THE HOLLY AND THE IVY

by Pamela Ann Davis

A Screenplay


Tom Whiteman, an attractive, bookish scientist in his mid-thirties, is a damaged man who blames himself for the tragic death of his beloved younger sister, Chelsea, when they were teenagers. The fact that he is not responsible for her dying, his mother’s fatal stroke soon after, and his broken-hearted father’s departure makes no difference. His sense of guilt has left him emotionally isolated, and as Christmas approaches he plans to go alone on a cruise to Jamaica.

The picture begins to change when Allen Marshall, a big time land developer, decides to make an offer on a tract of land on a lake in upstate New York, land belonging to Tom’s Aunt Betty who is remarried to an English lord and no longer lives there. Tom, who works in Manhattan, is the person entrusted by his aunt to take care of the estate in her absence, but he has not had to actually go to the property for many years.

Allen Marshall’s offer changes all that because now Tom has to go up to the village, home of his childhood playmate and former teenage sweetheart, Jessie. Presently a war widow with two daughters, she owns and operates Fennimore’s Fine Foods, a gourmet food store in the village. She and her girls live with her uncle, Hanson, a kindly bachelor who adopted her when she was orphaned as a toddler. When Tom turns up at Fennimore’s to meet Allen Marshall and show him Aunt Betty’s estate, all the old wounds of the shattered romance open up again for him and Jessie. A potential complication too is that now Jessie has a suitor, a handsome lawyer with an office in the village.

Allen Marshall intends to create a deluxe development that would change forever the local ecology and peaceful character of the picturesque hamlet, and he offers Tom a powerful incentive to facilitate the land deal. Tom tells him he will present the deal to his aunt, but he cannot predict what her answer will be.

When Hanson comes to Manhattan for some Christmas shopping with Jessie and her daughters, he and Tom meet for a drink. At this meeting Tom learns that his aunt and uncle had intended to use their land to help the world, but Aunt Betty’s husband passed away before they could settle on a plan, so she moved away, eventually married Lord Harrington, and let her noble intention slip into oblivion.

Tom also learns from Hanson the sad circumstances around Jessie’s precipitous marriage to her high school prom date years ago. Her life had spun out of control, but the one thing she could control was the choice not to tell Tom, who was away at college, for she knew he would offer to marry her and perhaps abandon his studies. Her husband, a soldier, came home from war afflicted with PTSD and violent mood swings, and their marriage ended tragically with his suicide, leaving her to raise their two daughters.

Events take an unexpected turn when Tom receives word that Aunt Betty has succumbed to a fatal fall from a horse. Summoned to Boston for the reading of the will, he is not prepared for the news and the bequest he receives, but the moment has come for him to make a series of decisions that could change the future not only for himself but for those close to him. In the hours before dawn when Aunt Betty looks back at him from the mysterious depths of a full-length antique mirror and motions him to join her, mesmerized, he steps into an Alternative Reality where he accompanies her on a mystical journey, revisiting some of the most meaningful and fateful moments of his life—a journey of transformational soul retrieval with profound and dramatic consequences.