New Beginnings by Linda Bean | Script Revolution

New Beginnings



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Rain Man meets dysfunctional family.

Tommy, a devout Catholic dedicated to his family, buries his mother and instantly inherits an unknown disabled sister living in a local institution. An institution rumored to be abusive. Along with the gift comes a request, a promise for Tommy to watch over her. Being under financial stress and not wanting to stress his family more, Tommy discretely investigates the situation with the help of Lindsay, a lawyer, but also his old lover. Tommy and Lindsay suspect the abuse is real when they are vehemently denied access to his sister MacKenzie. Tommy’s sneaky behavior leads his wife Sally to believe he’s having an affair with Lindsay. Sally confronts Tommy, and he’s forced to divulge the truth about MacKenzie. The next test comes when he explains to Sally that he needs to fight for guardianship and bring MacKenzie into their financially strapped household. Sally has the perfect solution to their financial distress, a new position at work, one that would take her out of town all week, and one where she would work closely with a boss that finds Sally very attractive. Tommy convinces Sally not to take the job, which leads to resentment and anger when MacKenzie comes home to live and their life deteriorates.

Tommy and Lindsay are busy gathering data and witnesses to fight Hollister Institution in court, while Sally attempts to make MacKenzie feel welcome at home. MacKenzie wants no part of their home, being non-verbal, she acts out, refuses to eat and is down right disruptive, hoping they will take her back to Hollister and her best friend Elliott. Tommy turns to Father O’Leary the family priest for help, not realizing just how connected he is to MacKenzie and their family. Tommy believes the only thing that will truly help MacKenzie is to fight for guardianship of her best friend Elliott, and bring him home to live with them too. Sally puts her foot down on the suggestion of Elliott coming to live with them, and issues Tommy an ultimatum, her or Elliott. Believing he can make it all work, Tommy secretly applies for guardianship over Elliott and brings him into their home to live. Sally flips a lid and having had enough, leaves Tommy despite his best efforts to convince her to stay. For the first time in his life Tommy feels lost and out of control and contemplates suicide. MacKenzie uses her voice to save him! Yes, MacKenzie can speak. MacKenzie decides there has been too many secrets, she takes Tommy to Father O’Leary, where Tommy learns the truth, Father O’Leary is MacKenzie’s real father. Father O’Leary and their mother had a love affair fifty years ago when Tommy’s father was deployed to Vietnam and upon returning and finding his wife pregnant with another mans child, he immediately enlisted for another tour. Upon his return from his second tour, and not wanting to know the name of the name of the father, he dedicated himself to his marriage. Tommy was born and MacKenzie became an ugly reminder of his wife’s torrid affair. Her mother cries as a young MacKenzie finds her new home to be Hollister Institution. Terror stricken and told to never utter a word, Tommy’s father convinces the Director of Hollister, Mr. Frank Hunter that MacKenzie can’t speak and should never be allowed visitors. The ultimate punishment, to forbid his wife contact with her daughter. Father O’Leary was the only one able to convince the Director that the child should receive communion once a week and came secretly once a week to administer communion to MacKenzie.

Mr. Hunter and his lawyer Mr. Nolan are feeling very confident of a slam dunk win. Tommy, Lindsay and MacKenzie are ready for the courtroom brawl. Both lawyers make compelling opening statements. Lindsay’s first witness details a sexual encounter between MacKenzie and an orderly, witnessed years ago when she worked at the institution as the Librarian. The defendants lawyer does his best to poke holes in her testimony. Lindsay calls Elliott to the stand and he details physical, mental and sexual abuse for the jury. The defendants lawyer does his best to discredit his testimony by painting him as crazy. The knock out punch comes when MacKenzie is sworn in and answers the question, “do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?” Her eyes like a well guided missile lock with Mr. Hunter when she answers, “I do.” Head hung low, Mr. Hunter slumps in his chair and listens as MacKenzie details 50 years of horrific mental, physical and sexual abuse, which includes an abortion. Hope for absolution dissolve as Father O’Leary lies to Mr. Hunter when he claims he has been absolved of his vows by the Cardinal himself, and can break the seal of the confessional and testify to Mr. Hunter’s prior confessions. Father O’Leary has a confession of his own for Mr. Hunter and the look on his face is priceless when he discovers MacKenzie is Father O’Leary’s daughter. The pieces of the puzzle are all coming together. As the realization sets in that the entire community will soon know the truth, Mr. Hunter knows what he must do. He goes home, sets up a video recorder and admits his failures, then commits suicide. The Board of Directors at Hollister Institution appalled by the video and the truth, allow it into evidence. The truth shall set you free, and that is exactly what it did for the residents of Hollister Institution. Set free to live with and amongst the members of their community. Sally, so proud of her husbands achievements comes home to live. NEW BEGINNINGS abound!

At Hollister, a heavy chain and lock hang from the handles of the glass doors, along with a sign, it reads “THIS FACILITY IS PERMANENTLY CLOSED.”

Submitted: November 9, 2016
Last Updated: August 16, 2017

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The Writer: Linda Bean

I am an Alumni of ScreenwritingU ProSeries 58. Go to bio

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