Bill Birney Screenwriter
Synopsis - Something for Dr. Thode
Dr. Elliot Thode is late. Today, he had to catch an early flight to Boston to pick up an award for Analyst of the Year, but his wife Daisy turned off the alarm so he could sleep. After he gets on the road, he's hampered by heavy snowfall and slow traffic lights. He daydreams about getting the award letter. Then, he runs a red light and gets a ticket from a slow cop. He finally gets to the airport but finds his flight was canceled. Then, he misses the next flight while he is outside smoking and daydreaming about getting a gold watch from his family. After that, his phone dies and all flights are canceled. So, he’s back on the road, driving slow past a multiple car accident, then into a white-out, when he daydreams about a passionate night with his wife. When he hits the next slowdown, he takes evasive action down an offramp, into the confusing web of New England highways.
With the traffic no longer an issue, Elliot settles back. He recalls his patient, Heather Goldman. During a session, she has a major breakthrough when she realizes her father is the monster in all her nightmares. Excited by the revelation, she hugs Elliot. The positive connection grows to the point of her falling deeply in love with him. Late one night, Elliot worries that she may be suicidal, so he visits her at her sorority, and she comes on to him. Next thing he knows, he is running into an emergency room after she overdoses. Her father moves her to Florida and threatens Elliot with legal action for taking advantage of his daughter and causing her to attempt suicide.
All the daydreaming throws Elliot way off course, but he gets help and a toy compass from a gas station clerk. Back on the road, Elliot recalls the deposition with the father’s attorneys, and then the call from him telling Elliot that Heather has run away. He warns Elliot against helping her and to call him immediately if she tries to contact him. Elliot takes an icy curve too fast and slides into a ditch.
The nearest garage is closed, so he walks to the closest house and asks the owner Frank to use his phone. The auto club can’t get to him in time, so he convinces Frank to help. As they’re pulling the car out with a winch, Frank has a serious heart attack. Elliot has no choice but to perform CPR and drive Frank in his old truck to the nearest hospital.
On the long drive, Elliot recalls getting a call from Heather. Against Daisy’s advice, he meets her at the airport. Heather is a mess, physically and psychically. To her, Elliot is her only salvation. He reminds her she’s 18 and can do whatever she wants. So, she decides on the spot to move to Burlington and start a new life near Elliot.
The old truck finally arrives at the hospital. While Frank is being treated in the emergency room, Elliot agrees to watch Isabella. There’s little chance now that he’ll make the conference. He daydreams about Heather’s dramatic suicide attempt after Elliot strongly rejects her, the time Elliot catches her spying on his family through their living room window, and the threatening letter she sends to Daisy. Then, he remembers the night he comes home to find Heather waiting for him with a gun.
He snaps back to reality when he realizes Isabella is gone. He searches up and down the halls, then finds her in the maternity ward quietly viewing the babies through the window. As he watches her, he recalls his final emotional confrontation with Heather. Her manipulative attempt to kill herself with a gun backfires when Elliot calls her on it. She, then shoots him in the leg. As he falls back, he hits his head on a table, rendering him unconscious, and marking the end of their dysfunctional relationship.
Isabella holds her tattered baby doll as she watches the newborns. She tells Elliot about the doll, and how he has special powers to make people happy. She then gives him the doll and wanders off. A caregiver shows up to take care of Isabella, and Frank thanks Elliot by letting him use his truck. As he drives the last stretch to the conference center, he remembers the final chapter of Heather’s story when Robert tries to force her to go back to Florida. She shoots him, then turns herself in.
He arrives at the conference center as the workers are cleaning up. The coordinator suggests Elliot grab his trophy sitting in a box under the podium. He pulls the heavy glass trophy out of the box and looks it over. Then, he pulls all the things he has collected out of his pockets – the gold watch, the baby doll, the compass, the matches from the smoker, the warning ticket, and the lime sucker – and he puts them all in the box one by one, and whispers, “Thank you.” Then, miraculously, his cell phone rings. It’s Daisy. As he walks out of the meeting hall with his box of gifts, he tells her all about his journey.