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Against All Hope

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Title: Against All Hope  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Michael Madsen
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Against All Hope

Against All Hope is a 1982 autobiography drama film about an alcoholic Cecil Moe on the verge of suicide and turns to a local clergy for help. The film stars Michael Madsen, which was his 1982 debut.


Sometime in the 1960s in the Midwest a man, Cecil Moe (Michael Madsen) returns home from work with his friend, Joe Cleveland. When Cecil arrives home, he finds his wife Jean and her friend Shannon pouring his wine down the kitchen sink. Trying to stop her, Cecil grabs Jean's arm and rips her sleeve, he claims she threw away his "best friend", Jean says "Your best friend just cost you your marriage!" Jean calls her mother telling her that she will leave him. Cecil retires to his bedroom and has a nightmare of his life and does not like it. He wakes up and takes his son Ronney to Joe's apartment and announces that he wants to commit suicide, he later finds a phonebook and calls a Pastor named Tom (Cecil Moe) and explains he needs counseling.

He goes to Tom's house and explains his reason for alcoholism. He goes back to when he was thirteen on his father, Cliff's farm where he falls off his pet horse and goes to tell his mother, Julia, the comical story. But find his mother lying on the floor. The doctor tells the family that she does not have much time. Cliff hired a nurse named Myrna to take care of Julia. Myrna immediately insults Cecil for only carrying one of her bags. While Myrna was taking care of Julia, she mistreats her and leaves her to get worse. Later Julia dies, Cliff and Myrna marry. Myrna begins to abuse Cecil. One afternoon, while Cliff was in the hospital Cecil returns from school and finds Myrna and her mother, Phyllis, sitting on the front steps and scold him about his shoes. At dinner Betty, Cecil's sister, announces that she is going to nursing school. Phyllis and Myrna brag about the news in front of Cecil. Feeling less than Betty, Cecil leaves the table and Myrna and Phyllis speak down about Cecil. Cecil goes to the barn late at night and tells his pet horse that they can runaway from home together. He returns home and Myrna was waiting and pushes Cecil into the basement and locks him in there. The next morning Cecil and his horse leave home. Mr. Hodge, a neighbor stops Cecil and invites him to stay with him and work for him. Cecil stays with the Hodges and works, later he signs on to the US Navy and finds out his father was going to die soon and calls him and ask that he and Betty could go on base and spend time with him. Myrna beats Cliff and does not let him meet up with Cecil, Cliff dies and Cecil feels terrible about what was happening, he ask his fellow shipmate to pick him up a quart of whiskey to ease the trouble. Soon Cecil became addicted.

He marries Jean and they start a family. Things get out of hand to the point where Cecil argues with Jean and goes to the tavern and gets drunk. One evening at dinner Cecil complains about the meal and leaves to the local diner. He hears the song There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood, he follows the song to a church service, Cecil leaves before the service ends. He returns home and tells Jean that he would not have to go to the tavern if she would bring the booze to the house. Jean does so. On Thanksgiving, the family is sitting down to eat, but Cecil is late. After dinner Cecil comes home and lies on the couch and leaves a bottle of beer on the floor. Ronney and Stan, Cecil's sons, for a joke drinks a bit of it, he becomes sick and Jean leaves and takes both Stan and Ronney to her mother's house. The next morning Cecil goes and promises Jean that he will give up drinking.

For six months he made progress, to celebrate Jean throws a small party for him. Cecil goes to fill up the car with gas, but the gas station was closed. Cecil goes to the tavern just to visit his friends, but just one sip of beer made him stay longer than he expected. Later he ask Joe, about heaven and hell, but Joe did not want to give answer and tells Cecil he is already living in hell. Cecil leaves the tavern and wanders the streets alone and is brought home by the police and finds a disappointed Jean. Though Cecil tries to find help problems stack. He almost lost his job, they lose the house, Jean's new car, losing home appliances, Ronney becomes very sick, and Cecil becomes more depressed. One afternoon at the tavern Jean calls and makes the barkeep tell Cecil to go home.

We return to Tom's living room and he shares with Cecil John 3:16. Cecil repents and returns home with his son. Cecil and the family begin to attend church regularly and their house and all other things come together again. Cecil walks home from work one afternoon and stands in front of the tavern and happily walks right past it, knowing he will never step one foot in a bar again.


Michael Madsen was the only actor who has continued his acting career.

Home Media

Since 1985, Against All Hope was released on public domain VHS and DVD. Since 1993 the film used it's alternative title One for the Road in the late 2000s it went back to using it's original title.


In 2013 another musical is in progress, but with different characters and same story.


In 2014 a 45-minute musical adaptation of the film will be released. However it will have the same story line, but different characters.


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