Waking the Dead (film)

2000 film by Keith Gordon

Waking the Dead is a 2000 film about a congressional candidate who questions his sanity after seeing the love of his life, presumed dead, suddenly emerge.

Directed by Keith Gordon. Written by Robert Dillon, based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Scott Spencer.
Sometimes love has a life of its own.

Fielding Pierce

  • I'm in this whole fucking room by myself, and I'm choking on the collective sense of superiority.
  • There's something that I think I should tell you all. I'm not feeling very well. And I haven't been for a while. Something inside me has jumped the track. I'm confused. I'm not thinking right. I'm not sleeping right. And I- Just don't think I am complaining about this or asking for your help. Because there's nothing anyone can do about it. It's just happened and that's all there is to it. But I don't know what I'm going to say from one minute to the next. I really don't. I don't know what I'm going to say and I don't know what I'm going to do. Do you understand that? And I know this is coming at a bad time for everyone but there's nothing I can do about that. I'm tired and I'm- I don't see things the way that I used to. Everything, everything, everything is fucking strange and it's all completely out of control and I'm frightened. And maybe if you all could give me some real help, you know? That would be- And not your pity or generosity but some help; Take a look at me. I know that I am ruining everything but I can't- If I don't say this now I may never say it. Everything is going very fast. It's going very, very fast. It's completely out of control. And if I don't say it today, tomorrow may be too late. I may be too crazy to even know how crazy I am. I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do. Something has happened to me and I'm very lost. And it doesn't stop. It's not getting better. I don't get better. I'm not getting better. It's just going on and it's going on. And there's nothing that I can do about it. It's not stopping. It's not stopping.
  • The thing about Harvard for somebody from the working class like us - we come from a working class background - is a terrible sense of isolation, of aloneness there.

Sarah Williams

  • We will never be apart. We may be at each other's throats or we may be separated by 5,000 miles, but we'll never be apart.
  • You have to love me too. Not an image, not an idea. And not in spite of who I am.
  • You are the incarnation of your family's ambition. I am the incarnation of your family's fear.
  • I thought wanting you was going to go away. They told me it was going to go away.


  • Fielding's father: [giving Fielding some advice after a speech] And you get too personal. I mean, if anybody really knew Kennedy, you think they would've voted for him? You gotta be strong. So strong you're gonna want to blow your brains out. But you won't. So strong, people can say right to your face, "you're a dirty, lying son of a bitch", and it's not gonna make a bit of difference.
  • Danny Pierce: It's a damn good feeling knowing you're out there patrolling New York Harbor, son. The fucking Cong could be shopping on Fifth avenue like that.


Sarah Williams: Ambition is... the ice on the lake of emotion.
[They walk for a moment in silence]
Fielding Pierce: Who said that?
Sarah Williams: I did.

Sarah Williams: You can't be everything to me.
Fielding Pierce: I want to be.
Sarah Williams: Oh, dear. I love that you said that.

Danny Pierce: Remember what Sarah used to say? Sarah Williams. You do remember Sarah, don't you?
Fielding Pierce: Go fuck yourself.
Danny Pierce: I know you do. She'd see some junkie on the street and people just walking by, nobody even noticing, but she'd see him and she'd say, "How do you know that's not Jesus?"

Sarah Williams: Our lives have taken us so far apart now. It seems wrong to think we belong together.
Fielding Pierce: But I think it.
Sarah Williams: I do too. I think I know why.
Fielding Pierce: Why?
Sarah Williams: Because it's what we want. But... so few people get what they want. And the ones they do aren't really the lucky ones anyway.
Fielding Pierce: They're not? Who are?
Sarah Williams: The ones that do what they are meant to.

Sarah Williams: I don't want to watch you turn into a cog in their machine.
Fielding Pierce: That's so fucking condescending. Sometimes cogs can make machines run a little but better.
Sarah Williams: Sometimes yes. Mostly they turn in circles and wear out. Then they get replaced.

Fielding Pierce: I risk throwing away everything that I've worked for. This way eventually, I can make some real substantial changes without throwing away my life on some ultimately meaningless gesture.
Sarah Williams: Sometimes, meaningless gestures are all we have.

Sarah Williams: It is so infuriating loving you sometimes!
Fielding Pierce: Well, the feeling's mutual.

Sarah Williams: You, um, still haven't told ,e how you got the idea you wanted to be a senator.
Fielding Pierce: That's not actually what I want. I want to be the President.
[Sarah smiles]
Fielding Pierce: Why are you smiling?
Sarah Williams: Because you mean it.

Fielding Pierce: I am so sick of having to apologize for being an American.
Father Stephen Mileski: North American.
Fielding Pierce: Uh, God, I'm so sorry. Yes, North American. But I can't help noticing that when people run to freedom they tend to wash up on North American shores. This country is still the best that we've been able to do in the whole fucking history of the planet.


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