Committed to an insane asylum by her reverend husband, a mother of five must dig deep within to survive -- and escape. Based on a true story.
- Finalist! Southern California Screenplay Competition (Results April 1)
- Official Selection of the Beverly Hills Film Festival
- New Hampshire Film Festival 2016 Screenplay Competition Finalist (one of three finalists)
Slamdance Screenplay Evaluation: "Well written and conceived. Kind of like The Crucible without the witches...you have faithfully adapted the story. This could also make a strong piece of theatre."
NOTE: The first draft of this script was completed and registered with WGA in 2003, but as usual, this writer just sat on it. I have been inspired this happy teachers' summer while watching many independent films. I would love it if it had a chance.
Logline: A bright, passionate woman must find her way out of an insane asylum after being summarily dumped there for questioning her husband's religious doctrine.
For the Reverend Theophilus Packard’s wife, speaking up in Bible class is a risky proposition. Elizabeth Packard knows this, yet a combination of a passion for her religion and a bright mind forces her to question the church's doctrine. While some in the Bible class welcome her ideas, others find them threatening. The Reverend himself decides that his wife's questioning is a sign of a "diseased brain." His solution? Permanent admission to an insane asylum.
Reassured by a neighbor that she could not be committed without a trial, Mrs. Packard rests easy, ignorant of the fact that a married woman is not a person under the law. She is, in fact, the sole property of her husband. While in the uniquely vulnerable position of taking her bath, she is accosted by the town sheriff, two medical doctors, and the Rev. Packard himself. She is kidnapped and carted off to a mental hospital in Manteno, but not before the neighbor who had so ill-advised her realizes what is happening. He gathers his neighbors Paul Revere-style to head them off at the train station. The confrontation there results in a public spectacle as Mrs. Packard refuses to willingly enter a train car destined to take her to the asylum. Under advisement of the sheriff, representing the law of the 1860s, a group of men carry her on to the train while the crowd looks on helplessly.
Upon her arrival, Mrs. Packard meets Dr. McFarland, the asylum superintendent. His seemingly reasonable attitude provides her with a glimmer of hope for her future. At first, Dr. McFarland treats her as a boarder rather than a patient. Unfortunately, her position of favor is lost when she spurns his romantic advances. She further puts herself in jeopardy by writing a scathing letter criticizing Dr. McFarland's leadership. In retaliation, Dr. McFarland moves her to a filthy ward housing the most violent, unstable patients. There, Mrs. Packard is tasked to find her way out from a tangle of cruel and sadistic attendants, filthy conditions, and dangerous patients.