Bastard Out of Carolina

Synopsis: Difficult tale of poor, struggling South Carolinian mother & daughter, who each face painful choices with their resolve and pride. Bone, the eldest daughter, and Anney her tired mother, grow both closer and farther apart: Anney sees Glen as her last chance.
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Anjelica Huston
Production: Winstar
  Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 5 wins & 17 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
98 min

People pay for what they do...

and still more for what

they allow themselves to become.

And they pay for it simply;

by the lives they lead. James Baldwin.

The day I was born started off bad

and only got worse.

I guess I was lucky

I got born at all.

Hey Earle, pass me

another one of those beers.

You've had enough already, Travis.

The sun's barely been up an hour.

Jesus, Ruth, would you quit that?

We're 20 damn miles to the airport

and you're starting already?

The way you're driving we'll be

lucky if we get there at all.

Could you two cool it and shut up,

you're going to wake the baby up.

Yeah... which one?

My little sister.

That's the one, smartass.

Ruth, what did you do

with my damn cigarettes?

Hey Earle, got any more smokes?

- No I don't, you want to know why?

- Why?

You smoked them all, that's why.

Oh sh*t!

When Travis smashed into the pickup, the

Chevy folded up like an old accordion.

It's a wonder they weren't all killed.

The drinking must have helped.

He's a liar. It was his fault.

The truck was just there.

Mama didn't know what hit her, even

though she went through the windshield.

She slept through the whole thing.

Lucky that way.

Can't you hold them, Wade?

I am Ruth from my Aunt, and Anne

from my Mama. Ruth-Anne.

I got the nickname Bone

from Uncle Earle.

He took one look at me and said, "She

ain't no bigger than a knucklebone."

Neither aunt Ruth nor Granny

could write very clearly...

and they hadn't bothered to discuss

how Anne would be spelled.

So it wound up three different ways

on the form.

As for the name of the father,

Granny refused to speak it...

after she'd run him out of town

for messing with her daughter.

Aunt Ruth had never been sure

of his last name anyway.

They tried to get away with just

scribbling something down...

but if the hospital didn't mind how

a baby's middle name was spelled...

they were definite about having

a father's last name.

Granny gave one, Ruth gave another,

the clerk got mad...

and there I was, certified a bastard

by the state of South Carolina.

Ruth-Anne's alright but

Mattie-Raylene would've been better.

Of course, nobody bothered to ask me.

Nobody bothered to ask you? Nobody

bothered to ask me. It's my baby.

That's your own damn fault

for sleeping three whole days.

I had a concussion, Mama!

How many babies I had, and did I sleep

through any of them? I don't think so.

What's that mangy dog

doing in the yard?

You ought to get Earle

to shoot that dog, Mama.

It's probably got

rabies or something.

Listen, kid. You aren't the first

Boatwright to go through a windshield.

None of this would have happened

if I'd been awake.

They don't ask you

for a marriage license

before they put you on the table.

I'd have said I was married

and they'd have believed me.

The way I'd have said it.

No questions, no lies.

No lies? You aren't married.

It's only when you bring it to their

attention that they write it down!

You know anybody who reads

those courthouse records?

Anybody who comes onto my porch and

asks to see my birth certificate...

would get chased out of here.

I might even take a shot at them.

Well it matters to me.

Why, you want something on your wall

to prove you've done it right?

A child's proof enough, there ain't no

stamp on her that nobody can see.

I don't care what they say, Bone.

I won't have anybody call you trash.

That stamp on your birth certificate,

it's one they already got for me.

No good. Lazy. Shiftless.

I work my ass off

over other people's peanuts...

and they look at me

like I'm a rock on the ground.

No matter how hard I try,

I still can't get away from it.

One soft-talking,

black-eyed man fixed that.

He set a mark on me.

And set a mark on you.

Don't you worry, Bone.

You've got me now, and I've got you.

We'll stick together, the two of us.

Let's go see Mama.

Why thank-you, Earle.

My pleasure, Judy.

Hey hey, how's my little sweetie-pie?

Sweet as ever

You watch yourself, that's

my sister you're talking about.

I just don't understand

why you don't let me go with you.

I could pretend that I'm her Daddy.

- In a courthouse?!

- Yeah.

Come on, Earle, with all the

deputies and sheriffs hanging around?

Fresh out of the county farm for

shooting up your brother-in-law's Chevy,

you think they won't know

who you are?

You got kids running around Greenville

County, but Bone ain't one of them.


Here we go,

you're going over to Mama.

Here we go, Bone.

You put on a good show for Mama.

Let me see if I heard you correctly.

You said you want this fixed?

That's right, I was there

and really it was my fault.

I couldn't find her husband. And there was

so much excitement I just got confused.

Just very confused...

what with Anney here all bloody looking

like she was dead to the world.

She went right through

that windshield, you know.

Nine months gone, imagine that.

There were people hollering, running

around, screaming and, well...

We just thank the good Lord

she's still here with us today.

You know how these things can happen.

I do. I certainly do.

You shouldn't have swung at him,

Ruth, it didn't help.

I've got us a man, Bone.

A real man.

He's handsome and kind, hard-working.

He's going to take care of us girls,

I know he will.

So you wish me luck, sweetie.

OK, good luck.


- Thank-you ma'am.

- Thanks, Mama!

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Dorothy Allison

Dorothy Allison (born April 11, 1949) is an American writer from South Carolina whose writing expresses themes of class struggle, sexual abuse, child abuse, feminism and lesbianism. She is a self-identified lesbian femme. She has won a number of awards for her writing, including several Lambda Literary Awards. In 2014, Allison was elected to membership in the Fellowship of Southern Writers. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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