It’s been eight years since their daughter’s death but Doug and Lois still haven’t been able to come to terms with their loss. For years Lois hasn’t dared leave their house on the outskirts of Indianapolis, while Doug tries to fulfil his need for uncomplicated love with an ongoing affair with a waitress. But then, the waitress dies unexpectedly. Gutted, Doug gladly accepts a business appointment in New Orleans in the hope that this will take his mind off things. Having had enough of his colleague’s company, however, Doug winds up at a striptease club where his attention is drawn to Mallory. Their paths cross again by chance at a diner. This sixteen-year-old runaway has been through a lot; she’s a tough young woman who refuses to get involved with anyone or anything. During their meeting, each intuitively senses the other’s wounds. Doug unwittingly becomes her protector – a role that costs him a hundred dollars a day, because that’s what he has to pay if he wants to spend the day with Mallory. Gradually, Mallory becomes something of a substitute daughter for Doug. It’s an unusual role for her. She’s never been with anyone who just wants to spend time with her and who doesn’t make any demands of her. Doug really perks up in his new role: at last he has somebody he can look after, someone who isn’t as complicated as Lois, who is so wrapped up in her own world that there’s no room for Doug any more. His new-found experience makes him feel courageous and he calls Lois to tell her that he isn’t coming back to Indianapolis. Suddenly confronted with the real possibility of her thirty-year marriage coming to an end, Lois decides to conquer her fears and neuroses and set off for New Orleans. Her journey brings her back to life, but also puts her new-found strength to the test.
by Jake Scott
with James Gandolfini, Kristen Stewart, Melissa Leo