, the only way I could make Barbara equal to me

would be to repeatedly smash my head against the wall

until I lost 20 points off my IQ.

If I stand here any longer, that's exactly what I might do.

(door slams)

- How's Erik?

- He's doing a wonderful job with the boys.

- How's Stuart?

- Stuart is furious.

- Have you done anything?

- What do you mean?

- With Erik.

If he was at my place, I couldn't keep my hands off him.

- No, of course I haven't.

- Well, what's Stuart complaining about?

What about all those affairs he had after you were married?

- Well, he doesn't anymore.

- Well, he did then.

Nearly drove you crazy.

(thunder rumbling)

- [Erik] Home early today.

- Yeah, I couldn't face the thought of more study.

Nick asleep?

- Yeah, fast asleep.

Hey, this is much better.

Yeah, much better, look at this.

You have learned real fast.

- Erik, could we go to bed?

- Barbara.

I think you're just itsky, you know?

But, I have some worries about this sort of thing.

What happens if we, yeah, get involved?

- Erik, I'm not a teenager anymore.

For once in my life,

I'd like to explore my own sensuality without guilt.

- Barbara, that would be real nice, yeah.

I'd like it very much, for sure.

We've done this for years in Denmark.

Everyone makes love to everyone else,

and yeah that's sort of okay.

But as a matter of fact it's not,

because if everyone is making love,

they forget about injustice,

and the class struggle, and revolution.

- Erik, you're not serious.

- I would like to, Barbara, really.

But, to put it real flatly,

to have sex for fun in a world full of poverty and need

is not really such a smart thing.

- Erik, I don't think our making love is going to affect

the injustices of the world all that much.

- Sex is not casual for me anymore, Barbara.

It is part of a communication

between a couple who love each other.

- What can I say?

- Barbara, I am sorry.

(gentle music)

(Barbara sighs)

(kids shouting)

- [Stuart] Hi.

- Hi.

- [Erik] You're on my side!

- [Stuart] Barbara, I've come to a decision.

- [Barbara] What?

- He's got to go.

- Stuart, that's not fair.

He's been wonderful with the boys.

- I'll pay for a competent female babysitter,

but I'm not paying for him.

(Barbara sighs) (kids shouting)

Erik?

- Yes, Stuart.

- Erik, we don't need you here anymore.

- Why?

Have I done the job badly or something?

- Well no, it's just that I don't appreciate coming home

and being told how to run my life by our babysitter.

- Oh, you pay me money so you think

I should just shut up and do what I'm told?

- Yes, I do.

- So the employer has power over the employee, yeah?

The parent has power over the child.

The husband has power-

- Erik, we don't need you here anymore.

Now how much do I owe you?

- You owe me nothing.

- Look, Erik.

I'm sorry.

He's behaving like a child.

- No, I criticized the way he treats you,

and I see now that it's a mistake.

Barbara, I've enjoyed meeting you very much.

- And I've really enjoyed meeting you.

(Barbara sighs)

(door slams)

(pleasant music)

(Stuart panting)

(shower trickling) (Stuart humming)

- [Nick] Mummy, who's minding me today?

- You're coming with me.

That's a good boy.

You do it.

(Stuart humming)

Stuart, are you gonna get their breakfast or aren't you?

- [Stuart] All right, give me time.

- I'll have to take Nick everywhere with me today,

you realize that?

- [Stuart] I told you, you could get another babysitter.

- I've been trying, it's not easy.

- [Professor] The hostile and dominant personality

is usually masking a deep fear of intimacy and friendliness,

and a deep fear of being dominated.

The hostility and dominance he exhibits

are ways of protecting himself

against ever being exploited, or bullied.

- Stop it, Nicky.

- The clinical treatment

of an extremely hostile personality is difficult,

because any friendliness shown towards him triggers his fear

that this is a device being used by the clinician

to exploit and trap him.

- Mummy, what's this?

(projector clicking)

- Sorry.

Nick, stay here with me, please.

(phone rings)

Nick, get back here!

- Hello?

- I was just calling Nick.

Look, Stuart.

I've gotta talk to you, I'm coming right over.

- Can it wait 'til tonight?

- No it cannot.

Stuart, will you listen to me?

I found a perfectly capable babysitter and you sacked him.

It's extremely difficult to find a decent replacement.

I could get an agency to send someone in,

but it's two to three dollars an hour more.

I know your work's more important than mine,

but I feel I'm entitled to some help.

- You're quite right, of course.

I've been an absolute bastard.

I've assumed that whatever I was doing

was far more important than your work,

that I was far more intelligent than you are.

It was right and proper

that you should do the lion's share of the work

in bringing up the kids.

I've been totally obsessed with my work, and my thesis,

and totally out of touch with you,

with my own children, and the world around me.

- I don't think it's quite that bad.

- You know, I sat down and I tried to think of someone,

a friend that I could just ring up and talk to,

and do you know what, Barbara?

I haven't got one.

Not one.

No wonder you're attracted to Erik, no bloody wonder.

- [Barbara] Stuart, is there something the matter?

- My whole life is the matter.

I have been so obsessed with winning myself medals,

and honors, that my whole life has just passed me by.

It's as if I never even really lived it.

- Stuart, has something happened?

- Life is about connecting with other people,

loving, caring, and not about University Medals and PhDs.

- Stuart, what's happened?

- An American has just published a paper

which postulates the same theory

I've been working on for 9 1/2 years.

- Oh, darling.

- And he tested it,

and the theory's wrong.

- Foul.

Double.

You know Stuart, now's the time

to gather your resources in the fight.

All right, so a top American beat you to the goal.

- It wasn't a top American, and the theory's wrong.

- It could just as easily have been right.

Acknowledge the setback, take it in your stride.

You know, the good thing about failure

is that if you've got any character at all,

it makes you stronger.

- It wasn't just a minor blunder, Dad.

It was 9 1/2 years of my life, wiped out.

- You're a top level intellect, Stuart.

Tonight, you take out that University Medal

and have a good, long look at it.

Top intellect of your year.

- I had to work 18 hours a day

for that bloody University Medal.

I'm not a top intellect.

All I'll ever be is a competent middle level academic

at some modest Australian university.

- Foul.

Throw the ball higher, for Christ sake.

You're playing like a big girl!

Game.

- I'm not a genius.

I can't go round pretending anymore.

- No one ever said you were a genius,

but at least you had the guts to get in there and have a go.

- Dad, don't you ever listen?

I've lost nine years of my life, nine years,

when I could have been doing the really important things,

like spending time with my family and my wife.

If I packed my bags and left tomorrow,

they'd hardly miss me.

- Take any notice of that rubbish.

Man doesn't have to play hopscotch with his kids

for 36 hours a day to prove he's a good father.

- And why should they miss me

if I can't communicate with them?

I can't communicate with anybody.

Oh, I give great lectures.

But as far as communicating goes,

I'm about as spontaneous as the queen's Christmas message.

- Oh yes! - Out.

- It wasn't fair!

It wasn't fair!

(kids shouting)

- That's my bat!

- Give me that! - That's my bat!

- My bat! - My bat!

- Give me that, it's my bat! - It's my bat!

- [Tom] My bat!

- [Jack] Stuart, life is about achievement.

You can't drop your bundle now.

- [Stuart] And what exactly have you achieved, Dad?

- [Jack] What exactly have I achieved?

Shirley, tell him what the chief justice said.

- [Shirley] He said-

- He said I was the most lucid and brilliant advocate

he ever heard in a courtroom.

- [Stuart] You're doing it again.

- Tell him how many colleagues came to my retirement dinner.

- [Shirley] 200-

- 239 and three high court judges.

- You're doing it again.

- Doing what?

- Cutting in on Shirley every time she goes to speak.

Don't you notice you're doing it?

- You've made your point.

- You dominate her, Dad.

It's no wonder she's got a drink problem.

- Stuart.

- What'd you say?

- I said my mother has a drink problem.

- Whose mother had a drink problem?

- You've got a drink problem.

- Of course I've got a drink problem.

- Oh your mother hasn't got a bloody drink problem.

- I've got a terrible drink problem.

I had to be sent away to that bloody grapefruit juice farm

every two months to dry out.

- You had a slight problem, but it's totally under control.

- Terrible place.

I keep hoping they'll prove that grapefruit juice

is worse for you than alcohol.

- There is a human tragedy right here in our living room,

and in our typical Anglo-Saxon way,

we refuse to acknowledge it.

- [Barbara] Stuart!

- Don't be so overdramatic, son.

Your mother was-

- My mother could've been

one of the great actresses of her time.

- Jesus.

- Shirley, your life has been a disaster.

Don't forgive him, I'm damned if I'm doing to.

- Stuart, please!

- Shirley's life has been a disaster.

My life has been a disaster.

- My life has not been a disaster.

- The only time you ever took any notice of me,

either of you, was when I came home from school

with a report card stamped with As.

Now, when, when did I ever get any affection or,

dare I say it, love?

- Love?

You were the clingiest little brute a mother ever had.

Cuddle, cuddle, cuddle.

Everywhere I went in the house,

there'd be this little beast with its arms outstretched,

chanting cuddle, cuddle, cuddle.

I couldn't get away from you.

Honestly, if I had picked you up as much as you'd wanted,

I would've ended up with arms like a wrestler's.

- Stuart, we both made terrible mistakes bringing you up,

but it's no use just sitting around

for the rest of your life blaming us.

- I'm not gonna blame you, but I'm damned

if I'm gonna make the same mistakes with my children.

I'm gonna become a warmer, more communicative human being.

I'm going to do my share of running the house,

and I'm gonna be a real father to my boys.

(pleasant music)

(people murmuring)

- Ah, oh what a beastly night.

Lovely weather for ducks, eh?

Sorry I'm late, I'm Rosie Peters.

Well, what a lovely roll up.

Now I think before we start,

if you'd just like to grab a chair each,

and bring it into a nice little circle.

Make it all friendly.

Oh, I see we have a chap here.

How lovely.

Are we comfortable and settled?

There we are.

Like I said, I'm Rosie Peters.

Welcome to our parenting course.

Now, before you signed up for the course

you probably asked yourself,

why does any parent need to do a course?

Isn't being a parent instinctive?

Our parents brought us up without any course,

and many other questions like that.

The answer is, people have been successful

without the help of a course.

And we're certainly not going to claim

that we can work miracles.

What we do say is that by following a few basic principles,

a good parent can become even better.

(pleasant music)

- [Stuart] Apple in your lunch today, Shaun?

- [Shaun] Yes.

- [Stuart] And Tom?

- Yes, please. - You get an orange.

Orange today, okay?

(pleasant music)

(spoon tapping)

- Now suppose your child says, "I hate school."

Margaret, what would your response be?

- Do you want me to be honest?

- Please, that's what we're here for.

- Well, I'd probably say "Bad luck, you've just gotta go."

- Well, that's what most of us tend to say.

Can anyone suggest another way it might be approached?

- Well, I think this is an example

of what we were talking about last week,

closed and open answers, right?

So, if Margaret were to say to young, um?

- Winsome.

- Winsome, "School really bores you, does it?"

Then instead of the conversation coming to an end,

Winsome would have to keep on talking.

- That's right.

If we say "Bad luck, you just have to go,"

that's the end of the conversation.

We never find out why Winsome hates school.

- Oh, but if I said to Winsome, "Why do you hate school?"

She might say, "Because the teacher keeps shouting at me."

- Right, so we get closer to the real problem.

- I see.

- I-O-T. - I-O-T.

(gavel tapping)

- Meeting is now in session, thank you.

All right, first item for discussion is ah,

I thought there was something from Nick.

Nick, what was it?

- I wanna ride my big bike up the hall.

- Well, you can't.

- Oh no, Barbara, Nick asked me

to put this matter on the agenda,

and I think it merits serious discussion.

- Stuart, he'll break everything in sight.

- Wait a minute, if we're really honest about it,

what is there in the hallway of any great value?

- Well, there's the hall stand, the vases,

and god knows how many more scratches will get on the walls.

- And there's the mirror.

- Look, we don't let him ride it in the street

because of the traffic.

He can't ride it in the front yard

because of wearing down the grass.

Now, where can he ride it?

- I'm not having a bike in the house.

- Barbara, is something making you angry?

- You know damn well what's making me angry.

- No, no, no, quite truthfully, I don't.

Now Nick very strongly feels

that he'd like to ride his bike inside,

and all we stand to lose is a cracked mirror.

- I've got better things to do than listen to this nonsense.

- [Stuart] Barbara, do you feel

these meetings aren't useful?

- Stuart, stop doing that!

- [Stuart] If you'd care to rejoin us at any time,

you'd be most welcome.

- [Barbara] No thanks.

- All right, but remember we are a majority here,

and any decision we may reach

in your absence will be binding.

All right, so do we vote to give Nicky a trial period

for riding his bike inside the house?

In favor?

Mm-hmm.

Against?

Carried three to one.

Now, next up, Tom's got Christmas gifts on the agenda, Tom?

- Yeah, well last year I spent three dollars

getting Shaun's great paint set,

and he only gave me a little wooden thing

he made at school for nothing.

- Oh, and that made you quite cross, did it?

- I got so mad that I chucked it out.

- Oh, well that was stupid.

It took me hours to make that thing,

and I got nine out of 10.

- What's the use of a matchbox holder

when I don't even smoke?

- [Barbara] I've got four assignments

to have in by next Friday.

- Yeah, it fills up, doesn't it?

At least Stuart seems to be pulling his weight.

Well how's that parenting course he's doing, sounds good?

- It's the pits!

I have to ask permission from the democratic family meeting

before I'm allowed to give Nicky a good whack.

- [Su] Oh no.

- I think Stuart's gone off his nut, really.

Thanks.

- Shaun's very depressed.

- [Barbara] Is he?

- He sent a love note to this friend,

and she sent a message back saying that he was ugly,

and his ears stuck out.

(Barbara laughs)

Well, it wasn't funny to him.

- Stuart, he's a lovely looking boy.

He'll get over it.

- Barbara, he was semi-suicidal.

- [Barbara] Stuart, I'm sure he wasn't.

- For Christ's sake, doesn't that psychology

you're doing teach you anything?

Children are extremely sensitive

about the way they look at that age.

- Sorry, yes they are.

Is he okay now?

- Yeah.

Yeah, had to talk to him.

Barbara, don't let this course you're doing obsess you.

Nothing is worth losing emotional contact

with your family, nothing.

And to tell you the truth,

I felt very embarrassed on the first day.

- Oh, I thought it was marvelous to see a man

who had the courage to admit

that he wanted to become a better father.

And you've been a great help to me.

You know, some of the points go straight over my head,

but you've got that real knack

of being able to explain things.

Sugar?

- Yes, one please.

- So that even dummies like me can understand.

- Well, I'm a teacher by trade so-

- Oh really? - Yeah.

And I suppose it comes with the territory.

- You know, I think men have just as deep

a nurturing impulse as women.

Milk?

- Oh, yes please. - A bit?

But, most of them don't want to admit it.

- Oh, absolutely.

Look, every time we have coffee,

we seem to end up talking about me.

I mean, it must be very hard for you,

being a single parent.

- There were just so many times

when you want to share your experiences with another adult.

The early hours of the morning are the worst.

- You know, I was just a compulsive workaholic.

Never had time to read, listen to music.

The arts were just a closed book.

- When Bill and I separated,

I hadn't been to an opera for seven years.

Now I think I'd die without it.

- Yeah, the opera's really something

I should try and take an interest in.

- Oh, once you're hooked it's a passion

that can take over your life.

Bye. - See ya, Margaret.

(crickets chirping)

Do you wanna go to the opera next week?

- What?

- Opera.

Apparently there's a stunning production

of "Il trovatore" on at the moment.

- Since when have you been interested in opera?

- Oh, never really had the time in the past.

(dog barking)

I bought a couple of tickets.

I should have asked you first, but I know how busy you are.

- When are they for?

- Next Wednesday night.

They were the only ones available.

You don't really have to come if you don't want to.

I mean, I could always take someone else.

- Who?

- Dunno, really.

There's a woman at parenting class

who's a bit of a music buff.

- Who?

- Oh god, can't even remember her name.

She's a fairly nondescript little thing.

But I could ask her.

- No, I'll come.

Do me good to get away from these bloody books.

(people chattering) (glasses clinking)

- Do you want some wine?

Two glasses of white wine, please.

- Thank you.

- Thanks.

- Hello. - Hi, how are you?

Sorry, Barbara this is Margaret.

Margaret, Barbara. - Hi, Barbara.

- Hello.

- And this is my friend, Julie.

Barbara and Stuart.

- Hello.

- Hi.

- You work with Stuart, do you?

- Oh, heavens no.

I'm not bright enough to teach at university.

I teach tiny ones.

Stuart and I do parenting together.

- Oh yes, he told me.

You're the music buff.

- To tell the truth, I know next to nothing about it,

but I do enjoy it.

Stuart's told me how he's become the primary caregiver

in the family, and how he really enjoys it.

- Did he?

- I think it's wonderful that men are starting

to finally admit that they have nurturing needs too.

Stuart's been an absolute tower of strength in the classes.

He grasps everything so quickly.

- He does, doesn't he?

(performers singing in Italian)

- A very nondescript little thing.

- Well, I've never seen her dressed like that.

- I never seen anyone dressed like that.

- The relationship is purely platonic.

For Christ's sake, why shouldn't I have friends

and go out with them?

All you ever seem to do is work and study.

- You're not going out with her.

- Why, because she was a bit overdressed?

- A bit?

- For Christ's sake, Barbara.

I'm entitled to my own friends,

especially in a situation where you seem unable

to provide me with any minimal companionship.

I think it's perfectly reasonable

that if you don't like the opera,

and you haven't got the time,

I should be able to go with someone else.

- Perfectly reasonable, but not her.

- Why not?

- Because she looks like a randy little tart.

(birds chirping)

(gentle music)

(all panting)

- Come on!

- [Barbara] Stop running in the house

and get those stinking tracksuits off!

- Barbara, we decided two meetings ago-

- I don't care what you decided at your bloody meeting.

You're making the house smell like a locker room,

and I can't stand it.

Now get them off, and get dressed

before you set foot in the kitchen.

- Come on, boys.

(Barbara sighs)

(Barbara knocking)

- [Professor] Come in.

Hello, Barbara.

What can I do for you?

- Look, I don't think I'll be able

to finish the assignment on time.

Could I have an extension?

- How much longer?

- Just a week.

- Okay, but please have it in by then.

I realize you probably have domestic difficulties.

- It'll be in next week.

(gentle music)

(horn honking)

- Barbara!

Barbara!

(tender music)

(waves crashing)

I got as far as Byron Bay and I just, yeah,

started to get mad.

Stuart said go, and I just went.

I thought, why should Stuart tell me what to do?

Why should he tell you what to do?

And suddenly it comes to me

that I have left behind a woman that I love,

and I started to miss you very much,

so I felt that I had to come back and yeah, let's say,

find out what is going on here.

Because suddenly I realized that I have been very stupid.

And that we have more than a friendship.

And that if we do development a commitment to each other,

then that is something that we have to face.

(engine idling)

- What's happening to you?

- Nothing.

- [Su] You meeting someone?

- No.

(engine rumbling)

(Barbara sighs)

(pleasant music)

Which one would you like?

- Barbara.

(Barbara giggles)

Yuck, this is gross.

- Mm, yes it is, absolutely.

Mm.

Don't you like it?

- No.

You like this?

- Wonderful.

That's not very grateful.

- It's disgusting.

- I love it.

(waves crashing)

(both laughing)

You ever see anything like that in Denmark?

- No, but we have much better cakes.

(pleasant music)

- Have a drink.

- Thank you.

Cheers, thank you.

(bells clanging)

- Stuart, what I'm trying to tell you

is that I feel very confused.

I feel that it's wonderful that you're relating to the boys,

and I'm sure your new lifestyle

is a 100% improvement on what you were doing before.

- Then what's the problem?

- Well, the changes have just been

too much for me to cope with.

- Well, how do you mean?

- I'm not as democratically inclined as you are.

I see this as my house, I wanna run it my way.

Now I just feel like I don't fit in.

- We can talk about these things.

Walking out on us is no answer.

- I'm not walking out.

I just feel we should live apart from each other

for a month or two until I work out how to cope.

Erik's back.

- Erik?

Well, why is he here?

Have you slept with him?

Jesus, Barbara.

Don't you care about me?

Don't you care about the boys?

- There's nothing to worry about, it's under control.

- Under control?

- Don't panic, it's under control.

He has to leave the country soon, his visa runs out.

- I suppose you're gonna tell me now you're in love.

- I don't know.

- Barbara!

- I can't tell at the moment, I just can't tell.

- Barbara, don't justify it with romantic bullshit!

You're having a sordid little affair

and it's just gotta stop.

- What about your affairs?

- They were flippant, they didn't mean anything.

- They meant I alternated

between depression and despair for eight years.

- So this is some kind of payback, huh?

- Who would blame me if it was?

For years, you'd go gliding up to any woman anywhere

with the same dogged inexorability

as a space docking mechanism.

- I was just trying to prove something to myself.

- So you say.

- I only did it because I was insecure

about whether I was attracted to other women.

- Stuart, he'll be gone in a couple of weeks.

- Barbara, if you leave this house to stay with him,

you're not coming back.

- Stuart, that's totally unfair.

You know I can't leave for good, I haven't got a job!

- Well, get a student allowance.

The government pays wives

to leave their husbands these days.

- I had pride too, and I didn't order you out of the house.

- That's because I had the decency not to tell you

about my affairs until after they were over.

- All right, if that's the way you want it,

I will go for good.

Yes I do love him, I can't be near him enough.

It's not like one of your affairs.

It does mean something, okay?

(dishes clatter)

It won't be very much different at all.

I'll still see you nearly every afternoon

before Daddy comes home.

- Don't you like Daddy anymore?

- Yes of course I do, and I love all of you very much.

- Is it because of our tracksuits?

- No, Nick, it's not because of your tracksuits.

Daddy and I have just had a bit of a disagreement,

and we're gonna try and work things out.

I want you to be very good for Daddy,

and I'll see you all very soon.

Give me a kiss.

(birds chirping)

(water burbling)

- Barbara, that is the third glass of wine

since you came home.

- I'm happy.

- So why is it that you need chemicals?

I used to drink a lot, smoke hash a lot,

and then one day I said to myself, why?

Why am I doing this to my body?

Why am I doing this to my brain?

Here.

- A pie?

- A millet pie.

Millet is nature's perfect grain.

It provides every nutriment you need.

You could eat millet, and nothing else,

and still be healthy.

- Could get a bit boring.

Mm, it's very good.

- You like it? - Yeah, very good.

- It's very tricky to prepare.

First, you have to have exactly the right mixture.

- Could we go and see a movie tonight?

- [Erik] What movie?

- Oh, I don't know, I thought maybe Woody Allen,

have a good laugh.

- You find Woody Allen funny?

- Well, yeah.

- He's always seemed rather stupid to me.

(both laughing)

Did you have any affairs after you married Stuart?

- One, but it didn't amount to much.

- Not so good.

- I went to bed with a friend of Stuart's

who said he'd been lusting after me for years.

But the long wait must've sapped his energy.

Your parents still alive?

- Oh yeah, but they are separated.

What about your parents?

- Wonderful, both of them.

My background's so short of traumas

I should be the best adjusted person alive.

- You seem sad.

- I keep wondering what the boys are doing.

- Yeah.

- All right, that's carried unanimously.

Now, what else have we got here?

Oh yeah, holidays, Tom.

- Yeah, I don't want to go to the mountains this year.

I wanna go to the beach.

- [Stuart] The beach, huh?

Shaun? - Yeah, the beach.

- Look, I wish you guys

would tell me these things earlier, you know?

It is very difficult to find a shack at the beach

at this time of year.

Yes, Nick?

- I wanna live with Mummy now.

- Oh.

You like the thought of living with Mummy, do you?

- She's real nice again now.

- [Stuart] You know Shaun's old enough to look after them

for a little while, but I wouldn't like them

to be on their own.

- [Margaret] They're still babies, aren't they?

- [Stuart] I guess so.

- Yes. - Yeah.

- It's hard though, I know.

- Oh I know.

- If there's any way I can be of any help.

- Oh, thank you.

No but really, you've got problems enough of your own.

- After the breakup's the worst time.

Especially when-

- When what?

- When you're the one who's been, you know, left.

- Yeah.

- Hey, why don't you and the kids come over on the weekend?

Winsome and Imogen would love

to meet some boys their own age.

- Oh that's really nice of you, Margaret,

but actually we've arranged to go out the coast.

(pleasant music)

- What are we having tonight?

- Vegetable lasagna.

I prepared it early so that you would have

more time to study.

- Thanks.

It should have meat.

- What?

- The lasagna, it should have meat.

Vegetable lasagna's just not on.

- It is on, it is cooking.

- And I'm not studying tonight.

I wanna go and see Woody Allen.

- You okay, Barb?

- Yeah, I'll survive.

- How are things going?

- I love him and all that, but it's not gonna work.

- Missing the kids?

- Mm, but it's not just that.

Erik's trying to organize me

just as much as Stuart ever did.

I'm supposed to finish the course here, get a job,

try and get the kids from Stuart,

maybe even have one of our own.

He's got our whole life worked out 10 years ahead.

But I feel

passion for him.

Real passion.

What am I supposed to do about that?

- Well, I sometimes feel real passion for Italian food,

but I don't eat it 'cause it makes me fat.

- What kind of an argument's that?

- It's the only one I could think of.

(Barbara laughs)

- So he went back to the old lady, and woke her up.

"Will you feel better if you came back?" he said.

"Oh yes, that's just what I want."

So he went outside, opened the door,

and in he came.

So she went and sat by the fire for a while,

and he sat on the arm of the chair, aw.

And he's home again.

I gotta go now.

- Why can't you come and live with us, Mummy?

- Because she doesn't like Dad.

- Tom, that's not true.

- You can come and sleep in my bed with me.

(emotional music)

(engine rumbling)

- Children seem fine.

- No thanks to you.

(door thuds)

Hi, Tom.

What's all this mess?

- Making a jewelry box for Mum.

Do you think she'll like it?

- Yeah.

Yeah, I'm sure she'll love it.

- Erik, I wanna go back to Denmark with you, I really do.

But I just don't think I could ever leave the children.

Nicky's too young to understand.

- Sure, the kids are very important

and you love them very much.

But if you stay here with Stuart,

are they gonna be real happy in the long run?

- Maybe not, but if I leave them,

I'm not gonna be happy either.

Last night I dreamt I kidnapped them

and smuggled them out of the country.

- We could have children of our own.

- Erik, I've been through all that.

I couldn't do it again.

- Barbara, this is gonna be something of a real shock to me

if you're now gonna say that you're going back to Stuart.

- Erik, I'm not going back to Stuart!

- I came back because I thought

that we could make a commitment,

and I have made that commitment.

I do not do these things lightly, Barbara.

- Erik, I love you.

I wouldn't have gotten myself into this mess if I didn't.

But in the long run, it's not gonna work.

- But we have planned everything.

- I just don't want any plans.

For once in my life, I don't want plans.

I wanna do what I wanna do.

(plane engine roaring)

(radio crackling)

(Barbara sniffles)

(plane engines roaring)

(emotional music)

(Barbara crying)

(cartoons blaring)

- Shaun, the kitchen tidy's overflowing again.

It's your job, Shaun, are you there?

Tom, get the rubbish outside will you?

- It's Shaun's job!

- Well you do it!

- Daddy, can you fix my toy?

- Yeah, I just happen to have my hands full

at the moment, Nicky.

Can't you see that?

- It's for this toy. - Yes, Nicky.

In a moment.

Shaun, the garbage is overflowing in the kitchen.

Why isn't it outside?

- [Shaun] I was going to do it.

- Oh, you were going to do it.

Shaun, it makes the house most unpleasant

for the rest of us if you don't do your job.

Now, you shouldn't have to be told time and time again,

and so I'm gonna dock you a dollar of your pocket money.

- That's not fair!

Tom didn't sweep the garden last week,

and you didn't dock him.

Take a dollar off him.

- Excuse me, Nicky.

Now Shaun, will you please turn the porridge down?

- Why?

- Dad, the green bag broke

and the rubbish is all over the floor.

- Well, get another green bag and put it all in that.

Shaun, where's your bloody common sense?

If you don't turn the porridge down,

it'll stick to the bottom of the pot!

- Daddy, but it's my best toy.

Daddy, the man in the shop

said it wouldn't broked, but it did broked.

Daddy!

(utensils clinking)

- Knock-knock.

- Not now Shaun, please, I'm not in the mood really.

- Come on, Dad.

It's a good one.

- Knock-knock.

- Who's there?

- [Shaun] Martini.

- Martini who?

- Martini hands are frozen.

(boys giggling)

What's green and highly dangerous?

- I don't know, Shaun, really I don't know.

- A caterpillar with a hand grenade.

(boys giggling)

- Where do cows go on holidays?

- Where?

- Moo York.

- Moo York, aw Tom.

That's horrible.

- Who was the world's first underwater spy?

- I don't know.

- James Pond.

(Shaun laughing)

- What's big and hairy, and flies 2,000 miles per hour?

- I don't know, what?

- King Concord.

(Stuart groans) (boys giggle)

- What's a Concord?

- Oh, it's a big plane.

It flies very fast.

- What happened to the scientist

that crossed an alligator with a parrot?

- [Stuart] I don't know, what?

- It bit his arm off and said, "Who's a pretty boy?"

- Oh, come on. (all laughing)

That's enough.

Hey, let's just eat dinner.

- Say pirate ship with your tongue out.

- With my tongue out?

- Yeah.

(boys giggling)

- Pile of shit.

(boys laughing)

(Stuart laughing)

- Pirate ship. - Pirate, pile, pile.

(birds chirping)

(Barbara sighs)

- Say pirate ship with your tongue out.

- What?

- Say pirate ship with your tongue out.

- Pile of shit.

(both laugh)

Is that one of Shaun's?

- No, Tom's.

But Nicky really loved it.

(tender music)

I started explaining the 10 Commandments to him,

and I found out he only knew four.

Then when I got to adultery,

I explained it was sort of

like a man kissing another man's wife,

and he pointed at me and burst out laughing.

- How's Nicky's cold?

- Oh, he's still waking up at night.

- Why doesn't he breathe through his mouth?

- Prefers his nose.

Barbara, I love you.

We all love you, for Christ's sake, come home.

- I need time to think.

- Think, about what?

- If I come back, it'll be just the same as ever.

- No, it won't be the same as ever.

I've slowed down.

I'm not a workaholic anymore,

and I'm not a perfectionist anymore.

I'm open and communicative, and I've become a good father.

- You just switched all your energies around

from work to the boys.

I don't even feel they're mine anymore.

- Can't just live by yourself for the rest of your life.

- Why not?

- Well, you can't.

- It's wonderful.

I just keep lying there, staring at the ceiling

without being interrupted by violence, and mayhem.

(swing squeaking)

- I'm sick of the boys.

They're driving me crazy.

- So I come back, and we're back to square one.

- No, no we don't go back to square one, we share.

- I wanna live by myself.

I enjoy it.

- So you leave me with the boys,

and a lifetime of food buying, bill paying,

garbage bin putting out, clothes washed,

taken out of the dryer, duty rosters,

kids ferried to and from cricket matches,

fights settled, disputes arbitrated,

solace given, attention paid-

- Get Margaret Bridges to share your life with you.

- Margaret Bridges?

- You slept with her.

- Slept with her?

I could never find a long enough gap

in the conversation to ask her.

(bell clanging)

Barbara, I love you very much.

We all love you very much, and we all want you home.

- I'm finishing the course.

- Well, sure.

We'll do whatever we can to help.

Silence in the house, cups of tea, whatever you want.

- And then I'm gonna work.

- Wonderful.

(Barbara sighs)

- Just give me a day or two.

- Why?

- I wanna pretend I'm living alone.

- Nick's missing you very much.

- Just a day.

- Well, what time will I come around tomorrow?

- Call me in the morning, late.

(birds chirping) (dog barking)

- Now fellas, when Mummy comes home, don't pester her.

Just take it easy, and don't cling to her, all right?

- Will she piss off again?

- No, but I'm sure she doesn't wanna be squashed.

Tom, are you listening?

- Yeah. - What did I just say?

- [Tom] When Mummy gets home, don't pester her.

- Right, she's learned to appreciate a bit of privacy,

so don't crowd her.

Come on.

- Are we allowed to give her a kiss, or what?

- Yes, of course.

Just don't rush it.

(birds chirping)

(Barbara knocking)

All right, she's here.

Don't run, calm down.

All right, Nicky, Nicky, remember?

Listen, that's it, okay, that's right.

Oh Shaun, look at your tie.

Right?

Okay.

Hello, darling.

Here, let me.

(militant music)

(pleasant music)

Thanks, Tom.

(glass dings)

I think a speech is in order here.

When I married your mother,

I thought I was a very lucky man.

Now, today, I feel even luckier.

It's fairly easy to get married,

but these days it's bloody hard to stay that way,

and well that's a pity,

because marriage may be difficult,

but it can still give you certain things

that nothing else can,

so today I'd like to sincerely thank your mother

for coming back and giving us a second chance.

You know, I remember the very first day I saw your mother,

and well, I won't exactly say it was love at first sight,

but it was, well, I just knew

that there was something about her.

- You thought you might get me to bed,

that was all you thought.

- It was a certain quality, yeah?

Je ne sais quoi, perhaps ephemeral sort of quality.

One that I knew I'd be a fool not to pursue.

(boys giggling)

- Boring!

- Call it if you like a sort of inner steel,

perhaps an exciting and ambient journey into courage,

and adventure, and hey!

Hey, what are you laughing about?

This is supposed to be serious, you guys.

(all laughing)

(plucky music)

(boys shouting)

(Stuart laughing)

(pleasant music)