If you haven’t seen Fried Green Tomatoes yet (first: shake your head, second: stop reading now).
My favourite quote comes from that movie. It’s comes near the end of the film just after Ruth dies. Sipsy comes up behind a sobbing Idgie and hugs her, rocking her back and forth and says,
“Miss Ruth was a lady, and a lady always knows when to leave.”
That line chokes me up every time, and I’ve seen the movie enough times that I can recite the lines of the characters before they speak. It’s been an obsession of mine since I was quite young.
There is something so elegant about the line, and definitely something incredibly emotional about the way it is delivered. I most love character-drive stories that bring me along for an emotional journey. I want to know the characters, and the film is perfect in every way for my interests. The line as Ruth dies is the most beautiful way to express that someone has died that I’ve ever heard.
It makes Ruth’s death elegant, proper and beautiful… It makes the death of Ruth about Ruth. It’s fitting. I hope to one day come up with a line or a sentiment that even comes close to that level of depth and beauty.