Passion Fish

Synopsis: May-Alice Culhane was a successful soap opera star, but a car accident has left her bound to a wheelchair. She returns to her now-empty family home in the bayous of Louisiana which she had eagerly left years before. She drinks heavily and vents her bitterness on the succession of nurses who are hired to take care of her and immediately quit because she is so unbearable. Chantelle is the latest of these nurses, and May-Alice is told that Chantelle is the last nurse she'll get. Chantelle for reasons of her own, is also in a position where she badly needs the job to work out. The movie focuses on how these two women become friends and help each other heal emotionally.
Genre: Drama
Director(s): John Sayles
Production: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 8 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
135 min

It's all so strange.

All I remember is that

I wasn't happy...

was I?

- Scarlet...

- You keep calling me that.

It sounds like

some other person.

Isn't there anything

that you can remember?

There is something.

It's moRe like a dream

than anything that really happened.

I'm walking down a hallway.

It's dark...

and it's so quiet

I can hear my footsteps echoing.

The hallway is very long.

It seems never to end.

While I'm walking, I have this feeling

that when I reach the end of the hall...

I'll find something.

It's very frightening at first...

but if I can stand up to it and face it,

it could be something wonderful.

- But I can't remember my dreams.

- That's my close-up.

Maybe I just don't want to.

He gave her my f***ing close-up.

Is something wrong?

I thought that was

the call button.

Do you know where you are?


I'm in the tucking hospital.

- I was here yesterday, wasn't I?

- You've been here tor a while.

My legs tell asleep.

I wanted to get up.

Do you know who you are?

she's the one with the amnesia.

Not me.

ust help me sit up, all right?

You had surgery yesterday.

We put the rods on your spine.

Do you remember?

I'm going to call Dr. Miles. He'll

give you something to calm you down.

No, I don't need to be calmed down.

I need to be helped up.

You did something to me,

didn't you?

You gave me a shot

and my legs went to sleep.

- I'm going to call Dr. Miles.

- No!

just give me a straight tuckin' answer!

What did you do to me?

I think he's on the floor.

I'll get Dr. Miles. He'll give

you something to calm you down.

No. What happened to my legs?

Sometimes the medication

makes it hard to remember.

What am I doing here?

What is wrong with me?

Scarlet, it's good to see you

out of the hospital.

Scarlet, it's good to see you

out of the hospital.

- How are you feeling?

- Fine, DR. Buckner.

Try to hold your position

without using your arms too much.

Now turn your head to the lett,

very slowly.

I'm right here.

I'm not gonna let you drown.

I knew there was a catch.

Look at Carlos. He's doin' ten reps

already with weights on his shoulders.

Carlos is a tucking monster.

Carlos belongs in a circus.

You're just as good a candidate

tor rehab as he is.

Right. Can you take me

back to my room now?

- No.

- My shoulders hurt.

Are you gonna make me stay here?

Go back to your room if you want.

You know the way.

It you had some upper body strength,

you wouldn't have any trouble with that.

F*** you!

F*** you too, Carlos!

- Who are you?

- I'm Dr. Kline.

- A shrinK.

- I'm a psychologlst.

- You've got the voice.

- Do I?

I was under analysis

tor seven years.

I see. I'm going to ask you

some Questions about yourselt.

You gonna make me walk?

No, May-Alice.

You gonna make it so I can pee

without sticking plastic inside me?

I'm not a urologist.

Then go peddle it somewhere else.

Okay, I want you to raise

yourselves up on your elbows.

That's it. Not too much

side to side with the head.

Now push your body back to where your

elbows are underneath your shoulders.

That'll give you the leverage.

Hey, that's really good, Chuck.

I want you to roLI to the leFt...

ReALly slowly now,

under coNtrol.

Go right to the supine elbows position.

use your momentum.

Don't lie back.

From the elbows we extend the arms,

keeping balance.

Walk it up to a sitting position.


Okay, leaning torward, those of you

with your legs still crossed...

I just want out

of this f***ing boot camp.

It's like a fraternity here: all

these gang membeRs shot in holdups...

motorcycle casualties,

hang gliders.

I want to go home.

No. Home home, down there.

You're my business manager. You're

supposed to know about this stuff.

Square it with

the insurance company...

and get me outta here.

- Scarlet.

- We read all about your tragedy.

- We were so shocked.

- You're one ot our tavorites.

Could you sign this?

Thank you so much.

You're gonna make a wondertul comeack.

I just know it.

Hold it there as long as you can.

Is that as much as you can do?

I don't have any

upper body strength.

We're gonna get you some.

- Car accident.

- F***ing taxicab.

I was getting out ot one,

another one sideswipes it.

Hit me, took the door right ott.

F***ing kamikazes.

Don't let me push this down.

I was going to have

my legs waxed.

New York City.

- It says you're some kind of actress.

- some kind.

- I was on daytime.

- Daytime?

Soap operas.

Some of my patients watch those.

Yeah, we always got

lots of letters trom shut-ins.

What brings you

down to Louisiana?

I heaRd what a brilliant

therapist you were.

Might not be New York City,

but we do all right.

Can even get your legs waxed here,

if you want.

I have a house here.

Vacation house?

No. I grew up here.

jett Davis Parish.

Could've fooled me.

I spent a fortune

losing my accent.

Okay, there's two kinds ot therapy

I'm gonna work on with you.

One is to strengthen the muscles

you still have control over...

keep your back lined up right,

Increase your range ot motion.

The other is to promote

circulation and tone...

in the areas

you've lost the use of.

I'm not the

wheelchair Olympics type.

May-Alice, you're a T-10

complete spinal lesion.

Whatever movement and sensation you've

lost because of that isn't coming back.

But the rest ot your body, the rest ot

youR lite is whatever you wanna make it.

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John Sayles

John Thomas Sayles (born September 28, 1950) is an American independent film director, screenwriter, editor, actor and novelist. He has twice been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Passion Fish (1992) and Lone Star (1996). His film Men with Guns (1997) has been nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film. His directorial debut, Return of the Secaucus 7 (1980), has been added to the National Film Registry. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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