The Chosen Vessel
Inspired by Barbara Baynton’s, 1896 Australian thriller.
MARY HENDERSON and JESS MARSH have been besties since they were kids. Like a skilled water skier, Mary is comfortable being pulled along in Jess’s rippling, shining wake. It’s always been Jess and Mary, never Mary and Jess. So when Jess suggests they leave Melbourne for a small town fruit picking job, a last hurrah between high school and the start of the nannying course they have both enrolled in, Mary is happy to go along for the ride.
The girls plans and their friendship come under threat however, when Mary falls for fellow orchard worker and sheep shearer STEVE-O. Jess’s attempts to challenge Steve-o and drive him away backfire and Steve-o proposes to Mary who says yes.
As Mary struggles to adjust to married life, motherhood and her lonely rural lifestyle, Steve-o becomes increasingly hostile towards her and under the pretext of needing to work abandons her for increasingly long stretches of time.
On a trip into town Mary is spotted by a homeless man known by locals as SWAGGIE, who follows her home. Alone and vulnerable Mary tries to persuade Swaggie that Steve-o is in bed sleeping off a hangover, but unconvinced by Mary’s act, he hangs around keeping watch. At dusk he begins to search around the house for a way in. A terrified Mary barricades herself in her room with her baby and tries to contact Steve-o to no avail.
When Swaggie attempts to break into the house Mary makes a run for it. When she sees her neighbor's car coming down the dirt road she attempts to stop him. Unfortunately her neighbour is high and seeing Mary in her white dress holding her baby believes her to be a vision from God and unsettled by the vision speeds off .
Attempting to walk into town Mary comes to a small bridge where the road crosses a creek and goes down to the water for a drink. Swaggie comes out from beneath the bridge and hits her with a rock killing her. A local fisherman discovers Mary’s body with her crying baby beside her. Swaggie is killed by police while being arrested and Mary’s loved one’s are left to deal with the aftermath of her death.
Five years have passed. Jess smiles when she sees two little girls holding hands. At a church service with his family Mary’s neighbor looks up at a stained-glass window depicting the Madonna and child, perhaps recalling the time when she appeared to him and changed his life. While Mary’s daughter, ALICE gives a flower to a homeless man.