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Whirlabout

A man returns home to care for his father who’s riding a downhill early-onset Alzheimer’s spiral, but dark secrets revealed about the family patriarch’s past shock him to the core, dramatically altering the course of that care... and the direction of his own life.

As Danny Patrick, the son of the once-powerful and robust Lou Petronsky, 71, drives through his old hometown, wife Ash notes how dead everything seems. The town has fallen into neglect. Even the old theatre where Danny made his stage debut has been closed, boarded up and vandalized. A NY actor, Danny’s come home to check in on his father, whose mind has been rapidly short-circuiting. Sister Joanie has abandoned her father for reasons unknown, and brother Tommy, “the pleasure boat impresario of the Southeast,” has warned Danny that it’s time to do something. Danny feels he’s not on the same page with his siblings anymore and wants to find out why.

He and Ash settle in for a visit, Ash already champing at the bit to get back to her job at her father’s fashion magazine. She doesn’t hit it off with Graciella, Lou’s live-in help and the apple of his eye. Lou's limited trips into reality seem to revolve only around this immigrant woman.

Danny, shocked by how far his father’s condition has deteriorated, decides to stay home awhile, and sends Ash back to New York, but not before she fires Graciella. Lou seems even more lost without his "Gracie" and Danny's job is now even harder, especially since Lou doesn’t seem to know him.

Sister Joanie, a lesbian who's avoided Danny for years, agrees to a cup of coffee with him, but after some prodding reveals to him that their father abused her sexually when she was just a child, teaching her a “secret game.” This news sends Danny reeling. He will never look at Lou the same way again and confronts him with these revelations. But Lou, lost in his world of chaos, overlapping time, and self-pity over the loss of Graciella, is mentally out of reach.

Joanie agrees with Tommy that Lou should be put in a home, but Danny’s still torn. Visits to the doctor, feeding the old man, watching him closely; there’s still something there. Danny tries to crack into the dementia to get at the truth about Joanie, working on ways to reopen Lou’s past, coercing Tommy to take them on a fishing excursion to Lighthouse Creek, which seems to momentarily reinvigorate Lou. But he quickly falls back into the dark, deep waters of his disease. After Lou’s 72nd birthday party, Danny rehires Graciella and finally convinces Joanie to talk to her father, to come face to face with a man who is no longer there, but after doing so she is still unable to forgive him, even conjecturing that their mother’s death may have been prompted by Lou’s past behavior, which is something Danny won’t even consider. When Ash shows up unexpectedly, she rightly senses there is something going on between Graciella and Danny. All along, Danny’s marriage to Ash has seemed wrong, and in just weeks his relationship with this simple caretaker with a very tragic past has renewed him. Ash heads back to NY. After a scolding, Lou escapes the house; the entire neighborhood, including Danny’s old pals whom he has neglected over the years, turns out in force to search. Two days later, Lou turns up blocks away, hunkered down in a doghouse. When Danny, going through Lou’s pockets, finds what amounts to his mother’s suicide note, he is pushed into rage and reaches deep inside for a decision on how to make his father pay for his transgressions. He steals his brother’s boat and takes Lou out to their old fishing haunt... where, in quiet desperation, he chooses to end his old man’s life, pushing him overboard. Seconds later, he dives in and pulls Lou back to safety. But while Danny’s back is turned, piloting the boat to shore, Lou goes overboard... this time on his own. Danny loses his father, but has renewed his relationship with his siblings and old friends, and with Graciella by his side has found a way to deal with his father’s dark and horrifying past and move into a brighter future.

Script Excerpt
Written by:
Format:
Screenplay
Genres:
Budget:
Low
Starring Roles For:
Liev Schreiber
GERALD MCRANEY
30s Hispanic Woman
In the Vein Of:
Away from Her
Affliction
Terms of Endearment
Posted:
04/01/2020
Updated:
04/22/2021
Author Bio:
Art D'Alessandro co-founded and ran one of the Southeast’s most highly regarded talent schools for over 22 years. His love of movies has led to nearly 50 screenplays bearing his name as writer, including the produced feature films “The Final Season” (1100 screens, Sean Astin, Powers Boothe, et al), "She Drives Me Crazy" (Lifetime, Winner of CTV's Gemini Award for Best TV Movie, Melinda Clarke), "Mayor Cupcake" (Showtime, Lea Thompson, Zoey Deutch, & Judd Nelson), "Letters to God" (900 screens, Ralph Waite), “All Shook Up” (Sarah Chalke & Frank Gorshin) and the award-winning indie thriller “ZZYZX”, starring Kenny Johnson of The Shield and SWAT fame.

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