|About the film:|
Ten-year-old Chris Marino, played by newcomer Devon Gearhart, just wants to be normal but his mother's (Marcia Gay Harden) bouts of paranoia and delusion give new meaning to the term dysfunctional family. Dad, John, (Joe Pantoliano) breaks his back as a construction worker struggling to pay for Mary's doctor bills, and find the right medicine to treat her schizophrenia, leaving little time or energy to give to his son. When Mary's behavior takes a dangerous turn, father and son watch helplessly as the police drag Mary out of the house to hospitalize her in a mental institution.
Unable to face his wife's illness or console his son, John begins building a mysterious object in the driveway of their home. He quits his job, the bills pile up, but John compulsively works day and night to build a sailboat, abandoning his son at his darkest hour. Ridiculed at school and terrified that he too will become 'crazy', Chris is left adrift without a mother or father's support. Desperate to escape his troubled family, Chris makes plans to move in with an aunt in Alaska resulting in a dramatic confrontation between father and son.
With newfound understanding and respect, father and son work tirelessly to complete the boat together, hopeful that Mary will join them on the maiden voyage. Mary, still plagued by voices but lucid enough to acknowledge her illness, makes the painful decision not to join her family. Disappointed but determined not to let down his son, John sets sail and teaches Chris the magic of sailing. Working together, father and son come to terms with Mary's illness and inspire each other to hope. In a grand gesture John and Chris bring the boat to Mary-reuniting the family and fulfilling a special promise made long ago.