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Six Weeks (1982) - Plot Summary Poster

(1982)

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Summaries

  • A wealthy cosmetic tycoon and her 12-year-old daughter who's dying from leukemia, strike up a sentimental friendship with a California politician. Since the girl has only six weeks or less to live, the trio fly to New York City where the daughter skates the ice rink at Rockefeller Center, assumes the lead in The Nutcracker ballet, and sight-sees most of the city.


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • After appearing in a television interview, little-known U.S. Congressional candidate Patrick Dalton (Dudley Moore) hurries to a campaign fundraiser being held at a secluded Los Angeles, California, estate. Tardy and unable to find his way, he stops to ask directions from a 12-year-old girl named Nicole "Niki" Dreyfus (Katherine Healy), walking along the road. When he introduces himself as a politician, Niki questions Patrick's English accent, but he explains that he is a naturalized American citizen. Before he continues on to the party, he hands the girl an invitation and encourages her to attend as his guest.

    Later, after Patrick's humorous speech, Nicole introduces him to her mother, Charlotte Dreyfus (Mary Tyler Moore), the wealthy owner of a successful cosmetics company. Although he is unaware of her importance, Charlotte distrustfully accuses the politician of building a friendship with Niki purely to benefit from her wealth and status. However, Niki remains impressed with his virtuous political beliefs, and says she hopes to see him again.

    After the party, Patrick flies home to his teenage son, Jeff (Bill Calvert), and anxious wife, Peg (Shannon Wilcox), in Sacramento, California. While home alone, Peg constantly worries that her good-natured and charming husband is having affairs with other women, but Patrick assures her of his fidelity.

    One day, at his campaign office in Los Angeles, Patrick receives a telephone call from Charlotte, requesting a meeting at her apartment above her Dreyfus Cosmetics factory. On his way upstairs, he passes Niki's private dance studio and sees her performing in a ballet class. Charlotte leads Patrick to her office and explains that she is willing to contribute to his campaign if he agrees to let Niki work as a personal volunteer. When Patrick interprets the deal as an offer to "babysit" the girl, Charlotte distressed reveals that her daughter "won't be getting any older," but refuses to say more.

    Troubled by Charlotte's remark, Patrick returns to the Dreyfus factory later that evening and finds Niki again practicing ballet. She explains that she plans to travel to New York City to fulfill her dream of seeing 'The Nutcracker' performed onstage. In order to gain Niki's trust and convince her to share her secret, Patrick regretfully admits that he once cheated on his wife. Niki reveals that she is in her third relapse of leukemia, but has decided to avoid suffering by discontinuing her painful treatment.

    Over the next few weeks, Niki works as a devoted campaign volunteer by making telephone calls in Patrick's office and attending various events. Sometime later, he learns that Charlotte donated large sums of money to his campaign and has agreed to throw him another fund raising party. That night, the candidate meets Charlotte and Niki for dinner and takes them to play games at a beachfront pier. After putting Niki to bed, Charlotte cries about her daughter's worsening illness and invites Patrick to sleep on the couch. In the morning, Patrick returns home and explains his relationship with the Dreyfuses to Peg, causing his wife to jealously believe that he is having an affair with Charlotte.

    Patrick continues to visit Niki and Charlotte, and one night, after a candlelit dinner, Niki cheekily suggests that Patrick and her mother make love. After Niki goes to bed, Charlotte admits that she does love Patrick, but insists that they resist physical temptation in order to keep an emotional distance between them. Niki's matchmaking scheme is interrupted, however, when Peg and Jeff unexpectedly arrive in Los Angeles to attend Patrick's fund raising party. As a result, Charlotte suggests Patrick spend time apart from her and Niki once he brings his family back home to Sacramento.

    Sometime after his return, Patrick telephones Charlotte and asks when he can see them again. Charlotte reveals that they have pushed their Christmas trip to New York City up a few days earlier, but insists Niki is still healthy. The night Charlotte and Niki leave for New York City, Patrick surprises them at the airport and announces is plans to accompany them for the weekend.

    While gleefully viewing the city sights together, Niki reveals that she missed her chance to audition for the lead role in The Nutcracker while working on Patrick's campaign. Later, she reads Patrick a list of things she has never done in her life, including riding in a horse-drawn hansom cab. After treating the girl to a ride around the city, Patrick fulfills Niki's wish of having a father by "marrying" Charlotte in a mock ceremony. In their hotel suite, Niki pours them champagne and leads them in vows uniting them as a family.

    The next morning, Patrick reveals that he used his political status to secure Niki an audition for the The Nutcracker with the New York Ballet. Impressed by her talent, the choreographer agrees to let the girl dance the lead role of "Clara" in the run-through of that evening's opening night show. While she rehearses, Charlotte and Patrick spend the day decorating a Christmas tree.

    Following Niki's triumphant performance later that night, they ride the subway back to the hotel, but Niki collapses and dies in Charlotte and Patrick's arms. In the hotel, Patrick reads Niki's last wishes from a letter written before her death, and Charlotte announces that she plans to spend some time in France while she grieves.

    At the airport, Charlotte touches Patrick's shoulder and hesitates to say goodbye, but walks away without saying a word.

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