written by David Hare, from the novel by Michael Cunningham
Background: Laura (Julianne Moore) has come to Clarissa's apartment after being informed of the death of Richard (Ed Harris), her estranged son. Here she explains to Clarissa (Meryl Streep), Richard’s closest friend and could've-been lover, why she left her family one day.
Laura: There are times when you don’t belong and you think you’re going to kill yourself. Once I went to a hotel. That night…later that night, I made a plan. Plan was, I would leave my family when my second child was born. And that’s what I did. Got up one morning, made breakfast, went to the bus stop, got on a bus. I’d left a note. (pause) I got a job in a library in Canada. It would be wonderful to say you regretted it. It would be easy. But what does it mean? What does it mean to regret when you have no choice? It’s what you can bear. There it is. No one is going to forgive me. (Laura looks at Clarissa, steady, unapologetic.) It was death. I chose life.
Leonard: If you were clear…if you were thinking clearly, you would remember: it was London which brought you low.
Virginia: If I were thinking clearly?
Leonard: We brought you to Richmond to give you peace.
(Virginia takes a moment to summon all her lucidity.)
Virginia: If I were thinking clearly? If I were thinking clearly, Leonard, I would tell you that I wrestle alone in the dark, in the deep dark, and that only I can know, only I can understand my own condition. You live with the threat, you tell me. You live with the threat of my extinction. Leonard, I live with it too. This is my right. It is the right of every human being. I choose not the suffocating anesthetic of the suburbs, but the violent jolt of the capital. That is my choice. The meanest patient, yes even the very lowest, is allowed some say in the matter of her own prescription. Thereby she defines her humanity. (Virginia is calm now, certain.) I wish for your sake, Leonard, that I could be happy in this quietness. But if it is a choice between Richmond and death, I choose death.
Kudos and much thanks go to Vanessa for these monologues, it is very much appreciated. Thanks to Paul for providing some corrections.
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