Film Script for 'Love You Mum"
SHOOTING SCRIPT for
" LOVE YOU, MUM "
Do we have the right to end the life of a suffering loved one, at their request? Who would do it or even allow it? Will the terminal peace-bringer be branded saint or monster? When Sister Evans relieves the suffering of those in her care, she is deemed to be both angel and criminal.
Finished Film: (approx.) 18 minutes.
(can be viewed here: http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&VideoID=666... )
Frances Macaulay Forde © 2006
More on the making of the film:
Geoff Hawley : 30-something electrician, not good at expressing his feelings and hates hospitals.
Belle Hawley : 30-something enlists Sister Evans’ help to end her mother’s suffering.
Mother : 50-something woman with cancer. Asks her daughter to help her die.
Sister Evans: Night Sister, due to retire soon, old-school nurse who believes her job is to ease suffering and when death is inevitable, will hurry nature along.
Sister Thomas: Newly qualified Sister, early 20’s attractive and not yet confident in her role. She is eager to please and is totally dominated by Sister Evans.
Orderly: Actually security but needs to stay undercover to catch Sister Evans ‘at it’.
Extras: Young male patient.
LOCATIONS: Stirling Hospital.
SC 1: EXT EVANS FARM FRONT GATE DAY
FLASH BACK. Opening credits fade in and out on screen whilst an elaborate SOUND MIX unfolds: We hear the sounds of a galloping horse, breathing heavily, and a car fast-approaching on an outer-suburban road.
On the dark road, car headlights momentarily illuminate a sign showing the way to the ‘EVANS FARM’.
The breathing intensifies just before a screech of tyres and the sickening impact of horse and vehicle colliding is heard.
Visual chaos ensues while ambulance/police crew and locals all try to aid the driver of the vehicle.
A blood-soaked girl of around 13 yrs of age is screaming for someone to help her injured HORSE. It is a young SISTER EVANS leaning over her beloved but dying best friend.
The horse is covered in blood and in shock, it’s huge chest rises and falls erratically. The young girl is desperate! No one appears to be doing anything to relieve his suffering.
Help him – please – someone…
Don’t let him suffer…
SC 2: INT HOSPITAL CORRIDOR NIGHT
SISTER EVANS is now older and Sister in Charge on night duty in PEDIATRICS.
She can be seen in the Treatment Room gathering medical supplies from different cupboards and drawers, loading them into the treatment trolley before dutifully signing the medicines book.
She checks her fob watch hanging on her chest and turns toward camera before wheeling the trolley down the corridor and turning left into a private room.
SC 3: INT PRIVATE ROOM NIGHT
SISTER EVANS arrives at a young terminal patient’s room in Pediatrics and is concerned with his ‘time’. She takes his pulse, checks his chart and moves back to the top of his bed to gently touch his sleeping face.
It’s time, young Jason.
You fought well, my lad.
SISTER EVANS moves over to her trolley and unwraps a hypodermic. After a quick glance at the door, she turns her back to it, and secretly takes a vial from her uniform.
We watch as she first swabs the area then 'kindly' administers a lethal dose to hasten death. The YOUNG BOY’S face stirs slightly as the lethal dose is administered. SISTER EVANS slips the empty syringe into her pocket and waits a moment, watching his face go still and holding his wrist.
Sleep well, little one.
Grandpop’s waiting, remember
Mummy said so...
With a satisfied but sad nod, SISTER EVANS gently touches her patient’s forehead, straightens the sheet and crosses the young boy’s hands neatly on his stomach. She picks up the telephone, next to the bed.
Duty Doctor, please. There's
been a death on the ward.
She makes a note of the time (watch) on the chart at the end of the bed then with a last look of farewell she leaves to continue her medicine round.
SC 4: INT HOSPITAL WARD OFFICE NIGHT
As staff change for each shift, the outgoing staff must inform the incoming staff of each patient’s welfare while under their care.
SISTER EVANS is conducting ‘change-over’ with another nurse, the younger, more attractive and annoyingly eager-to-please, new recruit SISTER THOMAS.
‘Mrs Turner’s condition is
unchanged. Still ‘nil by mouth’
and measure urine output - usual
stuff... I give her a week,
she’s reached the plateau.
Room 8, Mrs Stanowski is a
bad tempered old bat - don’t
listen to her. She wet the bed
again today and I’m going to
put a catheter in after the
2am round whether she likes it
or not. I haven’t got time
to keep changing beds.’
‘But, Sister, it says in the notes
that they’ve tried before but
she refuses - doesn’t want one.’
SISTER EVANS does not take kindly to being questioned and is enraged.
‘Who’s in charge here! And when
Dr. Merrrin turns up, don’t go
all silly on me - every nurse
I’ve had under me has been under
him! He’ll try his luck but
please, be the first one to
surprise me. Oh, and Security
has been appointed, because bag’s
have gone missing, so lock yours
away. And keep an eye out.’
SISTER THOMAS retreats to servility and tidies the cards handed to her. As she puts them away, SISTER EVANS stands.
SC 5: INT HOSPITAL CORRIDOR NIGHT
SISTER EVANS beckons SISTER THOMAS to follow, on a quick tour around the ward.
‘Don’t know what the world
is coming to. It’s bad enough
people aren’t safe in their
homes... did they tell you I’m
As SISTER EVANS and SISTER THOMAS make their way down the corridor, an ORDERLY wheels a trolley past with the small body covered with a sheet.
SISTER EVANS puts a hand up to halt the ORDERLY wheeling the stretcher. She gently removes the sheet from the face long enough to smile lovingly at the young boy’s face, then slowly replace the sheet.
As she looks up, SISTER EVANS becomes aware of the intense scrutiny of the ORDERLY. SISTER EVANS abruptly dismisses him with a wave.
The ORDERLY exchanges a knowing look with SISTER THOMAS before he veers off into a connecting corridor.
SISTER EVANS marches off down the corridor continuing her tirade, throwing her words behind her to SISTER THOMAS who follows closely.
It’s no excuse to slacken off
- I run a tight ship!
SISTER THOMAS is following so closely she gets in the way as SISTER EVANS turns swiftly back toward the ward desk.
Our job is to relieve suffering
and make their time as comfortable
and dignified as possible - except
for the old bat Stanowski...
The families appreciate it.’
SISTER EVANS indicates the many Thank You cards pinned up around the notice board with a wave of her hand.
SISTER THOMAS stays a moment to study them as SISTER EVANS moves on down the corridor. Some of the messages read: ‘Thank you for helping mummy’ and another with ‘We appreciate the care you have taken of our Jason.’
SC 6: INT PRIVATE ROOM DAY
It’s obvious BELLE is annoyed with GEOFF as they speak quietly near the door.
Ready to go? I’ll be downstairs,
getting the car.
I hate to leave her. We don’t
know how much time.... Look why
can’t you ask him for time off?
They have Bereavement Leave don’t
‘Yeah, but only after..... ya
know, after. Look love, I’d like
‘Tell the truth, you can’t be
bothered. I need you here - with
In the corridor, SISTER EVANS hears his excuses and obviously disapproves of his lack of support.
‘The kids’ll be heading home.
I’ll go back and wait, OK?
GEOFF moves around SISTER EVANS who is lurking outside the doorway, nods ‘Hello’ and hurries away.
‘I’ve fixed the kettle and the
outside light... for when you
get home. Well, I’ll have the
veggies ready, anyway...
when you do...
Resenting GEOFF’S attitude, BELLE turns back sit on the bed to hold her mother’s cold hands again.
The movement makes MOTHER suddenly wake up and start coughing, hacking up blood as BELLE hands her tissues.
SISTER EVANS takes over until the awful convulsions subside, washing her mother’s face then tidying the bed, making way for BELLE to sit down once more.
‘Oh Mum, what can I do - I feel
MOTHER looks at BELLE’S tears and her eyes are misty too.
‘I know, Love.’
‘Love you, Mum. Sorry - I don’t
mean to be weak but I just can’t
bear to see you like this....
I wish Dad were here for you.’
MOTHER takes a deep, shuddering breath and stares hard at Belle.
‘I’m not afraid.... Dad’s waiting
for me.... but I can’t deal with
this any longer. If I could just
close my eyes and go, I would.’
SISTER EVANS is visible just outside the doorway.
‘But I can’t. I need help.
Will you help me, Belle?
Darling.... I know what I’m
As BELLE stares at her mother in shock, her mother has noticed SISTER EVANS, poised behind BELLE, knowing she’s heard her request.
BELLE turns around teary eyed, sees SISTER EVANS who looks back at her brave patient with a knowing expression, and watches her mother maintain eye contact in silent agreement.
When BELLE looks back once more, at the doorway, SISTER EVANS has gone.
SC 7: INT HOSPITAL WARD CORRIDOR NIGHT
CUT TO: In the early hours and alone, SISTER EVANS is dispensing medicine, she hears a sound from the deserted nurses station, goes back to check but doesn’t find anyone there. She doesn’t see the ORDERLY slip into the Sluice.
SISTER EVANS checks her handbag is safely under the desk then continues with her round.
SC 8: INT PRIVATE ROOM NIGHT
It is now dark in the ward. BELLE has fallen asleep with her head resting in her arms, on the bed next to her MOTHER.
BELLE wakes up and looks at her mother’s face, then chest and sees no perceptible movement. She gently rubs her mother’s hand expecting her to open her eyes.
When her MOTHER cannot be roused from sleep, BELLE panics thinking that death has come when SISTER EVANS silently slips into the room.
Belle. It’s not her time just
yet. But she will drift in
and out of a fairly deep sleep,
quite a lot now. It’s quite
As SISTER EVANS ‘turns’ her patient straightening the sheets and making her more comfortable, she reassures Belle.
Now Dear, you know that your Mum is special to me.
Why do you think her bed’s so close to...
SISTER EVANS points to the Nurses Station just as SISTER THOMAS walks into the ward in a bit of a panic, eager to speak to her senior.
As SISTER THOMAS starts to speak, SISTER EVANS holds up her hand for silence.
She has my special attention…
I hope you realize that Geoff and I… I mean, we both
appreciate the care and concern you show Mum all the
time. I know you go out of your way for her...Thank...
SISTER THOMAS bends to interrupt quietly, speaking into her ear, needing SISTER EVANS and her assistance elsewhere.
Sister, I’m sorry, but I need you to help me with Mrs..
err... Mrs Stanowski...
Excuse Sister, Belle. It’s so difficult breaking in the new staff.
Nurse Thomas - I will be with you as soon as I have finished
with this patient.
SISTER THOMAS is shocked and resentful at her dismissal and the title of
‘nurse’, but reluctantly leaves the ward.
SISTER EVANS turns back toward BELLE to and looks intently into her eyes. BELLE holds the look, nods in understanding, looks down at her Mum once more before SISTER EVANS nods and leaves the room.
SC 9: INT FAMILY HOME - BEDROOM NIGHT
While GEOFF is asleep, BELLE has lain awake for some time. She gets up carefully, takes her clothes into the bathroom and dresses. She does not want Geoff to know she has gone and sneaks out of the room, determined in her purpose.
SC 10: INT PRIVATE ROOM NIGHT
BELLE visits her MOTHER without announcing her presence. It is very quiet on the ward. BELLE has a last look at her MOTHER, relieved that she is deeply asleep, touches her cheek gently and leans over to give her a final kiss goodbye.
SISTER EVANS is hovering at the door, watching. BELLE looks up from her mother. SISTER EVANS receives the almost imperceptible nod from a tearful BELLE and silently stands aside as BELLE leaves.
SC 11: INT HOSPITAL WARD OFFICE NIGHT
SISTER EVANS finishes checking her medicines on the trolley and talks quietly to herself while she unwraps a needle from the locked cabinet in the nurse’s station. She secretly takes the vial from her uniform and fills the syringe in a familiar movement – she’s done this many times before.
Belle can’t take any more, dear. She’s killing herself
with worry. Now we can’t have that - can we?
SISTER EVANS pushes the medicine trolley purposefully towards Belle’s mother’s room.
SC 12: EXT BELLE’S CAR NIGHT
Tears stream down BELLE’S face as she drives away from the hospital through pouring rain.
SC 13: INT PRIVATE ROOM NIGHT
SISTER EVANS enters the Belle’s MOTHER’S private room still talking to herself. She watches the tortuous breathing and holds one of her patient’s wrists while she times the breathes by her fob watch.
So it’s time. Your husband is waiting for you.
It won’t hurt. I promise…
The ORDERLY slips quietly into the room.
SISTER EVANS does not notice and continues pulling the curtain around the bed while setting the kidney dish down onto the bedside table. Preparing for the injection, she tears the antiseptic swab, swabs her patient’s arm and makes sure all the air has been expelled from the needle. A she holds it up she hears a voice on the other side of the curtain.
SISTER EVANS hesitates for only a moment and answers before continuing.
Wait at the desk… I’ll only be a minute.
The ORDERLY does not leave but appears inside the curtain.
SISTER EVANS holds perfectly still as her patient, MOTHER wakes up and stares at the needle, then at SISTER EVANS, willing her to continue.
Wait one minute – I shall only be a moment…
But the ORDERLY is not prepared to wait. He needs SISTER EVAN’S attention now.
SC 14: INT FAMILY HOME – BEDROOM DAY
BELLE and GEOFF are both asleep amongst tangled bedclothes when the PHONE beside the bed RINGS.
Almost before the first ring ends, BELLE immediately sits up straight, in a panic. BELLE pauses and cannot bring herself to answer the phone, emotion already showing on her face. This is the call she has been dreading.
The phone continues to ring until GEOFF grabs the hand-piece and listens to the voice on the other end with a stern look on his face.
Ah ha. …….mmm…….yes……hm.
GEOFF offers the phone to BELLE. She hesitates before putting the phone to her ear finally ready to listen to the inevitable and terrible news.
BELLE’S face changes abruptly when what she hears, is the opposite. Her eyes plead with Geoff.
SC 15: INT PRIVATE ROOM DAY
SISTER THOMAS walks watchfully past the door as BELLE and GEOFF stand on either side of her MOTHER’S bed.
BELLE’S MOTHER is breathing tortuously, slipping in an out of consciousness.
BELLE and GEOFF stand on either side of her bed arguing in indecipherable, deliberately lowered voices.
BELLE’S suffering MOTHER is left in the middle of the argument.
The camera moves away from the private room and through corridors to the echo of hospital sounds.