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Further Phoenix
at Rio's Attic:

Chris Benfield

Addie Benfield

Georgia Benfield

Peter Benfield

Charlotte Kessling
Rio's Attic: Celebrating the Life and Times of a Dearly Missed River Phoenix
American EnglishEn Français

"Meatloaf? Urghh!"

KNOWN AS : "Chris"
FATHER : Peter Benfield
MOTHER : Georgia Benfield
SIBLINGS : One younger sister:

Chris Benfield's family has fallen on hard times. Six weeks ago Chris's father left his wife and children and moved in with another woman described as being half his age. Although he promised to continue to support the children, Chris's mother, Georgia, has received nothing so she earns what she can in a low-paid job downtown. In fact, when she asked for a raise, all she came away with was some stern advice - "get a divorce."

Although not particularly bright, Chris is a good kid at heart, he does as he's told and along with his younger sister, Addie, is keen to see his parents reunited. He enjoys listening to heavy metal music and collects posters of various punk bands. He manages to get by at school but he surrounds himself with questionable friends whom his mother does not approve of.

The family's troubles deepen when Chris's grandmother accidentally burns her own house down. A widow who has lived alone since the death of her husband, Charlotte Kessling is getting old and forgetful. Despite the advice of her doctor, she smokes regularly which infuriates Chris's mother whose worst fears are realized when Grandma has to move in with the family following the fire.

Chris's strong-willed and independent grandmother begins to annoy everyone around her almost immediately. Although well-meaning, she interferes relentlessly with everything. Chris's mother in particular has very little patience for her. Both children become concerned when their grandma confides to them that their mother has been physically assaulting her. Initially denied by their mother, matters come to a head when the two children actually witness an attack.

Seeing what was once a stable family life slowly collapsing before their eyes, Chris and his sister try to protect their grandmother and even put out a small fire, again caused by a discarded cigarette. With his grandmother's room smoke-damaged, Chris would have to give up his own bedroom and move out of the family home and stay with his friend Mark.

Following a number of therapy sessions, the root cause of Georgia's aggression towards her mother is revealed. Namely, that she herself was abused and beaten by Charlotte when she was a child. However, with this discovery uncovered, the future still remains bleak for the Benfield family because Georgia, now the mother herself, is beginning to harbor feelings of hate and anger towards her own child, Chris. As a matter of urgency, Georgia must now, with the help of her therapist, learn to suppress these feelings before Chris, a particularly strong young man, is also drawn into this circle of abuse and mistreatment with disastrous consequences for all.

"Mom! She's running away! Grandma is leaving in the rain!"

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