Aileen: Sometimes I think everybody just thinks I’m this bad shitty fucking person, and all I’m fucking tryin’ to do is survive, you know?
Thomas: I know.
Thomas: I know exactly. I know what you do for a living. It doesn’t bother me. I know you didn’t dial it up on a goddamn telephone. That’s where you landed. That’s what you had to do. What you’re feeling right now is just guilt, over something you had absolutely no control over. You know how many of us came back from the war? And almost killed ourselves because we felt exactly the same thing you do, right now.
Thomas: Yeah. And they’ll never get it. They don’t get it now, they never got it then, and they sure as hell won’t get fucking circumstance!
Aileen: Fuck, man, circumstance, that’s exactly it, that’s exactly it. You know it’s like I feel like I never even had a fucking choice.
Thomas: You never did! But you gotta live. You gotta live.
Aileen: That’s it. Okay.
Willie: Where you been?
Erica: I’ve been here.
Willie: I know that. How come you don’t call me back?
Erica: There’s just a lot going on right now.
Willie: Does your mother got a problem with me?
Erica: I don’t know. No.
Willie: Cause I saw the way she looked at me when you told her we were gonna get married.
Erica: I think you should go.
Willie: I want to talk to you.
Erica: I don’t have anything to say.
Hank Aimes: My name is Hank Aimes and I’ve been a ranger all my life. And I’ve never been ashamed of it until now. You know when we take our wives and daughters to the company barbecue, I don’t hear any of them calling them those names like bitches and whores and worse. I don’t see anyone grab them by their privates or drawing pictures of them on the bathroom walls, it’s unspeakable. Unspeakable! So what’s changed? She’s still my daughter! It’s a heck of a thing, to watch one of your own get treated that way. You’re all supposed to be my friends, my brothers. Well, right now I don’t have a friend in this room. In fact the only one I’m not ashamed of is my daughter.
I first saw this film on an airplane on my way back from London in 2000 and I loved it immediately. I didn’t see it again for a few years, but when I finally did watch it again I still loved it as much as I did then. At the time of its release it was up for seven Oscars – Best Score, Best Editing, Best Art Direction, Best Director, Best Picture and won two: Best Adapted Screenplay John Irving and Best Supporting Actor Michael Caine. Best Picture-wise it was up against The Insider, The Green Mile, The Sixth Sense and winner American Beauty.