Defense Mechanisms

The Tale, HBO, Home Box Office, HBO Films, Gamechanger Films, Fork Films, One Two Films WeatherVane Productions, Blackbird FilmsHBO original film The Tale premiered May 26, 2018.

#TheTale is about, written and directed by childhood sexual abuse survivor Jennifer Fox.

rottentomatoes: 98%

metacritic: 88

imdb: 7.2




Jennifer Fox, The Tale, HBO, Home Box Office, HBO Films, Gamechanger Films, Fork Films, One Two Films WeatherVane Productions, Blackbird Films, Laura DernJennifer Fox

Documentarian teacher Jennifer Fox endures an abusive relationship at age 13 but is only able to begin to reconcile the encounter many years later.


Jennifer Fox, The Tale, HBO, Home Box Office, HBO Films, Gamechanger Films, Fork Films, One Two Films WeatherVane Productions, Blackbird Films, Laura Dern“Okay.  Don’t worry.  I am from the zoo.  You’re getting out?  It’s so joyful.  You got me something?  Nowhere.  I’m just… sorry, I was just thinking about my mom.  She’s been calling, and, um… she, uh, read this story I wrote when I was a kid about my first boyfriend.  And… I hadn’t told her about it, because he was older.  So she’s beside herself, trying to reach me.  You got everything?  I’m kinda excited.  It’s gonna go great.  Oh, yeah?  Yeah.  I’m gonna miss you.  Love you.  Okay.” — Jennifer Fox

“Yeah, hey.  No.  Where’d you find it?  What– what are you talking about?  Mom, this is why I didn’t tell you, because I knew you’d react this way.  No, I never said that.  What?  Mom, what are you talking about?  No, I thought he was, I don’t know, dead or… oh, my God.  Oh, my God.  He looks so much older.  Yeah, Becky was there that summer.  What are you talking about?  Mom, what are you doing?  I can’t do this this weekend, okay?  I’ve got papers to grade, and Martin wants me to look at venues on Saturday.  I’ll talk to you tomorrow, okay?  Love you.  Bye.” — Jennifer Fox

“…and often I’m afraid I’ll fall of of it.  Mom, you are so wrong.  Mrs. G was an incredible woman.  ‘If what you talk about here were accurate, I would say you had been taken advantage of by older people.  But clearly you have a fine, full set of emotions blossoming into womanhood.’  Can you just let me sit with my own memories?  Mom, please.  It makes me want to see her again.” — Jennifer Fox

“Jennifer.  Jenny.  The girl over there arriving at your house.  So you remember me?  Am I talented?  Am I a good rider?  Jews?  Why are you telling this story, Jenny?” — Jennifer Fox

“Hey, mom, what did you say Becky’s address was?  Can you text it to me?  How do people change?  When I was a child, I was obsessed with changing myself.  Now I don’t even remember how I got here.  Or who I used to be.  Wow, look at you.  Yeah, me too.  You know I, um, I kept my horse there after that summer.  Yeah.  Well, I was only give, so they barely noticed if I wasn’t there.  Oh, great.  Do you ever see Mrs. G at riding events or…?  You did?  Oh, look how beautiful.  Was I?  What?” — Jennifer Fox

“Huh.  Looking for pictures from ’73.  Oh.  Yeah.  Look at me.  I was so little.  Martin?  Franny?  Funny how you live with people in your mind.  Inside of you, the’re always the same.  And you live with them happily.  Never wanting anything to change.  As documentarians, you all have been developing your own unique skills, unconsciously, since you were born.  I’ll speak from my experience.  I was a super-shy kid.  I felt invisible.  At home, at school.  So I learned to adapt.  I taught myself the skill of being a chameleon so that I could fit into people’s worlds, their environment… and have some friends.  Let’s try something.  Joe, how would you like to be a guinea pig today?  Everybody say hi to Joe.  So, we learn about the truth by reading people, right?  It’s how we get to know them.  So, what about Joe?  Well, you’re– let’s change it up, Joe.  All right, so there’s a point.  We learn a lot from people’s bodies. They tell us a lot.  So let’s keep investigating.  What else?  Do you believe Joe?  Do you believe yourself?  So, good point.  So that means he didn’t tell you the truth.  Right?  So how do we get to know?  How do we go beyond what the person is telling us?  Yeah?  How do we know we’ve crossed the boundary?  Excuse me.  One second, guys.  Sorry.  Keep talking to Joe.  Hey, Franny?  Yeah!  Hello?  Are you talking to me?  Where are you?  Oh, wow, I didn’t– no, I didn’t know.  It would just– it would be so amazing to come visit and maybe see you and Mrs. G.  Um, not as much as I used to.” — Jennifer Fox

“They invited me to lunch.  What?  No.  Mom, no.  Martin’s not gonna help me, and I’d be way too nervous to wear a wire.  I don’t know.  I’m gonna play it by ear.  What does that even mean?  No, ma, that was one of your other kids.” — Jennifer Fox

“Mrs. G, Franny.  So good to see you.  That coat.  I feel like I remember from years past.  You do?  What would you change?  Uh… sorry, yeah, I’ll just have a mixed green salad.  I don’t think I know where you’re from, or maybe I never knew.  But you’re from London?  I’ve been wanting to ask you… oh, I’m so sorry.  It’s funny, I didn’t even think about asking about Dr. G.  I feel bad.  I just– I assumed they were divorced.  Right.  But what about Bill?  What happened to him?  Why am I doing this?  I said I wanted a riding lesson.  I don’t know, what if she finds out I’m lying?  I mean, I haven’t ridden since I was a kid.  She’s an old woman.  She’s broken, you know?  She’s different than you, and she’s had a hard life.  She looks nothing like I remember, you know?  Like, she looked like such a giant to me then.” — Jennifer Fox

“Why did we call him Nouga?  What does that mean?  Don’t you think it’s a little cult-like?  No?  I mean, I didn’t think it at the time.  But now, in retrospect… you know, the whole group thing.  Worshipping pain.  Endurance.  It’s a bit religious, don’t you think?” — Jennifer Fox

“Oh!  Hey.  Franny, whoa.  Okay.  Hello, Mrs. G.  I don’t know.  He is huge.  It’s been a while.  Okay.  He’s a giant.  Let’s see if I can do this.  I haven’t ridden in a while, so maybe a calmer horse?” — Jennifer Fox

“Okay.  Oh, yeah?  Do I talk you into everything?  Cooking.  Chili powder, maybe?  For a little… …pinch.” — Jennifer Fox

“I would never tell my parents, or the other adults.  It was like an unspoken oath.  And I felt proud of it.  Hey.  They sent me a bunch of letters.  Where’s the rest of the stuff from my room?  Mom, how long did you know these were here?  How come you didn’t give me these before?  ‘My dear Jenny, I was so sad reading your special letters…'” — Jennifer Fox

“I have made a decision.  I’m taking my life in my own hands.  That fall, every Friday, Mrs. G picked me up from school and took me to her farm.  I was finally home.” — Jennifer Fox

“We tell ourselves stories in order to live.  So, what’s your story?  What story are you gonna tell?” — Jennifer Fox

“What did I say?  I don’t remember.  I must have said something.  I only remember them.  Why can’t I remember myself?  Did I say yes?  Why would you do that?  Really?  You think so?  So what did you say?  But that’s not what you wrote.  You wrote that you don’t want to be here.  That you want to go back with Mrs. G to her house.  Look in your notebook.  It’s right there.  What do you mean fiction?  We wrote this as– what does that mean?  You don’t know what’s about to happen.  What if you’re wrong?  What if you’re wrong?” — Jennifer Fox

“Hey.  Hey, what are you doing?  What are you doing?  What are you doing, reading my childhood things?  From the relationship I told you about.  Yeah, I told you he was older.  Just please don’t go through my things.  He’s 40, I don’t know.  Babe… it was the ’70s, and people didn’t talk about it like that.  I’m not trying to justify it, okay?  It was my childhood, and these things happened to me and it’s just, you know, I’m just saying, it was complicated.  He was my coach.  Babe… this was important to me.  And I’m trying to figure out why, okay?  These people were important to me.  That was my riding teacher.  She introduced him to me, you know?  And she was there that summer.  That’s why I went to see her.  I am trying to figure it out.  Okay, I am not a victim.  I don’t need you or anybody to call me a victim, okay?  Because you don’t have a fucking clue about my life.  So we need to stop this now.  Let me just figure this out for myself.  If you knew me, you’d know I ain’t going to see a therapist.  I’m gonna figure this out myself.  Do you think I give a shit about a ring?  That’s you again, not knowing me.  Your car is here.  Please!  Please!  Please go.  Good!  Then I’ll leave.  So you stay.  You stay.  No, you stay.  And I’ll get my shit together.  I want you the fuck out of here!  Go, or I go.  Go, or I go.” — Jennifer Fox

“Why did you pick me?  I’m a skinny, flat-chested, introverted kid.  Becky was so much prettier.  Two peas in a pod?  I hoped you would save me from my family.” — Jennifer Fox

“God, I feel crazy.  Maybe I’ll get into a car crash and the… car’ll catch on fire.  The whole thing’ll go up in flames.  All my secrets.  History erased in a flash.  Just like that.  Ohh.  Oh!  Hey.  Thanks, mom.  Oh, my God, I fell asleep.  Trashed.  Oh, my God, I’m just locked in.  I can’t– I can’t turn it off right now.  Do you think Bill and Mrs. G paid extra attention to me because dad was like a big developer back then?  I was thinking about the first time that you met him.  You know when he came here to pick me up?  Mom, sorry.  I just– can we go– ow!– can we go inside the house?  Yeah, sorry.  I just– okay, thanks.  Didn’t Bill bring dad, like, a paperweight?  Was it like Christmas or something?  You and dad were going somewhere ’cause grandma was here babysitting.  He wasn’t taking me to Mrs. G’s.  Grandma knew, right?  So you knew something.  Well, I mean she saw Bill and I, out front, kiss, and she said she was gonna tell you.  She didn’t tell you something about seeing us kiss?  She said she was gonna tell.  Yeah, and you lied to yourself.  Why are you so angry now?  Mom, you knew something.  You told dad, and he talked you out of it.  You were following dad’s rules, just like Mrs. G followed Bill’s rules.  No, no.  Mom, listen.  I’m saying it’s complicated.  I’m saying she was deeply insecure, she was probably sexually abused herself as a kid.  Probably.  Trust me… I know.  It can damage your boundaries.  Fine, mom.  Yeah?  Mom… I was a kid.  Why are you asking me that?  I got something else.  Love.  I… I wanted somebody to think I was special.  Mom, Jesus.  Mom… you sound very old-fashioned.  You were with one man your entire life.  I didn’t– I didn’t want to be stuck like that.  I didn’t want to be like you.” — Jennifer Fox


Jennifer Fox, The Tale, HBO, Home Box Office, HBO Films, Gamechanger Films, Fork Films, One Two Films WeatherVane Productions, Blackbird Films, Isabelle NélisseYoung Jennifer

“I’d like to begin this story by telling you something so beautiful.  I’ve met two very special people whom I’ve come to love dearly.  Imagine a woman who’s married and a man who is divorced sharing their lives in close friendship.  Loving each other with all their souls… yet not being close with their bodies.  Get this– I’m part of them both.  I’m lucky enough to be able to share their love.  When I’m away from them, the earth seems to shake and tremble…” — Jennifer Fox

“Good, how are you?  Okay.  I always wanted to have a story to tell, but nothing ever happened to me before.  She was the most beautiful woman I had ever met.  I knew my father would fall for her.  Everyone did.  I did.  Dad!  Dad, please.  Yes.” — Jennifer Fox

“She was the most beautiful woman I had ever met.  Every girl wanted to be just like her.  Becky and Franny did.  I did.  Neets!  Neets!  Neets!  Neets!  Neets!” — Jennifer Fox

“Sorry, Mrs. G.  The day before the final competition, Mrs. G gave us a break from training.  Nouga promised to come watch me ride.” — Jennifer Fox

“Yes, Mrs. G.  Yes!  Okay, Mrs. G.  I– I’m sorry, I don’t know what happened.  Yes, Mrs. G.  Okay, I’m fine.  Now?  Are you serious?  Yeah!” — Jennifer Fox

“Thank you.  You serious?  Yeah.  Strong body, strong mind.  It’s just– it’s just so hard to leave.  Really?  Can I write you when I’m on vacation?  Well, I’m happy for you.  I’m happy you have each other.  I don’t want you to be miserable like my parents.  How did they know they could trust me with their secret?  That I would never break their confidence?  The other girls would have told on them.” — Jennifer Fox

“I hate being home.  Even in this beautiful place, my brothers and sisters never stop fighting.  My mom and grandmother yell at them constantly.  I’m so confused.  But at the same time, I feel free.  Is your horse a boy or a girl?  It’s a beautiful horse.  Mom?  Dad?  Are you in there?  Sorry, mom, but it’s very important.  My friend, well, he invited me to the fair.  We’ll be back by 9:00.  A new friend from the stable.  Lucas Mendelssohn.  His family’s from Texas.  He’s flying home with his family tomorrow.  Please?  We’ll be back right at 9:00.  They said I can’t go.  But it won’t matter.  It’s just one of their stupid rules.  I hate them.  I don’t want to go.  Mendelssohn.” — Jennifer Fox

“I have made a decision.  I’m taking my life into my own hands.  That fall, every Friday, my dad picked me up from school and dropped me off at Mrs. G’s.  It was pure bliss.  It was heaven.  I was finally home.  I don’t think they’d understand.  Ha!  They don’t understand anything. It’s like if I was invisible.  Like if I didn’t even exist.  They’re such hypocrites.  I hate them.  And we’ll never lie to each other.  Like the rest of the world does.  When it came time to leave, we had to hurry.  Dr. G always got mad if we came home late.  Well… … it’s my life.  I can make my own decisions.  Yeah.  Well, I said yes, because I want to prove to bill and Mrs. G that I’m mature.  That’s just a fiction story.  It’s a version of what happened.  A lot of it’s true.  My teacher says that all stories are based on the writer’s life.  I know Mrs. G much better than Bill, but Bill is not gonna hurt me.  Stop!  You’ve become just like all of them.  You just want to tell me what to do.  It’s my life.  Mine.  Not yours.  Let me live!” — Jennifer Fox

“I never saw a gold medal before.  Yeah.  Really?  But I’m not a very good reader.  Okay.  ‘Make yourself free from self at one stroke.  Like a sword without a trace of soft iron.  Like a steel mirror, scours off all rust with contrition.  That you may see your own pure, bright essence.’  Nouga, it’s so beautiful.  Um, they always shake.  Yeah.  No, no, I’m okay.   I– I feel fine.  I don’t want to go home.  Look.  Um, okay.  ‘At every instant and from every side resounds the call of love.  We are going to heaven.  Who wants to come with us?  We have been the friends of the angels.  We will go back there, for there is our country.’  Yeah.  ‘We are higher than heaven.  More noble than the angels.  Why not go beyond them?  Our goal– our goal is the supreme majesty.  What has the fine pearl– why– why have–‘ o– okay.'” — Jennifer Fox

“Hi.  Please, mom.  Okay… let’s go.  Okay, let’s go.  I find that I trust him so much, I never realize where he’s leading me.  Once we’re that far, I don’t know how to say no.  I love him.  He loves me.  Nothing!” — Jennifer Fox


Martin, The Tale, HBO, Home Box Office, HBO Films, Gamechanger Films, Fork Films, One Two Films WeatherVane Productions, Blackbird Films, CommonMartin

“Hey, babe.  I guess you’re already on the plane.  Have a good trip back.  I’ll see you when you get home.  Love you.” — Martin

“Babe.  I come bearing gifts.  Yeah.  Where are you?  Babe.  You know, I never shot in Atlanta before.  Yeah.  Yeah.  So that came for you.  It’s from your mom.  Love you.  I’ll be back Tuesday.”– Martin

“The guy from Geralyn Hall left a message saying they’re booked all of July.  But I think you should call him.  You know, you talk people into anything.  Look at what I’m doing.  Yes.  Yes, that would be great.  I’ll work the chili powder.  So how was– how was the hall you went to see this weekend?  It’s supposed to be a good one.  I’m excited about it.”– Martin

“Thank you.  Who are they from?  Who wrote them?  They’re from an adult man.  I mean, how old was he?  That’s rape.  That’s illegal.  How old were you?  Like 13, 14?  But babe the ’70s, ’80s, it doesn’t matter.  I don’t want you to justify this.  You talked about the relationship, but this is a grown man.  But what does that have to do with it?  He was 40 years old.  He was my age.  Taking advantage of a child.  People?  Who are these people?  I saw a letter from a woman.  Who was that?  But, you– why do you want to find them when you’re the victim?  I’m not saying that to– Jennifer, I don’t know your life?  After six years?  Have you ever thought about seeing a therapist?  Did you ever even look at the ring I brought you?  I’m not going to leave with us like this.  I’m not going to.  Look, Jennifer, let’s– let’s talk.  I want to be here for you– I’m not leaving like this.  So– no, no, no.  All right, look, you don’t have to leave.  And when I come back we’re going to have to talk about this.”– Martin


Nadine Fox, The Tale, HBO, Home Box Office, HBO Films, Gamechanger Films, Fork Films, One Two Films WeatherVane Productions, Blackbird Films, Ellen BurstynNadine “Nettie” Fox

“Jennifer, sweetheart, it’s me again.  Would you call me back, please?  You’re not gonna believe what I found.  This story that you wrote in English class.  I’m worried about you.  Jennifer, I really need to talk to you.  I don’t know where you are.  I mean, you could be anywhere.  I’m going to send this to you.  I’m going to send it express mail, and I want you to read it.  Call me, please.” — Nettie Fox

“I’ve been so worried about you.  Did you read it yet?  It was in a box in the storage room.  What does it matter where I found it?  What matters is what it says.  What happened?  You lied to me all these years.  Oh, what is that supposed to mean?  That I’m too stupid to understand?  I found Bill on the internet.  There he is, for all the world to see.  Famous as ever.  Hold on, I’m gonna go in the office.  Just a minute.  Did you ever try looking him up?  Well, all you have to do is type in his name.  I couldn’t find anything on her, though.  However I do know somebody who’d put me in touch with Becky Davis.  Yeah, and she lives right over on Fairview.  You know, you haven’t come down for, like, two months.  I could use a little help.  Well, maybe she knows how we could get in touch with Mrs. G.  You’re 48 years old.  You’ve been engaged for three years.  He’s not going anywhere.  Okay.  Love you.” — Nettie Fox

“Well, that was fast.  Did you come to your senses?  What am I wrong about now?  Did you read what your teacher said on the back page?  Read it, now.  You see?  Even your English teacher knew without telling me.  No, I want you to nail them.” — Nettie Fox

“I didn’t know you were here.  ‘Hello, mother.  Hello, Jennifer.’  Not in that book.  Here.  No, no, no, that’s later.  That’s ’75.  You were already 15 here in this picture.  Let me show you 13.  There.  That’s 13.  Yeah.” — Nettie Fox

“Are you wearing a wire?  Oh, you should have a wire.  I thought Martin was gonna to help you, no?  You have to record everything.  Just tell me you’re gonna ask about Bill.  Okay, but don’t forget– tempus fugit.  You took Latin, look it up.  Oh, who could keep track?  Okay, bye.” — Nettie Fox

“Don’t question yourself now.  You’re doing everything right.  Oh, that’s smart.  Build a rapport.  Connect at her level.  It’s just like riding a bike, honey.  You’ll be fine.  Don’t worry about it.  We’ve all had a hard life.” — Nettie Fox

“What are you doing now?  Letters are in this box.  I found them when I found your story.  And I didn’t give them to you because… because I was ashamed.” — Nettie Fox

“Good morning.  Well, that’s a good look for you.  No, that didn’t have anything to do with it.  It was because you were an unusual child, and you knew how to talk to adults.  Oh, I’ll never forget that day.  You kidding?  All my antenna went off.  As soon as you were out of the house with him, I ran to your father.  Oh, yeah, sure.  Here, I’ll take your bag.  Yeah.  He did.  No, it wasn’t Christmas.  It was autumn.  Was she?  I don’t remember.  What are you talking about?  No.  My mother saw you?  No, absolutely not.  I would’ve killed him.  Of course, whenever I asked you about Bill, you did lie.  Whoa, wait a minute.  I asked you specifically if Bill and Mrs. G were having an affair, and you looked me right in the eye and said no.  Well, why are you not angry?  That’s what I want to know.  How would you– how would you feel if it was your daughter?  What would you do?  Huh?  That’s true.  Are you equating me with Mrs. G and your father with that–?  At last, you admit you were damaged.  There’s a question I’ve been wanting to ask since I read your story.  Did you like it?  I just don’t understand.  Why did you keep going back?  What?  Tell me.  I want to know.  Well… you were always special to me.  And then after that, you became so promiscuous.  You slept with all kinds of men.  Foreign men, married men… you didn’t care about the wives.  You didn’t care about anything.  That’s old-fashioned, huh?  Excuse me.” — Nettie Fox

“I failed.  I didn’t want it to be true.  I told myself it couldn’t be true.  I failed at the one thing a mother is supposed to do.  Protect her child.  I am so sorry.” — Nettie Fox


Nadine Fox, The Tale, HBO, Home Box Office, HBO Films, Gamechanger Films, Fork Films, One Two Films WeatherVane Productions, Blackbird Films, Laura AllenYoung Nettie

“Yes.  Oh, thank you.  Oh.  Um– you coach Jenny’s running?  I am proud.  All right, please tell Mrs. Gramercy I’d like Jenny home Sunday by 5:00 p.m. sharp, so she can get her homework done.  All right.  Uh, bye.  Flowers.  He gave me flowers.  And look, he gave you a gift too.  Here.  Why would anyone do that?  Our daughter spends every weekend in the home of a divorced woman on her second marriage.  What do we really know about her?  And now this Bill?” — Nettie Fox


Jane Gramercy, The Tale, HBO, Home Box Office, HBO Films, Gamechanger Films, Fork Films, One Two Films WeatherVane Productions, Blackbird Films, Elizabeth Debicki Jane Gramercy, The Tale, HBO, Home Box Office, HBO Films, Gamechanger Films, Fork Films, One Two Films WeatherVane Productions, Blackbird Films, Elizabeth DebickiJane Gramercy

Mrs. G

“Who are you?  Who?  Oh.  Jenny.  You’re coming to spend the summer here.  Of course I remember you.  You’ve had a few lessons.  No, I wouldn’t say so.  Not a natural.  Your family’s rich, though.  Jews.  I’d never met a Jew until I came to America.  Jews don’t ride horses.  Ever seen a Jew competing at Brighton?  I suppose I should get on with it.” — Mrs. G

“Hi, there.  I am.  So nice to meet you finally.  Many phone calls later.  Jenny, how are you?  I’m well, I’m well.  Let’s take him to the stalls.  Oh, thank you.  Oh, it’s so great to have her… and there are two other girls who are joining Jenny this afternoon.  Which is lovely.  Good number, I think.  Not too many to keep an eyeball on.  Really?  You ready to work hard for the next few weeks, missus?  Right, off we go.” — Mrs. G

“Take the salad, Franny.  You take the rest.  And you, Mrs. Cat.  It’s hot.  Use your gloves, please.  Never, ever, ever put a pie crust on the bottom.  It only gets soggy.  That and the raisins are the secret to the perfect apple pie.  But don’t you tell anyone.  Off you go.  Dr. G and I are so pleased to welcome you to our home for what we’re sure will be a fine summer season.  Franny, would you lead us in grace, please?  Of course you can.  Lord.” — Mrs. G

“Wakey-wakey!  Time to run.  Meet outside in ten minutes.  No stragglers.  Good morning.  We’ll be running every morning before our first ride, with Bill.  You’re very lucky.  Bill is an excellent coach.  He will teach you to go beyond the complaints if your bodies.  Running gives us stamina.  Makes us into excellent riders.  Good morning.  This is Franny… Becky… and Jenny.  Come along, girls!  Good girl, Jenny.  I’ll walk with them.  Meet you at the top.” — Mrs. G

“Right, girls.  Here we go now.  Now you missed a spot.  You can do better than that.  See here?  Finish.  Good girl.  What’s going on here?  No excuses.  Come on.  Five… Jenny, come join us.  Nothing.  I don’t know.  I never asked him.  What?  Really?  Really, Jenny?  I expected so much more of you.” — Mrs. G

“Quiet hands, quiet horse.  You know this.  I’d love to be in that daydream.  It looks lovely in there.  Is it nice?  Yes.  Okay, well that horse needs you to be present.  Let’s go.  ‘Okay, Mrs. G.’  Good girl, better.  Good girl, Jenny!  Let’s go!  Take that jump again.  Come on.  No fretting.  No, it’s fine.  Get right back on that horse.  Here we go.  Good girl.  Up.  There we go.  Take a breath.  Okay.  Want you to use this.  We don’t want that horse getting any bad habits, do we?  There are no bad horses, only bad riders,  Right?  Okay, let’s take it again.  Back on the rein-in, girls.  Let’s canter, please.  Want you to take that jump again.  Thank you so much for joining us today four our final demonstration of the girl’s summer intensive.  Today, they will be mock competing in three very demanding events.  So let’s wish them all good luck.  Jenny.  Jenny, your mother just called me.  Your sister’s broken her arm.  They won’t be able to pick you up till tomorrow.  Bill and I want to take you out for dinner.  Yeah.  Yeah, you hungry?  Come on, I’m starving.” — Mrs. G

“I’d love that.  Anything.  How do you feel?  Dear girl.  ‘My dear Jenny, Nouga and I shared our cards from you, your poems of pathos.  I hope you don’t mind.  You have some very special kind of beauty, Jenny, and it’s natural to want to share…’ Jenny, I feel for you.  Growth always means change.  But then Nouga says, change is almost always painful, and thus pain is joy.  So we smile again.  So glad you’ve made a new friend, my dear Jenny.” — Mrs. G

“Hi, my love. Let me look at you.  Someone’s kept up with her training.  I think we should tell your parents about visiting Bill at his house.  What do you think?  You shouldn’t hate them, Jenny.  You should pity them.  I have to go.  We have to go.  Come on, missus.  I haven’t even made dinner.  You know how he gets when he hasn’t got his dinner.  It’s not up to me.  Jenny can make her own mind up.  Can’t you?  I have to go either way.” — Mrs. G


Jane Gramercy, The Tale, HBO, Home Box Office, HBO Films, Gamechanger Films, Fork Films, One Two Films WeatherVane Productions, Blackbird Films, Frances ConroyMrs. G (older)

“It’s ancient.  What are we having, Fran?  You know, I have a lot of regrets.  I would change so many things if I could go back in time.  No, West Country.  I grew up on a farm.  But my mum preferred the dogs over me.  I was taken away and put in a children’s home quite young.  Right out of Dickens.  Better just get it over with.  No need to wallow.  Ray passed away two years ago.  Dr. G has cancer.  He’s lived with it for a long time.  No one thought he would live this long.  So there.  You know everything.  Now we can change the subject.” — Mrs. G

“Yes, you’re a beauty.  Come on.  Let’s get you up on the saddle and see what you can do.  Whoa, hold up.  Hold up there.  This one’s a shark.  Oh, what a shark.  But how the shark can move.  Oh, nonsense.  You ready?  There we go.  Mr. Shark’s got perfect conformation, but he was too small for breeding, so they cut him and put him up for sale.  Okay… he needs contact with your hands to feel you.  Nonsense, now remember the position.  Heels down, head up like a queen.  Arms down, Jenny.  You know, quiet hands, quiet horse.  Hands down, Jenny.  He can’t feel you, Jenny, he can’t know what you’re asking for.  You are a beauty.  You look beautiful.  You are a beauty.  Canter now.  No excuses.  Canter now.  Canter now.  The body remembers everything.  It really does.  Remember: no bad horses, only bad riders.” — Mrs. G


Aaron, The Tale, HBO, Home Box Office, HBO Films, Gamechanger Films, Fork Films, One Two Films WeatherVane Productions, Blackbird Films, Matthew RauchAaron

“You must be Jane.  I’m Aaron, it’s nice to meet you.  Finally face-to-face.  It’s a pleasure.  This is a beautiful piece of property.  I see.  When Jenny first started with this horse business I didn’t understand it.  Her mother still doesn’t.  I see now how good it is for her, though.  Do you know, in Russia, Jews were not allowed to ride horses?  What?  Because no Jew could be higher than a Russian.  But Jenny’s great-great-uncle, he was very tall.  And he rode a horse.  What?”

“We talked about this.  I will not have your mother instilling fear in my children.  This is still my house.”

“Yeah.  Just like your mother.  You think the world is full of danger.  Nadine, what are you even talking about?”


Becky

“You know, it’s funny.  I don’t remember anything of what I learned riding-wise, from Mrs. G.  But I remember learning discipline.  Her idea that you enduring pain makes you better.  Oh, you were lucky.  You got more time with her.  My parents, they never would have let me stay.  I was only a child, so they watched me like a hawk.  You know, I found some photos from that summer.  Thought you might like to see them. Oh, I saw Franny a few years back.  I– yeah.  She said something about Mrs. G.  There’s some great ones of Franny, too.  But I couldn’t seem to find any of you.  You were such a tiny little thing, so much smaller than Franny and I.  You almost looked like a little boy.  So afraid that you barely said two words.” — Becky

“My mom said Ray isn’t even Dr. G’s kid.  She’s divorced.” — Becky


Bill Allens, The Tale, HBO, Home Box Office, HBO Films, Gamechanger Films, Fork Films, One Two Films WeatherVane Productions, Blackbird Films, Jason RitterBill Allens

“Good morning, girls.  Hi.  Bill.  Hi.  I’m so happy to meet you.  Jane has already told me a lot about you.  So, here we go.  Jane, why don’t you run scout, I’ll run gunner.  We’ll see how everyone does, and then we’ll switch it up in the middle.  All right.  I am Nouga and you are Neets!  When I say Nouga, you say Neets!  Nouga!  Nouga!  Nouga!  Nouga!  Nouga!  Okay, Franny, you’re doing great.  Just walk for a few minutes.  Jane?” — Bill Allens

“You must push yourself beyond all boundaries.  No limits!” — Bill Allens

“Go, Jenny!  I have been very impressed with your running this summer, Jenny.  Really.  But I want you to consider joining my inner-city running team when you come back from vacation.  I am serious.  You have talent.  And, more importantly, you have guts.  Without guts, talent is wasted.  Strong body, strong mind.  Say it.  There you go.  You’ll be all right.  You’ll be fine.  Jane tells me that you’re quite a storyteller.  Do you know I write, too?  Mm-hmm.  Poetry.  We would love that.  You can write us and you can tell us anything you want.  There are no secrets at this table.  And we don’t want to keep any secrets from you, either.  Jane and I have talked, and we’ve decided that we want us all to be equals.  And we respect you too much to lie.  So we want you to know that Jane and I are lovers.  You see?  Told you she has a deep soul.” — Bill Allens

“‘It’s easier to be unhappy in this world.  It has been burned into my brain that it is I that is selfish.  I take, they give.’  Dear Jenny, try to continue with your running.  Before long, the pleasure of doing it will appear again.  Each day, the well-done piece will build your confidence.  This wonderful experience will open new worlds for you to come.  But do not rush.  You have plenty of time to enjoy everything.” — Bill Allens

“Well, your parents are just afraid of the world.  They’re just afraid of living, of being free.  They cannot accept that you are becoming a woman.  They can’t see you the way that we can.  They’re just not brave like you are.  You’re not afraid of life.  Right Jenny?  You’re not afraid of living.  How about this?  We will form our own family based on complete honesty and love.  Hiding nothing, revealing everything.  Just the truth.  Never.  That’s exactly right.  It’s always you two going off.  Jane, why doesn’t Jenny have dinner with me tonight?  And that way we get a little bit more time to talk about all this stuff?  Then if it gets too late, you can sleep in my son’s old room and I’ll bring her over first thing tomorrow morning.  How does that sound?  Good.  Then it’s decided.” — Bill Allens

“Pretty cool, huh?  Watch out!  I picked out a book of poetry that I want to show you.  It’s Rumi.  I have wanted to show you this since the first time I read your writing, because it reminded me of you.  You’ll see.  Okay… here we go.  Start there, and just read it out loud. Oh, I am sure you read beautifully.  All rust with contrition.  Yes.  I just knew you would like it.  I just knew it.  Jenny, are you cold?  Your hands are trembling.  I meant to light the fire, but now it’s too late.  You shouldn’t freeze.  Are you feeling okay?  Maybe I should just call Mrs. G– okay, well, then why don’t you read the other poem that’s in there with the page turned down.  Yes!  That’s my favorite.  ‘Call of Love.’  And I’ll be right back.  I’m going to get you a blanket.  I can’t hear you!  Okay, now move back.  All right, you’ll feel a lot warmer in a second.  How’s that?  Is that better?  Okay, now scoot over.  I’m cold now.  Don’t stop.  You’re doing great.  Jenny, you are so special.  Did you know that?  You’re so deep.  I want to save you from all of those… stupid young boys out there.  I think you are… perfect.  Would you do something for me?  Would you let me see you?  Will you just show me what you look like without…?  Okay.  Are you shy?  Do you think I want you to have big breasts like Mrs. G?  I don’t.  Do you want to take your shirt off?  Yeah?  Okay.  You’ve been preparing for this moment.  I don’t think we should tell Mrs. G about us.  I don’t think she’s quite ready.  Do you want to keep reading?” — Bill Allens

“You can’t see yourself.  I keep working on your self-image, but you’re so stubborn, so attached to your drama.  Becky was closed off already.  You’re an adult now, Jenny.  You tell me.  How do you find freshness in the world of adults?  Look at yourself.  Look at me.  Doubtful, jaded.  Unable to be surprised.  I’m dying in my own skin.  I wish you could see yourself the way I see you.  That earnestness, the devotion, the love.  An adult cannot love like that.  Only children can.  It’s so pure.  You still believe in possibilities.  As I do.  As I do.  See?  Yes. exactly.  Didn’t I?” — Bill Allens

“Hello.  You must be Mrs. Fox.  How lovely to finally meet you.  These are for you.  And, uh, for your– for your husband.  I’m a big fan.  Been following his progress in the local papers.  Jane wanted me to tell you that she is so sorry that she couldn’t pick Jenny up tonight.  Um, but she asked me to.  This house is right on my way home from work.  I live across the field from Mrs. Gramercy?  She’s… yes.  She’s a very talented runner.  She shows a lot of promise.  You should be very proud.  A wonderful, wonderful girl.  Absolutely.  One of us will have her back in time Sunday night.  Don’t have to worry.” — Bill Allens

“Just breathe.  It’s okay.  Not yet.  We have to keep stretching you open slowly.  No young boy would ever do this for you.  But I’m not giving up.  I’m ready for you.” — Bill Allens

“I just wanted to say that I’m glad you guys are all here.  I wanted to share my good fortune with the people that I love.  My boys, and Jenny.  So, cheers.” — Bill Allens


Franny, The Tale, HBO, Home Box Office, HBO Films, Gamechanger Films, Fork Films, One Two Films WeatherVane Productions, Blackbird Films, Isabella AmaraFranny

“Jenny Fox, is that you?  Hi!  How good to hear from you.  So surprised to get your message.  What happened to your outside leg?  Yeah.  You know, the other left one.  Sorry, I’m in the middle of work.  Oh, you don’t know?  I manage Mrs. G’s farm.  Have for years.  Oh.  Do you still ride?  Jenny?” — Franny

“Ah, here are our drinks.  Okay, Mary, Mother will have the onion soup… Jenny, you gonna eat?  Thanks, let’s slow down, eh?  Why would you say that?  She and Dr. G are absolutely devoted to one another.  I don’t know what happened to him.  I don’t have any idea.” — Franny

“You don’t know what you’re talking about.  Her first husband killed himself.” — Franny

“Hey, Jenny.  Find it okay?  She’s out back.  Hope you don’t end up in the dirt like last time we saw you.” — Franny



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