Dear Aunt Ruth, I would like to meet you!

Original Poster
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 735
I want to discuss about Lynch's tenth hint: Where is Aunt Ruth?

There is an obvious answer:
1) In reality, Aunt Ruth is dead
2) In Diane's dream, she has left LA to Canada for the shot of a movie and she leaves her flat to Diane who is arriving at LA from Canada!

But in Diane's dream, the answer is much more interesting than that and is itself twofold:

1) Diane's Aunt is characterized as a middle age woman with red hairs, a scarf around her neck and a suitcase. The most obvious aunt is of course the one at 1612 Havenhurst but you see two another women with the same characteristics: one at the airport near the taxi, and another one when Betty and Rita are visiting the Sierra Bonita complex. Each time these women are leaving just as Betty is arriving.

2) Louise Bonner says to Coco that someone ("she") is in her room and doesn't want to leave it. The way Louise is talking about "she" is very strange as if it was a ghost. And it is probably the ghost of the real dead Aunt Ruth who has told Louise that Betty isn't her niece's name, and that Rita is in danger.
And what is even stranger is that that ghost went to Louise Bonner's flat as pushed away from Ruth's flat by Betty's arrival.

All of this means that it is impossible in the dream for Betty to meet her aunt. This meeting is "censored" in the dream. Each time Betty is arriving somewhere, an image of Aunt Ruth is leaving.

It can be understood if you admit that Diane didn't know her aunt well. She didn't know her face and she was imaging that her aunt was rich and had a good situation at Hollywood. The reality is probably very different: Aunt Ruth was probably not rich at all and had a subaltern situation at Hollywood. Diane's learned about it when she arrived at LA. So Aunt Ruth's real life is so much in conflict with Betty's dreamed life that she can't meet her aunt.

It explains the way diane is talking about her aunt to Coco at the diner. She is ashamed of her. We don't know exactly why but ... anyway she left her some money...

Sorry for my poor english...
Nov 18, 2002 6:03 PM
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Joined: Jul 2002
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...and I tend to agree w/ what you are saying about Aunt Ruth.
Nov 18, 2002 7:42 PM
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Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 17
It is also possible that Aunt Ruth aided and abetted Betty/Diane's childhood abuse for her own reasons, and thus she constantly avoids being confronted with the reality. If you subscribe to the notion that the choice of the name is not incidental, and that "Aunt Ruth" = "untruth", her generosity to Betty is certainly deceptive. She graciously lets Betty occupy her apartment. Does that indicate that the real aunt gave up her place in the master bedroom to Diane? Ruth leaves a luxurious matronly robe for Betty to wear. Does it mean that in reality, she made Diane fulfill the role of the wife, while she went about her business, free from her abusive husband? In the triangle involving Betty/Diane and the old couple, Diane thus acts as as a stand-in for the wife -- and that's why she and the REAL wife can never be in the same place at the same time. The idea that only one actor (actress?) can fill a given role (!) certainly fits in with the general Tinseltown setting and background.
Aug 21, 2008 7:26 AM
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Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 24
gandalf36I want to discuss about Lynch's tenth hint: Where is Aunt Ruth?

There is an obvious answer:
1) In reality, Aunt Ruth is dead
2) In Diane's dream, she has left LA to Canada for the shot of a movie and she leaves her flat to Diane who is arriving at LA from Canada!

But in Diane's dream, the answer is much more interesting than that and is itself twofold:

1) Diane's Aunt is characterized as a middle age woman with red hairs, a scarf around her neck and a suitcase. The most obvious aunt is of course the one at 1612 Havenhurst but you see two another women with the same characteristics: one at the airport near the taxi, and another one when Betty and Rita are visiting the Sierra Bonita complex. Each time these women are leaving just as Betty is arriving.

2) Louise Bonner says to Coco that someone ("she") is in her room and doesn't want to leave it. The way Louise is talking about "she" is very strange as if it was a ghost. And it is probably the ghost of the real dead Aunt Ruth who has told Louise that Betty isn't her niece's name, and that Rita is in danger.
And what is even stranger is that that ghost went to Louise Bonner's flat as pushed away from Ruth's flat by Betty's arrival.

All of this means that it is impossible in the dream for Betty to meet her aunt. This meeting is "censored" in the dream. Each time Betty is arriving somewhere, an image of Aunt Ruth is leaving.

It can be understood if you admit that Diane didn't know her aunt well. She didn't know her face and she was imaging that her aunt was rich and had a good situation at Hollywood. The reality is probably very different: Aunt Ruth was probably not rich at all and had a subaltern situation at Hollywood. Diane's learned about it when she arrived at LA. So Aunt Ruth's real life is so much in conflict with Betty's dreamed life that she can't meet her aunt.

It explains the way diane is talking about her aunt to Coco at the diner. She is ashamed of her. We don't know exactly why but ... anyway she left her some money...

Sorry for my poor english...

Aunt Ruth is one of the most interesting characters in the film. I have a few thoughts about her and her backstory:

I believe that, as you stated, Aunt Ruth is in reality dead. I believe that she died from an illness such as cancer and that the more emaciated red haired woman shown getting into a taxi with a bag outside the Sierra Bonita Apts. is meant to represent Aunt Ruth in the later stage of her illness. I also think of cancer because many people who have that disease lose their hair as a result of the chemotherapy. Aunt Ruth has many hats and wigs in her apartment and it also seems to me that her hair in her opening and subsequent scenes could also be a wig. Viewed in this light Rita's comment about Aunt Ruth having "such pretty red hair" can be seen as ironic.
Also Lynnie James, the woman at Betty's audition, has red hair. It is quite unusual to encounter so many people with red hair. I live in a major US city I I rarely see anyone with red hair.

I agree with you that the person Louise Bonner refers to as being in her apartment is probably Aunt Ruth or Aunt Ruth's "ghost", having as you said been pushed out of her own apartment by Betty and Rita's prescence. The moment Betty and Rita are gone Aunt Ruth is immediately back in her apartment as if nothing had happened.

Aunt Ruth may very well not have been rich, although she did seem to leave Diane quite a bit of money considering Diane used some of the money to come to Hollywood from Canada and some to hire the hitman. One wonders why she resorted to working at Winkie's, possibly prostituting herself, and living in a crappy apartment if she had all that extra money laying around.
Aug 25, 2008 1:53 PM
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Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 80
Well, as Aunt Ruth also spells A untruth I don't know if I would spend a lot of time thinking about this or any of the other clues (for that matter).

I've always liked the notion that she's in that big heavy steamship trunk that was loaded into the back of the taxi.
Sep 2, 2008 4:00 PM
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