In the 1970s, A soldier opens a rusted red chest. Dog tags lie next to a photographs of fortysomething man fighting in the Vietnam War.
An eight-year-old places the photo on his bicycle. He rides in the street of his middle-class suburban neighborhood. He drops his bicycle in the driveway of his house and talks to his 16-year-old brother in the garage. His 16-year-old brother smears his face with his grease and picks him up by the legs.
He and his 16-year-old walk on the train tracks with their dog. He throws their dog a stick. They examine flattened change left on the train tracks. Back home, his older brother sits by him and shows him the penny. His older brother ruffles his hair and he smiles. At night, he opens a jar and they both watch a swarm of fireflies gathered in the sky.
At the cemetery, a soldier carries the American flag. A second soldier plays the trumpet. Three soldiers honor the boys’ father with a final salute.
As they walk out of Woolworth’s, footage of the war plays on television. A family member barbecues hot dogs for the Fourth of July barbecue. He watches his older cousin play with a sparkler. She lights a match to the stick and waves it in the air. His eyes bulge. An uncle drinks some beer.
In a photograph, the boy, wearing his baseball uniform, kneels on the field with his brother. The soldier hands the flag to the eight-year-old boy and salutes him. Waving a flashlight in the tent, he asks his brother to tell him a story. His brother answers, “I think it’s time you tell me a story.” The boys’ father sits to next to him in the photograph.
While he holds the flag, he thinks of his last conversation with his father. He asks his father “why do you have to go…” His father responds: “Promise. I’ll be back in no time.”
Avicii turns away from the fireflies and walks in the field.
The youngest brother drives his rental car through his hometown. He pulls up into the driveway four doors away from his childhood home. His sister-in-law gives him a hug and thanks him for coming. She says she didn’t know who else to call. He says it was all right and asks about his brother. She says he has been lying in bed. He’s had a hard time moving. However, she can’t get him to go to the hospital.
His older brother hated hospitals. Seeing their grandfather with tubes around his face had frightened him. His older brother had kept his hand on his shoulder during his funeral’s funeral. However, he had been the one who led his brother out of the room to calm him down.
While their father was fighting the war, his older brother watched over him. He helped him with his homework and made sure he did his chores. Sometimes, he challenged him and they fought. However, his brother explained that he has to take care of the house and their mother. She can’t do everything alone. He looked forward to their Saturday lunches at Woolworth’s and creating forts in the living room. They often camped out in the backyard on the weekends. He always asked his brother to share stories about their dad or make one up, if he couldn’t think of anything.
He says hello to his brother. His brother manages a smile. He sits by the bed and says he has a story for him. He tells him about the woman he sat next to on the plane trip and one about his ex-girlfriend. His brother coughs as he laughs and puts his hand to his ribs, saying it hurts. He tells him they are going to the hospital now. He says he can’t. There is so much to do. He tries to pick him up but his brother winces. He tells his sister-in-law to call 911. His brother calls out “no!” He assures his brother it’s going to be okay, even though he isn’t sure himself.
Director: Jesse Sternbaum Year: 2013