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The Feel Good Year By Elyse Endick

Elyse Endick, 2013, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED (703)-399-0675

Note for USC: The following is the beginning of my feature-length screenplay, The Feel Good Year, about married couple Grace Hadley and Cecile Beck as they struggle to piece back together their lives in the wake of Grace’s fame (from writing self-help book "The Feel Good Year") and mental illness.

INT. CAFE- DAY CECILE BECK, 40, sits at a cafe table for two,alone, filling out a crossword puzzle. The rest of the cafe buzzes around her. Her hair is short and flat against her neck. She wears loose, flowing clothes and wiry earrings. Another woman, MAUREEN, Cecile’s age, wordlessly sits down at the empty seat across from Cecile. Cecile finishes penciling in an answer in her puzzle, then looks up. CECILE Why’d you tell her I fucked Ramona? MAUREEN She knows. She’s known for a long time. CECILE I don’t think she knew. MAUREEN She’s not stupid, Cecile. CECILE I know. MAUREEN You’re a therapist. CECILE I know. MAUREEN You should know these things. CECILE I know, I know. A WAITRESS wordlessly approaches their table, order pad and pen in hand. CECILE Two coffees, please. MAUREEN Actually, I’m not having anything. CECILE Why’d you come to meet me if you weren’t going to have anything, Maureen? I hate that.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: WAITRESS Should I come back in a few minutes? MAUREEN You wanted me to tell you why I told Grace why you fucked Ramona. Even though you already knew the answer. CECILE Well, that’s not true. MAUREEN (To waitress) I’ll have water. WAITRESS Will that be ice water, bottled waterMAUREEN Which one is free? WAITRESS None of them. CECILE She means the tap water, like, just a cup of water. WAITRESS I can get you a glass of spring water for a dollar twenty-five. MAUREEN I just want you to get a cup, and, like, twist the knobs on the faucet, you know what a faucet is? And give me that. For free. WAITRESS We don’t have that, we don’t have anything for free here, this is a money restaurant. CECILE A money restaurant? MAUREEN You know what? I’m fine. I’m on my way out. She gets up from her chair.

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(CONTINUED)

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CECILE Why, where are you going? MAUREEN (Exiting) I have to get ready for the party! She leaves, and the cafe’s door jingles behind her as it shuts, blocking a fierce winter breeze from the outside. WAITRESS So did you want the water? CECILE I’ll just have the coffee, thanks. The waitress walks back towards the kitchen, leaving Cecile, once again, alone. CUT TO: INT. MAUREEN’S APARTMENT- NIGHT Cecile stands leaning her weight against Maureen’s kitchen BAR. The kitchen flows seamlessly into a living room where dozens of GUESTS stand, sit, and mingle, but Cecile is quiet at the bar, facing GRACE, red-haired, 40, and pale. Neither of them hold drinks, though they stand among glasses and bottles of liquor and wine. the other guests are animated, wear party hats, and look happy: it is a New Years party. Cecile and Grace stand for a beat, staring at one another. Then: GRACE I’d like to take on patients again. CECILE Would you? A beat. GRACE Yes. CECILE Do you think you’re ready for that? GRACE Yes. I do.

(CONTINUED)

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CECILE Have you been taking your meds? GRACE Yes. I’ve been following the program, too. A beat. CECILE Well, maybe we can get you started with one patient and go from there. GRACE Have they been asking for me? CECILE Your patients have their own problems, Grace, that’s why they’re your patients. GRACE They could ask. CECILE They do. Sometimes. We tell them you’re out on vacation. GRACE Oh yeah? Where am I? CECILE Barbados. GRACE I wish. CECILE Maybe we can go there sometime. Would you like that? GRACE (Abruptly) Are you here with Ramona? Grace turns to the bar, grabs a BOTTLE OF SCOTCH off the counter, and pours. Grace pours the scotch into a tumbler, neglecting to include ice. She takes a sip and looks back up at Cecile.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

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CECILE You’re not supposed to be drinking with your meds, Grace. They don’t mix. GRACE Am I driving right now? CECILE You are not, butGRACE Am I operating heavy machinery? CECILE What is heavy machinery, anyway? GRACE I think like a tractorCECILE A bulldozer, maybe? GRACE Cecile. Did you bring Ramona? Cecile grabs Grace’s glass out of her hands and takes a sip. She struggles to choke down the scotch. CECILE I forgot you like it without ice you sick fuck. GRACE It tastes warmer that way. CECILE "Warmer." Why do you always have to give things character? Like your records: "they sound warmer"- its bullshit. They’re primitive. Things are what they are, nothing more. Maybe if you stopped over-thinking everything so much, like how you like your scotch to be ’warm’ and your emotions to be ’validated’ then you wouldn’t have tried to kill yourself. A beat.

(CONTINUED)

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GRACE Are you done? CECILE No. Yes. Yes I’m done. Grace turns to leave. GRACE Okay. CECILE And no, no I did not bring Ramona, somebody else did. Grace pauses. CECILE (CONT.) I just slept with her, Grace. Grace starts to tear up. Cecile grabs a NAPKIN and dabs at Grace’s eyes with it. Then, Cecile spots Maureen in the living room, making her way over to the bar with another female GUEST, hands filled with stacks of paper PARTY HATS. Cecile taps Grace, who then turns around. Spotting Maureen, Grace wipes at her eyes with fervor until she looks ’normal’. Cecile balls up the napkin and places it on the bar. MAUREEN It’s not a party until you ladies are wearing party hats, huh! Maureen pulls two brightly-colored party hats from the stack and places them around Cecile and Grace’s heads. The hats have elastic neck straps to keep them on and Maureen struggles to sit them right. The other GUEST, a much younger woman, loiters next to Maureen, nodding as Maureen struggles to put the hats on her guests. Maureen finally gets the hats on Cecile and Grace and is satisfied. GRACE Well, now it’s a party. CECILE Now it is a party. MAUREEN New Years, huh? I can’t believe it’s the new year.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: GRACE It is though. CECILE It really is. An awkward beat. MAUREEN Oh! I’m so rude. Grace, Cecile, this is my niece, Catherine. Catherine this is Doctor Grace Hadley and her partner, Doctor Cecile Beck. They all shake hands. GRACE Hi. CECILE Nice to meet you. CATHERINE No, it’sMAUREEN Grace. Catherine is your biggest fan. She’s been begging me to introduce you all night. Grace feigns interest, as if she is used to being recognized. GRACE Really? CATHERINE I read your book, The Feel Good Year. It’s completely changed my life. GRACE Aw, that’s so good to hear.

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She reaches over to the counter, picks up her scotch, and shoots the rest of it back. Cecile grabs the glass and pours herself a drink: a scotch with ice. CATHERINE You’re just a wonder. I can’t believe I’m meeting you. All through the book I just- I could hear your voice, you know. (CONTINUED)

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GRACE Uh-huh. CATHERINE So wise, so- I don’t know...effervescent. Grace snorts at the word effervescent. GRACE That’s an SAT word. CATHERINE You know, I never thought you were a lesbian when I read your book. Looks are exchanged. GRACE No? Cause I am. I am one. CECILE (Bored, pawing anxiously at her elastic neck strap) It’s true, she is. GRACE I should’ve used a different font. That would’ve given it away. What’s a gay font? CECILE Comic Sans. MAUREEN Courier New. CATHERINE You just seemed soGRACE What? How did I seem? CATHERINE Okay, this is going to sound silly. But you’re just writing this self-help book on how to feel good, be happy, be so sure of yourself. I didn’t know that you women couldGRACE Could what?

(CONTINUED)

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CATHERINE Be so...happy. A beat. A din arises from the living room, where the rest of the PARTY GUESTS huddle around the TV. GUEST (O.S) Maureen, get over here! The ball’s about to drop! MAUREEN Let’s go watch, Catherine. Maureen heads over to the living room. CATHERINE Okay. WaitShe reaches into her bag and pulls out two PARTY BLOWERS and hands them to Grace and Cecile. CATHERINE (CONT.) For the count-down. GRACE Now it’s even more of a party. CECILE It’s like an orgy and a bacchanal all in one. CATHERINE Are you gonna come watch the ball drop? CECILE We have a son for that. CATHERINE What? GRACE No, I think we’re gonna hang back. CATHERINE Okay, well, I was wrong at least. You two seem so happy. And that makes me so happy. I really think this year is going to be a feel good year!

(CONTINUED)

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GRACE (Sarcastically) Yay! Catherine turns to follow Maureen. Raucous sounds come from the living room as the new year countdown begins. Grace presses the party blower between her lips and sighs into it. Cecile sips at her drink, then sets it down and fiddles again with her elastic neck strap. CUT TO: EXT. NEW YORK STREET- DAY Grace, wearing a black overcoat and boots, walks down a frozen street on a windy morning. She walks with her arms crossed across her chest for additional warmth. After several moments she walks past a BOOKSTORE WINDOW where dozens of copies of her book, The Feel Good Year, are lined up in a display. She passes them without any notice. CUT TO: INT. MEDICAL WAITING ROOM- DAY Grace enters the waiting room, a drab, pastel colored space, and begins to hang her coat on a coat hook. The waiting room is filled with several PATIENTS. A young RECEPTIONIST sits at the front desk, texting on her cell phone. Grace crosses over to her. GRACE Who are you? The receptionist doesn’t look up from her phone. RECEPTIONIST I’m gonna need you to sign in and then fill out all of the forms on that clipboard detailing your medical history. GRACE ButRECEPTIONIST Don’t leave anything out. The doctors need all the gory details. Yes, auto-erotic asphyxiation does in fact count as a suicide attempt.

(CONTINUED)

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GRACE Excuse me, you must be new, I’mCecile, dressed in a doctor’s coat, enters the waiting room through a pastel door. CECILE Grace? GRACE Yeah hi, who’s the new receptionist? She’s really engaging. The receptionist doesn’t look up this time, either. Cecile grabs the receptionists phone out of her hands and sticks it in the pocket of her white coat. The receptionist rolls her eyes and turns her attention towards the computer sitting on her desk, which she begins to type on furiously. CECILE That’s Cherice. Grace, what are you doing here? GRACE I’m going to see some patients. CECILE Grace, I don’tGRACE You don’t think i’m ready? CECILE (Whispering) Do we have to discuss this here? Grace turns to Cherice. She pulls out one of the clipboards and points to the header of the form, which lists the name of the practice. GRACE Cherice. How well can you read, can you tell me what this says? Cherice looks away from the computer. CHERICE Hadley and Beck Psychiatry. She goes back to the computer.

(CONTINUED)

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GRACE Hadley and Beck. I’m going to see some patients. A MAN dressed in a doctor’s coat comes through the pastel door, holding a manila file folder in his hands. MAN Mrs. Putinsky? An older woman, MRS. PUTINSKY, looks up from a magazine in the waiting section. MAN I’m ready to see you now. The old woman follows him wordlessly into the back of the office.