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SCRIPT: “A Thorn” Synopsis

Logline: After being raped by her teacher, a young gifted pianist struggles to reclaim her love for both the instrument and life.


Merrimack, NH, Present Day. In a few quick images we are thrown into a picturesque looking meadow. Red hair flies in the wind. The grass whips against the shoes. A barrel of a gun slowly rises.

Three years earlier…We meet ROSELYN at the age of 14 playing the piano. Besides music, her hobbies include making lists, playing sports, and hanging with her best friend, JACKIE, also 14 years old. They often venture to a secret meadow in the woods by their homes, sharing their hopes, dreams, and fears. They begin figuring out what their high school career is going to be like, and Roselyn decides she wants to change from a classical pianist to more modern centric. When Roselyn decides to let her beloved piano teacher, BRYAN, know about the change of heart he isn’t exactly pleased. Roselyn’s trust is betrayed when she is brutally raped by Bryan during one of her lessons breaking the bond between her, the piano, and love. Unsure why she had been punished the way she was, and feeling like she lost a huge piece of herself, she attempts suicide by drowning in the bathtub, but pulls herself out clinging on to a tiny piece of strength to push on with her life. Despite her close relationship with her parents, she only confides in Jackie and they swear to never speak of it again.

Present day… We meet Roselyn again in her senior year of high school, she’s 17, naturally beautiful, and despite her collected composure and strong knowledge of self-defense, she is living with PTSD. Like any other high school girl, Roselyn goes on dates. Unlike most high school girls, they usually end with the boy rejected with injured pride and jealous exes and future girlfriends. Jackie, now 17, does all she can to make sure those hormonal guys and catty girls don’t bombard Roselyn all the time. To calm her mind of triggering thoughts, Roselyn lies in the secret meadow and remembers the time when music was a good part of her life.

Two events suddenly alter her reality. First, a troublemaker named COLE, moves into the neighborhood; creating problems in both school and at home. Cole’s standoffish personality intrigues Roselyn and it scares her to feel that way. Second, after seeing her parents struggle to make enough money for her to go to college on a cop and nurse budget, and having her piano almost being sold off, she decides to enter the school’s talent competition to win a scholarship. Roselyn overcomes her fear of playing the piano and at the same time attempts to trust a man she might have feelings for. The new relationship with Cole tests her bond with Jackie and her relationship with her parents. Just as things seem to be going right for Roselyn, her world is turned around once again when Jackie accidentally tells their secret about the rape to the school’s gossip queen. Roselyn is then forced to tell her parents and face her judgmental peers. This event causes Roselyn to build up her walls, again, and push everyone including Jackie and Cole outside of her comfort zone. In the days leading to the talent competition, Roselyn focuses more on playing the piano than anything else. Cole does his best to give Roselyn space, but it’s hard for him to see her in pain. After several attempts at apologies from Jackie, Roselyn finally forgives and thanks Jackie for her slip because now she feels more free and alive going into the competition. Roselyn decides to bring Cole back into her life, asking him to be patient as she comes to terms with her past. On the day of the competition, Roselyn feels confident and sure of herself. She finally feels in control. Then, to her surprise, Bryan makes an appearance at the competition at the end of her performance and triggers a mental breakdown that sends Roselyn to the hospital. Within days, Bryan is arrested for a similar crime with a co-worker of his, but that doesn’t put Roselyn’s mind at ease.

At this point, Roselyn is so broken down that when the gossip queen reveals it was her who told Bryan to go to the competition, instead of getting angry, Roselyn lets her have the win and walks away. She becomes closely watched by both parents, neither really leaving her side unless she’s in school or in the bathroom. At school, Cole and Jackie stay by her side, which makes her feel more anxious and claustrophobic than safe and warm. Being haunted by memories of the rape and feeling like she’s lost all control of her life, Roselyn decides to play one last song for herself: her own version of Requiem. While her dad takes a nap, Roselyn records the song on tape and she writes a note apologizing to her parents telling them she’s going to her favorite place and taking her life. She leaves them both on top of her piano for them to find. She then escapes to her safe haven, the meadow, during a harsh rainstorm to commit suicide with her father’s gun. Roselyn contemplates several ways to hold the gun, feeling uncomfortable, but determined to actually follow through with her final decision. She won’t pull out this time. At the same time, Roselyn’s mother finds the note and alerts her father, who runs to the first person he could find, which happens to be Cole, the one person he hates the most, to see where she could be. Cole realizes what she is going to do and rushes to the woods. When Cole finds her, she’s about to pull the trigger. He pleads with her to stay, relating to her situation of wanting to leave, but Roselyn tells him to go away, to let Jackie know how sorry she is, and chooses it’s time to go. Unfortunately for her, the universe wants her to stay, by causing the gun to jam as she pulls the trigger. The final moment shows a relieved Cole pulling her weak body into his arms, holding her close to him, as she silently asks, what happens now?

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