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Where I Live (1960)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Sunday morning in the dog-eared home Jessy and her husband Bert share with Jessy's aged Dad. As Jessy begins her housework, she spurns Dad's offers of help and grows irritated at his hanging around 'in the way'. Dad becomes excited when she tells him that her brother George, and his wife, Vi, are expected to visit that afternoon, but chides her for not telling him earlier.

Jessy and Bert discuss the impending visit. Bert worries that she might have revealed the real reason they have invited George and Vi; Jessy is more concerned about the way Dad so obviously worships her brother. Both are upset not to have heard from their daughter, Marlene, living in London. Watching his wife's relentless work about the house, Bert implores her to give up her job, saying that they could manage on his income alone. Jessy insists she doesn't mind the job.

When Jessy threatens to have Dad's old cat put down if she catches him in the lounge again, Dad storms off to his room in a sulk. Bert tries to cheer him up, but Dad will not be swayed from his self-pity. George and Vi arrive, early. Jessy hurriedly disappears to make herself presentable, leaving Bert to welcome their guests. After Bert summons Dad, George regales him with stories of his thriving business in Clacton; Dad glows with pride at his son's success.

Meanwhile, Jessy and Bert discuss their plans: Jessy is hoping her brother will agree to have Dad stay with him; it's only fair after all these years. Bert is uncomfortable at the looming potential for conflict.

After lunch, while Dad naps, Jessy and Vi clear up while the two men smoke and chat in the yard. George can't understand Bert's apparent lack of ambition. Why doesn't he try and start his own business instead of slaving away in someone else's shop? He reminds him of Dad, says George - faithful to his employer for fifty years, but walking away with little more than a clock. Bert reminds George that it was thanks to Dad's money that he was able to start his own business.

Later, Jessy and Bert cautiously come to their point. George and Vi express regret: now is not a good time, with the business needing George's attention. Perhaps in the summer Dad could stay for a bit? As George distractedly plays the piano, Jessy, desperately, declares that they'll have to put Dad in a home. The four fall into an argument about Dad's money, with Jessy noting acidly that they don't seem to see so much of George and Vi now they've got the money, and Vi asserting that Jessy has always been bitter about her brother's success. As the row grows more heated, Jessy threatens to summon Dad. Finally Bert intervenes to lower the temperature.

At dinner, Jessy, irritated at Dad again praising George's success while running down Bert, asks Dad how he'd feel about staying with George for a bit. Dad is taken with the idea, until George convinces him that now is not the best time. Afterwards, in the kitchen, she complains about Dad's ceaseless doting on George and unconcern for her own feelings. Finally, she tells him he can go and live with George; she's had enough of him. But, she adds, George wouldn't take him anyway. Furious, Dad confronts George, imploring him to let him stay with him now that Jessy has rejected him. But George is steadfast; it's impossible, he'll have to stay put - he hasn't a choice. Dad is devastated at his rejection from both his children, particularly his favourite, George, and vows to leave them all. Now that George has revealed himself, Jessy, distraught, begs Dad to stay. Eventually, determined not to be painted as the bad one, George aggressively tells Dad to get his things - he's coming with them. Broken with despair, Dad sleepwalks his way into the back of George's van. They drive off, leaving behind the sobbing Jessy, with Bert vainly trying to comfort her.