|Ruth Whitney, a stoic, sixty-six-year-old woman whose husband unexpectedly abandoned her six years prior, quietly struggles to cope amidst a shattered world of financial and emotional adversity. Once well-off, with a successful husband and close family, Ruth now lives in a dilapidated summerhouse in rural New Jersey, works a minimum-wage job in a local motel, and clings to her rigid and sometimes comical daily regimen. Meanwhile, her daughter Liz, a phobia-prone thirty-something, is attempting to finish her Ph.D. in California, hoping to support both herself and her mother. Worried about her mother’s worsening situation, Liz convinces Ruth to move out west and begin a new life. Ruth agrees, but not without reluctance, as she tacitly carries with her a red suitcase full of her estranged husband’s clothes. In a beat-up station wagon filled to the brim, Ruth and Liz begin an odyssey across America. Full of humorous adventures, colorful characters and dramatic revelations, the trip continually tests Ruth’s wavering resolve to start a new life.
Through this journey, and the complex and unbreakable bond with her daughter, Ruth finds the strength to let go of the past and face the future, proving it is never too late.
THE STORY BEHIND THE RED SUITCASE:
Dana White, the writer and producer of The Red Suitcase developed the idea for the film one afternoon in May of 2008. Soon after, she saw the critically acclaimed actress Kathleen Chalfant in a play in Los Angeles. Stunned by her performance, Dana knew she had found the woman to play the lead role in her new film. Having worked as an actress in New York, Dana had long admired Ms. Chalfant, as one of the iconic figures on the New York Stage.
Unbeknownst to Ms. Chalfant, Dana set out to write The Red Suitcase, determined to have the New York actress play the role of Ruth. Two years later, Dana’s dream became a reality when after reading the script, Kathleen Chalfant enthusiastically agreed to play the role of Ruth and thus began the next chapter in the making of The Red Suitcase.