Middle of Nowhere by Ava du Vernay

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Ava du Vernay's "Middle of Nowhere": Transformation of Ruby's Character

Ava du Vernay wrote and directed the motion picture "Middle of Nowhere" in 2012. In this movie, a selfless woman's character is revealed, as the producer intended. The main character of this movie is Ruby, and she is present throughout the entire thing. Ruby's study as a registered nurse is halted when she finds out that her husband was sentenced to an eight-year prison term (Dargis 1). Ruby, a devoted wife, quits school to care for her imprisoned husband. Ruby sees a voyage of self-discovery in everything she encounters throughout that time. The essay aims at discussing and analyzing how the character, Ruby was transformed by the film maker from the beginning to the end of the film, the "Middle of Nowhere." Further, using specific examples, the paper will explain how the visual description of Ruby's subjective perspective reveals this character shift.

Ruby's Transformation in "Middle of Nowhere"

Regarding how the character, Ruby is transformed by the filmmaker from the start of the movie to the end, one can see that the producer wanted to present Ruby as a loving and faithful wife, selfless person, hopeful and unfaithful person, and a complicated woman. In a love-triangle story, the "Middle of Nowhere" film one can see that Ruby is a devoted wife to his husband, Derek. However, the husband seems flawed by her action of leaving school to attend to his needs when in prison. Ruby vows to Derek that she will call him every day and make visits every weekend in prison. These are characters in the beginning of the film that reveals Ruby as a selfless person, a devoted as well as a faithful wife. In the begging scenes, Ruby's dedication to supporting Derek also reveals that she has high hopes of a positive result for good behavior. Ruby is seen encouraging Derek by telling him that he will get out of the prison within five years if he remains good. Du Vernay states "Five years with good time." (10). His husband seems to resist by telling Ruby to continue with her life. The film maker, Vernay wrote "I'm trying to tell you to keep going with your life...Don't stop for me." (11), these were the words of Derek to Ruby when he is not supporting Ruby leaving her medical school for his sake. Ruby replied "You are me ... Remember." (11). These are instances that Ruby shows her hopeful, selfless, loving and faithful wife characters as intended by the film maker.

An Unfaithful Act

However, after Derek gets out of prison within the first four years. He had served four years and two months when he was released (Braegelmann 37.98). The filmmaker transforms Ruby's character to an unfaithful wife. This is evident when Ruby got involved with the bus driver who took her from home to work and back. The bus driver, Brian had been having an interest in Ruby. Before Derek arrives home, Ruby rethinks of the commitment Brian has had on her. It has created a valued relationship between the two and now she has to stop resisting him. Braegelmann states "I guess I will see on Tuesday" these were the words of Brian and Ruby accepted by saying "Yes" as she nodes (28.01). Here, the film maker reveals Ruby as unfaithful woman who was driven to engaging with the driver because of the relationship they have had when her husband was away. Also, after Ruby learned by her husband's behavior in prison during the trial, she was disturbed and this is one of the reasons she accepted to be involved with Brian (Ebert 1).

A Complicated Woman

Further, Ruby's character towards the end of the film is revealed as complicated. This is evident with how her mother describes the daughter. Ruby's mother describes her as a "mixture of love and disappointment" (Bailey 1). The filmmaker uses the relationship of Ruby with the women in the movie to transform her as a complicated woman. Her sister explains that Ruby got problems of her own. Ruby developed complicated associations with these women (Huttner 1).

Visual Description of Ruby's Perspective

The visual description of Ruby's subjective perspective reveals this character shift. In the beginning of the film, the camera images display Ruby with a lot of fear on her face. She has a tense fear as well as regret that occasionally flicker on her warm and compassionate face. This is evident during the trial of Derek, when her face that always seems to reveal hope changes to present fear, anger and confusion (Braegelmann 28.04). The filmmaker edited the color or light in the film to include dullness throughout from the beginning to the end. It combines fog or mist reflection of the mood that Ruby is experiencing. There is no happiness portrayed in Ruby's character. She is devoted to her husband, then, events carry her emotions and get engaged with the bus driver. At this time, the images display Ruby as weak by accepting the driver's interest in her. Brian is happy about it as his desperation of winning Ruby is achieved at last. Brian asks Ruby if they can go watch a movie together that weekend and Ruby accepts" (DuVernay 69).

Many of the times, the filmmaker shows Ruby's moments alone when imagining the absence of her husband by her side and in her bed. The sound and tone of the movie commands the theme of hope and mixes that with heartbreak as well as eroticism. Her separation with the husband gives Ruby a new life. Every time that the camera points at Ruby, she seems troubled. From the beginning, she is stages in this mood which she cannot avoid until she sees her husband out of prison. The women in her life including her mother and sister add to Ruby's misery. The images and echo reveal that they do not support Ruby's views of life or her hopes in life. One can hear the voices of the women even after the on time screen elapses.

Works Cited

Bailey, Jason, "Reclaiming a Tyler-Perry Storyline for an Excellent, Sensitive Film." Culture, The Atlantic, 2012, The Web < https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/10/reclaiming-a-tyler-perry-storyline-for-an-excellent-sensitive-film/263497/>

Braegelmann, Kenneth, "Watch Middle of Nowhere Watch Movies Online Free," 2016, The Web

Dargis, Manohla, "Small Pleasures, Scattered Amid Struggles: 'Middle of Nowhere,'" Directed by Ava DuVernay. Movie Review, 2012, The Web < http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/12/movies/middle-of-nowhere-directed-by-ava-duvernay.html>

DuVernay, Ava, "Middle of NoWhere," Transcript, n.d, The Web < http://www.scriptmag.com/wp-content/uploads/MiddleofNowhereDuVernayScreenplay.pdf>

Ebert, Roger, "Middle of Nowhere," Movie Review, 2012, The Web < http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/middle-of-nowhere-2012 >

Huttner, Jan, "Middle of Nowhere," Women Arts, 2012, The Web


April 06, 2023

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