the death of her husband and children, CHRIS DELANCY (39), makes her way
to a vacation home in Sedona, Arizona to regroup – or jump off a cliff,
whichever comes first. To escape her feelings, she smokes and drinks to
excess, but that only makes matters worse. The morning after a drunken
binge, she makes her way to the familiar 50-foot cliff on Coffee Pot Rock
with the intent to jump, but her plans are thwarted when she is discovered
by a young family hiking.
Driving down the street, she spots an old man hitchhiking. When a rabbit
runs in front of her car she screeches to a stop, at which point LOUIS
DINER (99) jumps in uninvited, demanding that she take him to the grocery
store. Chris’s eccentric neighbor, SHEILA FISHMAN (60’s), cautions her
about the old man, who has a reputation for being difficult. But when
Chris sees him again at the post office, she is coerced into driving him
home. He insists that she come into his trailer, and what she finds is the
definition of squalor. She automatically starts to clean up. While there,
she learns about his past in India studying yoga and his life in New York
designing jewelry. He shows her pictures and a ring that he has made, and
makes her promise to come back the next day.
The next morning she meets with a Sedona real estate agent who is helping
her sell her home. The death of her husband left her with bills she cannot
pay. She is also being pressured to return to Albuquerque to prepare for
the new school year.
That evening at the trailer, she finds Mr. Diner quite sick, and takes him
to the emergency room. But memories of her last visit to the ER – after
her family is killed in a car wreck – keep her from going inside. Dr.
Green (40’s), a warm and friendly man, comes outside to tell her that Mr.
Diner has cancer, and probably only weeks to live. Chris then tries to
reach his family for help, but learns he abandoned his wife and child
years ago to live in India, and now his daughter no longer speaks to him.
So Chris spends her time divided between trying to find somewhere safe for
him to live, and ways to make him happy before he dies. She takes him to
visit a rest home, but he explodes, refusing to live among the “old
people.” To cheer him up they have an impromptu picnic on Airport Mesa.
There Chris confesses that she, too, had a bad relationship with her
husband. On the morning of the wreck, she and her husband argued, causing
Chris to feel responsible for their deaths. Mr. Diner then asks her to
call his daughter so that he can hear her voice one more time.
Days later, Chris and Sheila take Mr. Diner to the July 4th fireworks
display. He becomes sick and has to be taken to the hospital. Chris then
makes a series of calls to his daughter, hoping to mend their relationship
before he dies. She pleads with her and the woman finally agrees and calls
her father. That night at the hospital, Mr. Diner offers his cherished
ring to Chris, which she accepts. The next morning she finds him dead.
Chris decides to sell her home in Albuquerque and stay in Sedona, where
she can begin her life again. Then with Sheila’s help, she has a 100th
birthday party for Mr. Diner, which everyone from the hospital attends,
including Dr. Green, who looks somewhat smitten. Afterwards, she takes Mr.
Diner’s ashes and scatters them on Airport Mesa, as she looks out on her
2009 Lily Mercer
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