“Where were you all those years? The answer was you were with me. We’re somewhere in between the forgotten and foreseen.” – Ruby
The aforementioned sentiment – echoed during the closing scene of Director Ava DuVernay’s award-winning film, “Middle of Nowhere” – is not only a summarization of the main character’s quest to maintain loyalty and love in a challenging situation, but its also an encapsulation of the plot that makes it all so riveting.
Ruby (portrayed by Emayatzy Corinealdi) is a woman at a “crossroad.” She’s torn between maintaining a physical and emotional faithfulness to her incarcerated husband, Derek (Omari Hardwick), and a need to move on and find happiness on the outside. After Derek is sentenced to eight years in prison, Ruby – who works as a nurse – drops out of medical school so that she can accept Derek’s daytime phone calls and make the long bus trek to Victorville during visiting days. However, even though she clings to their promise – “five years with good time” – financial woes, loneliness, a grueling night shift and infidelity issues eventually threaten to break her resolve.
Corinealdi, along with the rest of the cast, does an outstanding job of portraying the anxiety and guilt warranted by the situation and much to the credit of Ava DuVernay, the long silences and moments of introspection only add further depth to the characters.
During the Q&A at the Los Angeles Film Festival, DuVernay remarked that she “really wanted to get [the audience] inside Ruby’s head, which is a [very quiet and singular place.]”
“[Ruby’s] life is filled with these people around the edges, but really its all about her and her relationship with her husband and everyone else is on the periphery,” said DuVernay. “It’s a complicated love story told through the lens of [a Black woman’s body but I believe that that the story and the art will speak for itself and find its audience.”
Middle of Nowhere opens in theaters October 12.