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Ruby in Paradise

4.6 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Spain released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: it WILL NOT play on standard US DVD player. You need multi-region PAL/NTSC DVD player to view it in USA/Canada: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), Spanish ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), Spanish ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (1.85:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Filmographies, Interactive Menu, Scene Access, SYNOPSIS: Florida-based independent filmmaker Victor Nuсez gave young actress Ashley Judd her breakthrough role with his original script about a woman taking to the road to escape her past and forge a new future for herself. Feeling smothered and confused after the death of her mother, Ruby Lee Gissing flees her Tennessee home. She drives south to the panhandle of Florida, because she has always dreamed of living near the ocean. Mildred Chambers (Dorothy Lyman), the owner of a souvenir shop, hires her as a clerk and befriends Ruby as well. Soon, there are two men in Ruby's life: Mike McCaslin (Todd Field) and Mildred's ne'er-do-well son, Ricky (Bentley Mitchum). Although Ruby briefly succumbs to the advances of one of them, by the film's end, she is still on her own, understanding that a new chapter of her life is just beginning. In addition to the picture taking home the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, Judd was nominated for Best Actress by the New York Film Critics and won Best Female Lead at the Independent Spirits.
SCREENED/AWARDED AT: Sundance Film Festival, ...Ruby In Paradise

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Ashley Judd, Todd Field, Bentley Mitchum, Allison Dean, Dorothy Lyman
  • Directors: Victor Nunez
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 2 (Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Run Time: 114.00
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000AMCBI2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,327 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Ruby in Paradise" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
Ruby in Paradise is Ashley Judd's first film and, in my opinion, offers her best performance. She certainly deserved a best actress nomination for this role; I believe the only valid reason she didn't receive one was that this was too small a film and slipped by fairly unnoticed by most people and critics alike. While Ashley Judd has seen gone on to become quite a Hollywood celebrity, I do not feel that she has topped her performance in this film. The film itself is fairly straight-forward; it concerns a young girl named Ruby who runs away from an abusive family environment in Tennessee to try to make a new life for herself in a small Floridan ocean resort town. The film details her struggles to establish an identity for herself and to find her niche in life. This film, understandably, is quite character-driven in much the same way as in "Ulee's Gold" (by the same director) or Robert Duvall's "Tender Mercies" or Joan Chen's "Xiu Xiu" (all of which are excellent films). Nothing much happens during the film, yet the film is absorbing in its portrayal of the daily existence of Ruby. We see the slow metamorphosis of Ashley Judd's character from an uncertain girl into one who is more comfortable and has found direction for her life. It is all very subtly done with little nuances in Ashley Judd's performance and delicate, deliberate pacing by the director; nothing is flashed in big bold letters in front of our eyes, and I believe this makes the film all the stronger. The film is not for everyone - those searching for mindless, fast-paced blockbuster action need not apply, but those looking for a strong character-driven story will find much to like in this small gem of a film.
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Format: VHS Tape
For those of us escaping at an early age because of a loss of family--in the case of Ruby, her mother's death and other implied circumstances--or the need to support ourselves because we do not have parents that can send us to college, this movie is the mirror of our early years. This is especially true of young women who have to work pink-collar or blue-collar jobs while they are trying to find themselves. The precision, the understatement of this movie, the delicate emotions of what relationships can mean to a woman's independence, is what gives it a five star rating and Ashely Judd's performance (her debut) is magnificent. You can't help but feel that her acting is taken from experiences in her own life. What young woman in those circumstances has not found herself making the mistakes Ruby does but yet, she has the inner strength, even in her most desperate moments (unemployed and thinking of being a topless dancer) to grit her teeth and not sell her soul. Yet, this movie is not judgmental--I don't think a viewer who has had to go through those experiences would have thought any less of Ruby for choosing to become a topless dancer just to pay bills, rent, and eat. We are forced at times to make desperate decisions to stay alive.

This should never had been a "sleeper" film. It is the kind of film I would have (if I had children) my daughter or son watch in their adolescent years. For those of us who came from disadvantaged circumstances in the land of opportunity--AMERICA-- it is a documentary of what it means to begin 300 yards behind the starting line of what is considered the normal sequence of events now in our culture--high school, college, a well-paying job, a good marriage, children.
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Format: VHS Tape
I came across this movie some weeks back on a cool, cloudy, drizzly Sunday afternoon (something we've had more than our fair share of in my neck of the woods throughout the late spring and early summer)trip to the neighborhood Blockbuster. I had heard about the film in passing a couple of years earlier apropos of a discussion of the director, Victor Numez's then current feature, Ulee's Gold (which I thought was a worthy, albeit overrated film), and I knew it was the debut movie for Ashley Judd, whom I had long considered not only lovely to look at, but generally vastly superior to the material I had seen her in.
The movie did not disappoint. Judd gives what is probably one of the great "unseen" performances of the '90's. It makes you wonder all the more why she seems compelled to waste her talent in cynical Hollywood tripe like Double Jeopardy (on the other hand she probably was paid more money for one day of her work on that film than she got for all of Ruby in Paradise).
Ruby in Paradise has no real "plot" as such. It opens with a young woman loading up her car and fleeing a young man who it is implied is her husband or (more likely)boyfriend. Why she's leaving and what the circumstances surrounding her getaway are is never made clear or spelled out, and this is deliberate I think, and a wise choice. She winds up in a resort town in southern Florida that she remembers visiting on a family vacation as a child, and from there on, we get to pass through a few months of Ruby's life as she gets a job, makes a couple of new friends, gets briefly involved with a real Mr. Wrong, and then seems to meet a possible Mr. Right, and so forth.
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