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 Post subject: B&J Question #7--All about Ruthie
PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 6:54 pm 
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BENNY & JOON Question #7—All about Ruthie

We’ve talked about Sam, Joon, and Benny, so it’s time to give Ruthie her moment in the sun.


In some ways, Ruthie is a plot convenience—a way to give Benny a “happy ending” of his own, and a way to open up Joon and Sam’s world by giving them a competent, considerate friend. She’s very handy to have around. Fortunately Ruthie is played by Julianne Moore, who in 1992 was just beginning a movie career that has brought her, to date, four Oscar nominations (Best Actress for FAR FROM HEAVEN and THE END OF THE AFFAIR; Best Supporting Actress for BOOGIE NIGHTS and THE HOURS).

So here are some questions to ponder:


** How important is the character of Ruthie to the film? As Benny’s love interest, do you consider Ruthie one-fourth of a quartet of would-be lovers, equal in importance with Benny, Joon and Sam? Or is she more of a minor character?


** How did you respond to Ruthie? Did you like her? Do you think she’s right to be wary of getting involved with Benny—to see him as a bad risk? What’s your forecast for their romantic future?




Julianne Moore and Johnny Depp share similar histories—when he was getting his big break in 21 JUMP STREET, Ms. Moore was winning a 1988 Emmy for the daytime soap opera AS THE WORLD TURNS. Both have gone on to have prolific film careers, playing diverse and challenging roles in big-budget pictures and small independent films; both have been honored with numerous award nominations.

In BENNY & JOON, although their characters are not romantically involved, they share some charming scenes.


**What did you think of Julianne Moore’s performance as Ruthie? What were your favorite moments?


**Would you like to see Julianne Moore work with Johnny again? If so, what sort of role would you suggest?


Feel free to respond to any or all of the above!

:goodvibes: :heart2:

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 12:10 pm 
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I don't think I'm going to explain this very well but hopefully you will get what I mean. In some ways Ruthie is the normal one the one that grounds the film in reality. She is very sensible and sees everything and holds it all together in a way she treats Joon and Sam as if they are just normal and is almost a go between sort of helping Benny to see things as they should be. I hope that made sense.

I think she is a great character but I may well be totally biased as I love Julianne Moore. I love that scene with Sam where they don't speak but she sits with him when Joon is in hospital.

I would love to see Johnny work with her, I'm sure she would be great in whatever they did together.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 12:49 pm 
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Actually, I saw Ruthie's character as being just as dysfunctional as everyone else! Which, to me, nicely proved the point that even 'normal' people can be inhibited, complicated, confused, vulnerable, hyper-sensitive, and a little bit nuts. Refreshing, innit? :lol:

I loved the story of Ruthie being a failed movie star. How else could we buy the idea of someone so beautiful living a humdrum life working as a waitress in a small town? That really worked, not only because it explained why she was there but it also gave Sam that hilarious turn as her only fan! That scene in the cafe, and her subsequent embarrassment, was one of my favorite Ruthie moments. And it was through being recognized by Sam, in all his exuberance, that the ice was broken and Ruthie became a friend to all three of them.

I would predict Ruthie and Benny would eventually get together. Why not? Ruthie seemed to accept Joon (and Sam) in much more heart-centered ways than Benny was capable of doing. Probably because Ruthie had unhooked from the whole 'success' thing back in Hollywood and could see everyone in a more forgiving light. She and Benny are a good match, IMO.

I think it would be great to see Julianne and Johnny work together again! Especially now that they're older and are at the top of their game. They'd make a fantastic couple in a romantic comedy or a serious drama, whatever. Julianne can really deliver amazing performances (her performance in The Hours was absolutely stunning) and I think she could easily hold her own playing opposite Johnny. I can't say that about many actresses working today.



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 1:07 pm 
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** How important is the character of Ruthie to the film? As Benny’s love interest, do you consider Ruthie one-fourth of a quartet of would-be lovers, equal in importance with Benny, Joon and Sam? Or is she more of a minor character?

I didn't regard Ruthie as only a love interest for Benny. I liked her relationships to each of the main characters, how she was the one who gave them no-nonsense practical help. By that, I mean she took Sam & Joon to run errands, supported Sam when he needed a steady influence, and gave Benny a calming person to turn to. I agree with GG, Ruthie was the 'glue' that held them together.

** How did you respond to Ruthie? Did you like her? Do you think she’s right to be wary of getting involved with Benny—to see him as a bad risk? What’s your forecast for their romantic future?

I did like her, and I think her instincts were right about Benny. He made emotional decisions, often too quickly. Ruthie had her head on straight!

**What did you think of Julianne Moore’s performance as Ruthie? What were your favorite moments?

I'm a fan of Julianne Moore--I was one of those watching her on As the World Turns years ago! I think she did a great job. My favorite moments are her reactions to her biggest fan Sam, both in the diner & when they're watching the movie together.

**Would you like to see Julianne Moore work with Johnny again? If so, what sort of role would you suggest?

Two of my favorites together? I'd love it! I don't know what kind of role I'd choose.



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 2:01 pm 
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Thanks Magpie thats exactly the word I wanted "Glue" :cool:


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 2:41 pm 
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I think what I liked best about Ruthie was her clear thinking, cut -to -the -chase approach, like when she asks him about being married. She offered a nice contrast to Bennie, whose thinking isn't always that clear in the movie. Favourite moment? When she turns down Bennie and says her life is kind of complicated right now. Way to go, Ruthie! She's assertive - which I think she'd need to be to be in a relationship with Bennie - but also supportive. She sees people as they are. But the development of the relationship with Bennie was more painful to watch, to my mind. I don't like the scene in the car. Way too artificial and uncomfortable - an excellent reminder to me of why I don't like first dates. :shy: It's a good contrast with Joon and Sam.



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 3:04 pm 
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suec wrote:
I think what I liked best about Ruthie was her clear thinking, cut -to -the -chase approach, like when she asks him about being married. She offered a nice contrast to Bennie, whose thinking isn't always that clear in the movie. Favourite moment? When she turns down Bennie and says her life is kind of complicated right now. Way to go, Ruthie! She's assertive - which I think she'd need to be to be in a relationship with Bennie - but also supportive. She sees people as they are. But the development of the relationship with Bennie was more painful to watch, to my mind. I don't like the scene in the car. Way too artificial and uncomfortable - an excellent reminder to me of why I don't like first dates. :shy: It's a good contrast with Joon and Sam.

:cool:


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 9:53 pm 
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Gilbert's Girl wrote:
In some ways Ruthie is the normal one the one that grounds the film in reality. She is very sensible and sees everything and holds it all together in a way she treats Joon and Sam as if they are just normal and is almost a go between sort of helping Benny to see things as they should be. I hope that made sense.


I think that makes a lot of sense, GG. I think Ruthie is essential to the chemistry of the film. If she wasn't supportive of Sam and Joon, then none of them, including Benny, would have a chance to be happy.

When you describe her as a "go-between," I think that's a very good description. Benny has gotten in the habit of tuning Joon out and not really listening to her protests, so she can't get through to him . . . and for the first half of the film, he sees Sam as an oddity. But he values Ruthie and her opinion, so she can give him a new perspective.


Gilbert's Girl wrote:
I think she is a great character but I may well be totally biased as I love Julianne Moore. I love that scene with Sam where they don't speak but she sits with him when Joon is in hospital.

I would love to see Johnny work with her, I'm sure she would be great in whatever they did together.


I love Julianne Moore's work, too, and I'm sorry they haven't had a chance to work together since BENNY & JOON. I love the scene in the diner when Sam is quoting Ruthie's movie, because of Julianne Moore's reaction--she turns red and kind of hides her face in her hands, but you can also tell that she's flattered that someone out there has remembered her work. It's beautifully done.

Thanks for sharing your ideas!

:goodvibes: :heart2:

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 4:38 pm 
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Parlez wrote:
Actually, I saw Ruthie's character as being just as dysfunctional as everyone else! Which, to me, nicely proved the point that even 'normal' people can be inhibited, complicated, confused, vulnerable, hyper-sensitive, and a little bit nuts. Refreshing, innit? :lol:


I'd be interested to know just where you spot Ruthie being dysfunctional . . . maybe in some of her scenes with Benny? Maybe you think she is "hyper-sensitive" there? She does seem to be hurt and to anticipate rejection--and she's not going to wait around for it to happen. If Benny isn't interested, she's not going to waste her time. It's easy to tell she has some experience what that type of guy and doesn't want to do that dance again.

Parlez wrote:
I loved the story of Ruthie being a failed movie star. How else could we buy the idea of someone so beautiful living a humdrum life working as a waitress in a small town? That really worked, not only because it explained why she was there but it also gave Sam that hilarious turn as her only fan!


Yes, that's another bonus that Sam brings into the Pearls' lives. He draws in Ruthie.

If you think about it, Benny had probably been in that diner a dozen different times, but had never managed to chat Ruthie up--they could have gone on missing their opportunities forever if Sam hadn't ventured over to say hello to her.


Parlez wrote:
That scene in the cafe, and her subsequent embarrassment, was one of my favorite Ruthie moments. And it was through being recognized by Sam, in all his exuberance, that the ice was broken and Ruthie became a friend to all three of them.


Serendipity. Sam brings so many good things to everyone else; it's only fitting that he receives joy in return.

:goodvibes: :heart2:

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 1:49 pm 
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part-time poet wrote:
Parlez wrote:
Actually, I saw Ruthie's character as being just as dysfunctional as everyone else! Which, to me, nicely proved the point that even 'normal' people can be inhibited, complicated, confused, vulnerable, hyper-sensitive, and a little bit nuts. Refreshing, innit? :lol:


I'd be interested to know just where you spot Ruthie being dysfunctional . . . maybe in some of her scenes with Benny? Maybe you think she is "hyper-sensitive" there? She does seem to be hurt and to anticipate rejection--and she's not going to wait around for it to happen. If Benny isn't interested, she's not going to waste her time. It's easy to tell she has some experience what that type of guy and doesn't want to do that dance again.


Oops, just noticed this retort.
Far be it from me to get into another...debate (a la CATCF) about a movie character. So let's just say my opinions, impressions and perceptions are my own, and therefore should be acceptable according to Zone policy. Suffice it to say I liked Ruthie for all the things I noted about her personality. I found her psychological complexities part of her charm. :chill:



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