Fierce People

Synopsis: Trapped in his mother's Lower East Side apartment, sixteen-year-old Finn wants nothing more than to escape New York and spend the summer in South America studying the Iskanani Indians, or "Fierce People," with the anthropologist father he's never met. But Finn's dreams are shattered when he is arrested in a desperate effort to help his drug-dependent mother, Liz, who scrapes by working as a masseuse. Determined to get their lives back on track, Liz moves the two of them into a guest house on the vast country estate of her ex-client, the aging aristocratic billionaire, Ogden C. Osbourne. In Osbourne's close world of privilege and power, Finn and Liz encounter a tribe fiercer and more mysterious than anything they might find in the South American jungle: the super rich. While Liz battles her substance abuse and struggles to win back her son's love and trust, Finn falls in love with Osbourne's beautiful granddaughter, Maya, befriends her charismatic older brother, Bryce, and even wins the
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Director(s): Griffin Dunne
Production: Lionsgate Films/Autonomous Films
Rotten Tomatoes:
107 min

There's this tribe in South America

called the Ishkanani.

That means "Fierce People".

They're the meanest people

in the world.

They'll cut off your thumbs

and they'll sh*t in your hammock...

just like we say hello.

Look at that jerk!

That's me at 15.

That's me in our loft

in New York City.

That's my father, Fox Blanchard...

the anthropologist who made

first contact with the Ishkanani.

I was conceived after my mother

attended his lecture at her college.

Never met him. But just shy

of my 16th birthday...

he surprised me

with a copy of his documentary...

and an invitation to spend the summer

with him and the Fierce People.

That's my mom.

I don't know who that guy is.

Back then she was a professional

masseuse. Very professional.

She held a degree

in Swedish massage...

and she never slept with the clients.

This man probably got many things

from my mother that night...

but a Swedish massage

was definitely not one of them.

Mom liked to brag

that Ogden C. Osborne...

seventh richest man in America...

once gave her a $1,000 tip and

all he got was a one-hour back rub.

She bought a pair of binoculars for me

and eight balls of blow for herself.

It's supposed to be this big tragedy

if the kid's parents get high...

but my mom was kind of fun

when she was loaded.

I mean, how many kids can say

their moms like debating...

whether Space Ghost

could beat up Speed Racer?

But most of the time

she wasn't fun at all.

Especially in the morning.

Especially this morning.

Finn! Get in here!

Get this thing off me!

Mom! What the hell are you doing?

We have to get my passport!

You gotta get it together!

I know what you are looking for!

I'll be fine as soon as

I get a pick-me-up, you know?

The passport office closes at four.

I'm leaving tomorrow.

To the Ishkanani, life-altering

moments don't happen by accident.

They would say

that that bookcase didn't fall...

it was pushed by evil spirits...

who steal the souls of children

while they sleep.

I've always believed invisible

forces were at work that day.

Forces I didn't yet understand.

There you are. Go.

Everybody on the ground! Now!

On the ground!

You could've said it was for me.

You didn't have to take the blame.

Really? Well, do you want me

to go back and tell the truth, mom?

It's right there. I would be

more than willing to do that.

- My God! I can't believe you're...

- Give me the phone.

The telephone, please?

I need to be alone.

A series of forever-altering events.

A tumbled bookcase, a drug bust

and a phone call.

The phone call to the seventh

wealthiest man in America.

A man so rich, he promoted

his chauffeur to be chief of police...

in his own little kingdom.


- What?

- There's a cop downstairs.

Pack your stuff.

We're leaving.

Mom! What's going on?

Where's this guy taking us?

We're going to Mr. Osborne's place

in the country.

What? The geezer from the hospital?

What's she gonna do with him?

The courts have placed you

in my custody...

while your mom gives Mr. Osborne

physical therapy.

My mother is a f***ing

masseuse, all right?

This summer, you're gonna have

to start watching your language.

Summer? What the hell do you mean?

Are you crazy?

I gotta be in New York

for court, mom.

No, you don't. Mr. Osborne

took care of all that.

- Isn't that great, Lambie?

- What do you mean?

I'm not such a bad mother.

This is the story of my time

amongst the Fierce People...

during the summer of 1980...

in deepest, darkest New Jersey.

Mr. Osborne's got 9,356 acres.

Over 10 square miles.

See that?

Makes his pear brandy

just the way they do in France.

Let's do it.

It's a dream.

- Thank you. Bye.

- All right.

- Thank you.

- Bye.

Thank God I wore underwear.

Making punch?

I got my first AA meeting

today, Finn.

- I'm gonna do things right

this time. - I'll say.

You've never had

a rich boyfriend before.

I told you, Mr. Osborne

is not my boyfriend.

He's a kind man

who's willing to help us out.

You find this book here?

I've had that book

for several months now.

Really? Does it have

a happy ending?

Does being a sh*t about all this

make it easier for you?

In a word, yes.

You gonna snort that?

Whose car?

Mr. Osborne's butler

brought it back for us to use.

- Can I drive it?

- You don't have a license.

You're the one who said

it was for us to use.

I did say that.

I know you're mad at me...


No, I'm grateful.

I almost got stuck having

to spend the entire summer...

in the South American rain forest

with the Ishkanani.

But, lucky me, I get to be here

with you, which is wonderful.

Go ahead. If you get arrested,

I'll just say you stole it.

It's actually not as much fun

if you're not down for the count.

Thank you, sir.

The servant's entrance is in the rear.

You'll find appropriate parking there.



- Let me get that for you. You go in.

- Thank you.

Herbert, if you had any idea...

how long I've been waiting to get

this woman across my threshold.

- Whitney!

- Hi, Whitney!

Gentleman and a scholar.


Gentleman and a scholar.

"Dear dad, since I can't be

with you and the Fierce People...

I'll make an anthropological

study of the people of Vlyvalle.

From the society magazines left

around the house we're staying in...

I'm able to figure out who is who.

It's weird how much

they're like a tribe.

By my count, Mr. Osborne

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Dirk Wittenborn

Dirk Wittenborn (born 1952 in New Haven, Connecticut) is an American screenwriter and novelist. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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