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Wendell B. Harris Jr.
Wendell B. Harris Jr.,
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Ruby, a young woman, arrives in a Florida resort town during the off season to make a fresh start. She gets work as a sales clerk in a souvineer shop run by Mildred Chambers. She dates, and sleeps with, Ricky Chambers, Mildred's conceited son, but breaks off with him when she finds she's just another conquest. She gets involved with Mike, a left-wing greenhouse worker. As the seasons change, Ruby's relationships with others and herself go through metamorphoses as she makes choices and discoveries establishing her own identity. A character study. Written by
James Meek <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Ruby Gissing is a twenty-something young woman who makes her escape from what we assume is an unfulfilling existence in small-town Tennessee. As a child she holidayed once in Panmana City Beach, Florida, and from that time has dreamt of that idyllic experience, and longed to translate those childhood memories into her contemporary adult life. It's obvious from the moment she arrives that PC is no paradise but just another seedy beachside resort of souvenir shops and sleazy topless bars. Kids have a tendency to see the good side of everything. But Ruby has made a commitment to a new life and sets about establishing some sort of meaningful life in her own brand of paradise'. And what a woman Ruby is. She's prepared to give life a go and chance her arm. Sure, she occasionally does foolish things but she's no fool and she learns from her mistakes. Ruby's journey is a rocky one at times and when the film reaches its conclusion the journey is nowhere near over, but you get the impression that Ruby has turned the corner and taken control of her own life. Ruby in Paradise is a meditation on one woman's path to self-realization. It's the story of a woman and not just a woman's film. Ashley Judd's performance as Ruby is very understated but from that restraint emerges a tremendously powerful characterisation. She gets into the role of Ruby and makes her a believable person, not some Hollywood creation. This is her best performance and should have established her a star in the first rank. But it takes more than just talent to get ahead in this world. Although the recent Double Jeopardy will no doubt bring Judd more fame and better parts, she'll not play a more complex and rewarding role than Ruby Gissing. By IMDb's system of rating, 9 out of 10.
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