Tags: forney novalee where the heart is
Added: 4 years ago
[scene opens inside the Sequoyah Public Library, where a very pregnant Novalee accidentally knocks over a book display with her belly]
FORNEY: [off camera] What do you want?
NOVALEE: Uh, I'm lookin' for, for a book.
[she looks around nervously for the source of the voice, which sounds very terse and short-tempered, like the unseen librarian can't be bothered to help patrons]
FORNEY: [off camera] What kind of book?
NOVALEE: About, about trees.
FORNEY: [off camera] Trees?
NOVALEE: Yeah. You know ...
[she starts wandering around the sparse stacks, trying to search out this elusive librarian]
FORNEY: [off camera] Forestry? Environment? Agriculture? Botany? What do you want to know about trees?
NOVALEE: Well, a few weeks ago somebody gave me a buckeye tree.
FORNEY: [off camera] Buckeye ...
[the male librarian finally comes into view]
FORNEY: [grabs a book off the shelf] Horse chestnut. Belongs to the genus Aesculus, of the family Hippocastanaccae.
NOVALEE: I-I think it's dyin'. My tree. I could show it to the people who gave it to me, but I'm embarrassed to let them see how sick I let it get.
FORNEY: [puts the book down on a nearby table] There. Look up "buckeye" in the index.
NOVALEE: [confused] The what?
FORNEY: [annoyed] I'll start slower. These are called "books." You still with me?
NOVALEE: [angrily] Hey!
FORNEY: [flips through the book] Here. Uh, there ...
[he points to the page]
FORNEY: See? Read.
[he sits down at the table with her]
NOVALEE: [reading slowly] "Leaf rot. Root damage. Nit-- Nitro-- Nit-- Nitrogen d-- def-- defic--"
[she stops and sighs in frustration]
FORNEY: "Deficiency"! Keep reading!
[he abruptly gets up and heads back to the stacks]
FORNEY: There's also a book ... uhhh, here.
[he brings back another book for her, when suddenly the sound of glass breaking and a woman crying out in pain is heard from the floor above them]
FORNEY: [looks up in dismay] Excuse me.
[he heads upstairs]
[Novalee is outside in the garden, helping Sister Husband and Mister Sprock plant her buckeye tree]
NOVALEE: You know, the book in the library said the highest spot in the yard is the best place to plant the tree.
SISTER: Oh, you must have met Forney.
[she stops when she notices Mister Sprock wheezing heavily]
NOVALEE: You all right, Mr. Sprock?
MR. SPROCK: Oh, I'm fine. A little emphysema. It's nothin' serious.
SISTER: You know, he makes that noise whenever he exerts himself ...
NOVALEE: Who's Thorney?
SISTER: Forney. Forney Hull. Brilliant man, lives in the library.
MR. SPROCK: Brilliant.
SISTER: Y'know, there's no telling what he might have done in this world, if he'd been allowed to finish his schooling.
NOVALEE: Why didn't he?
SISTER: [pause] Lord gives us obstacles.
[scene opens in the hospital, after Novalee had her baby in the local Wal Mart, with the new mother holding her baby for the first time while talking to her nurse]
NOVALEE: How can you love someone so much you just met?
LEXIE: Forney's okay, too. Doctor stitched him up and sent him on home.
NOVALEE: The library guy?
NOVALEE: Why, what happened to him?
LEXIE: He jumped through a plate-glass window to deliver your baby. Don't you remember?
NOVALEE: [pause] That was him?
[inside the library after closing hours, Forney is walking down the stairs holding a tray, when he hears his sister calling to him from upstairs]
MARY: [off camera] Forney!
MARY: [off camera] Where are you?
FORNEY: I'm just putting the dishes in the sink.
MARY: [off camera] Forney?
FORNEY: [annoyed] I'll be ... I'll be right back.
MARY: [off camera] Forney!
[cut to outside the library, as Novalee knocks on the door]
FORNEY: [yelling] We're closed!
MARY: [off camera] Forney!
[ignoring his sister, Forney marches over to the door and opens it]
FORNEY: Look, we're--
[he now sees that it's Novalee with her baby]
NOVALEE: Hi. Can I come in?
FORNEY: [flustered] Uh, yeah.
MARY: [off camera] I need a towel!
FORNEY: [yelling upstairs] They're in the bathroom!
NOVALEE: Is this a bad time?
FORNEY: Uh, yeah. No ...
[he gives a nervous laugh]
NOVALEE: I just, I just wanted to thank you ...
MARY: [off camera] I can't reach it!
FORNEY: [annoyed] Just give me two minutes! I'll be right there ...
[he turns back to Novalee]
NOVALEE: It's okay. I just wanted to thank you for ... well, I guess you saved our lives. Me and Americus.
NOVALEE: You wanna hold her?
FORNEY: Oh ...
NOVALEE: It's okay.
[she gingerly hands the baby over to Forney]
FORNEY: Oh. Oh. Oh.
NOVALEE: [takes out a camera] Moses Whitecotton gave me this as a baby gift.
NOVALEE: Oh. Hat.
[she takes his hat off]
NOVALEE: All right ... One, two, three, smile!
FORNEY: [forces a smile]
MARY: [off camera] Forney!
FORNEY: I ...
NOVALEE: [takes back her baby] All right. So, I'll see you soon.
FORNEY: Uh-huh. Oh!
[he opens door for her]
MARY: [off camera] Forney!
[he runs up the stairs in frustration]
[scene opens inside the library, where Novalee is reading more books, and Forney is displaying a much friendlier disposition towards her than during her previous attempt to use the facilities]
FORNEY: Are you finding what you want?
NOVALEE: [frustrated] I don't know what they're talkin' about. I have to look up every other word in the dictionary, then I have to look up those words in the children's dictionary. Takes me a half-hour to read a page.
FORNEY: Well, maybe this is something that's hard to learn from books ... I mean, it's photography.
NOVALEE: Hard for me anyway.
[she suddenly begins looking around nervously]
NOVALEE: Uh ...
FORNEY: Something wrong?
NOVALEE: Is there a ladies' room?
[he points towards the back]
NOVALEE: Oh, thanks ...
[she quickly enters the bathroom, as Forney sits down at her table and begins fidgeting nervously, when he suddenly hears her yelling from behind the door]
NOVALEE: [off camera] Yes! Thank you, Lord! Thank you so much!
[she opens the door and demurely sits back down]
FORNEY: Things went well?
NOVALEE: You bet ...
[she looks at her watch]
NOVALEE: Oh, I-I gotta go.
[she starts picking up her books]
FORNEY: Oh, you've got a big date or something?
FORNEY: Oh, because I thought you were sort of seeing somebody, or--
NOVALEE: No, that's done. That's finished. I am done with guys like that.
FORNEY: Like what?
NOVALEE: You know ... good-lookin', cocky, and look great in some tight jeans and a white t-shirt. Those guys are all wrong for me, Forney. I don't want that anymore. I want a change.
[Forney suddenly gets a very hopeful look in his eyes]
NOVALEE: No more men at all.
[his face quickly falls in disappointment]
FORNEY: Oh ...
[a crashing noise suddenly coming from above, as Forney rushes upstairs and opens the door, finding his sister lying on the floor]
MARY: [weakly] Forney, help me ...
[he helps her back into bed, as Novalee (who followed Forney upstairs without him noticing) watches from the door entrance]
MARY: [notices Novalee staring] Who's that?
FORNEY: [turns and notices her for the first time] Novalee, I'd like you to meet my sister. This is Mary Elizabeth Hull. She's the librarian.
[cut to Forney and Novalee walking around a yard sale]
FORNEY: Mary Elizabeth's a lot older than I am. I was still just a kid when she started drinking ...
[he stops and points at an item]
FORNEY: [to the seller] Oh, you're underselling that.
[he turns his attention back to Novalee]
FORNEY: I was about ten, I guess, the first time my father put her away.
NOVALEE: Away? Where?
FORNEY: In a sanitorium back east ... So, what exactly are you looking for?
NOVALEE: Well, I'm lookin' for a gift for Sister and Mister Sprock. It's their anniversary.
NOVALEE: Yeah, they've been ... close for six years.
FORNEY: So anyway, I was back east at college, and--
FORNEY: Yeah, I was studying to be a history teacher, but my dad died and my sister couldn't be left alone here. She begged me never to send her away again. Told me she'd kill herself if I did. That was nine years ago.
[an ambulance is parked in front of the library, as an EMT places a sheet over Mary's body]
EMT: I don't know how you kept her alive this long, Forney. You're welcome to ride along with us.
FORNEY: [stares blankly]
[cut to the inside of the Majestic Hotel, as Novalee knocks on one of the doors, which swings open to reveal Forney sitting on the bed]
FORNEY: How did you find me?
NOVALEE: Small town ... You didn't come to the service. I was worried.
FORNEY: I didn't mean to worry you.
NOVALEE: Can I come in?
NOVALEE: You all right?
FORNEY: I couldn't stay at the library. I had to--
NOVALEE: I understand.
FORNEY: I have to go away for a while, take Mary Elizabeth back to Maine, bury her in the family plot.
NOVALEE: I'm so sorry, Forney.
FORNEY: I couldn't go to the service. I had four white roses. And when I got to the service ... they turned brown. I couldn't take her brown roses.
[he starts to cry as Novalee holds him, then the scene changes to the two of them in bed post-coitus]
FORNEY: [whispering] Novalee?
FORNEY: I love you.
[cut to Novalee and Lexie the next morning]
LEXIE: He told you he loves you, and you didn't say anything?
NOVALEE: I'm a dope. I'm such a dope. But I was scared. I was confused, and ... it's just strange.
LEXIE: Honey, don't take this wrong, but Forney is strange.
[the town lawyer questions Novalee about whether or not she's seen Forney]
LAWYER: Novalee, do you know how to reach Forney? It's about some legal work involvin' the library.
NOVALEE: Oh, I expect him back today or tomorrow.
LAWYER: Forney's comin' back?
LAWYER: Well, I just figured, with Mary Elizabeth gone, he'd wanna pick up with his life again ... or go back to college.
[Novalee is suddenly stunned at the thought of Forney leaving for the East Coast]
MAN: Hey, did you know his great grandfather was governor of Maine?
NOVALEE: [pause] No.
SISTER: Well, sometimes things work out for the best. Now he can get out of here and have a real life.
[Novalee is sleeping in bed when the phone rings]
NOVALEE: Hello? Where are you? When'd you get back? No, no, no. I'll come over. I'll come there. Okay? Bye.
[cut to the same hotel room in the Majestic Hotel, as Novalee is happy to see Forney again]
FORNEY: Hey. Come in ... Sorry I called so late.
NOVALEE: No, no. That's ... so how was your trip?
FORNEY: You wanna sit down?
NOVALEE: Sure ... I was startin' to worry a little when you didn't come back. I thought--
FORNEY: Oh. I forgot how lovely it is back there. Very different from here.
NOVALEE: I'll bet.
FORNEY: I drove over to Bowdoin ...
FORNEY: Yeah. I, uh, was only gonna go for a couple of hours. I wind up staying two days. I saw a couple of my old professors. I forgot what a great library they have there. Have they hired a new librarian here yet?
NOVALEE: Yeah. Mayor Allbert's daughter.
[he chuckles at the idea]
FORNEY: Well ... Oh, well. It's okay. I wouldn't want to go back there anyway. I hear they're hiring at the plastics factory. I'll bet I could get a job there.
NOVALEE: What about teaching? You said once you wanted to be a history teacher.
FORNEY: Oh, that was a long time ago.
NOVALEE: But if it's what you want, I--
FORNEY: What I want? What I want is to be with you, to be with you and Americus. I love you. I love you so much. When we were here together--
NOVALEE: Forney, that might have been a mistake.
FORNEY: [stunned] Mistake?
NOVALEE: I mean ...
FORNEY: Are you saying you made love to me because you felt sorry for me? Is that it?
FORNEY: Then what? It was a bad decision, an impulse?
NOVALEE: Forney ...
FORNEY: Do you love me?
NOVALEE: You are the best friend I've ever had.
FORNEY: Just answer me.
NOVALEE: You delivered my baby.
FORNEY: Do you love me?
NOVALEE: No ... No, Forney, I don't love you. Not that way.
[cut to Novalee and Lexie looking at an empty house]
LEXIE: This place looks good. It's nice and bright. The carpet looks new. My kids could turn this place into a dump before the door closes ...
[she looks out the window]
LEXIE: Look. You can see the library.
NOVALEE: [doesn't look] Yeah.
LEXIE: You ever hear from Joe College?
NOVALEE: He writes to Americus, sends her books. At the end of every letter, he writes: "Please tell your mother I extend my best wishes."
LEXIE: [deadpan] Hot ... You written him back?
NOVALEE: No. What could I say to him?
LEXIE: Oh, God, that you lied to him for one. That you love him. That you miss him. That these have been the most miserable three months of your life ... and that he should come back.
NOVALEE: Come back to what? To a job at the plastics factory, or flippin' burgers at Lita's Drive-in? Or drivin' a delivery truck?
LEXIE: What about Wal-Mart?
LEXIE: Oh, so it's okay for you, but it's not good enough for him.
LEXIE: Novalee, you never thought you deserved Forney.
[Novalee has made the trip to Bowdoin College, searching everywhere (including the school library) for Forney, before she finally finds him talking to a bunch of fellow students]
NOVALEE: It's too late, isn't it, Forney?
FORNEY: Too late? For what?
NOVALEE: I lied to you ... when you asked me if I loved you, and I said "no." Remember?
NOVALEE: I lied, Forney. It wasn't true. I-I love you. It's just I lied because ... I thought you deserved something better.
FORNEY: Something better than you? Novalee, there isn't anything better than you.
WHERE THE HEART IS
Williams, Matt (Director). Where the Heart Is. United States: Wind Dancer Productions, 2000.
Starring: James Frain (Forney Hull, Library Assistant); Margaret Ann Hoard (Mary Elizabeth Hull, Librarian); Natalie Portman (Novalee Nation)
An endearing story of the "Wal-Mart baby" that finds the poor mother befriended by Forney Hull (up close and personal, as he delivers her baby in the store). He's a high school drop-out who works at the library covering up for his drunken librarian-sister. Job validation: Forney to child: "If you spin a cow around real fast, you get whipped cream." "Wow, you know a lot." "Well, I work in a library." Quirky and lovable characters in this film.
Where the Heart Is is a 2000 drama/romance film directed by Matt Williams and produced by Susan Cartsonis, David McFadzean, Patricia Whitcher and Matt Williams. Filmed in Austin, Texas, and Waco, Texas at Baylor University. The movie stars Natalie Portman and Ashley Judd. The screenplay, written by Lowell Ganz, is based on the best-selling novel by Billie Letts.
The film follows Novalee Nation, a pregnant 17-year-old girl from Tennessee, who sets out for California with her boyfriend. When they stop in Oklahoma at the local Walmart, her boyfriend abandons her. Since Novalee has only a few dollars, she secretly moves into the Wal-Mart store. She gives birth to her baby, attracting media attention, and she sets up a new life with the help of new friends. The film was released by 20th Century Fox on April 28, 2000.
Seventeen and pregnant, Novalee Nation (Natalie Portman) sets off on a road trip from Tennessee to California with her ignorant ne'er-do-well boyfriend, Willy Jack Pickens (Dylan Bruno). In Sequoyah, Oklahoma, Novalee asks her boyfriend to stop at Wal-Mart so that she can go to the bathroom and replace her shoes. When Novalee reaches out for her change at the register, the amount of $5.55 sends her into a panic and she runs outside to find that her boyfriend has left (Novalee believes that the number 5 is a sign of trouble or an event of significance is to come).
For the rest of the afternoon, Novalee browses Wal-Mart. She meets Sister Husband (Stockard Channing), who mistakenly believes Novalee to be her long-lost relative, Ruth Ann, and gives her a buckeye tree. Later that evening, Novalee feels sick and runs into the bathroom to vomit, and when she comes out again she discovers that the store is closed, locked, and dark. She soon figures out how to live undetected in the Wal-Mart.
Novalee visits the library and meets Forney Hull (James Frain), who works at the library while caring for his sister (the librarian), whose health has been ruined by alcoholism. Over time, Forney reveals that he dropped out of Bowdoin College in Maine and tells Novalee that he had wanted to be a history teacher before he had to leave school. Novalee goes to Sister Husband's house and explains that she is not Ruth Ann. However, Sister Husband invites her in to stay for some cornbread and buttermilk, and Novalee plants the buckeye tree in Sister's yard.
That night in the Wal-Mart, Novalee wakes up during a thunderstorm when she starts feeling pain in her stomach. Her water breaks and, while attempting to clean it up, she goes into labor. Forney (who watched her go into the store at closing time) jumps through a plate-glass window and helps deliver her baby. The next morning, Novalee wakes up in the hospital, and became an instant celebrity after giving birth in a Wal-Mart. All day she is stalked by several newscasters. After being asked by her nurse Lexie Coop (Ashley Judd) what she will name her baby girl, Novalee decides to name her baby Americus. Novalee gets to know Lexie, who reveals that she has had four children by three different men. While in the hospital, Novalee gets a visit from her mother (Sally Field), whom she has not seen since she was a child. Her mother asks if she has a place to live. Novalee says no, and her mother says that the two women can get an apartment together. Novalee hands over the $500 that she was given by the President of the Wal-Mart chain to her mother. Novalee agrees that her mother can come pick her and Americus up at 9:00 a.m. the next day. The next morning, Novalee waits for almost three hours in the lobby, but her mother never shows up. That afternoon, Sister Husband offers to let Novalee and the baby live at her house.
Her boyfriend Willy Jack Pickens is shown trying to make it as a country singer, and is hired by agent Ruth Meyers (Joan Cusack).
A few years pass, and Novalee begins a career as a photographer with the help of her friend Moses Whitecotton (Keith David), whom she met at the Wal-Mart the day she was left behind. One day, when a tornado blows through the town, Novalee and Americus hide in an underground shelter, but Sister is out running an errand and does not make it back in time. Sister is killed and their home is destroyed. After the funeral, a lawyer informs Novalee that she is the beneficiary of Sister's estate, worth around $41,000. Novalee proceeds to build a new home for herself and Americus on Sister's land.
One day, Novalee receives a call from Brownie, Lexie's oldest child. Novalee cannot hear what he is saying, and eventually perceives that something bad has happened so she drives to Lexie's house. She finds Lexie in the bedroom with Brownie and Praline, covered in blood and bruised. Novalee permits Lexie and her now five children to live with her and Americus in their new house. Lexie tells Novalee that her new boyfriend had gone to her house and tried to rape her two oldest children, Brownie and Praline, before Praline had thrown up on him and Lexie returned home from work early and caught him before he got to Brownie. She attacked him, hitting him twice before he knocked her out. Lexie is at first devastated, but as time passes she and her children begin to heal, and she eventually marries the ordinary but reliable "Ernie the Exterminator" and has another child.
When Forney's sister passes away due to alcoholism and he does not appear to be at the funeral, Novalee finds him in a hotel and comforts him. Novalee and Forney end up having sex, after which he tells her that he loves her and she doesn't reply. Forney returns to Maine to bury his sister, and the town's people make comments about how he can finally leave town and have a real life. When Forney comes back, he talks about visiting Bowdoin and Novalee realizes that he could now finish his education. Forney says he loves her and wants to get a factory job and stay with her, but Novalee lies, saying she does not love him, and he leaves.
On Americus's 5th birthday, Novalee picks up a newspaper and reads a story about a double amputee being robbed of his wheelchair. The man proves to be Willy Jack, her now ex-boyfriend. She visits Willy in the hospital and he admits that he lied to her when he told her that he didn't feel the baby's heart beat the day he left her behind. Willy says he wishes he could go back and undo the lie, because of how one lie can change your whole life. Novalee realizes that she made a similar mistake lying to Forney. She drives Willy Jack home to Tennessee and then continues to Maine to find Forney at college. Novalee admits to him that she lied and that she really loves him and they return to Oklahoma to get married in a Wal-Mart.