Synopsis: Based on the Margaret Edson play, Vivian Bearing is a literal, hardnosed English professor who has been diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer. During the story, she reflects on her reactions to the cycle the cancer takes, the treatments, and significant events in her life. The people that watch over her are Jason Posner, who only finds faith in being a doctor; Susie Monahan, a nurse with a human side that is the only one in the hospital that cares for Vivian's condition; and Dr. Kelekian, the head doctor who just wants results no matter what they are.
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Mike Nichols
Production: HBO Video
  Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 11 wins & 19 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
99 min

You have cancer.

Miss Bearing, you have

advanced metastatic ovarian cancer.

Go on.

-You are a professor, Miss Bearing.

-Like yourself, Dr. Kelekian.

Why, yes.

Now then, you present with a growth

that unfortunately went undetected...

in stages one, two, and three.

-Now it is an insidious adenocarcinoma--


lnsidious means undetectable at an early--

lnsidious means treacherous.

-Shall l continue?

-By all means.


ln invasive epithelial carcinoma...

the most effective treatment modality

is a chemotherapeutic agent.

We are developing

an experimental combination of drugs...

designed for primary-site ovarian,

for the target specificity of stage three...

and beyond administration.

Am l going too fast?


You will be hospitalized

as an in-patient for treatment each cycle.

You will be hospitalized

as an in-patient for treatment each cycle.

After the initial eight cycles,

you will have another battery of tests.

The antineoplastic will inevitably

affect some healthy cells...

including those lining

the gastrointestinal tract...

from the lips to the anus,

and the hair follicles.

We will be relying on your resolve...

to withstand some of the more

pernicious side effects.

l beg your pardon.

-Do you have any questions so far?

-Please, go on.

-Perhaps some of these terms are new--

-No, you're being very thorough.

l make a point of it.

l always emphasize it with my students.

So do l. Thoroughness,

l always tell my students...

but, they are constitutionally

averse to painstaking work.

-Yours too.

-lt's worse every year.

-Mine are blind.

-Mine are deaf.

-You just have to hope.

-l suppose so.

Where were we?

l believe l was being

thoroughly diagnosed.


Now, the tumor is spreading very quickly.

And this treatment is very aggressive.

-So far, so good?


-Better not teach next semester.

-Out of the question.

The first week of each cycle

you'll be hospitalized for chemotherapy.

The next week you may feel a little tired.

-The next two will be fine, relatively.

-Eight months like that.

This treatment is the strongest thing

we have to offer you.

And as research it'll make a significant

contribution to our knowledge.

Knowledge. Yes.

Here is the informed consent form.

Should you agree,

you sign there, at the bottom.

ls there a family member

you want me to explain this to?

That won't be necessary.


The important thing is for you to take

the full dose of chemotherapy.

There may be times when you wish

for a lesser dose, due to the side effects.

But we've got to go full force.

-Dr. Bearing?


You must be very tough.

Do you think you can be very tough?

You needn't worry.



l should have asked more questions.

Because l knew

there was going to be a test.

-Hi, how you feeling today?


Great. That's just great.

This is not my standard greeting,

l assure you.

l tend toward something

a little more formal...

a little less inquisitive.

Such as, say, ''Hello.''

But it is the standard greeting here,

so l just say, ''Fine.''

Of course, it is not very often

that l do feel fine.

l've been asked, ''How are you feeling?''

while throwing up into a plastic basin.

l have been asked...

as l was emerging

from a four-hour operation...

with a tube in every orifice:

''How are you feeling today?''

l'm waiting for the moment when

l'm asked this question and l'm dead.

l'm a little sorry l'll miss that.

l have cancer.

lnsidious cancer,

with pernicious side effects.

No, the treatment

has pernicious side effects.

l have stage four

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Margaret Edson

Margaret "Maggie" Edson (born July 4, 1961) is an American playwright. She is a recipient of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play Wit. She has been a public school teacher since 1992. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Wit" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 20 Sep. 2021. <https://www.scripts.com/script/wit_23558>.

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