The Angriest Man in Brooklyn

Summary

It is the day before Thanksgiving and HENRY ALTMANN is stuck in Brooklyn traffic while on his way to a meeting. His car is suddenly struck by a Taxi, which propels him into a fit a fury which he unleashes upon the TAXI DRIVER. The Driver is quietly upset about this outburst and vows revenge as he speeds off. Henry goes to the Brooklyn hospital where DOCTOR SHARON GILL is doing her daily rounds. She is covering for DOCTOR PAUL FIELDING, Henry’s usual doctor, and feeling quite emotional about the recent death of her cat.

After taking several scans of his brain, Sharon approaches Henry in the waiting room. Henry is already irate and angered further by the wait time he has experienced. He says he sees Dr. Fieldings normally because he has migraines; looking at his chart, Sharon reveals that he in fact has a brain aneurism and his outlook is not good – he is a ticking time bomb, and any rise in his blood pressure could make it worse. Henry erupts, throwing insults at Sharon and demanding that she tell him how long he has to live. She tries to dodge the question, but Henry is persistent. Sharon begins to panic and blurts out the first thing that comes to mind – ninety-two minutes. If this is the case, he will be dead by 4:32pm. Henry threatens that he will have her fired, and storms out of the hospital before she can check him in for more tests.

Sharon talks with DR. JORDAN REED who realizes the consequences of her actions – the way she treated Henry will surely get her fired and have her license revoked. Sharon reveals that she and Dr. Fieldings had an affair and that he promised he would leave his wife. However, he has taken the day off from work to spend time with his wife and her family, making it clear to Sharon that he will not be leaving any time soon. Sharon resolves to find Henry and put him into immediate care.

Henry arrives at Altmann, Altmann & Altmann, the family law firm, and storms into a meeting his brother AARON is conducting with several older clients. He tells the room that he has a client with only ninety-two minutes to live, and ask them what they would do with such time. After a few jokes are made, STEINMAN, the eldest of the group, says this person should go home, make love to his wife and die in her loving arms. Newly energized, Henry runs from the room, followed by a very confused Aaron. He says he is intent on finding his wife, BETH and his son, TOMMY. Aaron makes it clear that Henry has not been on good terms with his wife or son for a number of years now, fighting constantly with Beth and disapproving of Tommy’s decision to become a dancer. Henry is unaffected by his brother’s words, and leaves for his apartment.

Meanwhile, Sharon is talking with Jordan on her cell while in a cab trying to find Henry. Jordan says that a specialist has gone over Henry’s chart and it is true – Henry’s case is serious enough that he could potentially drop dead at any minute.

Henry calls JANE, his receptionist, while on his way to his apartment. He tells her to organize a get together for himself at Ben’s Diner in forty-five minutes. He wants to invite twenty-five random people from his past including ex-girlfriends and old teachers. Jane is overwhelmed, but starts making preparations. Henry then dials the Brooklyn Dancing Academy and tries to get a hold of Tommy; however Tommy refuses to accept the call.

Sharon arrives at Henry’s office where she tells Aaron of his brother’s diagnosis. Aaron reveals that Henry had a son, Peter, who died in a senseless accident, and that ever since, he has not been the same. Aaron and Sharon leave for Henry’s apartment.

Henry arrives home with a bouquet of flowers, only to find his wife Beth sitting on the couch with their neighbor, FRANK. Without hesitation, Henry professes his love for Beth and his desire for them to make love right then and there, hoping to

make up for his behavior over the past few years in just a few minutes. Beth is not taken by his words, calling his distant and unsupportive since the death of Peter and has fallen in love with Frank. The two have a fighting match, ending only when Beth throws Henry out of their house.

Henry calls Brooklyn Dance Academy again, and the song that is played while he is on hold sends him into a flashback. We see a younger Henry, dancing with his wife and son he receives the fateful news about his son, Peter. He still has no luck getting a hold of Tommy at work.

Henry arrives at Ben’s Diner for his gathering and finds only BIX FIELD, his oldest friend from high school. He is thankful that Henry contacted him in his hour of need, and uses this time to finally tell him how hurt he was when Henry stole his girlfriend. Henry is mad and leaves, resolving to find his son.

He buys a camcorder at a local store, and approaches a group of bums in a nearby alley. He finds someone willing to film his final words for him, and Henry launches into a declaration of his regrets. He speaks directly to Tommy, giving him his blessing and telling him he is proud of whatever he wants to be. He grows angry as he makes his declaration, and collapses.

Beth calls Tommy and finally gives him the bad news about his father. Meanwhile, Sharon is still wandering the streets looking for Henry, and has a flashback to a night she spent with Dr. Fielding. The two made love in an empty hospital room, at which point he asks Sharon if she could cover his shift while he spends Thanksgiving with his wife’s family. Sharon is ashamed of this memory, but distracted when she hears Henry’s voice – the groups of alley bums are watching the video he recorded. They tell Sharon that he headed towards the Brooklyn Bridge.

Henry is on the Brooklyn Bridge, looking out over the city that he loves so much. He begins to walk a suspender cable, intent on jumping into the East River below, when he is suddenly stopped by Sharon. Sharon apologizes for her earlier behavior and admits she has no idea when he might die, that ninety-two minutes was just an arbitrary number that popped into her head. Henry is angry and presses her to admit to all of her faults as a human and doctor. Sharon talks about the many pills she takes to cope with life, about her affair and her recently deceased cat. She says her career and by extent her life will be over if he jumps.

Henry is still angry, and throws himself off the bridge into the river below. Sharon sprints down to the river under the bridge, and sees Henry’s head bobbing with the current. She leaps into the icy water after him and drags him to shore. Henry is no longer angry or hot-tempered. He is exhausted, but can finally see that his life is not a burden, that he still has time to set things right. Checking Sharon’s watch, he sees he has only nineteen minutes until his supposed time of death. Sharon is determined to help him find his son within this time, and helps him up.

Sharon hails a cab – unbeknownst to her, this is the same cab that hit Henry that morning. The Taxi Driver is intent on filling on his initial promise of killing Henry and stops the car to fight with him. Sharon comes between the two men with a bottle of pepper spray, momentarily blinding the driver so that the pair can take off in his cab. They drive frantically through the crowded streets of Brooklyn to the Brooklyn Dancing Academy.

Tommy is outside of the Academy preparing to leave – he and his dancing partner are about to leave for Paris. He is worried about his father, and decides to stay. Henry arrives at the Academy and finds his son sitting alone in one of the

dance studios. The two speak quietly and begin to dance for just a moment, just like when Tommy was a little boy. Beth and Aaron arrive, and everyone heads to the hospital, Henry and Sharon in one cab followed by Beth, Aaron and Tommy in another. Henry sees that is now 4:45. He decides that he does not want to know when he will die; he only wants to know that he will try and lead a better life. He closes his eyes, and we are unsure whether he is sleeping or has died.

One year later, it is Thanksgiving dinner. Henry is markedly absent as Beth, Frank, Tommy, Aaron and Sharon are sitting down to dinner. Everyone begins to share amusing stories they have about Henry. We learn that Sharon has taken a year of absence from the hospital, and has decided to volunteer. Under the dinner table, Sharon and Aaron are holding hands.