I have inserted commentary by Kate and Jane Campion where appropriate.
Ruth (played by Kate Winslet), a young Australian woman of iconic beauty, has a sense that something is missing in her life, indeed, in Western culture. Her travels bring her to India where she is touched by a Guru - literally and figuratively. Ruth drops her travel plans and becomes a devotee, and her friend, Prue, rushes back to Australia in horror. She visits Ruth's Mum and Dad (Miriam and Gilbert).
Prue: It's quite simple - I've decided that I needed to tell you the truth - for the sake of Ruth, and our old friendship. [She shows Miriam and Gilbert photos of Ruth in India.]
Gilbert: Oh, what was that taken on? That's very exotic.
Prue: On my Olympus.
Gilbert: Ah, that's interesting. Mine's a Minolta
Miriam: What am I looking at here, Prue? Who are these people in the photo?
Prue: Ruth, that's Ruth.
Miriam: Oh my God, I didn't realize. That's Ruth.
Gilbert: Oh, yeah, I see that now. She's wearing the national costume. You'd never recognize her.
Prue: I know.
Miriam: Is something wrong? Tell me, I want to know.
Prue: [Flashback to Prue and Ruth at gathering with Baba, the guru.] We were just like everyone else traveling in India.
We wanted to visit a live Guru. We weren't serious about it. She thought it would be a good laugh. But, oh, it was so scary. Some sort of freaky hypnotism happened. I think they were on drugs.
She even burned her airline ticket in front of me. That's when I asked her, 'Is it true what they said - that Baba might marry you?"
Campion: "Her family has decided that the questions Ruth's addressing are dangerous, the sort of thing young people ask themselves and then get over. They've settle down, done the best they can with life. It's a compromise, a bit of deading down."
Winslet: "It is a sort of awakening and a new belief and a way in which to grow and learn that she's just never experienced before. One thing that a lot of young Australians do is they finish school and they just go traveling because there's only so much you can get from your own country. And this is what she does, and discovers a faith and spirituality that she's just never heard of before."
Though Ruth's parents are skeptical about Prue's tabloid style of reportage, they are compelled to rescue their daughter. Miriam arranges to hire a top deprogramming expert. She discusses her plan with her sons Tim, Robbie and his wife Yvonne.
Miriam: [to Tim] We've been waiting for you.
Tim: Seriously, what's happened to her? [Looking at their guest] Who's he?
Miriam: He's the top man on the subject. He's been very, very helpful.
Yvonne: Hi, Tim. Isn't it terrible? But don't worry. Miriam's gonna to get her back. She's going to India, aren't you?
Robbie: Are you?
Miriam: Well, I will if I need to. I'm determined to fight.
Robbie: G'day, Tim.
Miriam: [To Tim] Stop Robbie from drinking too much, Tim.
Tim: That's right, Mum, we'll fight.
Miriam: Don't, don't come here and mock. I'm close to the edge, Tim.
Stan, a friend who has knowledge of dealing with such situations, visits the family home.
Miriam: So how do we get her back?
Stan: Lure, you lure her.
Robbie: Can't we just contact the embassy and get her sent home?
Stan: No, you can't. If she were under 18, then yes, certainly, you could bring her back under the International Convention. But you've got nothing on your sister, other than declaring her mentally incompetent, and that's almost impossible to do. What we often do - you see these cults often use coercive and deceptive methods - steal them, turn the deception around. They make up their little stories; we make up ours. We get her back. The next step is the difficult one. You'll have captured your daughter's body, but not her mind.
Miriam: So, what do we do, Stan?
Stan: We hire the man I believe to be the number one exit counselor in America. For legal reasons, it's best if he's in again, out again, untraceable.
Miriam: Is there any way it could be dangerous?
Stan: Yeah, it's delicate. The mind's a damn mystery. Why do people believe in God? Why do people believe they're in love? Why do I tell myself everyday, 'you're fat, mate? Today I'm not going to eat cake, butter or bread.' And by lunchtime, I've done the lot.
Miriam prepares to travel to India to convince her daughter to return home. Gilbert is skeptical of her plan.
Gilbert: So, how much does Mr. hot dog American cost?
Miriam: Ten thousand dollars Australian, plus expenses.
Gilbert: Shit! And what's wrong with number two? How much does he cost?
Miriam: Forget it, Gilly, we're doing it. She's our Golden Girl. My plane's leaving in three hours, everybody.
Tim: Dehli's hot - 95 to 105 degrees.
Miriam: Oh, God!
Gilbert: What if she doesn't come back?
Miriam: When she knows you're dying, she'll come.
Gilbert: Sure. [Leaves bedroom.]
Tim: What's bitten his old bum?
Miriam: He doesn't like pretending to die.
Arriving in India, Miriam meets Ruth and her friend at a restaurant.
Miriam: Ah! Where's your sari? I was looking for a sari.
Ruth: [Embracing her] Oh, you're hot.
Miriam: [Looking at 'holy man' sitting nearby] Who's that?
Ruth: Oh, that's the restaurant's fake holy man. This is my friend, Rahi.
Rahi: It's my sannyasin name. Hello, Miriam.
Ruth: Let me get you a cold drink. Have you ever tried a lassi?
Miriam: A who?
Ruth: A lassi - it's a yogurt drink.
Miriam: Is it from a bottle?
Ruth: Mum, it's clean here.
Miriam: Oh, there are only a few dozen flies. Is there a toilet or a hole here?
Ruth: It's a hole.
In the bathroom, Miriam rehearses the speech she's prepared designed to lure Ruth back home.
Ruth: Mum, I've got no idea what Prue told you. She just got really scared. Something amazing has happened to me. So powerful, so gentle. It's hard for me to describe. You've got to experience Baba, Mum. When he looks at you, just looks at you, all your pretensions and fears just vanish. Suddenly, it's so obvious how to live your life. It's really possible to be happy and truthful, and do good. How would you feel if I were to become enlightened?
Rahi: Come and meet him this evening, Miriam. It's a beautiful opportunity. Baba's going to be taking questions. [Miriam puts kerchief over bottle before drinking from it.]
Ruth: Just come and see. He is so full of love.
Miriam: [Beginning her speech] Your father and I are pleased you've found fulfillment.
Ruth: Are you? How is Dad?
Miriam: Like I wrote to you, he's very ill. He had a stroke at Bill and Puss's farm, and won't be moved.
Ruth: Is he gonna die?
Miriam: Yes, he could. He wants to see you. He's paid for your ticket home.
Ruth: [Crying] See, I cry. I couldn't cry before.
Miriam: I didn't know you didn't cry.
Ruth: Oh, poor Daddy. Maybe next time.
Miriam: What do you mean, next time?
Ruth: Well, you know, next time, in another life. Oh, never mind.
Miriam: He's dying, Ruth!
Ruth: Is he scared?
Miriam: Of course he is! He wants to see you. We've got a ticket for you!
Rahi: Um, it's really the timing, isn't it, Nazni?
Miriam: Who is Nazni?
Rahi: Ah, it's Ruth. That's her apprentice name.
Miriam: Ruth, can you speak for you?
Ruth: Would you mind calling me Nazni? It's my name now. Look, they only initiate new sannyasins once a year and it just happens to be next week.
Miriam: Oh, fine, fine, you're doing just as you should. You are pleasing yourself, which is exactly what we brought you up to do. No, you just please yourself. Don't let our deaths inconvenience you.
Miriam goes with Ruth to a temple where Baba is to speak. Miriam panics before entering, tries to run away. Her unplanned and genuine panic/asthma attack achieves the desired result and Ruth is forced to accompany her mother back to Australia.
At home in Sydney, Ruth is visited by two girlfriends.
Girlfriend #1: Why is Miriam so freaked out?
Ruth: Oh, she thinks I'm gonna live in India, marry Baba and commit group suicide. She and Dad hate Indians, you know - dark people. They're just the main points.
Girlfriend #2: Well, are you going to marry him?
Ruth: I wish.
Girlfriend #2: Ah, you wish?!
Ruth: Oh, yeah, he's absolute love.
Girlfriend #2: [Taking Baba's picture from a table] Ahem, there's just three problems.
Girlfriend #1: He's not cute, Ruth - look at him. He's...
Girlfriend #2: He's old!
Ruth: [Taking picture] It's about love. It's not that literal. Marriage is symbolic - he's marrying everyone.
PJ Waters, Cult Exit Counselor, arrives in Australia. Stan, Robbie, Yvonne, Tim, and their friend Fabio meet him at the airport.
Yvonne: Mr. Waters, my name's Yvonne - with a Y. I'm Robert's wife. It's such a relief that you've arrived because we've all been so worried. Now, I'm here to be of assistance to you. I'm on supplies. Do you find it hard to get polite up in America?
Yvonne: Ah, people with lovely manners. Don't look at Robbie, he hasn't got any.
PJ: Where's the guy with the exiting experience? Colin, where's he?
Stan: He's had a family misfortune. His mother died.
Yvonne: Oh, God, Stan! Was it expected?
PJ: Excuse me. [To Stan] This is not looking good, Stan. I needed Colin. I can't begin this work without a properly experienced assistant. Those are the rules.
Stan: Well, that's where Robbie comes into it.
PJ: Stan, come here a moment. [Pulls Stan aside] Now, I'm a little aggravated because I could have gotten my lady, Carol, to come out, and she is good. Now, instead, you've given me two fruitcakes. One's a pony tail and the other is a clown. Now, exiting is a precision exercise. We're going to leap with this girl into the sky. We put everything at risk, and when we get to the bottom, I need her parachute to open. I need mine to open. Now, which of these men would you trust to pack your parachute?
Stan: Fabio - I think he'd do a neat job.
PJ: He'd do a neat job - with his toilet bag. If he hasn't packed a chute before, would you trust HIM to figure it out?
They are now in PJ's hotel room, discussing his "program".
Robbie: [Hanging up phone] That was Tim, my older brother. He's a gay man. They've arrived. She's visited Dad once, but she's restless. So, where do we go from here?
PJ: We'll, I'll take a look at her when I arrive, then we'll start talking.
Yvonne: She's not that easy to chat to, is she, Robbie?
PJ: This isn't a chat. This is a conversation that takes three days. It's a very intuitive thing, very concentrated.
Robbie: Well, what is it that you do?
PJ: I run a basic three step system where I steer the subject toward a breakthrough - breakdown - whatever you prefer to call it. Step one: Isolate her, get her attention and respect. When she's listening, well, I start to push it, the heat goes on.
Robbie: The heat?
PJ: It's very traumatic for the subject, which it's supposed to be. Step two: I remove all her props - her books, her sari, if she wears one. Is she wearing one?
Yvonne: Yeah, actually, she looks quite feminine for a change, doesn't she, Robbie?
PJ: Finally, the clouds of her unreason burst upon the earth. There's tears, sobs, hugs with the family, and it's over for me. But, just beginning for you. I've successfully exited 189 subjects, with a recidivist rate of 3 1/2%. There's no one in the US or UK who can match those statistics. I failed to proceed in three cases when I judged the subject to be too psychologically unstable.
Yvonne: Do you have a wife or a lady friend, Mr. Waters?
PJ: Why do you ask?
Yvonne: I bet she wouldn't stand a chance.
PJ: What do you mean?
Yvonne: You're very persuasive. I imagine you could persuade any woman to do anything.
Campion: "I don't feel so far from Yvonne sometimes. She's honest: 'How can anyone resist you? You're a cult in yourself.' She senses the possibility of incredible despair: 'Don't go there. There's no point in thinking about it. You just have to be cheerful.'"
The next morning, Ruth drives to her Uncle's farm, singing along to "You Outta Know". She is joyous, carefree, unsuspecting.
Ruth: [Singing] And I'm here to remind you of the mess you left when you went away. It's not fair to deny me of the cross I bear that you give to me. You Outta Know
Upon arriving, Ruth dances ecstatically to the song, as she approaches her mum and aunt, who are standing next to a corral of emus.
Campion: "That dance came out of Kate's own dance experience. It celebrates a young woman's life force, her soul. It's a mantra. One can be on an amazing journey, while others are oblivious even to the possibility."
Ruth: Hi, Mummy.
Miriam: Hi, baby.
Ruth: Hi, Aunt Puss.
Aunt Puss: Good morning, early bird.
Miriam: Where are the boys?
Ruth: Oh, they're back at the motel cuddled up asleep. I thought I'd just drive out and say 'bye to Dad.
Aunt: Ah, he's sleeping, Ruth. I think he should be left.
Ruth: Oh, don't worry, I'll sneak in. I won't wake him.
Ruth enters Dad's bedroom, finds the bed empty and the IV cast aside. She sees Dad out the window, chipping golf balls, and runs out to him.
Ruth: Daddy, you're up! My God, that's great, that's great! [Dad acts indifferently] What's the matter? [Dad hits ball, ignoring her] What's going on? You're not sick at all, are you?
Uncle Bill: We're all sick from worrying about you, Ruth.
Uncle Bill: There's someone visiting we want you to talk to.
Ruth: You're bullshitting me.
Bill: We just want to be sure you're on the right track.
Ruth, seeing other family members arriving, starts to leave.
Gilbert: Look, you'll bloody well stay here! [He grabs end of Ruth's sari and pulls on it, unwinding it] And get this sheet off!
Ruth: No! How dare you! [Fighting with Dad over sari] Liar! You lied to me. [The men - Dad, Uncle Bill, Tim, Robbie, Robbie's partner Yani, and Fabio surround Ruth, like a frightened animal.] I fucking came home! Mummy made me think you were dying, you liar! Let go!
Robbie: We all love you. [Ruth turns around, looking at each family member who has betrayed her.]
Fabio: Yeah, we all love you, I love you. [The men take turns assuring her they love her, yet still keep her corralled.]
Ruth: Where's Mum? [Crying] Where's Mum?
Gilbert: Oh, you want your mummy now, do you? Not so tough, eh? [Ruth looks at PJ, standing nearby with Stan] You've met your match in him, girlie. He's gonna straighten you out.
Robbie: He's a great guy, Sis. He's real experienced in religion and stuff. Just three days. Just listen to him, yeah?
Ruth: [Attacking Dad] You fucking lying shit! You lying shit! I hate you! Let go! Let go! [Hugs Tim and pleads]
Tim, Timmy. Timmy, let me talk to you and mum, please. Tim, please, Tim. Please! Please, Timmy, please! Please, please! Timmy! [Tim pushes her away, looking away, as she continues to plead. Ruth screams in anguish.] Oh God!
PJ: [To Stan, who is hanging up portable phone] He's not there. No other backups, nobody else?
Stan: The phone's out of range, it doesn't work.
PJ: [Seeing Ruth walk towards him with her family following behind] Look at this! It's a gift, see, she's coming towards me. We're on step one. This could be over in 12 hours.
Stan: What about your lady friend, Carol?
PJ: I need someone now.
Stan: But there isn't anyone. I've tried the rabbi, I've left several messages. No response. What'll we do? Let her go?
PJ: Yeah, we let her go. Three little steps, Stan, but you don't wanna fall.
Stan: Well, you're the expert.
Ruth: [Looking defiantly at PJ] I wanna talk to my mother.
PJ: [Looking deeply into her eyes.] Sure. [He is already captivated by her.]
Stan: [To PJ, as Ruth walks to house] You're in. So, are you gonna do it?
Ruth, Miriam, Tim and Aunt Puss in the house. Miriam is sitting down, Ruth is kneeling at her mother's feet, vomiting into a bowl held by Aunt Puss.
Miriam: Ah, Ruth.
Ruth: [To Mum, gently] Why, why, why?
Miriam: Because I think you've been manipulated, or maybe even drugged.
Ruth: No! No, Mum. I'm the only one of my friends who doesn't do drugs. [Looking at Tim] Tell her!
Miriam: That's what I believe. I believe you're manipulating me right now. [Softly crying]
Ruth: Mum, Mum, Mum, why are you here?
Miriam: To save you.
Ruth: No, I mean on earth. Why are you here? What's the point of your life?
Miriam: Is this a trick?
Ruth: No, no, Mum. It's a real question. Why are you here? Do you ever think about that?
Miriam: Yes, I think about a lot of things. I think about the magnetic draw of the planets, their ever shifting relationship, the healing power of crystals.
Tim: Look, Mum and Dad have spent a small fortune on this guy, who, by the way has a very good reputation.
Ruth: According to who?
Tim: Let me finish.
Ruth: No, go on, according to who?
Tim: So, why don't you just do the three days?
Ruth: [Getting louder] According to who?
Tim: Just do the three days, and we'll all be...
Ruth: [Shouting] Excuse me, according to who?!
Tim: OK, to a friend of mine, a doctor, a psychiatrist, OK?
PJ: [Entering house] May I? [Ruth begins crying again]
Later that day, Miriam announces a breakthrough to the family.
Robbie: Well, what's happening? Have they finished?
Miriam: No. The good news is, she's shaken hands on it, she's going to do the three days. He finally promised her a ticket back to India. Excuse me, Robbie. He wants to leave as soon as possible.
Robbie: Where are they going? Where are they going? I think he should have told me about it. I mean, I was supposed to be in charge of his security operation.
Aunt Puss: To the Half-way Hut. He says he can't work anywhere near the family. Look, we're very lucky to have him, given the circumstances.
Miriam: We're getting his personal assistant out from America, and she's experienced. I'm not going to think 'costs'. We have to do it.
Gilbert: And who pays for the ticket?
Robbie: Well, that's all well and good, but what about the security operation? What about Fabio? Are you going to send him home?
As Ruth walks through room on her way out the door with PJ, Miriam and Aunt wish her luck.
Miriam: Well done, dear.
Aunt Puss: Good luck, Ruthie.
Ruth: Fuck off, all of you.
Gilbert: You, madam, watch yourself with your mother.
Ruth: [Angrily approaches her father; Robbie tries to restrain her] You can talk, you hypocrite? Where's your little love bomb?
Gilbert: I don't know what you're talking about.
Miriam: Don't engage with her.
Ruth: Yes, you do. Where's my half-sister then, Dad? You know, your secretary's secret little love bomb?
Miriam: What love bomb?
Gilbert: It's a fantasy.
Ruth: [In Dad's face] If this cure works, I'll be as fucked a liar as you! [She storms out of the house]
She and PJ leave the house and drive to the halfway hut. He demands that she give him her shoes.
PJ: [Voice over] Day One: Isolate her, get her attention, win her respect. I feel for these kids, every one of them. They're lost and they don't know it yet.
They settle in at the halfway hut.
Ruth: This is, um, a complete waste of time. You're never gonna break me.
PJ: That's fine. I didn't expect it to be easy. You're a young, intelligent lady with strong convictions. I would be a little disappointed if it was too quick.
Ruth: There's no way I can even listen to someone like you, who dyes their hair. I've made up my mind.
PJ: You've made up your mind?
Ruth: Yeah, that's right.
PJ: And how, may I ask, did that happen?
PJ: How did you do it? Did you make your mind hard and solid, like a brick, always the same, rain or shine - nothing gets through? If I were to say to you, 'don't think of pink butterflies,' you don't, right? Or do you?
Ruth: I'm not thinking of pink butterflies.
PJ: You just mentioned it. You see, the mind is a rebel, it is not a servant. I'm not the one who will break you, Ruth, your own mind will. It will seek the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32.
Ruth: I've already heard the truth.
PJ: The truth about your sainthood? Baba and Mrs. Baba?
Ruth: Not every thing's a posture, not every thing's a joke.
PJ: You're right! It's not a joke - we're talking about your soul here. Have you thought about the damage that can be done to your soul, to your very center, if you hand it over to someone else? To the wrong someone else? 'I feel within me that spark, that atom emination of the divine spirit.' Guisseppe Verdi. The soul is a match, a spark, a flame that can light your path. I want to ask you a question, Ruth. What, in your opinion, is the most important task of a human life? Any idea?
Ruth: Is this multiple choice, or a fake question?
PJ: It's an oratory technique. Have you heard of Socrates?
PJ: 'The soul takes nothing with her to the other world but her education and culture'. So, let's get to the facts. What are doing with your soul? What did Chidaatma Baba teach you?
Ruth: What's the point in my telling you? You already have an opinion.
PJ: I want to know what you know. Something has touched you, hasn't it?
Ruth: To find out that, you'd have to look into my heart. Way beyond something you can read in a book and quote. 'It is, it is, it is.' That's his teaching.
PJ: That's what he said? His words - 'it is'?
Ruth: His words.
PJ: 'He alone attains unto it who exclaims it is, it is. Thus may it be perceived and apprehended in its essence.' The Upanishads, the Upanishads, Ruth, an ancient Hindu text. Feel with your heart, but check your facts.
Ruth: I want my shoes back.
PJ: No. You agreed to stay, and I'm going to make it easy for you.
Ruth: You can't stand that I've got faith, can you? Cause you're so frightened and dried up of feeling. Just trusting your heart - it's beyond you. I get strength like you can't imagine from my choice.
PJ: Well, that's what we're really here to examine - the meaning of the word 'choice' and whether you had one or not.
Campion: "Ruth believes she's had an authentic religious experience. She knows it lives somewhere inside her. P.J. cautions that these sorts of feelings are cheap, it can be a trick. Feelings themselves aren't proof of anything...Both Ruth and PJ are saying something true. When you surrender your soul, you can't take it lightly. But she says that his problem is that he's too scared to surrender. It's a young person's challenge to an older one and it's a decent challenge. It's good that the young aren't sidelined by life and experience."
That night, while Ruth is sleeping, PJ takes her sari, then phones Yvonne and asks her to bring some clothes out to the halfway hut for Ruth. PJ meets Yvonne outside. She tells him about her problems with Robbie, discussing their sex life. Yvonne becomes aroused, they kiss - and more.
Campion: "For Yvonne, PJ is the kind of lover you're so mad about you miss their terrible aspect." ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
PJ: [Voice-over] Day Two: A painful day for the client. Remove her props, upset her and provoke her. So I put the sari up the tree. No more Mr. Nice Guy.
Ruth: I want my clothes back.
PJ: [Pouring a glass of juice] Juice? [Ruth angrily knocks the glass out of his hand] What do you know? I thought I was going to have to wait the longest time for the real you to break through. Do you think a sari is going to change that? Ten hundred saris won't hide that. And you'll only succeed in tying a big knot around yourself. [Ruth is sitting at the table, ignoring him. PJ sits down and bangs his fist on the table to get her attention.] Hello! Would you share what you're thinking, please? Hellooo!
Ruth: Meditating. I was just meditating on the difference between you and Baba.
PJ: He wears a dress.
Ruth: He lives the way he teaches.
PJ: And what specifically has he taught you?
Ruth: To do good, to be a good person.
PJ: And how is that manifesting itself? Are you out there doing good deeds, paying taxes?
Ruth: You're a cynic.
PJ: Yes, yes, I'm a cynic because I investigate crap. What about the crap in you, Ruth? Did you take that to the guru?
Ruth: You're a shit! You don't care about me; you don't even know me. And I didn't go to Baba to get my fucked-upness fixed.
PJ: Well, you'd be the first.
Ruth: All right, so I hoped it would help me grow. I know I'm not perfect.
PJ: Good, Ruth.
Ruth: Yeah. What do you believe in, then?
PJ: Why do you want to know that?
Ruth: I suppose I'm just curious to know what you won't tell.
PJ: So you can follow me? Sorry, honey, that's not my ticket. [Ruth takes off her string of beads and pushes it in PJ's face, then walks out of the hut, with PJ following. He grabs her arm, trying to stop her.]
Ruth: I told you, don't you ever touch me. My body is mine, honey. You're a prick.
PJ: You know, you'd be better off crying.
Ruth: [Screaming] Fuck you!
PJ: I don't want to disempower you.
Ruth: Ha!. Oh yeah?
PJ: If you want disempowerment, you go right back to Mother India. See how they treat women there. Or, didn't you notice all those little ultrasounds blipping away, so people can go in and say, 'oh my God, it's a girl,' and flush her out and abort her?
Ruth: They're more honest.
PJ: Excuse me?
Ruth: They're more honest in their hatred of women!
PJ: I don't hate women. I love ladies.
Ruth: Ha! Ladies! You wouldn't know any. I bet you date little Barbie dolls, don't you? [Imitates 'bimbo'] 'Oh, you're so brainy, you're so big! Can I suck your dick?' [Changing back to herself] Can I be alone now?
PJ goes back into the hut, leaving Ruth alone outside. He looks at her out the window from time to time. She busies herself with some large white stones, arranging them. He doesn't notice what she is actually doing.
Winslet: "I would describe the early part of their relationship as being something that was slightly confusing for both of them, I think. And she is really pushed into this. She's a girl who doesn't like to be pushed into anything, anyway, and she won't to be judged. She does exactly what she thinks, and she's a very determined young woman. And I would describe it as something that was just sort of weird for the two of them."
Later that day, PJ gives Ruth a plate of food and sits next to her. She moves to the sofa opposite him.
PJ: So, was it the ultimate revenge?
Ruth: What was?
PJ: Taking your beauty off to an ashram?
Ruth: Beauty has its own price. You wouldn't know.
PJ: Yeah, attracts the shit.
Ruth: Can do.
PJ: I've dated some beautiful ladies. My ex-wife was a model.
Ruth: [Sarcastically] Wow.
PJ: A bit paranoid, always going on about fat people. She looked good though.
Ruth: Oh, right.
PJ: Excuse me?
Ruth: 'She looked good, though.'
PJ: Yes, well, it didn't work that well. There was a kind of a hostility between us. She was always messing about, very flirty with our friends. She suggested an open marriage, which we did, and both slept around. I slept around. Then we went to India. There were six of us. Next thing, she's off with my best friend. I punched HIM out. Left the bus and wanted to die. That's when I met Singh, a so-called god. I shook all over. Totally relinquished myself to him. If I saw any crap, which I did on occasion, I put it down to a test. Singh's testing me. And then, one historic day, he took me to his private rooms and hugged me. I thought, 'I'm special, he's chosen me.' Very happy. Next thing, his hand's down my pants and he's pulled my dick out. It's just lying there in his hand and were both looking at it, and so he starts rubbing away.
PJ: [Hearing plane fly overhead, PJ looks out the window] Are they spraying or something?
Ruth: [Playing innocent] Sorry?
PJ: Is the plane spraying? Doesn't matter. So, I'm on my way out of the ashram and Singh's standing there. I couldn't avoid him. When I drew parallel, he hissed at me, 'you show only outer love; inner love not complete, only delusion.' [Phone rings]
Ruth: Well, what's that mean?
PJ: It means, oh-oh, I didn't come. He couldn't fuck me. [Answers phone - it's Miriam calling]
Miriam: Hello, how's Ruth? Is she all right?
PJ: [Walking outside with portable phone so Ruth can't hear] Yeah, she's listening. She's still delicate. We're on Step Two, so there's progress.
Miriam: Oh, good, because we had a call from Air Traffic Control. A pilot rang up.
PJ: Uh-huh. What for?
Miriam: A help sign. He wanted to know if we'd left one.
PJ: A what?
Miriam: A help sign - made of stones. [PJ is standing among the stones. He looks around and now realizes what Ruth was up to earlier.] I said it was a game.
PJ hangs up, goes to find Ruth. She is in her room, sitting on the floor, trying to meditate.
PJ grabs her hand and drags her outside to stand in the middle of her help sign.
Ruth: What? Stop! Don't! What are you doing?! You think I'm going to break like all of those chicken-wing girlies you snap apart?
PJ: You're dishonest.
Ruth: [Challenging him] You want to sleep with me, don't you?
PJ: Not all touch is desire. [Ruth makes retching noises] But you wouldn't know about that
Ruth: I'm gonna be sick.
PJ: because you're so busy imagining how everyone desires you
Ruth: [Singing to herself to drown out PJ's voice] La, la, la, la.
PJ: You're one of the most ungenerous people I've every met. I don't think you could actually entwine with another person on account of your having to maybe give something back.
Ruth: You don't know that.
PJ: No, and I don't want to. We made a contract, which you broke.
Ruth: I don't have to honor a contract with the devil.
PJ: I'm a regular person, and you know it. Now, put these stones back - please.
Ruth: I have had deep relationships.
Winslet: "She doesn't want to be there. And he was desperate to deprogram her, and I think the point is, actually, she was so clear in her mind about things that she almost didn't need deprogramming. She just needed to be who she was, and no one was letting her do it."
PJ: [Voice-over] Day Two ends with screening the cult videos. The cracks widen, the client falls apart. Bye-bye, Baba.
That evening, PJ drives Ruth to family's house, where all are assembled to watch the video tape about cults. Ruth notices Yvonne sitting next to PJ, flirting with him. She sees PJ put his hand suggestively on Yvonne, as they whisper to each other. This is more educational than the video. But the video affects Ruth as well, particularly the Jonestown mass suicide scenes. Later, PJ drives Ruth back to the hut. She sits in the back of the car, folding her hands, whispering in prayer. She's desperate to hold onto what she had experienced in India, but her efforts are unrewarded. It's gone and she is shaken.
PJ is awakened by a strange sound outside. He looks out the window and sees Ruth's sari (that he had put up a tree) on fire. He runs out of the house, looking for Ruth, panicked.
PJ: Ruth! Ruth!
Ruth: [Appears from out of the darkness, totally unclothed. She is distraught.] I don't want you to talk. My God, I feel as if I'm going to split in pieces. My head is busting. I'm so confused. [She walks toward PJ, who is shocked at her appearance. She is holding the sides of her head.] Hold it [her head]. You better know what you're doing because this is heart surgery. It's all gone, it's all gone, the love has gone, it's all gone.
PJ: [Holding her head] You're doing well, Ruth. That's-a-girl.
Ruth: Nobody likes me.
PJ: Hey, that's not true.
Ruth: You don't like me.
PJ: Yes, I do.
Ruth: Kiss me.
PJ: No, Ruth, I can't do that.
Ruth: I'm scared.
PJ: I know you are, but kissing won't change that. [Ruth kisses him; he gently pushes her away. She looses control of herself. The sound of her urinating makes PJ turn around. She walks up to him and kisses him again.] I think we'd better phone your mother.
Ruth: OK, let's phone Mum. [She kisses him; he doesn't resist this time.]
Campion: "Growing up is getting naked, finding a different kind of strength that allows you to be without the elaborate trappings of your identity, to become more and more naked to yourself."
Winslet: "Shooting that scene...was hard. Nudity is not easy...My reasons behind accepting that scene were that it is such a turning point for that character. It is really necessary, it is vital, actually...The thing that was harder for me about the particular scene...was that she's kind of going a bit mad. I think it's very hard as an actor to make madness real and believable, very, very hard. And that was the thing that I was most concerned about, sort of 'nailing', if you like.
"When you come to do scenes that are very emotional and you are completely naked, it's sort of double whammy. You know, it's very, very difficult. But, you know, you have to just remember that it's there for a reason, and you have to concentrate and make sure that you forget that you're naked because as soon as you start thinking about that, then all your own fears and paranoias come into play."
Next day: PJ and Ruth are lying beside each other in bed, asleep. The sound of an approaching car awakens them.
PJ: [Voice-over] Day Three: Oh, shit! [Races to pull on clothes before family enters hut; he meets them at front door. Robbie, Yvonne, and Tim are joined by Tim's partner Yani and his sister, Meryl.] This hut is out of bounds.
Tim: Is she OK?
PJ: A bit tender.
Tim: Does she accept that they're all crap?
PJ: I wouldn't say they were crap. Let's just say she's hovering.
Tim: Yani's sister's come up. We want to take Ruth with us to celebrate. You know, there's a theme night at the pub.
PJ: Absolutely not. She can't leave here until the process is complete.
Ruth: [Appearing with a blanket wrapped around her] I think it'd be good for me. [She looks at PJ, daring him to stop her. He can't - she's got something on him now.] I'll get changed.
PJ: [Following Ruth to her bedroom] I'm sorry, Ruth, I shouldn't have slept with you. I, ah, I don't' know. It's never happened before.
PJ: All right, of course it's happened. But never in this situation, never with a client.
Ruth: Don't worry, it wasn't anything.
PJ: Look, I was there, too. I think it was a little more than that. I was trying to be comforting.
Ruth: You don't think I was faking it, do you? [He didn't think that before - he does now.]
The group goes to the pub. Ruth drinks a lot and dances seductively with Meryl, even kissing her, knowing that PJ is watching.
He is shaken up, leads Yvonne to the dance floor, trying to make Ruth jealous in return. But when he looks back over to where Ruth was, she is gone. He asks Meryl where she is - Meryl shrugs. He runs outside, finding Ruth with two men. One is trying to get her to drink from his beer bottle while the other tries to remove her undergarment. She struggles against them. PJ rescues her and drives her back to the hut.
Campion: "[The bar dance] did turn out erotic, didn't it? But she's trying to communicate to Keitel [PJ] a tenderness that he doesn't get. It's a kind of snub to him, to flirt with a girl in front of him in a way that telegraphs that he doesn't really understand about sex and eroticism: 'You're such a grunter.'"
Ruth: [Lying on the sofa, holding a wet towel to her forehead, moaning] Oh, I want to go home.
PJ: You're out of control.
Ruth: Ha, ha. You didn't seem to mind last night. Oh, come on, it's over. You fucked up.
PJ: No, it's not over. For one, you're drunk. And two, we're still in the cave.
Ruth: [Mocking] Ooooh, spooky.
PJ: A much darker, deeper cave than it was last night.
Ruth: All right, I'll admit it. In India I was influenced by processes beyond my control. Ta da! Happy? Hmm? Are you? [Sits up and reaches out to PJ] What about you?
PJ: [Moving away from her] You're playing with me, Ruth.
Ruth: What do you like about me? Do you like my personality or do you like my breasts best?
PJ: All right, Ruth, right now I like your breasts. That's just the way it is. You can't stop me from having sexual thoughts about you.
Ruth: Oh, yeah? And what do you think? What are your thoughts?
PJ: They're private.
Ruth: Ha! Well, not the other night.
PJ: How was it for you?
Ruth: A bit revolting.
PJ: You bitch.
Ruth: OK, it was interesting - historically. [Imitating him] 'Oh, babe, come, babe.'
PJ: [Getting upset] Listen to me! I had sex with you because you begged me to. And if you think it's funny to insult me, then I think you're a cruel and stupid young woman. Yeah, you laugh.
Ruth: [Crawls toward where PJ is sitting] What about you kiss me?
Ruth: Yeah, let's see if I can teach you.
PJ: I know how to do it.
Ruth: I don't think so, not so I like it. Close your eyes. Gently. Don't open your mouth too wide. [Kisses him passionately, then stands up in front of him.] Take my pants off - slowly. [PJ obliges.] No, no, no, no - kiss around it - gently.
Campion: "She tries to teach him very gently. It's very powerful that he follows her instructions almost like a little boy. He makes her feel loved and powerful and she allows herself to be eroticized by him."
Next day: PJ is taking a shower outside. His girlfriend Carol surprises him. Robbie has driven her to the hut; he is standing by the car.
Carol: Could we talk somewhere?
PJ: Yeah, here.
Carol: Did you disconnect the phone?
PJ: Yes, I decided against incoming calls.
PJ: I was going to call you.
PJ: When I'd finished.
Carol: Are you finished?
PJ: Yes, pretty much. She's still floating a bit, but, yeah, pretty much. Look, I was here alone, yeah. I had enough to worry about without having to think about who's getting the fucking phone, yeah.
Carol: Don't go chewing your stuff off at me. You're incredible. I can't believe what I'm seeing in here. She's on the couch - naked. What's going on? Are you fucking her, for instance? [Robbie overhears her.] I'm taking you home.
Carol: You could damage this girl.
PJ: Oh, come on, Carol. I know all that, but it's working - honestly.
Carol: What do I tell her parents?
PJ: There's nothing to tell. Give me a couple of days.
Carol: No, no.
PJ: I swear to you
Carol: You've lost it, you've lost it.
PJ: I swear to you, everything's fine.
Carol: Oh, Jesus. One more day, one more day.
Carol leaves with Robbie, while PJ goes inside the hut. Ruth is sitting at the table. He grabs Ruth's nose between his fingers; he is in a playful mood; she is not.
PJ: What is that, a nose? You can have it back.
Ruth: That was nice, meeting your girlfriend. I bet she wants to smack your ass. I was just lying there, acting asleep, so she covers me up. I felt like a baby.
PJ: Well, you are a little baby, aren't you?
Ruth: And you should be sleeping with big mommies your own age. Then you wouldn't have to stick all that dye and shit in your hair.
PJ: Man hater! [He tries to kiss her.] I'm here, OK? [She pushes him away.] All right! OK, do your worst. I'm going to lie down, and I want to hear it - your absolute worst. You do what you do best. [He lies down on the floor. She stands up, walking around him, poking him with her foot as she talks.]
Ruth: OK, Tampax tool. I'm going to give it to you right up your ass. All this man-hating shit for a start. 'Oh, she critized me; I'll call her a man hater.' You know what you want from me. You just want a youthful pussy transfusion, preferably one you can take home to show the men folks what a beautiful post you've got to piss on. Jeans pressed, cowboy boots - is that a uniform for individuals, is it? I want a young man.
PJ: [Getting up] Your physical superiority makes you unkind.
Ruth: Yeah? And that's the whole reason we're talking intimate. As in 'old salivating slob seeks slim young thing' [PJ tries to stop her] No, I haven't finished. 'Seeks slim young thing for stimulating conversation. Excuse me, dear, let's fuck.'
PJ: [Humoring her] Keep going. Go on.
Ruth: Oh, do you know what you need? You need a same-age, fun-loving woman. I've got just the girl for you. [She gets lipstick from her bag, sits down at the table, and waits for him to join her. He lets her put the lipstick on his mouth. She then pulls off his shirt and puts a red dress on him. He walks to a mirror to look at himself. She stands behind him.] You look lovely. Sexy. I bet you bake great cakes. [She brushes his hair]
PJ: Stop it. [He holds her arms]
Ruth: God. Getting a bit aggressive. Now, come on, we can't have you half dressed. [She starts to pull off his jeans.] Let's get your trousers off, and then we'll see how irresistible you are.
PJ: Fuck you, Ruth.
Ruth: No, you fuck yourself. Only you wouldn't, would you?
PJ: I was young once, too, and handsome. You'd have been impressed.
Ruth: I wasn't born! [She goes into the bedroom, PJ follows. Ruth jumps up and down on a bed.] I won, didn't I? I'm on top, aren't I? I'm the winner.
PJ: Yes, you're the winner.
Ruth: Yes, yes, yes! [She jumps off that bed, reclines on another bed.] So, what are you?
PJ: A dirty old man. [He leans over Ruth, trying to get close.]
Ruth: Oh, this is so much fun. I wish my friends were here, then we could really laugh. So, tell me what I am. [PJ gets a pen and writes something on her forehead. She looks into a mirror to see what he's written.]
'Be kind.' So what? You don't think I'm kind. [Sits on floor, leaning back against wall.] Oh, God, now I feel sick. Why didn't you just write 'cruel'?
PJ: [Whispering] Hey, come on.
Ruth: No, you're right. 'Be kind.' That's the whole point. Thank you, I'm very grateful. That's it, isn't it? The only thing. [Crying] The Dalai Lama said it - kindness. Do you know what I'm really scared of?
PJ: [Tenderly] What?
Ruth: Don't tell anyone.
Ruth: Despite all my strong feelings, I'm heartless.
PJ: I'm hoping you're heartless enough to abuse me for your own sick pleasure.
Ruth: Don't joke. No one can get close to me. [She is very distressed] Do you even like me? [PJ kisses her.]
Campion: "With all of his palaver and compulsive seducing, at heart he's decent. He could have retaliated in a very wild way with this girl. They love each other in spite of themselves. It happens because they come to a place of deep honesty where they ask questions about how aware we really are about the people we eroticize: 'Do you even like me?' If we're so involved with our dreams, how much do we really see each other? Identity is separate from essence. We put together a fabulous identity that's going to protect us from people and also attract fabulous people. Then we spend our lives trying to dismantle it."
Winslet: "In all honesty, all she was looking for was the answer to her self."
Next morning, at the family farm, Robbie approaches Tim.
Robbie: She was starkers when I took Carol.
Tim: Who was?
Robbie: Ruth. She was lying naked on the couch. He was in the shower like he'd been going at her. I don't think Mum's paying him to, you know, fuck her.
Tim: I guess not, you big dick. Did you tell Mum?
Robbie: No, no one. I thought we could go down.
Back at the hut, PJ is sleeping, wearing only the red dress. Ruth ties books to the bottom of her feet, to use for shoes.
PJ: [Awakening] What are you doing?
Ruth: It's over.
PJ: No, it's not. Ruth -
Ruth: [Very upset] Look, it's all wrong. I'm ashamed. I tortured you. It's all defilement.
PJ: I liked it. I think we should be together.
Ruth: No, no, I'm lost, I'm completely lost.
PJ: [Taking her hand] We're holding hands, we're sticking together. [Ruth walks out of the house, PJ follows, pleading with her to stay with him.] Why don't we get married? Why don't you marry me? Be my bride.
Ruth: No, no! [He tries to restrain her; she is frightened by his actions and pleadings.] Don't! Don't! Fuck, you're mad! Let me go! [He throws his arms around her, hugging her to him.] Get off me! Stop it! Leave me alone, you're hurting me. [They push at each other. PJ is so desperate to keep her with him, he punches her in the face to restrain her. She falls to the ground, unconscious.]
PJ: Oh, shit!
Robbie, Tim and Yvonne are driving to the hut.
Yvonne: Now, if she was naked, OK, it's her own affair. Hey, look, there's your car. It's him, see? Robbie, pull up.
Robbie: I'll ram him. He's dead meat. [He pulls alongside PJ, who is going in the opposite direction.]
PJ: [Playing innocent] Have you seen Ruth?
Robbie: No, where is she?
Tim: [whispering to others] Has he got lipstick on his face?
PJ: I was hoping you might know. She's not at the homestead?
Tim: No, no, she isn't. So, what happened?
PJ: What's happened is that she's taken off and we'd better get everyone out to look for her. I'm trying the tavern.
Tim: What do you want us to do?
PJ: You stay at the hut.
Yvonne: I'll come with you.
PJ: No, no, it's not necessary. [Yvonne gets in the car with PJ against his protests. They drive off.]
Yvonne: I hope she's been behaving herself. Young girls can be big teases. I should know. [Finally notices that PJ is wearing a dress.] Have you ever wondered where the dead birds go? I mean, when they die, do they just jump out of the sky? [PJ hears a tapping noise, turns radio on to drown it out. Yvonne continues blabbing away.] Actually, I feel very sorry for Ruth because I've been thinking about it, and I don't think there's anything out there. Just a big dark nothing. All we really have is each other. [She finally hears the tapping sounds.] Stop, stop, stop the car! Oh, my God! I know where she is! This is so dangerous! [PJ reluctantly stops the car, Yvonne gets out and opens the trunk.] Ruth, it's Yvonne. I don't care who you believe in. You've gone too far, you could have killed yourself in this heat. [Ruth mouths 'help'; Yvonne is frightened at her appearance.] OK. [Helps Ruth out of trunk.]
PJ: Ruth? You're all right, Ruth. [Clearly afraid, Ruth stumbles down the road to get away from PJ.]
Ruth: No, no!
Yvonne: It's OK. No, wait! I'm not in yet.
Ruth: No! [She starts running down the road.]
PJ: [Running after her] We can go to India.
Ruth: No! Get away! No! Please!
PJ: We'll see Baba - he can help us! Why not? You and me at the ashram. I love you! I love you. [She turns around once, but then continues stumbling away. He falls to his knees in anguish.] I love you. You and I at the ashram.
At the family house, Miriam hangs up phone.
Miriam: [To Aunt Puss, Dad, Carol] Stan says to stay calm. He's frankly a little worried that they've left the hut.
Gilbert: What a genius. Do you know what could happen, Miriam?
Miriam: She could be lost?
Gilbert: She could be found. Found wandering the f-ing highway by the police who'll come here to arrest us all.
Aunt Puss: Why aren't we checking the roads?
Gilbert: That's a good idea. Bill-Bill, we'll get Robbie and Tim.
Aunt Puss: I think we should say the Lord's prayer.
Miriam: Ah, this is such a mess. [Aunt and Mum start praying.] Oh, God is the 'valley of death' in this?
Aunt Puss: No, it's 'the daily bread.'
Miriam: Oh, I don't know the words. He won't listen. [Carol leads the prayer.]
PJ stumbles across the desert, suffering from sun stroke. He falls to the ground, delirious. He sees a figure in the distance. Hallucinating, he sees Ruth as a 3-armed Hindu goddess.
The image eventually breaks apart - it is Tim, Robbie and Yvonne approaching him.
Campion: "She really is a goddess, a young woman with a voice, not just a view as created by men. You speak of the light that seems to come through her eyes. I'm afraid that's something to do with Miss Winslet. She's luminous. She can swallow a poem and look like one."
Yvonne: [Riding in front of car with Ruth, Tim and Robbie. PJ is lying in the back of the truck, still dazed.] I just can't believe we all trusted him. I mean, he so disappointed me. Oh, God, Ruth, poor you. [Ruth is unresponsive, lost in her own thoughts.]
Robbie: We'll make him pay.
Tim: Yeah, we'll see the prick into the gutter
Yvonne: Serves him right. Let's take Ruth to the doctor...
Ruth: [Looks back at PJ, lying in the back of the truck, helpless. She decides to be kind.] Can you just stop the car? [To Tim] Can you let me out, please? [She climbs into the back of the truck with PJ, cradling his head in her lap.]
Winslet: "The interesting thing is that towards the end of the story, Ruth begins to care, certainly what PJ thinks of her, and her whole perception of herself shifts, changes. She learns about her own personal power, what she can do to a human being through her strength and the power of her beauty. Also, PJ releases her. Not in the way that he was intending to, rather, in becoming involved himself, the process becomes more reciprocal. So as PJ awakens Ruth to hidden aspects within herself, Ruth awakens extraordinary things in PJ, tearing great strips off of him in the process." ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
One year later -
Postcard from Ruth to PJ: [Voice-over] Dear PJ, My Dad finally did run off with his secretary. So, Mum came back to India with me, and we're working in Animal Help and Suffering in Jaipur. I'm still chasing the truth. I've read the complete Bhagavad Gita. Oh, I've got a boyfriend. He's a little jealous of you. I don't know why I love you, but I do - from afar. Something really did happen, didn't it? Ruth.
PJ typing on his computer [Voice-over] Dear Ruth, Thank you. It was good to get your card and news. What about this? Carol and I are the proud parents of twins. She's forgiven me, patched me up, chewed me out, nursed me. I'm writing a novel. My second. It's about a man who meets his avenging angel. Hah! Could you really love me? I'm amazed. Even if it is from far, far away, I wear it like a blessing. About the something - yes. Didn't you notice it just about killed me? Yours anytime. (Don't tell Carol.) PJ.