An Unfinished Life

Synopsis: To escape an abusive boyfriend, without announcing her plans in advance, Jean Gilkyson takes her young daughter Griff to the Wyoming ranch of her father-in-law, Einar. Jean and Einar are disaffected, as he blames her for the death of his son in a car accident. Einar is taking care of his friend Mitch, who was attacked by a bear, and Einar does not know that he has a granddaughter. While Mitch heals and forgives the bear, Einar also changes his feelings regarding Jean, finally understanding that accidents happen and accepting her and loving Griff.
Genre: Drama, Romance
Director(s): Lasse Hallström
Production: Miramax Films
  2 wins & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
108 min

I heard you interfering little bastards

rummage around my yard.

I'll thank you for keeping

the owls off of my cats.

You sleep OK?


I, uh...

God, Jean,

I don't know what happened.

It's like a red mist or...

Something comes over me and I...

But I feel like you backed me up

in a corner and I...

You do that, and uh...

I hate it when I'm like that.

I'm sorry.

Can you forgive me?



You promised...

if it happened again...

You promised.

OK, this is last week

and up to yesterday.

- All right?

- OK.

- I stuck an extra 50 bucks in there.

- Kitty, I can't...

- You can. Listen...

- Here, just take it.

I don't wanna see you coming around here

anymore looking like this.

You take care.

Take care of that girl. Get going. OK.

We have a reciprocity

agreement with Kansas.

If you can stay in this shelter for a week.

- I could find you a place in Wichita.

- No.

Every man in town who beats a woman

knows where this shelter is.

Do you have someone you can stay with?

I don't think you really understand

just how worried I am.

I don't know.

Maybe they went shopping.

I wish someone in this goddamn place

would just...

would just give me the truth.

Then we could find Jean

pretty damn quick.

Tribune, Kansas.

Do you wanna go there?

Sure. Maybe. I mean,

we can go anywhere we want.

How about Loving, New Mexico?

- I like that.

- Me too.


Santa Cruz.

Oh, my gosh.

There's a Butt, Montana.

It's pronounced "Bute."

- Mom?

- Oh, no. No!


She's not going anywhere.

There's a rod sticking through the block.

I'm heading to Sioux Falls.


Just take what you need.

So one inch is 83 miles.

Six, seven, eight, nine, ten.

Aloha, Oregon.

It's only ten inches away.

So that's 830 miles

and we've already gone 300 miles...

We're going to Wyoming.

What's in Wyoming?

It's where your grandfather lives.

I have a grandfather?

Not much of one.

When were you going to tell me?

Oh, I'm fine.

Smells like rain.

It's not gonna rain today.

You haven't been right

about the weather since 1972.

I know what rain looks like.

You got something

on your mind this morning?

The goddamn bear's back.

Well, what do you think

you're gonna do about it?

What I should have done a year ago.

Did anyone notice if he had cubs?

Did you see cubs with him?


- It's under control, Einar.

- You get out of the way and it will be.

Come on, let's let

the Fish and Game take care of this.

This isn't some pet dog they're after.

I think they can tell

the difference, all right?

That says what

a college education gets you.

Here we go.


Welcome to Wyoming.

Mom, this is us.

So is my grandpa nice?

Why didn't you tell me about him?


I don't want you here.

At least we agree on something.

I don't wanna be here either.

We need a place to stay

for about a month or so.

Looks like you need every part

of your head examined.

Is this yours?

She's yours too.

You telling me I have a grandchild

I don't know about?

I'm telling you

I was pregnant at Griffin's funeral.

Where you been till now?

We've been on the road for two days.

We lived in Iowa.

Now this suddenly seems like home?

What's her name?

My name's Griff.

Griff Gilkyson.

That's an unusual name for a girl.

Einar, please.

Just till I can earn enough

to get us out of here.

There's a room in the basement.

I'm sorry.

Hey. I'm gonna go into town

and look for a job.

You think you'll be all right here?

All right, well, just... be good.

Love you.

I used the bathroom.

I heard you.

- Are you hungry?

- Not yet.

Is there a McDonald's in town?

- You got five dollars?

- No, I don't.

Well, then I don't think going into town

for a meal would be a very good idea.

How was your night?

All right, I guess.

Left or right?

Let's do the right.

Left could use a rest.

Pain bad all the time now?

Gets my full attention.


What happened with my bear?

It's his own damn bear.

You telling me he's still alive?

He's fine.

He's in that zoo Angie built.

Dreaming about the sea last night.

Did you get wet?

I walked right in.

Felt like falling in love.

Smelled like a woman.

Tasted like one too.

Your memory's not that good.


Down there.

See Jean kept her looks.

Said she brought her daughter with her.

She says it's Griffin's.


That's a nice thing for a man to have.

I might go into town for breakfast.

All right.

Taking the girl with you?

Anything else you need?

Yeah, look in on the bear.

- What?

- Check on the bear.

Check on the...?

Why the hell would I do that?

'Cause I asked you to.

Are those my dad's things?

Yeah, they are.

Where does he live now?

He's dead.

Didn't your mother tell you that?

Yeah. But she said you were dead too.

Are you confused about why they call

a room with a table in it a dining room?

No, sir.

Since it looks like you didn't have

any trouble making that sandwich,

I'd like you to make another one at 11:30.

Will you do that?

- Yes, sir.

- And take it to that man in the little house.

And a glass of milk.

Yes, sir.

Bear? Goddamnit.

"Go check on the bear."


Nice wheels, Einar!

Where did you get the rig?

Nancy Sidwell had this shipped up from

that retirement village where Ernie died.

Maybe it was the bike killed Ernie.

What killed Ernie was

a lifetime of Nancy's cooking.

- Your pickup broke down again?

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Mark Spragg

Mark Spragg (born 1952) is an American writer. He is the author of three novels and one book of nonfiction, mostly set in Wyoming, where he grew up. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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