Last week Sean and Cathy went to visit their father which was more an awakening for the two of them, than a surprise for their Dad.
This week it is Cathy’s birthday and her hubby and friends threw her a surprise party. Too bad she planned to skip away with Lenny to the Bahamas. Now she is surrounded by old friends and family members. Her old friend Rebecca, a sorority sister (played by Cynthia Nixon) wants to catch up and asks her what has been going on in her life and she told her and emphatic “nothing”.
Lenny shows up despite Cathy trying to call him and tip him off, so he stays for a drink and Cathy tells Paul that he is an artist who works at the school and she wants him to paint a mural in the top hall. Paul and Lenny start to talk and soon they are getting chummy. Cathy is singing karaoke with her friend and really living it up. She then goes upstairs to finish packing so she can sneak off with Lenny. Now that he has spoken to Paul; he chooses not to take her with him and tells her to decide what she wants.
Sean did catch a glimpse of Lenny caressing Cathy and had something derogatory to say to her. Sean was in the kitchen when Rebecca came in for another drink. He said something about her leather shoes and she was shocked that it was him, after all these years. She swore at him and he told her that swearing was invented by stupid people who had nothing else to say.
Adam looks out the window and notices Marlene wandering around, he goes down and she tells him that someone took her house away; so he takes her by the hand and walks her home. It is sad that she is really losing it.
Now it is time to have the birthday cake; and Cathy proclaims that she has not been happy for the last twenty years. Paul who has been drinking heavily realizes that it meant the entire time she was with him. He lashes out at her for what she said and tells her that he should have never left — she should have left, that it is his house.
She goes up the stairs and calls Lenny to tell him she will meet him at the airport. She goes down to the basement and finds Rebecca and Sean having sex before she leaves for the Bahamas.
Laura Linney as Cathy Jamison, a reserved schoolteacher who finds out she has cancer
Oliver Platt as Paul Jamison, her estranged husband
John Benjamin Hickey as Sean, her “eccentric” brother who chooses to be homeless
Phyllis Somerville as Marlene, Cathy’s grouchy neighbor
Gabriel Basso as Adam, Cathy’s bratty son
Gabourey Sidibe as Andrea, a mean-spirited student who Cathy sees as a challenge
Reid Scott as Dr. Todd, Cathy’s doctor and first cancer patient in his young life