SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Emilio
Ron Hall (Greg Kinnear) is a successful art dealer who lives in Fort Worth, Texas and is married to Deborah (Renee Zellweger) and has two kids. One night at a ceremonial function for Ron, a friend of Deborah’s tells Ron that she knows about his special friend and that she will tell Deborah about her if he does not. That night, he decides to tell Deborah that he’s been cheating on her with another woman. Heartbroken, Deborah asks for his phone. Ron gives it to her, and Deborah calls his mistress. Deborah tells her that she understands that it is not her fault and that she forgives the woman for her part in the affair. Deborah also tells her that if Ron and her can find themselves again in their marriage, then she won’t be hearing from Ron anymore. Deborah asks Ron what he wants, and he says that he wants Deborah.
That night, Deborah has a dream where she’s in a hospital room. She’s sitting in a chair and walks out of the room. She sees a man walking down the hall, and she takes off after him. She approaches an elevator that opens to reveal an open field. She sees the man from a distance. She continues walking and sees Ron digging a grave. She wakes up.
Weeks later, Deborah convinces Ron to help out at a local homeless shelter, as a way of making up for his infidelity. He tries to talk his way out of it by saying that he has meetings and appointments, but Deborah calls his bluff. Reluctantly, Ron decides to help Deborah out with serving lunch to the homeless men and women. Later on, a homeless man (Djimon Hounsou) comes in with a baseball bat and attacks another man. Deborah convinces the man to stop after telling him that there are children present. After the man leaves, Deborah tells Ron that the man is the same man that she saw in her dream.
After being convinced by Deborah, Ron goes to look for him. He eventually finds him threatening the same man that he tried to assault earlier. It’s revealed that the man took his shoes. He sees Ron watching from his car, and he breaks the passenger side window of Ron’s SUV.
The next day, Ron and Deborah are again serving lunch at the shelter. When the man comes up for food, he has two plates. Ron tells him that it’s only one plate per person. Deborah decides to give him the food. When she asks him his name, he rudely tells her to mind her own business. When he leaves, Deborah inquires about the man’s name from the cook at the shelter, and he says that the man is known by everyone as Suicide.
Ron and Deborah begin to volunteer at the shelter more often. One evening, Ron encounters Suicide. He angrily tells Ron to keep his woman in control. When he walks away, Ron asks him what his name is. Ron says that he knows his real name isn’t Suicide. The man says that his name is Denver. Ron invites him out for a meal, which Denver surprisingly accepts after asking Ron if he’s trying to befriend him. At a restaurant, Denver tells Ron about his history. He tells Ron that he grew up as a slave, who failed to save his mom when a fire broke out in their house.
On another day, Ron takes Denver to a museum. Before they go, Denver grabs a sports goat to wear. At the museum, Denver is surprised to see a painting which Ron says is worth $14 million. Denver begins laughing as he jokes that he’s never seen a $14 million picture before. As they’re leaving, Denver sees a picture of a man in a KKK outfit. Denver looks at it and tells Ron about a friend he had as a boy that was white. Denver played with him, and they eventually found the friend’s father’s KKK uniform, and they played in them. When the boy’s mother saw them, she chased Denver away. Years later, Denver came across the boy again, who was happy to see Denver. However, the boy’s mother remembered Denver and tried to chase him away again. Suddenly, some white men on horseback show up, and they try to lynch Denver. However, he escapes to the big city, and since he’s without money, he tries to hold up a bus driver with a gun he pulled off of a mugger. Denver is arrested and is incarcerated at the worst prison in the state.
Over the next few weeks, Ron and Deborah begin to bond with Denver, as he begins to soften his feelings and be less angry to others. Ron takes Denver to a local country club that he’s a member at. In the bathroom, a friend of Ron confronts him, telling him that they come to the club to get away from the world and that Ron is going too far with bringing Denver there. Denver is in one of the stalls and heard this. When he makes comes out of the stall, Ron tells the man that he should tell this to Denver himself since he’s standing behind him. The man sees Denver and leaves embarrassed. Denver knows that Ron is, indeed, his friend.
Sometime later, Deborah gets news that she’s got cancer. At Christmas dinner with Ron’s parents, Ron’s alcoholic father, Earl (Jon Voight), comments saying that he’s had prostate cancer for four years and thinks that everyone is making a big deal over the fact that Deborah has cancer. He thinks that everyone is making it sound worse than it is. Feeling hurt, Deborah leaves the table.
As his parents leave, Ron hands his father back a bottle of whiskey that he brought as a gift, saying that he doesn’t want it. He also tells his father to never come around anymore. Denver, who was also at the dinner, tells Ron that there is a good man inside of his father. Ron tells Denver that his father has run out of chances.
During her last days, Deborah begins to see the impact that she has made at the shelter and around the surrounding neighborhood. The shelter, which was rundown when Ron & Deborah first started volunteering, has begun to look better and the people that are staying there have begun planting around the building. When Deborah passes away, her funeral is attended by many of the members at the homeless shelter. Denver also gives a heartfelt eulogy, stating that Deborah’s kindness changed him and led him to become a better man.
Sometime later, Ron has become withdrawn but goes to a friend’s house to begin writing a book about everything. He remembers a promise that he made to Deborah to not forget about Denver and all the work they’ve done. Eventually, Ron finds Denver and apologizes for forgetting him. Denver encourages Ron to reconcile with his dad.
When he does go to see his dad, he tells Ron that he has given up drinking. He shows Ron the bottle of whiskey and tells him that he never opened it after he gave it back. They reconcile.
The film ends as Ron and Denver, at Deborah’s grave, talk about the stars in the sky, wondering if God named one of the stars, Deborah (echoing a conversation that she had with Denver, where she told him that God gave a name to every star in the sky).
Final text states that Ron & Denver went on to co-write the book, Same Kind of Different as Me, which went on to become a New York Times bestseller and that Denver passed away in March 2012.