As Reynold (Dan Reynolds) runs across a field, Ava, his wife, narrates her letter to him. In it, she says “my heart is broken…and I fear that I won’t be whole again.” While he drives, he rubs his forehead, the words, “I’m leaving you,” echoing in his mind.
Back home, she runs her hand over their bed, thinking of what she wrote. “Maybe you never meant it. Maybe you knew that you would string me along for all these years. You are not the man I thought you were.” He hits the steering wheel. She watches the sunset, thinking of the women he had in their bed.
At the pawn shop, he rereads the letter again and parks his car. He taps the glass and then his fist on the counter. The clerk looks up from his paperwork and Reynold shows him his wedding ring. The clerk inspects it and shakes his hand, offering him $200. Reynold tries to negotiate but the clerk stands by his price. “Give it back,” he tells the clerk.
Reynold looks around and takes a gun out of his pocket of his jeans. He narrates that “we spend most of our lives thinking about our mistakes, things we wish we could take back.” The clerk presses the alarm and hides under the table, grabbing his rifle. Reynold fires his gun, killing the clerk.
“Forgive me for what I’ve done,” he narrates as the police arrive at the pawn shop. He puts his hands up and is arrested. Sitting in his cell, he thinks “I’m sitting in the darkness and I know they are coming for me. The skies are open and the ghosts came back.” He hits his hands against the brick of his cell and screams.
The coroner inspects the body as a judge types up a parole letter. The guard lets out of him the jail. The guard wishes him luck as he walks home. Underneath the foggy azure sky, he thinks of making love to his wife. She sits on the couch, waiting for him. A plate is set for him at the dinner table.
He passes a body bag near the lake and lifts it to see who it is. A young woman looks to him as he puts his hand on her shoulder. He runs on the train tracks and passes a sixtysomething man. An eight-year-old boy walks on crutches among the orange trees near Reynold’s home.
Ankles chained, he is led by two guards as he walks down the hallway. A dice rolls. The eight-year-old boy falls onto the dirt. Ava writes: “My dearest, I failed you. I failed us. I love you. I’m sorry.” She approaches the room as he is placed in the electric chair. The doctor readies the syringes and injects him in the arm. She bites her lips and chokes back tears.
On the porch, she grins as she watches him walk back home. They kiss. He helps the eight-year-old up and squeezes an orange. “Can anyone truly be forgiven?” she asks him. She makes the sign of the cross and watches his eyes as he sits in the electric chair.
He says his last words: “Hold me forever. Touch me now before I go. Let me know I’m alive.”
For most of her life, Ava has lived alone. At first, it was by choice. Her husband, Reynold had been cheating on her. It become an open secret around town and people often whispered whenever she went grocery shopping or took a walk. One afternoon, while he was at work, she wrote him a letter and said the marriage was over.
Then he murdered a clerk. Although her family tells her she shouldn’t feel responsible, she believes the blood is on her hands for the clerk’s death, too. The letter had set him off and now due to her words, a young man no longer has a future.
She visited her husband in prison and checked on him. She read his letters and sent him pictures. The cheating seems to be a non-issue. They could’ve worked it out. He often tells her he dreams that they have a son.
Time was running out, though. The judge had issued a death sentence and in a few days, he was going to be executed. She consulted every lawyer in the state. They told her there wasn’t a chance. He killed the clerk and surrendered. There was nothing they could do. One lawyer did try, citing his good behavior and stated that the punishment was harsh. The stay was denied.
His final words resonate with her. He deserved a second chance. Prison had changed him into man devoted to God. He often said she was the one who allowed him to keep his humanity. Without her, he was a monster.
Director: Mark Pellington Year: 2018
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