Ruby (Emayatzy Corinealdi) has devoted her life to her husband Derek (Omari Hardwick). She gave up medical school to be able to be near him and only counts the days until he gets out. But after four years of imprisonment, Derek is a changed man and he might still have another four years of incarceration to go. When his parole hearing is coming up, putting Ruby under further financial strain to hire a lawyer, things get even tenser. That’s when Ruby meets bus driver Brian (David Oyelowo) with whom she connects. Now Ruby has to start making decisions for her own life and not the lives of others.
Middle of Nowhere is a calm, slow film that doesn’t tell a grand story of world-shaking events but rather shows the everyday difficulties Ruby and women in her position face which is a very important thing to do and to see. It’s beautifully done, touching, excellent film.
Ava DuVernay knows her characters and their relationships and shows a wonderful sensibility in setting them in scene. This makes the movie astoundingly intimate. You really are in Ruby’s life, trying to make sense of everything along with her, hoping that she (and kinda you) makes the right decisions. And above all, you hope that she starts living her own life.
Emayatzy Corinealdi is amazing in her role. She gives Ruby all the complexity, subtlety and meaning that the character needs, often with just a glance. She could have carried a worse script but it was good that she didn’t have to. Both David Oyelowo and Omari Hardwick were great too, though it was Lorraine Toussaint, playing Ruby’s mother, who was the second scene stealer in this.
And as if that wasn’t enough yet, the film was beautifully shot, too. Plus, it’s always great to see a woman direct a film, especially a woman of color and telling a feminist story.