Middle of Nowhere is the story of Ruby (Emayatzy Corinealdi). Her husband is in prison. Ruby is ready to attend medical school when he’s incarcerated, and she drops everything in her life to visit him and support his efforts for early parole.
This film from 2012 put the dream team of director Ava DuVernay, actor David Oyelowo and cinematographer Bradford Young together as a team before Selma came along.
Ruby spends all her time working on her husband Derek’s (Omari Hardwick) case and paperwork. She rides 4 hours on a bus every weekend to visit him. She’s a registered nurse and works extra shifts to pay off his legal bills.
Ruby babysits for her sister Rosie (Edwina Findley Dickerson) and tolerates tense encounters with her mother (Lorraine Toussaint).
The bus driver Brian (Oyelowo) takes her to work every day. When he asks her out she points out her wedding band and turns him down.
Derek becomes eligible for early parole. Ruby’s sure he will be released. She gets a devastating blow when Derek gets in trouble right before the parole hearing. At the hearing, she learns something about him that changes how she feels about him. It changes how she feels about devoting her life to his case and his needs.
Ruby takes another look at Brian. She gives him a chance. It’s not clear at the end of the film where things are going with Ruby and Brian, but her situation with Derek has definitely changed.
Most of the film is quiet and slow paced. There are a couple of emotional scenes between Ruby, Rosie and their mother, but not much excitement happens in Ruby’s life. She keeps her head down and works hard.
At first glance this seems to be a love story. If it is a quote unquote love story, it’s a story about how Ruby learns to love herself and recognize her own value. It’s more that than a story about romantic love, it’s a story about a well-written female character and how she navigates her life.
Emayatzy Corinealdi did a marvelous job in Middle of Nowhere. Her filmography on IMDB goes way back to 2000, but this was the first role that earned her some attention. She won several awards for the role.
Ava DuVernay both wrote and directed Middle of Nowhere. It’s currently streaming on Amazon Video and Netflix.