Sarah repeatedly becomes involved with a series of men who treat her and Jeremiah poorly, and uses them as an excuse to abandon her son. She disappears to Atlantic City with her current boyfriend, Emerson (Jeremy Renner), whom she then abandons; Emerson returns to their home and rapes Jeremiah. After a trip to the hospital, Jeremiah's grandmother takes him to a West Virginian radical Christian cult led by his grandfather (Peter Fonda). After three years with the cult, Sarah returns to reclaim a now 11-year-old Jeremiah. Sarah's s current lover, Kenny, a truck driver, eventually abandons them at a stripjoint while Sarah is dancing. Sarah realizes that if she is going to keep her men, then she cannot say Jeremiah is her son. Jeremiah allows his mother to persuade him into cross dressing so he can act as her 'little sister', and Jeremiah's crossdressing evolves to include his mother's seduction techniques. After dressing up as a 'baby doll' version of Sarah, Jeremiah/Sarah seduces Jackson (Marilyn Manson), his mother's latest man, who initially tries to rebuff the boy's advances, but then rapes him. Furious with Jackson for giving in to the boy's advances and with Jeremiah for ruining her panties, she takes Jeremiah and leaves.
Later, they are seen in a house where the basement houses a meth lab which later blows up with Sarah's latest boyfriend inside. After fleeing, and while detoxing from meth, Sarah is convinced that everyone is after them, and that only certain foods are edible (mainly chips and soda), she then convinces Jeremiah that if they eat anything but those foods, they will be poisoned. Which then leads Sarah and Jeremiah on a failed attempt to shoplift at a grocery store, afterwards Jeremiah finds a hamburger to eat from a dumpster. His mother, in a state of "meth psychosis" is convinced the food he ate was poison, and makes him drink ipecac in order to make him better and rid him of any 'poisons'. Jeremiah wakes up in the hospital with his grandmother beside him. She tells him that Sarah is in the psychiatric ward. Later that night, Sarah collects Jeremiah from his hospital room, and, rather than have him go back to the cult, she clutches her son's hand and they both walk away in hospital gowns. The final scene is of Sarah and Jeremiah driving away.
|Jimmy Bennett||Young Jeremiah|
|Cole and Dylan Sprouse||Older Jeremiah|
|(The Sprouse Twins kept switching every scene.)|
|Ben Foster||Fleshy Boy|