Middle of Nowhere
Writer-director Ava DuVernay received the Best Director prize at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival for her elegant and emotionally complex second feature, which revolves around a pressing and troubling question: how does a woman not lose herself when everything around her is falling away?
When we first meet Ruby (Emayatzy Corinealdi), she is en route to visit her husband Derek (Omari Hardwick) in prison, where he is serving an eight-year sentence for an unspecified crime. Ruby lives for her visits to Derek and puts all her energy into keeping his spirits up and planning for his early parole, but the sacrifices she has to make — dropping out of medical school, working long hours to pay legal fees — are starting to take a toll on her. To add to her woes, her mother Ruth (Lorraine Toussaint) constantly chides her for her poor life choices — choices she feels have left her daughter with a diminished life and a wasted spirit. But a chance encounter with a bus driver (David Oyelowo, The Help, The Last King of Scotland) and the revelation of a shocking betrayal catapult Ruby to a new level of understanding and empowerment, and the possibility of reclaiming the life she nearly lost.
Beautifully photographed by cinematographer Bradford Young, Middle of Nowhere burrows deeply into the troubled life of a young woman whose blind devotion to an impossible ideal of love and loyalty causes anguish to herself and those around her. Newcomer Corinealdi is a marvelous discovery: the camera simply adores her translucent presence. Hardwick’s Derek is both tough and vulnerable, helplessly fatalistic about the life that awaits him, while Oyelowo illuminates the screen with an entrancing tenderness. It is Toussaint as Ruth, however, who captures the film’s core theme during a revelatory scene at a kitchen table, where a lifetime of hope, anger, disappointment and pride suddenly, unexpectedly yields the realization that what love has destroyed, that same love can rebuild.
It is uncommon to see serious adult dramas this moving and accomplished, so attuned to real people and their complex, recognizable emotions, no matter the racial makeup of the characters involved. —Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
Director: Ava DuVernay
Cast: Emayatzy Corinealdi, David Oyelowo and Lorraine Toussaint
ON NR /
BC NR /
AB NR /
SK NR /
MB NR /
QC NR /
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