The Turning (2020) - full transcript

A young governess is hired by a man who has become responsible for his young nephew and niece after their parents' deaths. A modern take on Henry James' novella "The Turn of the Screw."

Okay. Okay, okay.

Okay. Oh, come on.

Come on, open.

No. Shit. Shit!

Oh, God.


A memorial
service for Kurt Cobain

was held today in Seattle,
two days

after the musician was found
dead of an apparent suicide.

That's not how
fancy nannies dress.

Come on, I'll take them.

I'm a private tutor.


Least you could do,

leaving me without a roommate.

I'm sorry for the short notice.

They-they need me tomorrow.

What about your class?

I thought you love those kids.

I do, but...

the school's the one
that put me up for it.

Look, I couldn't say no, okay?

A few years ago, this
little girl lost her parents.

And then now
her nanny just abandoned her.

So you're ditching me
for a seven-year-old.

You don't know what it's like
to grow up without parents.


And I love teaching, but...

I want to make a difference,
you know?

So, you taking those with you?


I think I'm kind of...
looking forward

to having a little break
from these.

She's been having
a bad spell lately.

But I'm gonna go see her
tomorrow and say goodbye.


Are you gonna be okay
when you're up there?

My God.

I'm going
from 25 screaming kids

to one little girl.

How hard can it be?

Hi, Mom.

What are you working on?

Hey, what if I help you
move your stuff back

into the art room?


I'm leaving today.

For the... the new job.

You remember? I told you
about that little girl,

all alone with her housekeeper.

Little girl?

All on her own?


Well, that's
a big responsibility.

I know.

I can handle it.

You look...


Thank you.

Here. Take this.

It'll keep you warm.


Love you.

This can't be real.

Flora leaves
her toys everywhere.

Don't be surprised if you find

a Little Mermaid
in your toilet.

You must be Kate.

Yes. Hi.

Come along.


Are you Mrs. Grose?

I am.

Oh, it's so nice to meet you.

And it's just the two
of you here?

Cleaners and the gardener
come in every couple of weeks.

But, yes, it's just me

and Flora
while Miles is away at school.

And this is where you'll
give Flora her lessons.

Have you ever been
a live-in governess?

No, no, not since the 1800s.

Is that a joke?

No, no, not a funny one.

This is my first live-in job.


Well, I hope
you know what you're doing.

The children are
very special, Kate.

They're thoroughbreds.

Now, come along.

I have something on the stove.

It's so quiet.

All the better to hear you
when you get lost.

Is that a joke?



That smells so good.

I made this soup
for Flora's father

when he was her age.

Oh, you've been with the family
for that long?

- That's quite a commitment.
- It's an honor... what it is.

And may I ask
how the parents died?

They died
in a tragic car accident,

just outside the gate.

Flora saw the whole thing.

- That's awful.
- Yes, it is.

And it's hard for the children.


growing up
without parents is...

My father left
when I was Flora's age,


Is that right?


I'd love to meet Flora.

Where might I find her?

She's down at the stables.

Just take the path
around the back.


Uh, may I?

Of course.



It's Kate.

I came to say hi.





Where were you hiding?

Like I'd tell.

Geez. He's not very friendly, is he?

His name's Samson.

He's grumpy all the time.

He only lets Miles ride him.

Ah. Ooh.

And who's this?

This is Delilah.

She was my mother's horse.

You can pet her on the nose
if you want.

Just be gentle, okay?

She wants your apple.

How did you know that?

She is my favorite horse.

Did you know that apples
have cyanide in them?

And the seeds are poisonous.

No, I did not know that.

How did you know that?

She told me.

Dr. Felicity Peppercorn
Clock Watch.

Nice to meet you, Felicity.

That's quite a name.

She's a veterinarian.

Is that what you want to be?

Or maybe a chef.

- You could be both.
- I would have

to be a vegetarian.

- Why is that?
- I can't save animals,

then eat them.

Very true.

Come on.

Hold on.


This maze is very complicated.

Yeah. It's so big.

You need to know
your way around,

or you'll get lost.

One time, I couldn't find
my way out,

and I almost starved to death.


Geez, your friends
must love it here.

I don't have any friends.

You have no friends?


Well, you might have one now.

- Maybe.
- "Maybe."

Okay. I'll work for it.

Okay. So, what,
you're in ninth grade? Tenth?

- Second.
- Second?

- Wow.
- I could've skipped a grade if I wanted.

Miss Jessel said
I was an exceptional student.

Wait, who's Miss Jessel?

My teacher before you.

She taught me French, you know.

She did?

Come on, slowpoke.

And this mirror's
from the 1980s.

- Ooh.
- That's my great-

Louisiana and her dog Otis.

And that's the ship
her brother died on.

Guess what he had.

He had dentistry.


Yeah, that's what I said.

That's Miles' room.

And that's mine, next to it.

Wait, wait.
What's down there?

That's the east wing.

I don't go
in that part of the house.

Why not?

Don't wanna.

This is your room.

I hope you like the bedding.

This is my room?



This is all for me?



This is my great-grandmother

You stuffed your grandma?

No, silly head.

It's just supposed
to look like her.

Oh, I see.

Well, she's, uh...

she's creepy, huh?

I think she's pretty.

Do you want
to see something else?



My great-grandmother's
sewing room.

My mother used to take me
shopping when I was little.

But after she died,

Miss Jessel started making
all of my clothes for me.

Well, that one's beautiful.

Miss Jessel never got to finish
this one before she left.

It was for my birthday.

♪ Hello...! ♪

♪ I am ♪

♪ A mannequin. ♪


What is this?

Um... yeah.

Miles did that.

I told him it was tacky.


Now, eat it all up.

- Oh.
- I have an idea.

What if you and I took
a little field trip

to go get some ice cream
before class started tomorrow?

Uh, no.

Flora doesn't leave
the property.

She has everything
she needs here.


Don't you, darling?

She prefers
my French apple tart,

with a little bit of cream
on the side.

And you don't have
to go anywhere for that.

Do you, darling?


You're gonna leave me,
aren't you?

What are you talking about?

Miss Jessel left
without saying goodbye.

And now she won't talk
to me anymore.

You know,

some people have a really
hard time saying goodbye.

But I bet she did it the way

she thought would be best
for both of you.

Well, it's not easy for me.

Let's get you to bed.



Tucked in?

- I like you.
- I like you.

And I'm not going anywhere.

Promise, promise?

Cross my heart and hope to die.

Stick a needle in your eye?

Mm. No. No, no.

Maybe not that part.


Oh, God.

You are terrifying.

So weird.


Shh... stop.

- Come here.
- Peter.

What are you doing
in here? How did you get here?

I said you need to leave now.

You're gonna wake the children.

The children are asleep.

Don't touch me.

No one needs to know.

Please stop.

Keep your eyes closed.

In here.

Just get in bed with me.

No, Peter.

Stop, you're scaring me.

You're hurting me.

You better go.

Last kiss.

Stop it.

Please go.
Leave me alone.

- I'm not going anywhere.
- You're hurting me.

Don't touch me.

Who are you?

I'm Miles.
I live here.

I mean, um...

uh, what are you doing home?

You shouldn't be in here.

I... I know.

I thought I... heard something.

You should go to bed.

"Monday, March 6.

"Flora got 100%
on her state capitals quiz.

I am so proud of her."

"French library terms."

"Reading in French today.
Elle excelle."

"Science: ecosystems..."
"Flash card practice."

"She also drew me a picture of
kangaroos and elephants hopping

through the jungle." "Reading:
free reading, and art."

"Trop, trop mignonne."
"Flora only wanted to paint

in black and white."

"Je me sens un peu bizarre."
"Six times table quiz."

"Miles disappeared today.

"I thought he had run off,

"but it turns out
that creep took him to a bar.

They came home late, laughing
like they were both drunk."

♪ Ask me no more questions ♪

♪ I'll tell you no more lies ♪

♪ The boys
are in the bathroom ♪

♪ Zipping up their...
flies are in the table ♪

♪ The table's in the park ♪

♪ Miss Katie and her boyfriend
are screaming at their... ♪

♪ Flies are in the dead girl,
the devil's in the park ♪

♪ Miss Katie and her boyfriend
are screaming in the dark ♪

♪ Dark, dark, dark, dark, dark, dark, dark. ♪

Kate, come meet Miles.

We met.

I'm really sorry about
last night. Uh, I didn't...

I didn't mean
to be rude or anything.

Sorry if I scared you.

Oh, it's fine.


So, seems like
you had a rough night.

You're a sleepwalker,
like Flora.

- I don't sleepwalk.
- How would you know, silly?

You're asleep the whole time.

I just know.

- That's a cool sweater.
- Thanks.

You shouldn't be wearing that.

He wanted me to have it.

- Was it your dad's?
- It was Quint's.

- Who's Quint?
- He was the riding instructor.

He managed the estate.

He was the best.

Oh, and he's not here anymore?

He died.


Everyone dies, Miles.

So, do you ride horses?

Oh. Uh, well, I rode a couple
times at summer camp.

Hello. Fairchild residence.

But that's a lie.
I just stayed on the horse.

- I can teach you if you want.
- Yeah?

- Who?
- I mean, if you can handle it.

Oh, is that a challenge?


Uh, no, I think
I can handle it.

- Please hold.
- Yeah, I'm a...

- I'm a quick learner.
- Kate!

It's the headmaster
at Miles' school.

He would like to speak with
the person in charge of us.


Yes, fine.

Better take that.

Hello. This is Kate.

So, Miss Flora, are you
forgetting your breakfast?

- Uh, I...
- Yes?

Well, let me cut it up for you.


Um, thank you
for letting us know.

So, what did old,

uh, fragile Farty want?

He, um...

He gave me a list
of some of your schoolwork

to complete while you're home.


That sounds fun.


Where are you going?

To my room.

What about your plate?

- What?
- Your plate.

Aren't you gonna take it
to the kitchen?

Want me to cut the grass, too?


But Mrs. Grose prepared
a beautiful breakfast for us,

and it would be
the polite thing to do.

That's her job, right?

- Miles.
- It's fine, Miles.

I'll do it, darling.

You go on ahead.

Come on, Flora.

Let's go.

It's not your job either,

They were born
into privilege, Kate.

Can you please remember that?

Miles was expelled.

He attacked another student.

He what?

Yes, apparently
a teacher found him

with his hands around
another boy's neck, slamming

his head
into the bathroom tile.

Oh, absolutely not.

No, he wouldn't do that.

He did, and it sounds
like he's very lucky

that the other boy's family
isn't pressing charges.

Yes, well, other boys, Kate,

have always been jealous
of Miles.

- Here, let me help you.
- No, thank you.

This is my job.

You do yours.

And what's that lava

that sits
in the volcano called?

Um... it's magma.

Mm. Yeah. Ouch.

It is "ouch." Super hot.



Does Miles get
in trouble a lot?

Miles is the best.

Stop it!

Thank you.

Flora, back to work.


Don't you know how to knock?

Do you have a friend in here?

What do you want?

Sorry. I thought
I saw someone...

come in here.

There's no one in here.

It's just you and me.


I think we...

got off on the wrong foot.

You're new.

I accept your apology.

It's interesting.

Yeah, she's just...

Well, there's two of them.

Oh. I thought
it was just the little girl.

So did I, but the brother
is back from boarding school,

and I think he hates me.

I knew it sounded

too good to be true.

Still happy you went?

Oh, yeah.

Sorry. It's great.

So focus on the positives.

Don't let this kid
get under your skin.

Working on it.

Tell me about the house now.

Are there, like,
creepy suits of armor

or paintings with eyes cut out?

Or a crypt in the basement?




You're not listening to me.

No, I am listening.


So, remember that guy Tanner?

We went to that bar
on 14th a few weeks ago.

Well, he finally
called me back,

but, but now I don't even think
it's worth it, so, um...

Oh, my God.
I got to go.


We got you. We got you.

We got you. We got you.


Both of you in the house now!

What on earth happened to you?

Ask the thoroughbreds.


What are you doing?

There was a spider on you.

It was crawling up
towards your face.

When my door is closed,
I'd like you to knock.

Your light was on.

I thought you'd be awake.

You're scared of the dark?

I'm sorry.

I haven't made
the best impression, have I?

To be honest, you haven't.


What happened at school?

Why did you hurt that boy?

He burned... every one

of the pictures
my father sent me.

I miss him.

You need to go to bed.

Can I still give you
your riding lesson tomorrow?


Head up.
Thighs against the horse.

Sit in the center
of the saddle.

You'll get better balance.

Ride harder. Put your thumb
on the top of your reins,

and your pinkie on the bottom.

- Don't let her get the bit.
- Okay, I'm not.

Rein her in hard.

Well done.

You didn't have
to keep whipping her.

Yes, I did.

You wanted to learn.
That's how Quint taught me.

It's a strong animal.

If you don't exert
power over it,

then you'll never gain control.

You look good up there.


I'm bored.
Can we do something else now?

What do you want to do?

Can we show Kate the koi pond?

It's Flora's favorite part
of the garden.

Let's check it out.


That koi is, like,
bumping into the wall.

Like, ga-dah.


She's trying to make
her great escape.

Maybe she wants to be
a flying fish.

Make a wish upon the rock.

I wish this...

25 years.

What if you lived

to be, like, a hundred?

♪ Ah! ♪

This is so pretty.

- Miles!
- He's got a fish!


Get the hell off of her!

- Aw, poor baby.
- Aw.


What are you doing?

Nothing should have to suffer.

That was my favorite fish.

Now you've seen the koi pond.

Ah, I love this tea party.

Me, too.

Hey, don't drink out of my cup.

Oh, I'm sorry I didn't
give you any tea.

Oh, my...



Just checking
you were still here.

Still here.

Miles' effects from his school
arrived this morning.


- Mrs. Grose.
- What?

Do you ever hear...?

I'm gonna get you.

I'm gonna get you.
You're it!

Guys, it's very early.

- Can you stop? You guys.
- Children,

can you listen to Kate?

Listen to Kate, please.

You need to take charge here,

Bad dreams?

I have an idea.

Since it's Saturday,
why don't we go

into Millbrook
and get a new koi?



I don't want to.

Come on, it'll be fun.

You know that Flora
doesn't leave the property.

You don't have to go, darling.

What if I asked
my special friend, huh?

Want me to try?

Will you keep me
and Flora safe?

You will?

- And Kate, too?
- And Kate, too?


He says you have nothing
to worry about.

So, go get your coat.

Good job, Miles.

He also thinks
your tattoo is sexy.

Please stop.
I don't want to go.

Oh, no, honey.
We're almost at the gate.

We'll be fine.

I don't want to go. Stop!

Hey. What are you doing?

- I want to get out.
- Flora.

- Stay in your seat.
- Stop the car.

No, leave your seat belt on.

- Sit down, Flora.
- Miles, tell her

to stop or I'm gonna die.

- Stop the car.
- Miles, I don't want to die.

Stop the car
or I'll fucking kill you!

I told you to stop.

Hey. Flora.

Oh, Jesus.

Oh, come on.

I know what you're afraid of.

Keeping the lights on
won't keep you safe.



Leave her alone.

Flora, can you look at me?

She doesn't want
to talk to you.

You terrified her.

Where'd they find you, anyways?

You know, you need to stop
talking to me like that.

You're not our mother,
you're not our family.

Stop pretending to be.


I'm leaving.


Just leave.
Leave like everyone else.

This is Rose's assistant.
How may I help you?

Hi, Rose.

Hey, Kate.

- You okay?
- Yeah, yeah, yeah.

I'm great.
Um, how are you?

It's so nice
to hear your voice.

Uh-oh. What's wrong?

Actually, it's, um,

it's a little tough here.

The... the boy hates my guts
for some reason,

and the little girl
isn't speaking to me, so...

I'd like to think

it's nothing that I'm doing,
but... maybe it is.

Or maybe they just
don't want me.

I don't know.

I don't know.

It's really, um, hard here.

I think, uh...

I think maybe I can't stay.

Then don't. Bail.

They can find someone else
and I can have

my roommate back.


I can't.

I made Flora a promise.

And I crossed my heart
and hoped to die.


Can I sit?

That's better.

Hey, Flora.

I'm sorry that I didn't stop
when you first asked me.

It's really not nice
not to be listened to.

Have you ever heard
of a brave face?


I'm actually wearing mine
right now.

Can you see it?

I don't see anything.

That's good.

Because it's invisible.

So if you saw something,
it would mean it was broken.

My mom showed me
how to make one,

so I can do it for you
if you want.

I've actually been wearing mine

since I was way younger
than you.

- Really?
- Yeah.

What do you think?
Should we try?

I just have to...

do a quick scan of your face
to make it first, okay?


Good, good, good.

Oh, that's a good one.

- Yeah.
- That's really... you got

- a good face for it, yeah.
- Yeah.

So I'm gonna get all of
my bravery and all of yours

and mix it together...

and get it into
my fingertips. Okay.

Looks good.

So let's see.

Show me your brave face.

Flora, come on.

You've got a,

a wild animal inside you...
let me see you roar.



That was a huge roar.

I've never seen a brave face
take so fast.

Should we test it out?
Should we see

- if we can see ourselves in the water?
- Yeah.



Um, I-I got you something
in town.

It's, um...

This... it's just
this great album.


So, I know how close

you and Quint were.

Yeah. He was my friend.


That must've been really tough.

Do you want to talk about it?

Not really.

Well, you know,
something kind of similar

happened to me
when I was your age,

and I'd wished I had someone

to talk to.


Look, I'm not trying to replace Quint.

Can you stop?


Can you please stop?

We need to talk.

Oh, you're back.

I thought
we'd lost another one.

Is Miles the reason
Miss Jessel left?


Don't be ridiculous.

Then why?

It was Quint.

There was something going on
between them.

Could tell
by the way he looked at her.

That's not a reason
to run away.

Well, I gather
things went south with them.


Because he was a brute.

When the parents died,

he walked around this place
like he owned it.

Even moved himself
into the master suite.

He was disgusting.

How did Quint die?

He had an accident

couple of weeks
after Miss Jessel left.

Fell from his horse,


Died in the dirt
like the animal that he was.

How was he with Miles?

Well, he was
a terrible influence.

He used to take Miles

and disappear with him
for hours.

Miles was such a sweet boy.

The Miles I've met
is not a sweet boy.

Well, that is really no concern
of yours, is it, Kate?

Then whose concern is it?

I mean, it certainly doesn't
seem to be any of yours.

Quint sat next to me at dinner,

reeking of whiskey.

He won't leave me alone.

Mrs. Grose
won't do anything to help.

I have to sleep
with my door locked.

Quint tried to come in
in the middle of the night.

I can barely focus
on my lessons now.

I feel Quint's eyes on me
all the time.

I woke up to a photo
that Quint left on my bed.

I don't know how he got in.

I'm not safe.

I have to leave.

Miles, come back!

Talk to me!




You're hurting me.

Help me.

Help me. Help me.

Help me.


Can you paint at your desk,

I paint better over here.

No, you're gonna get paint
all over the floor.

Okay, fine.
I'm finished anyways.

Want to see?


What is this?

Me and Miss Jessel.

Can we play flashlight tag now?


But you promised.

Yeah, Kate, you promised.

You don't want
to let Flora down, do you?

You promised.

You promised. You promised.

You promised.
You promised. You promised.

- You promised. You promised. You promised.
- Okay.

- Okay, okay, okay, okay.
- You promised.


- What are the rules?
- Turn off all the lights.

You have to find us with this.

If you flash us,

we're dead.

You're it.

Call out the state capitals.

No peeking.

Come on, come on, come on!






I'm dead!

I'm dead. Oh! I'm dead.


Is Miles down there?


You want to come with me
to find him?

I can't. I'm dead.


Okay, I don't want
to play anymore.


Hmm. Can you make the moves?

- No.
- No.

Can I even play?

Can you just... just stop!

Stop it!

This isn't funny!


- You!
- Kate.

Oh, my God.
What happened to your face?

Explain yourself.

I was hungry?

I am sick of the games!

Don't talk to them like that.

He has been terrorizing me

since day one!

Don't be ridiculous.

He's been here with me
for the last 15 minutes.

The only person
doing the terrorizing

round here is you.

Now what are you doing?


Bad dreams?

I'm gonna sleep with you, okay?

Come on.

This came for you.

Did you open my mail?

It came like that.

Who is Darla?

My mother.

Oh, I see.

Well, we can't choose
our family.

Whatever your mother has,
let's hope it's not genetic.



I need you.



Uh, I can't talk right now.

They're gonna throw me out.


Uh, Mom.

I think I'm seeing things.

Did you look at the drawings?


- Darla.
- Mom?






You're gonna wake the children.

The children are asleep.

I said you need to leave now.

Let me go, let me go.

No, stop.

Stop. No. No!



Oh, my God.

Kate. Kate.


It was him.

It was Quint!

What are you talking about?

Quint murdered Jessel.

I saw her body
in the bottom of the lake.

You stop now.

You stop telling tales.

You knew.

You knew Quint killed Jessel.


Quint's dead.

I made sure of it.

Where are the kids?

You stay away from them.

They're not safe!

I should never have let you
in here in the first place.

You knew.

You knew.
You never did anything.

I've been protecting
this family for a lifetime,

and I won't let you near them.

'Cause you're mad, Kate.



Oh, Flora. Oh...

Are you okay?

I'm scared.

Okay, do you still have
that brave face?

I need you to put it on, okay?

It's good?

Okay, let's go.

Where are we going?

Everything's gonna be fine.

We just need to get to the car.

I don't want to die!

I don't want to leave!

Flora, come back.


We have to go.

We have to get Flora
out of here.

Hey, Miles, listen.

It's Quint.

I thought I was going crazy,
but I'm not.

He's here.


You know that, don't you?

Mrs. Grose is dead, isn't she?


We need to leave.


I can't.

I'm sorry.

For everything.

Flora won't leave without you.
We need to go.

I can't.

He won't let me leave.

How long until he hurts Flora?

Please, Miles.



Open the door!

Okay. Okay.

Okay, stay down.

I need you to be brave, okay?


Come on.
Come on, open.

- Come on, come on, come on.
- Come on!


Whatever your mother has,

let's hope it's not genetic.

I guess you can't escape
the inevitable.

No, stop it. I'm serious.

You shouldn't be going
into her room.

You have to trust me on this.

Shh. I can hear her.

Play it cool.
She's coming.

Miles, what's wrong with her?

She looks scary.

What are you guys
doing in here?

I want to go.

What's wrong?





Did you see Quint
in the mirror?

I know that you saw him.

Yes, you did.
I saw you.

Quint's dead.

You saw him, too.

No, I didn't.

Why are you lying to me?

I saw him.
I know you saw him.

I didn't see him!

Just tell me that you saw him!

Flora, tell me you saw...

You broke her!

- She's broken. You broke her!
- I can,

I can fix her.
Just let me...

No, you can't!
You broke her!

- Flora, it was an accident.
- You broke her!

You can't fix it.

She's broken.

Just like you.

Come on, Flora.

Why is Kate crazy?

I don't know.

that's a big responsibility.

Miss Jessel left
without saying goodbye.

- It was Quint.
- I know what you're afraid of.

You need to
take charge here, Kate.

Just checking
you were still here.

You're not our mother,
you're not our family.

- Stop pretending to be.
- He's been terrorizing me

- since day one.
- The only person

doing the terroizing
round here is you.