The story begins with Nicole (Thompson), an part-time guard at an upstate New York prison, being assigned by the warden (Erik Griffin) to escort a prisoner, Joan (Leo), on a trip to see her dying mother in Long Island. Nicole is reluctant to accept. Despite the tragic circumstances, Joan, who’s been locked up for years for armed robbery, seems delighted to be making the road trip. Things don’t start out well as the driver of the bus on which they plan to begin the journey is reluctant to take a shackled prisoner aboard. Things only go downhill from there, with Nicole receiving constant phone calls and texts from both her mother and her scolding sister (La La Anthony), who resents Nicole’s absence. After finally arriving in Manhattan, a train delay results in the duo having to kill several hours. Nicole indulges her prisoner’s requests for a fast food meal, a visit to a beauty parlor and, finally, a stop at an AA meeting. In the process, Joan manages to sneak off and join a sex addicts meeting, where she quickly hooks up with a horny veterinarian (Edgar Ramirez, wasted) who takes her to his apartment where they indulge in some wild times on his sex swing. After Nicole finally tracks down her escaped prisoner, the movie takes a more dramatic turn. When the two women finally arrive at their destination, it’s revealed that Joan had a wealthy upbringing and that she gave up a baby daughter for adoption many years earlier. Her dying mother insists that she sign an agreement stipulating that if she makes any attempt to contact her now-grown daughter she’ll be deprived of her inheritance. It isn’t hard to guess that before the film ends there’ll be a reunion of sorts between Joan and the daughter (Anna Paquin) she’s never met.
Tessa Thompson as Nicole Stevens
Melissa Leo as Joan Anderson
Whoopi Goldberg as Mrs. Stevens
Anna Paquin as Lily Benson
Édgar Ramírez as Kevin Rivera
La La Anthony as Brandy
Erik Griffin as Warden Borden
Drena De Niro as Linda
Furlough is a 2018 American comedy-drama film starring Tessa Thompson and Melissa Leo. The film was directed by Laurie Collyer, written by Barry Strugatz and produced by Leo; James Schamus served as an executive producer.