ACTOR Title: The Girl Next Door

Written by: Selene Castrovilla

Type: Feature Film

Genre: Drama, Romance

Logline: When a painstaking, tenacious teen pushes her terminally ill best friend to defy all odds, she grapples with her lifelong hidden love for him - and must ultimately save herself.

Synopsis: 17-year-old Sam Everfield is desperate keep her best friend alive. 17-year-old Jesse Parker faces almost certain death from his aggressive cancer. Having lost her father in 9/11, Sam has spent the five years following that tragedy clinging to her friendship with Jesse, who she also secretly loves. Her opportunity to become even closer arrives when Jesse requests that she sleep in a second bed in his room, so that he won't die alone. Sam's deepening love for Jesse threatens her own mental stability, as she becomes more and more dependent on this doomed relationship. The specter of Sam's dead father looms mysteriously, as Sam encounters many signs pointing to the fact that her dad may be present. But what does he want?

Sam decides to give Jesse a gift which will brighten his spirits and perhaps give him a reason to fight. Late one night she climbs into his bed, and offers herself to him. At first shocked and appalled by the idea of violating his friend, he eventually acquiesces to her aggression. They make love (the first time for each of them), initially to comical results, but then to mutual satisfaction.

For Sam, this changes everything. Her attachment to Jesse is now a fierce obsession, and she amps up her campaign for him to fight for his life. She throws him a private prom in Central Park, in a special spot where they've gone since they were kids. The experience pushes Jesse to break down and admit he wants to live, but Sam questions if she wants to live if he dies. Jesse confronts Sam about her increasingly instability-and when she learns that Jesse is now in love with her she is triggered into a whirlwind of irony that culminates with her smashing every keepsake from her relationships with Jesse and her father. She collapses to the floor and mashes her bloodied hands and knees into the decimated objects.

Jesse now takes on the task of trying to convince Sam to live. He proposes. Sam accepts, but she still can't face life without Jesse. Her encounters with her father's ghost escalate until he appears late one night, while Jesse is sound asleep beside her. Sam demands to know how she can ever reconcile with a world in which no one is safe - that in any moment someone can be taken. Her father explains that death can never rob us of the love we give away. He urges her to let go of the pain and resentment she carries, and live in her moments with Jesse. She replies that she has no idea how to do that. He tells her that it's as simple as a smile, and then he vanishes. In the morning, Sam smiles at Jesse. The couple marries in their Central Park spot. Sam and Jess enjoy their moments together, as Jesse deteriorates. The script closes on Christmas eve, Jesse's eighteenth birthday, as the couple spends their last moments together.

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