The Story of Love (2022) Movie Script

RUBY: "The last time
I was truly happy
was at prom, Johnny.
"Look at me.
"I'm a grown woman
in a loveless marriage.
"Every day we spend together
we're just playing a part.
"My heart is with Billy now,
"and yours is with Bette."
That's right. I know, about her.
Hold on!
You're saying that
she knows about Bette?
Dot is clearly better for him.
Oh, please.
Dot was only in it with Johnny
because she was teed that
Billy dumped her senior year.
He's with Bette now, just wait.
In the next book,
he'll go back to Dot, you'll see.
Marcus Harlow, you are a genius.
Ruby dear, there's something
that we wanted to discuss with you.
Is this another blind date ambush
because you know
how badly that went last time.
How was I supposed to know
the chiropractor was an oddball?
He seemed perfectly nice
when I gave him your number
at the coffee shop.
He claimed he was allergic to water.
I appreciate
that you all wanna help,
but I don't need my mum
and her friends playing matchmaker.
Honey, don't you think
that it's time
that you loosened up on this dating?
You find one thing wrong
with the guy, and that's it?
But there's nothing wrong
with having high standards.
Besides, I really wanna focus
on my writing right now.
Before I can even think
about dating,
I need to get a book deal.
That's actually
what we want to discuss with you.
You remember that retreat
that I mentioned to you
a couple of weeks ago?
The one that is happening
at the same time
as my yearly trip to Tahoe...
You mean the sweepstakes
to win a book deal
that you said was
the opportunity of a lifetime?
It is not a sweepstakes.
It is, in fact,
a very competitive process.
And I...
submitted your Viking story
on your behalf.
You what?
You did it. You're in!
"Dear Miss Easton, congratulations!
"You have been accepted to the
annual Romance Writers Retreat
"at the Westwind Inn on Lake Tahoe."
Wait, a Romance Writers Retreat?
Seriously, Dean?
It's good money, Woody.
You know, your old man used to love
having events like this here.
Yeah, this is not what I had in mind
when I took over
running this place.
Is that right?
And what exactly
did you have in mind, huh?
A 'nature enthusiast
and expert climber's
only' convention?
Actually, yes.
(SCOFFS) Well, we could use
the publicity, Woody.
I realised the timing isn't great.
Well, you think?
Look, kid,
I...I know you're still smarting
over your break-up,
I get that, you know.
And the last thing you need is
all this romance
mumbo jumbo going on,
but we could use the money.
OK. So, what?
We're just gonna start pandering to
the pumpkin spice latte crowd now,
Well, look...look...
This...this Marcus
Harlequin or the Harlow,
whatever the heck his name is.
he's a...he's a big time writer.
You know, we're...we're lucky
to have him.
And who knows?
Maybe this would be just a ticket
to get you over your
broken heart, yeah?
"A week in the wilderness
"to discover the art
of penning true love."
And while
you're hosting the writers,
I'll be taking some
much-needed time off.
A little staycation, as it were.
It'd be good for you
to run the place
without me doing the heavy lifting
for a while.
And when Marcus Harlow arrives?
(CLICKS) He's all yours.
Yep, well, I...I prefer
the expert climbers.
See you later, girls.
So, let me get this straight.
You took one of my stories
and you sent it to this
pyramid scheme behind my back.
It's not a "pyramid scheme".
It's incredibly competitive.
They only take three writers a year.
It's easier to get into Yale
than it is to get into this.
OK, I didn't know that part,
but still...
You've been trying for years
to get a book off the ground.
I just wanted to give you a boost.
Yeah, but this is not my thing.
I mean, look at this.
Hiking. Canoeing.
What does any of this
have to do with writing?
Who cares? It's Marcus Harlow.
The same Marcus Harlow
you've been obsessed with for years.
It's a chance to learn
from your hero.
I'm not good with the outdoors.
You'll get over it.
I'm very prone to mosquito bites.
Use bug spray.
What if he doesn't like my writing?
Oh, sweetie.
I will be there as moral support.
I've always wanted you
to come to Tahoe with me.
Now's the perfect time.
I just...
I wanted to get a publishing
deal the real way,
just me and my writing.
A retreat...there's so many
other things to think about.
Give it a chance, honey.
Worst case scenario,
you'll be having a nice vacation
with your mum.
Long overdue.
The deadline to commit is tomorrow.
I need the night to think about it.
OK! Fine, fine. Think on it.
Marcus Harlow, you are a genius.
OK, I'll go.
But you have to promise not to hover
and to actually be on vacation.
I guess we're going to Tahoe.
Tahoe, here we come!
Mr Harlow...
I'm Woody.
Welcome to the Westwind.
Call me Marcus.
Looking forward to working together.
Can you, uh, give me some insight
on what you've planned for tomorrow?
First things first,
kitchen's open 'til 10.
We don't do late night meals here.
Um, show maps
are available in the lobby,
so, we've got some really great
I...I assume you have
an itinerary of the activities.
Sorry. Come again.
Well, you're
the Activities Coordinator, right?
"Activities Coordinator"? Um...
You approved this,
did you not?
I hope you don't mind
I put your picture off the Internet.
Dean must have forgotten to...
You know, what?
Just tell me what you need from me.
Well, since the writers
need to follow
the theme of
'love in the wilderness',
I assumed you would
plan some wilderness activities
for them to draw inspiration from.
Can't actually spend the whole week
only talking about writing.
Thank you.
Right. Right, right, right.
Of course, wilderness activities.
No, I did plan. I just, um...
Look, I wanted it to be a surprise.
That's all.
You know, the wilderness
is an unexpected place.
There's no itineraries
in the mountains,
unpredictable weather...
Bear attack at noon, right?
I like it. Expect the unexpected.
Right. Anyway, uh, your room keys.
If you need anything, just holler.
And...and just make sure
there are a lot of dairy-free
milk options for him, OK?
..milk options.
Mum, the pink is cute,
but don't you think
it's a little...loud for arrival?
I like to make an entrance.
(SNIFFS) Oh, do you smell that?
That is real oxygen, kid.
Welcome to the Westwind.
Oh! Well, hello there!
Uh, checking in?
Uh, more like checking out.
You know, what I mean?
What was that?
Yes. We're checking in.
I'm here for
the Romance Writers Retreat.
Are you both writers?
No, just me.
No, no, no, no.
She's the brains.
I'm just here on vacation.
Well, breakfast is at 9am
every morning in the lodge.
So, you're a romance novelist?
Kind of. I'm, uh...
Uh, I'm an accountant.
I'm just trying to be a novelist.
You're in the packet, right?
You're the Activities Coordinator?
Yep. I'm in the packet.
So, I'm not great
with outdoorsy things.
We're not gonna be doing anything
too dangerous, are we?
No, nothing too bad.
I thought we'd start out
with some white water rafting.
Maybe check out some
of the bear caves nearby.
You're a group of writers.
I'm working on the assumption
that I gotta go easy on you guys.
Very funny.
Hey, have...have you seen
Marcus Harlow around yet?
Yeah, he arrived earlier today.
What's he like?
I don't know. He's a guy.
Well, could you be
a little bit more descriptive?
Look, you're the writer.
That's your job.
I'm just an Activities Coordinator.
Room 23.
Bear spray?
23. OK.
23. OK...
Oh! I'm so sorry. I didn't see you.
(EXHALES) Um, that's...
Thank you.
That's...that's quite alright.
Are...are you Marcus Harlow?
That's me, and you are?
Ruby. Ruby Easton.
I'm one of the writers here
for the retreat.
Ruby. Yes.
Of course, your story
'Valhalla Calling'
was one of my favourites
from the submissions we received.
Oh, absolutely.
Your voice is refreshing.
That ending was heartbreaking.
That means so much coming from you.
Thank you.
You know, I have a book club
at home,
and we read all of your books.
And I...
Um, I have Erica
from the studio on hold.
She's asking about the film rights.
I have to take this.
It was nice to meet you, Ruby.
I look forward to working with you.
You too!
This is Marcus...
(SHRIEKS) Marcus Harlow!
Who is it?
Act... Activities guy.
Oh, right. Yeah. Come in.
You left this downstairs.
Thank you.
This too.
Were you expecting
to fight a lot of bears
while you're here?
Uh, no.
Are there a lot of bears here?
Hmm. Yeah, there's a few.
But don't worry.
I'm sure with your
industrial-sized can of mace
you will keep them away.
Very funny.
I need to keep unpacking, so...
Oh, and just one more thing.
Keep an eye out
for the mountain lions.
They like to claw
the windows at night.
That's not funny.
Yeah it really is, though.
(EXHALES) Mountain guys.
Oh, there she is!
Hey, can I get you
something to drink?
You really do all of the jobs
around here, don't you?
Uh, I do what I can.
Woody was telling me that
this hotel's been in his family
for generations.
Yeah, the land has been ours
since the mid 1800s.
A little oasis
from the outside world.
Uh-huh. That's nice.
Enjoy your night, ladies.
He is so dang cute!
Yeah! In a lumberjack kind of way.
Did you know his ancestors
were famous pioneers,
and they smuggled hooch
during prohibition.
More importantly,
I just met Marcus Harlow.
And he remembered my story.
His assistant interrupted him
to take a phone call
about film rights.
I think there might be
Marcus Harlow movie soon.
I told you
coming here was a good idea.
I don't know
how I'm gonna get any writing done
with all the outdoor activities
they've jammed into the schedule.
Um, I couldn't help but overhear...
Are you here for the retreat?
Oh, yeah! Yeah.
Um, I am, and she's here for...
Well, I'm Rachel.
You must be Ruby.
I read the programme,
and I know the other writer,
but your name was the only one
I didn't recognised.
Oh, yeah. I'm, uh...
Oh, I'm new with all of this.
She's new.
Well, I was just about to meet
the other writer on the lawn.
Do you care to join?
Oh, go!
Yeah. Yeah.
Is that OK?
That would be nice.
He's a bit of a curmudgeon at first,
but that's just how writers are.
Competitive and petty.
But I promise to you,
once you get to know him,
he's great once you peel back
the outer layer.
So, how does this whole thing work?
The retreating...?
But honestly,
whoever wins the book deal,
is usually just who Marcus
is gunning for.
Here he is.
This is Fitz.
Our competition.
Ha, this must be
the mysterious young novice.
Yep. That's me!
How did you manage
to sneak in under the fence
without ever publishing?
Nepotism? College connection?
My mum submitted
one of my stories
without me knowing.
I...I've been trying
to get a book deal for a while,
and I guess she just thought
this was a better idea.
I love that.
Yeah, a tremendous first act set up,
the consummate underdog.
So, do you have a...
a lot of books published already?
I prefer historical dramas,
but romance pays the bills.
I publish under my pen name
"Judith Blue"?
You're "Judith Blue"?
Fierce competition.
I have a feeling
that you're gonna be just fine.
May the best book proposal win.
And that, ladies and gentlemen,
is our curmudgeon.
Please tell me you're not planning
on wearing those.
What? What's wrong with these? didn't bring
hiking boots?
I'm here to write
a romance book proposal,
not learn
how the Neanderthals lived.
I'm pretty sure Neanderthals
didn't wear hiking boots.
(SCOFFS) Whatever.
You know, what I mean.
They're just shoes. They'll be fine.
They look good now...
Alright, everyone.
Welcome to the start
of this year's retreat,
and I have some very exciting
Gale Publishing
has upped the book advance money
to $120,000 for this year's winner.
I know. I know.
Pretty hefty chunk of change.
Now, as you all know,
we really want you to lean
into this year's wilderness theme
and incorporate as much
as you can into your proposals.
Woody? Come over here.
This guy.
He is going to be the key
to your proposals.
Woody, here, is gonna take us
on various nature-themed excursions
over the next week,
introducing us to the ways...
of the mountain man.
Isn't that right, Woody?
Right, I mean,
I'd say more "mountain man", like...
diet mountain man.
That'll do fine.
And we don't want anyone
falling off a cliff now, do we?
They didn't get insurance for that.
Alright, shall we head out?
Uh, you know what?
Woody, on second thought,
you take the reins on this one.
I've got some business to attend to.
Everyone... have fun!
OK? Um...
Guys, we're gonna partner up.
Everyone just do a
little buddy system.
Fitz and Rachel.
And you're with me, tennis shoes.
Alright pick up the pace.
We gotta catch up to the group.
Oh, great!
Looks like
we're hiking Everest today.
Let's go, tennis shoes.
Right here,
this is where my family originally
wanted to build the hotel.
It's a better view,
but the avalanche risk
is too high for comfort.
Can you help me?
Looks delicious, right?
No! Not so fast.
In general, stay away
from any white or yellow berries.
That is unless
you're into eating poison.
Am I gonna have any time today
to work on my proposal?
We haven't even gotten
to the hard part yet.
The Jeffrey Pine!
Most abundant type of tree
here in Tahoe.
It's got some of the longest needles
of any pine.
Oh, over here.
What are you doing?
Uh, I'm writing.
No, I mean,
what are you doing here alone?
What happened to the buddy system?
Well, I thought
I would take a break,
and then I got an idea,
and I thought
I would write my idea down,
and I guess
I just lost track of time.
But if I wanna submit
a great proposal,
I...I need to spend
as much time writing as possible.
How'd those shoes work out for you?
They worked out perfectly.
Thank you.
Look, next time
we're out in the woods,
I'd appreciate it
if you stuck with me.
Yeah, I just need to make sure
that Marcus is impressed
by this proposal.
What's the deal with this, um,
Marcus guy?
I mean, is he really that important?
He's only the greatest
romance novelist of all-time.
This book deal could change my life,
and I am very out of my league here.
So, I need to get a head start
on my proposal.
I came here to write,
not to climb mountains.
Fair enough.
But when I'm leading an activity,
just stick to my rules, would you?
Got it.
My feet, maybe, hurt.
Yeah...I called it. I knew it.
OK...look, just jump on.
Are you kidding?
I'm serious.
Hop aboard the Woody Express.
Don't be ridiculous.
I can walk.
The final offer
going in three, two...
Ow! Turn around.
You can't tell anybody
about this, OK?
Promise me.
No-one can know.
You got my word.
Oh! Hi, hon!
How was your first day?
The activities guy just had to
carry me down the mountain.
And apparently, the book deal
is worth a $120,000,
so, no, no pressure.
Bazooka! That is a lot of change.
Oh, and you should see
the other writers.
They're so professional
and professorial and pernicious.
And did you know
that Judith Blue is a guy?
I always thought Judith Blue
excelled at male characters.
Darling, what makes
you strong as a writer
is that you follow your instincts.
Well, my instincts
just about landed me
in a patch of poison ivy,
and I do not have
the proper footwear.
Why don't you ask Marcus for help?
(SIGHS) That's the other thing...
He was only there
for a grand total of two minutes
before he had to rush off.
I should go get some writing done.
Don't you wanna stay?
Hang with your mum.
I should really stay focused.
I'll see you later.
Too bad about your shoes there...
Yes. Ow!
Hup! Gotcha.
Pardon me.
That's alright.
I was trying to enjoy
the view of the lake,
kept noticing the leaves
messing it all up.
Then, I couldn't sit still.
I know, the feeling.
Yeah, I can't have leaves
bombarding a beautiful lady.
I'm Dean.
Well, Diane, the coast is clear.
Nothing but unobstructed blue water
and a leaf-free beach.
My work here is done.
Thank you, sir!
Hey there.
How was the hike?
Yeah, it was great... was great!
Are you moving rooms or something?
Oh, no.
I have to jet-off for a few days.
There's a studio in LA,
that's adapting one of my novels.
So, duty calls.
Wow! That's so awesome.
Not to worry.
I'll be back in a few days.
And my assistant, Tim,
has all my notes.
Besides the first bit is really
about the wilderness theme,
so, you're in good hands with Woody.
Well, good luck in LA.
See you soon.
Um, this feels like summer camp.
I still don't understand
what trumping around in a mountain
is gonna do for my writing.
It's the first day.
Give it a chance.
Marcus left for LA for a few days.
I mean,
what's the point of all of this,
if he's not even here?
Well, he's a successful guy.
Things like this are to be expected.
I guess I was just looking forward
to getting to know him.
That's all.
And I stupidly hoped that
he would take me under his wing.
You never know.
That could still happen.
Not if he's not here.
What should we do for dinner?
I'm afraid
I can't do dinner tonight.
I have a date.
With who?
A handsome man
who was raking the beach.
Raking the beach?
I'm glad to see your feet
are feeling better.
Yeah, they are.
Thank you for your help earlier.
Nah, no problem.
Although my back
might be feeling it tomorrow.
Where can I get some dinner
around here?
There's a barbecue
being served out back
and I highly recommend it.
Who's that?
Her? She's one of the writers.
Close your jaw there, pal,
you're staring.
What? No, I wasn't.
No, nah... She's, um...
Like, she's...she's practically
incapable being outdoors.
You shoulda seen her
on the hike today.
She's not cut out for nature.
Besides, you know the rule...
No dating guests.
That rule's nonsense.
Where are you going?
I have a date with a guest.
Don't you ever stop?
Is that pen fused to your hand or...
See those writers?
They're a part of a
club I'm nowhere near a part of yet.
What club?
The 'fedora-meets-caffeine-addiction
It's better than a
'bathes in the river
and only wears flannel' club.
Hmm. Touche.
They're both
successful and published.
Me? I just have a stack
of rejection letters.
This might be the only chance
I have to get into that club,
you know.
Look, you should...
How did you...
..join us to make some s'mores.
I would love to, but, uh,
I really need this book deal.
Come on.
What's a couple hours
of socialising gonna do?
I really ought to work.
Look, I wonder
if the thing keeping
you out of the club isn't actually
other people not wanting you there,
it' refusing the invite?
I hope the writing goes well.
"So you can carry your own weight
from now on."
Nice shoes!
How did you know my size?
I took a guess.
So, what are we doing today?
We are hiking.
Again? Didn't we already do that?
Don't worry. This mountain's bigger.
Bigger? As in taller?
Oh, you bet.
Sorry I was late, guys.
OK, guys.
Buddy system again today.
Tim, you're joining up
with Fitz and Rachel.
How'd the others
get ahead so quickly?
How high up are we going exactly?
Don't worry, Ruby.
People do this every day.
Hey, I didn't get to say...
ooh...thank you for the shoes.
So... Ow! Thank you.
Yeah, don't mention it.
It's really more of a gift
for me than you.
I'm trying to avoid
having to carry you down
on another mountain.
Fair enough.
Uh, we're not going all the way
to the top of that, are we?
Oh, yes, we are.
I'm just not very good with heights,
and...and I'm not very graceful.
Yeah, I gathered that. Here.
What's this?
And this will help
with the altitude.
Look, we can take it at your pace.
Maybe I should just wait in the van?
Just one step at a time, Ruby.
You got this. OK?
OK. Well, where...
What are we gonna do
when we get up there?
And how are we going to get down?
Don't worry about it now.
Just look at me.
Now, how's this
for some first class inspiration?
It's like, uh,
Thoreau's first glimpse of Walden.
See? I can do
literary references too.
Walden was flat.
Somehow I'm sensing a theme here.
I can't do this.
I can't. I just can't.
It's fine.
If you can't get
to the top of the mountain,
you'll miss the view.
You got it?
Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
There you go.
Watch your head.
I did it. I did it.
Hey, I didn't die.
Describe what you see.
What do you mean?
You're a writer.
Describe what you see.
I see trees woven
into a green blanket.
What else?
A cerulean sky.
Earthy fresh air.
And over there,
there's a peak of a mountain
that's still clinging to winter.
That's very writerly.
Uh, come on.
What? What's the rush?
Uh, you see all the leaves
on the trees,
they're starting to flip over?
Yeah, I see the...the lighter
underside of them.
It means the rain is coming,
so, we should probably,
you know, pick up the pace.
(WHISTLES) Fitz! Rachel!
Romance people, let's call it a day,
shall we?
Hmm. Yeah.
One thing about New Yorkers
is they do know how to whistle.
I'll give them that.
How's that for some rain, huh?
I love it.
Oh, my gosh.
This is crazy.
I told you.
I know. I know.
Do you want any help?
No, no, no. You go on in.
No. Really? I don't mind.
I owe you for the boots anyways.
Really, it's OK.
Just go inside. Stay dry.
I want to help. What can I take?
I'll grab the roll, alright?
One, two, three! Whoo!
Oh, you really weren't kidding
when you said it was gonna rain.
I'll grab some towels.
(EXHALES) That's crazy.
Oh, thank you. Oh!
No, no, that's OK.
Backup generator
should kick in any minute.
The backup generator's pooched.
Or not.
Everyone, uh, not to panic,
just a little power outage.
I'm gonna build a fire,
and we can all wait it out together.
Sorry, just might take a few hours
to get everything
back up and running
- it takes crews
a little bit longer
to make it up here.
I'm gonna grab some extra candles.
I'll be right back.
So much for pottery class.
Eugh! You're sopping wet.
I know. I climbed a mountain today.
You climbed a mountain?
Yeah. Crazy, right?
Who convinced you to do that?
Woody, actually.
Mum, I know that look. Stop it.
Can you blame me?
He's such a hunk.
I mean, I've bought paper towels
from less good-looking spokesman.
You remember?
Yes. I remember.
Woody, hey.
Um, how long will we not have power?
Because Marcus is gonna kill me
if I don't connect with him, now.
it could be several more hours.
So, when did Marcus
say he was gonna be coming back?
Sometime tomorrow or the next day.
I'm not sure.
What's it like working
with someone who's so talented?
It's good. It's...yeah.
Only a few hours
and people are already going
Yeah, well, there's not much
to do to pass the time.
No, sure there is.
Like what?
You know, when I was a kid,
my dad used to tell stories
to wait out, you know, big storms.
What kind of stories?
Well, actually,
um, it was the same story
over and over again about
how he and my mum met.
Well, tell us.
I wanna know!
Well, my father
was a big guy, alright?
Barrel chest, gigantic hands.
Real salt of the earth type.
He's about 25 years old,
and he's decided he's gonna live
entirely in the woods.
No phones, no cars,
no outside contact,
no running water, nothing.
Well, he'd just gotten dumped
by his college sweetheart,
and I guess he just, you know,
wanted to empty his head for a bit,
you know, give himself
some quiet time.
So, he just ran?
I'm not saying
it was a rational response,
but that's what the big man did.
Anyway, he's, you know,
out there in the woods
and he's got this routine going, OK?
He'd wake up early,
he'd take a walk down at the river,
get a swim in,
journal, do some fishing.
The man would ponder
all of life's big questions.
And then at night,
he'd head back into camp
and watch the stars come out.
So, my dad, he does this every day
for almost a year.
And every day, he'd ask himself,
"Am I ready?
"Am I ready to open up again
to love?"
And every day,
he'd decide against it.
So, on the 365th day,
my dad goes about his usual routine,
and at the end of the day,
he asked himself
that question, right?
I mean, it's been a year.
He should be ready, right?
So, he looked up at the stars,
and he said, "If today's the day
I am to open up again...
"please give me a sign."
Oh. Oh, OK.
Well, the power's back on.
Oh, yes. Yes, yes, yes.
That's good. Good.
It's a very good story.
It's so good...I...
It's a very good story...
I'll hear the rest later, OK?
That man is so weird.
So, what happened...
..with your dad?
Well, he asked for a sign,
and he heard a splash,
followed the noise
down to the river,
and what did he find?
My mother.
There she was.
She was taking a night swim,
and this big bearded man comes
crashing out of the woods,
and he scared the heck out of her.
And she threw her shoe at him.
Came out looking
like Tarzan with Jane,
and they were inseparable
ever since.
It's a good story.
Thank you.
Anyway, I should probably go help
out with the generator.
Good night.
Good night.
Hey, what are you doing up?
Oh, uh, is it OK
that I'm working here?
I couldn't sleep.
No, it doesn't bother me at all.
What are you doing up?
Wanna see?
Uh, what exactly are we doing?
We are going to see Cygnus.
Here, have a seat.
Uh, there.
What's it supposed to look like?
It's a swan.
So, you stayed up
until the middle of the night
to look at a swan made out of stars?
Well, when you say it like that...
Yeah, I mean,
it sounds a little crazy,
but it's a lucky constellation.
Growing up, my dad
considered the day
that constellation showed up
as the official start
of our busy season.
He'd come out
and sort of just stare up at it.
Good luck.
After he died a few years ago,
I decided to carry on the tradition.
I'm sorry to hear about your dad.
Sounds like he was a great person.
He was.
And it's OK.
I mean, this is probably
all mumbo jumbo,
but, I mean, it can't hurt, right?
Like, we need the luck this year.
You know, I didn't realise
you'd just taken over
running the place.
Why is that?
You're good at what you do.
I grew up here.
So, I never really
knew anything else.
Plus, Dean's always here
to keep an eye on me.
My mum seems to like him a lot.
Yeah, well, you know,
he's quite taken with your mum too.
It's about time
she focused on herself for a change.
What do you mean?
Well, the only reason I'm here
is because my mum submitted
one of my stories
without telling me.
She's been trying to get me
to come up here with her for years.
So, I guess she was just
trying to find the right thing
to convince me.
And what better way
to get me up here
than a chance to meet Marcus Harlow.
To be honest,
I mean, I don't really understand
why people flock to Marcus.
I mean, the guy left
his own writing retreat.
(EXHALES) His books are brilliant.
And he's one of the highest selling
romance authors of all-time.
He knows what he's talking about.
You should read some of his work,
then you'll understand.
Not really my cup of tea.
What? Romance novels?
All that fairytale nonsense.
It's not what real love is like,
you know?
Real love is messy and complicated.
Just read a Marcus Harlow novel
before you decide you hate it.
Have you heard the myth of Cygnus?
It's a swan.
Zeus disguised himself
as one to seduce Leda.
Swans tend to be a symbol
of deception.
See, they're...they're beautiful.
They seem harmless,
but they can be brutal.
Sort of like an ancient
Greek version of
a wolf in sheep's clothing.
It's a little on the nose,
don't you think?
I'm just saying.
There's gotta be other ways
to be a good writer than
to follow a bunch
of confusing rules.
And don't you think
that you should listen to people
who know better than you?
Not at the expense of our own voice.
Sorry. I'm...I'm saying too much.
No, it's OK.
It's late.
I should head inside
and, uh, try to get some sleep.
Good night.
I couldn't sleep last night.
I can't tell you how happy I am
that we are not hiking today.
Um, Marcus is still in LA,
so, we're gonna be switching up
the schedule.
Pack your bags
'cause for the next few days
we're gonna be camping
in the mountains.
Camping as in sleeping outside?
Hey, I have tents. Don't worry.
OK, but how are we supposed
to work on our proposals
if we don't have our laptops?
Well, use paper.
In the meantime,
Tim made some copies
on Marcus' tips and tricks
on how to make your projects
more marketable.
"Don't think it, write it."
"Is there enough love?"
This is like
a series of bumper stickers.
What does this even mean?
Don't ask me.
I'm just an activities guy.
Bus leaves in 10 minutes.
Is it always like this?
What, pitching a tent?
No, professional writing.
Is it always this perplexing?
I mean, does anyone even know
what any of these rules mean?
I know you probably thought
you'd come here
to get a bunch of tips from Marcus,
but I just think
you're looking at it wrong.
How so?
You don't need Marcus telling you
how to be a good writer.
Believe me. I read your story.
Does he ever help you
with your writing?
Um, in a way... I suppose.
Well, what kind of advice
does he give you?
The other day
he told me to "find the plot".
"Find the plot"?
"Find the plot."
"Be one with the page."
Yeah, I don't get it either.
I can't wait
to see what stars we get on board.
Marcus, we're not going
to be able to green light
'Lakeside Affairs'.
Why not?
But I thought the studio
approved it to be shot
by the end of the year...?
All the contracts have cleared.
Yeah, the studio head
is looking for a bigger time
period piece,
something older, maybe medieval.
I've got just the thing.
An expansive epic love drama
about a war-torn Viking
who falls in love with a woman
who washes ashore after a shipwreck.
It's called 'Valhalla Calling'.
Two words: Love it!
When can we read it?
Well, I need a...a little more time
to clear some things up with it,
and I wasn't planning
on using this one so soon.
Give me until the end of the week.
I can stop if...if you need to work.
No, it's perfect.
You should keep playing. I love it.
Still wish you had your laptop?
I'm actually really enjoying
free writing.
I'd live out here if I could.
Have a broken heart like your dad?
Actually, I...I did just go through
a break-up a few months ago.
Oh, sorry. I...I didn't realise.
That's OK.
She wasn't the right person.
Why not?
Um, well, on paper, she was great.
She liked all the things I like,
checked all the boxes,
but I don't know,
it just...sometimes,
it's just, it's not there, you know?
How about you?
Don't you got any big loves
in your life?
You gotta get your
inspiration from somewhere.
Oh, no.
I am way better
at writing about love
than I am at actually being in love.
Really? Why is that?
I think it's easier
to design the perfect person
when you're writing.
I've dated a bit, but haven't
connected with anyone yet,
and I tend to spook.
Yeah. I don't know. I just...
I think I have an idea
of what I want
and when someone doesn't rise
to that, I...spook!
I...I haven't been great
in relationships
because romance novels
are the standard
I hold people to.
That's a lot of pressure.
Yeah, probably unfair of me.
Well, maybe it's time
to let something real in.
Yeah, maybe.
Oh. This guy.
I think Fitz is fighting
with his tent again.
I just don't understand why
he keeps getting caught
in the zipper.
I mean, it's not that hard.
Anyway, yeah.
Fitz, I'm coming, man.
Oh. OK.
Oh, oh.
Ruby, what are you doing?
Woody, what are you doing?
Shhh! Everyone is sleeping.
I'm tracking.
Test of a good tracker is to do it
before the sun's up.
Do you ever sleep?
Uh, asks the insomniac.
Are you writing again?
You're relentless.
Come on, follow me.
OK, but...but it's dark.
That's what these are for. Come on.
You hear that?
You can't hear it if you're talking.
Just listen.
Is it water?
I want you to lead me to it.
Track it.
Find the water.
Just follow the sound.
I can't do that.
Yes, you can, Ruby.
Stay calm, focus, find the water.
We should go back to camp.
Ruby, trust me. You can find it.
No. Not that way.
I'm not a tracker.
How am I supposed to know?
Just listen, OK?
Turn off all the thoughts
and really fully listen.
You got it.
I found it!
Oh, I can't believe I found it!
I guess the noise from the city
didn't ring out your ears.
It's good.
Oh, wow.
You know,
the, uh, the thought
of being somewhere
so remote used to scare me.
How come?
The idea of the quiet
and the space was intimidating.
And what about now?
I see the appeal of it.
Yeah, you know, when I was a kid
I always wanted
to move out to the city.
My dad, you know...
I used to give my dad a hard time
for always keeping the hotel.
You wanted to live in the city.
Uh, but then,
something shifted after he passed
and I realised that actually
this way of life is a gift.
What was that? Was that a bear?
(LAUGHS) It's not a bear.
Too small. It's probably a skunk.
We're fine.
I probably seem
like a paranoid tourist to you.
A bit.
But that's OK.
I have to admit
I might have been
a bit harsh on you.
You know, it's not fair for me
to really expect
everyone to understand
the way of life out here so quickly.
I probably owe you an apology too.
I don't think I came out here
with enough respect for this place.
Who knows, uh,
maybe I'll have to make it
a habit of coming out
to places like this
for vacations in the summer.
Vacation? Right.
Yeah, I keep forgetting you guys
are only here for a few more days.
So, what's
the most important part of survival?
Staying in civilisation.
When civilisation isn't an option,
what's the most critical skill
to know?
Fitzy. Absolutely right.
Today, I want you guys
all to build a shelter
using things only
from the forest, alright?
Everyone pick a buddy. Let's do it.
This one's good.
What do you think?
I'm actually impressed.
It looks really good.
Yeah, tipi thing worked out, so...
Oh, the door?
You know...
Hello, writers.
Guys, Marcus is back!
I didn't realise you all would turn
into woods people when I left.
Well, uh, we had to find a way
to occupy ourselves
while you sold your movie.
Hey, what do you say we call it?
They have a decent amount
of writing to get done.
Maybe we ought to head back
to the hotel, let them work?
But wasn't this part of the program?
I thought you wanted them
to actually learn about nature.
This is what that, uh, looks like.
Hey, everyone, how about
we get back to the hotel early,
sleep in a real bed?
I will...
I...I definitely have
a lot of writing to do,
so, maybe it's for the best.
Everyone, get packed.
Let's head back to the real world.
Ruby, there you are.
Oh, Marcus, hey!
Uh, I was hoping we could chat.
Are you free for dinner tonight?
Oh! Yeah. Sure.
It's nice to finally have
some time together.
It is. I'm sorry.
I've been so busy with the retreat.
I've been occupied with Dean.
Woody is sweet...
Yeah. He's actually really nice.
Just nice?
There's nothing more there?
Mum, we live in
two completely different places,
and I only met the guy
a few days ago.
Nothing real can actually come
from that.
Besides now that Marcus is back,
I...I really need to focus
on the book deal.
Whatever happens,
I'm glad we had this time together.
Me too.
We should've done it earlier.
Whoo! Woody, the woodsman.
Hey, Diane.
I'm just about to do some canoeing.
Do you care to join?
Uh... Uh, no. No, I...
Uh, I look terrible in like vest.
Why not?
You can't spend every
waking hour of writing.
OK. OK, yeah. Sure.
I guess I can go.
Well, no vest, no canoeing.
Oh, thanks!
Have fun, you two.
Mum, you are not coming?
No, no.
I'm going to the spa for a massage.
You two go along. Have fun.
Hey, I'm sorry about the weirdness
back at the campsite.
I think I was just enjoying camping.
This is Marcus' retreat and
I should've never argued.
It's OK.
I was actually really enjoying
camping too.
Oh, you're not a bad trekker.
You know that?
So, what are you writing anyway?
It's a story about two people
who are complete opposites,
but they need each other to survive.
It's not at all in line
with any of the rules
that Marcus has given us,
and it's probably
not very marketable.
His books are all so commercial.
Mine just feel very specific to me.
It's just really hard to figure out
how to write like him.
Well, I think you should
write what makes you feel good.
It's your book. Not his.
Ah, this is my favourite view
of the place.
Family's crown jewel.
Families always use this hotel
as a sort of paradise.
Sleepy travellers.
Yeah, I do feel like
I've had a chance to breathe
for the first time in a while.
I don't know if you know this,
but I'm a little bit
of a scaredy-cat.
But I...I have surprisingly enjoyed
all of your activities.
Do I sense a future nature lover
(LAUGHS) Well, I am on a boat
and I'm not having
a panic attack...yet.
Oh, really?
Well, what if we
didn't have a paddle?
No. Woody, don't do that.
I'm gonna do it.
Don't do that.
We're gonna get stuck.
I'm gonna...
Don't. Don't.
Don't, don't, don't, don't. Don't!
We're gonna get stuck!
They float.
It's a paddle.
You should've seen your face.
You know, I'm not supposed
to tell anyone this,
but I'm actually writing a new book,
um, that is about a sushi chef...
So, Ruby,
I have a proposition for you.
Your story, uh,
about the Viking romance,
'Valhalla Calling'...
What are your plans for it?
Well, I mean,
what's the end goal with it?
What do you wanna see come of it?
Uh, I haven't
really thought about it.
Well, when I was in LA,
I found out that
the head of the studio
is looking for something
just like it.
And I hope you don't mind,
but I might've brought
the project up.
Of course I don't mind it.
That's incredible.
Yeah, and I was thinking
you and I can work on it together.
Look, I really think
this could be the thing
that launches your career, Ruby.
I don't know what to say.
Well, what about the book deal
and the rest of the retreat?
The book deal is peanuts
compared to a movie deal.
I'm just kind of looking forward
to finishing my proposal.
Tell you what,
how about I set everything up
with 'Valhalla Calling',
and you can focus on your proposal?
OK. Yeah!
Yeah, I guess that could work.
Um, now the execs
will wanna have a video call
to discuss everything tomorrow.
Of course, because they know me
it might be better
if I take the lead on it.
Is that OK?
Oh, uh, sure!
This looks good.
(LAUGHS) What're you reading?
No. Not so fast. I saw you.
OK, what?
I wanted to know
what the big deal was.
Sue me.
And what do you think?
He's definitely gonna pick Dot.
Your, proposal...
Oh, wow. This looks great.
Um, have you seen my mum around?
She didn't tell you?
Tell me what?
She went on a date with Dean.
Oh, right.
I'm starving.
I went for dinner with Marcus
but the...the portions
were for literal infants.
Well, the kitchen
in the lodge is closed...
But not to worry -
I can open it.
Oh, you don't have to do that.
Oh, it's not a problem.
Shall we?
You are going to like it.
I would like any food right now.
There you go.
This is exquisite.
I'm glad you like it.
to you.
Dance with me.
I haven't danced in years.
Well, all the more reason to
Hey, what do you think you're doing?
What do you mean?
Well, if I'm opening this kitchen,
you're helping me cook.
Look, in this house,
you don't eat unless you work.
Oh, right. Of course.
Why would you serve me?
It's not like
I'm a guest or anything.
So, what's on the menu, chef?
Only the finest, most delicious
handcrafted artisan Mac and Cheese.
You need my help
to make Mac and Cheese?
Shred this.
Come on,
pick up the pace, slow poke.
I'm an accountant, not a chef.
You're a writer.
Hmm. Mm-hmm.
This is really hitting the spot.
It's an old family recipe.
The secret is...too much cheese.
You know, I see why you love it here.
Yeah. It's not too shabby.
More people should know about it.
Now, you sound
like my father and Dean.
Look, I know
you wanna keep it a hidden gem,
but more people
should experience this.
Yeah, I know.
Maybe I should give
the latte crowd a chance.
The latte crowd?
Is that what you think I am?
You have never ordered drip coffee
in your life.
I hate that you're right.
I should probably go
get some work done.
This late?
We pitch our proposals tomorrow.
And, um...
Marcus offered to use
one of my ideas for a movie deal.
It's pretty crazy, right?
That's big. Did you accept?
Um, Marcus says
he has big plans for me.
And this could be huge
and launch my career.
This is exactly what I wanted.
Not bad, but I thought
you were super
into this...this book deal.
I am, but a movie deal
could be even bigger.
You don't seem happy for me.
I'm just...
Wary of people
who overpromise and under-deliver,
but I...I'm sure
this is really a big deal.
OK, I'm gonna go get some work done.
Thank you for the Mac and Cheese.
Good night, Woody.
"Sequel to 'Lakeside Affairs'"
...must be Marcus'.
Hey! Woody the woodsman.
Mr Harlow.
What's up?
I, uh, came to return this.
Yeah, I hope you don't mind,
I might've read some of the notes
to this
Sequel to 'Lakeside Affairs'.
It's a great ending, by the way.
Right. Thanks.
Don't share anything you read.
Can't have spoilers
all over the Internet.
Yeah, right.
Well, I gotta jet.
Ruby and I have a big meeting today.
Sure. Yeah. Good luck.
Just look out for her, OK?
Sure thing.
Just remember.
Let me take the lead, OK?
Right. Sure.
I'm just nervous.
Oh, don't be. You'll be great.
Marcus, so good to see you.
Great to see you too.
Um, everyone, this is Ruby.
She's the one helping me
with 'Valhalla Calling'.
Love the pages you sent over.
The Vikings thing is hot right now.
So hot.
How about modernising it a touch?
OK, "modernising"...
Uh, how do you think
we should modernise?
Space Vikings -
a steampunk future period piece.
That could work.
No, no, no. That...that's great.
We can definitely
adjust the time period.
And the female lead...
let's lose the troubled past.
It makes her read too unlikeable.
OK, we can definitely make
her less problematic.
Sorry. No.
But her past is
what informs her character.
I mean,
the entire crux of this story
is that she's trying to discover
what happened before the shipwreck,
and then she discovers that
she wasn't a good person before.
We need
our female leads to feel likeable.
She's a Debbie Downer right now.
Debbie Downer.
Can you give us a moment?
Is everything OK?
I don't think we should be
making all of these changes.
It's always like this.
What's the big deal?
The big deal
is that you're taking my story
and you're turning it
into some strange
sci-fi space vikings thing
that I don't want.
Ruby, Ruby, come on.
This is not a big deal.
These initial meetings
are always like this.
In the end, none of these
suggestions will stick.
We just need to go with the flow.
Trust me.
OK. Yeah.
I...I'm...I'm sure you're right.
How are you doing, ladies?
Hey, Tim, everything OK?
You have a bit of
a storm cloud over you.
Yeah, I guess it just
gets difficult sometimes,
being invisible, you know?
You're not invisible, man.
Sure feels like it.
Can I get the check?
Yeah, sure thing.
How're you doing, miss?
Tim? Tim, wait.
You wrote it, didn't you?
I don't know
what you're talking about.
I found your notebook.
OK, look, I assumed it was Marcus'
since it has his
entire next book in it,
but, dude, it's your handwriting.
You're writing all of his stuff.
Um, I should go.
Marcus should be out
of his meeting by now.
Come on, man.
Why are you ghost-writing
for Marcus?
You're better than that.
Oh, come on in!
Look, I...I don't think
you should trust Marcus.
What's going on?
He's not who he says he is, Ruby.
He didn't even write
'Lakeside Affairs'.
Tim is his ghost.
What are you talking about?
His ghost writer.
Tim is the one writing
all of his stuff
and just pretending
to be his assistant.
You gotta listen to me.
(SIGHS) You know what?
This...this is insane.
I am just trying to make
a career here,
and I don't need you
interjecting telling me
who I should
and shouldn't listen to.
Last time I checked,
Marcus was the best-selling author,
not you.
This is his area of expertise,
not yours.
I don't know
if this is jealousy or what,
but I am about to go
do my book proposal,
and I do not need this right now.
Marcus is a great writer,
whether or not you wanna believe it.
Because what would some guy
who spends all day hiking
know, right?
I'm just an Activities Coordinator.
How can I possibly compare
to the world's greatest author?
That's not what I said.
But it's what you meant.
Good luck with your pitch.
(GASPS) Marcus.
Right on time.
I can't wait for you
to hear these proposals.
Oh, I'm so excited.
Ruby, you're up.
So, Ruby...
tell me about this story.
Well, uh, it's a story
about a woman who meets a man,
who teaches her to let go
of her fears,
and they grow to depend on
one another for survival.
Well, it certainly reads well.
But we haven't done
a quiet romance since...
Um, now what was
that book of yours called, again?
Which one?
The one about the girl
that gets trapped in the snowstorm
with a trucker.
Um, 'Snow Falling'.
Thank you, Tim. Correct.
Yes, beautiful story,
but it's getting harder to sell
these quiet simple love stories.
This may not be marketable,
but it's real.
And maybe that's what
the romance genre needs more of...
love that feels real
and is maybe imperfect at first.
Someone told me recently
that true love is messy,
and I think that's more interesting.
Ruby is actually
helping me right now
with a big Viking project,
'Valhalla Calling'.
So, she has the range to do
bigger commercial projects.
Actually... (CLEARS THROAT)
Uh, no.
Uh, I'm not.
I'm not letting you use
my story for your movie deal.
I don't want you
watering down my idea,
and I certainly
don't want you treating me
half as badly as you've treated Tim.
What is she talking about?
I...I don't know.
Ruby, you might wanna think about
what you're doing.
I have.
I came here
to meet my favourite writer.
I idolised you.
I had a book club dedicated to you,
and it turns out you
didn't even write the books
that I fell in love with.
Tim did.
Tim has been crafting
all of your novels, hasn't he?
Marcus, you know our policy
on ghost writers.
Tim didn't write everything.
He just helps.
Tim, is this true?
She's right.
Um, Marcus hired me
when I graduated from Indiana,
and I've been writing
everything since.
I was just too scared to speak up.
(MUTED) Thank you.
Thank you for your proposal.
We will be announcing
a winner shortly.
Marcus, I will deal with you later.
Have any of you seen Woody?
Good evening, everyone.
Oh, there she is.
I wanna thank you all
for working so hard
on your proposals.
There are certain criteria
we look for in a book proposal
like, market viability,
but I'm tired of making decisions
based on formulas.
So, Ruby...
A quiet, simple,
real love story
is just what the doctor ordered.
Even without all the frills,
I can see your talent.
Welcome to Gale Publishing.
Thank you so much.
(GIGGLES) I'm so proud of you.
Thank you, mum!
Just give me a second.
Thank you for what you did.
I hope I didn't get you
into too much trouble.
Actually, Quinn gave me
a book deal too.
Oh, that's amazing! Congratulations.
I'm really happy
that I can finally say
I met my favourite writer.
It means a lot
to finally hear someone say that.
Congratulations, Tim.
Oh, Ruby,
you are so smart and so strong.
Do you think that
we should celebrate
your big publishing deal?
I have to go find Woody.
He helped me dodge
the biggest bullet,
and I was a huge jerk to him.
Go get him.
Ruby, what are you doing?
I'm canoeing!
No. You''re kayaking, Ruby.
Close enough!
I can't get it to the tree.
Use both sides
of the paddle like this.
I can't get over there.
Hold on, I'll come to you.
Hold on.
Hang on.
Got it? Hold on, hold on.
Good, good, good, good, good.
Got it?
Yeah, I got it.
Ooh! Hi.
How'd you know I was out here?
I guess all those tracking lessons
came in handy.
You were right about Marcus.
He's a total fake.
He just wanted to change
all of my work.
Yeah, well, I gathered that
he was stealing Tim's work.
Well, you were right,
and I should've listened to you.
I'm sorry if I made you feel
like you were less than him.
You're a million times
the man Marcus is.
But it worked out OK.
I got the book deal.
You won?
I won.
You won?
I won!
You know,
I'm gonna need somewhere quiet
to write my book.
So, Miss Latte is saying
she wants to stay out here
in the wilderness with me?
If you'll have me...
Yeah, we might have the space.
I mean, I do run it, after all.
Captioned by Ai-Media