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Crossing the Line


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Comedy/Drama/, USA, 2011, 30 min.

Synopsis Cathy cuts Sean's hair and tells him about watching Lee die. She's decided she's not afraid of dying. "I can do it," she announces. Sean's back after three weeks of walking along the highway. He tells her he worked with a traveling carnival until someone tried to saw his toes off in the middle of the night because they were looking at him funny. He was scared and ran away. Then he decided if Cathy can stay put with everything going on, he can, too. He brought her a sticky creature that she's delighted with.Cathy comes home to find Paul complaining about their non-refundable airline tickets. He announces he quit his job. Paul's distracted going over the bills when Cathy announces she wants to run the New Year's Eve marathon. She runs 10 miles a week, just not all at the same time.Adam comes downstairs, very excited that Mia -- who broke up with him after he got crabs from a hooker -- has invited him to her New Year's Eve party. Cathy tells him to go. The race starts at 8 a.m. and she should be long done by midnight.Cathy does stretches and sees Dr. Todd's engagement announcement in the paper. Paul tries to convince a health insurance company to pay for a scan they pre-approved then denied payment for.Cathy visits Dr. Todd. He's engaged to an old friend he reconnected with. She brought him a framed x-ray of her tumors shrinking. She tells him about her plans to run the marathon and he advises her against it.Sean counsels Adam before the party, advising him to "keep his pecker in his pants."Cathy tries to register for the marathon in person, playing the cancer card, but gets denied by a woman who says the deadline has passed. The numbers have already been mailed out. "Rules are rules," she says. "You should put that on your tombstone, you'll really impress a lot of people," Cathy says, walking out.Cathy goes to Lee's apartment, which has been stripped bare, except for a photo of them together and his mail. She finds his marathon number. The super catches her and tries to warn her it's a federal offense, but she runs out the door.Paul takes Thomas out and finds his staff of coke in his winter coat pocket. Thomas yanks his leash and Paul drops the vial, so he hunkers down in the snow and tries to snort it. Which is where Cathy finds him.He tells her he had a hard time fitting in with the young guys. "Couldn't you just have started texting a lot?" she asks. She asks if he was fired and he confesses he quit to avoid a drug test. She points out doing drugs is much more selfish than her running a marathon. He says he doesn't have a problem and was just trying to cope. He urges her to go run the marathon and he'll dump the rest of the coke and meet her there.Cathy arrives to the marathon super late, to find them packing up the start line. She crosses wearing Lee's number. Sean joins her to help her think warm thoughts.Back home, Paul takes out his staff of coke but can't bring himself to dump it. He snorts it instead. Cathy and Sean jog and compare terrific moments. Sean's offering is when you rip a juicy fart and think you've pooped your pants, but you check and find out you haven't.Dr. Todd finds Adam along the parade route. Adam asks him if doctors get a lot of tail, which Todd confirms.Sean bows out of running with Cathy, citing extreme nipple chaffing.At home, Paul tries to reach the insurance company but can't get through.Cathy reaches mile 7 and has to pause to rehydrate. Todd checks her pulse and finds an arrhythmia. He warns her she could have a heart attack and die before she reaches the finish line, to which she responds: "Eh."She refuses to give up and tells Adam to go to his party. Todd gives her clean socks and suggests she keep a song in her head to distract her from the cold.Adam watches his mom jog off and asks Todd how much time he thinks his mom has left. They go get coffee. Someone with her diagnosis could last anywhere from 10 months to two years. Adam worries that his mom might forget who he is, but Todd says that's not likely.It's totally dark outside when Cathy stops to peel her gross and bloody socks off her feet and change.Paul goes into the health insurance company, which is the middle of an office party. He interrupts things to apologize for the name he called her on the phone. She tells him she can't help him. He stands in front of everyone and tells them they're arguing over a $2,700 bill and Daisy is a "fickle f----" who refuses to help him . He tells them they better pray they don't get sick because they'll be screwed if their bill comes across Daisy's desk. He might have to sell his house, and he gets choked up saying that would be a tragedy if Cathy goes first because he won't be able to smell her in every room or see the furniture the way she arranged it. He gets worked up, huffing for breath, then walks off unsteadily, saying he has to get to a race.Adam waits at the finish line for his mom, one of just a handful left. There's snow on the ground and it's clearly freezing. Mia joins him, saying she left her party because the guy she wanted to kiss at midnight wasn't there. His 400th text convinced her he was really sorry. He tells her he'll join her after his mom finishes and she should go get warm. He asks her not to kiss anyone else if he's not there at midnight. She likes it when he begs. She kisses him and leaves.Cathy limps along into the stadium, barely able to stay on her feet. Adam, Sean, Todd wait for her. She stumbles forward slowly, then sees Lee and Marlene waiting for her. Paul walks up and stands with them. Cathy says outloud that everybody came, but Adam says his dad's not there.Cathy looks again at Paul standing with Lee and Marlene, then realizes what she's seeing and what's happening. Cut to Paul on the floor of the insurance building, being worked on by paramedics.Cathy tries to process what's going on and as the reality of it hits her, she crumples to the ground.


Directed by Michael Engler  

Starring Laura Linney, Oliver Platt, Gabriel Basso, John Benjamin Hickey, Phyllis Somerville, more...

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