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Ruby in Paradise (1993)

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0:32 | Trailer
A young woman struggles for independence and identity in a small Florida tourist town.

Director:

Victor Nunez

Writers:

Jane Austen (loosely based on novel "Northanger Abbey"), Victor Nunez
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3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ashley Judd ... Ruby Lee Gissing
Todd Field ... Mike McCaslin
Bentley Mitchum Bentley Mitchum ... Ricky Chambers
Allison Dean ... Rochelle Bridges
Dorothy Lyman ... Mildred Chambers
Betsy Douds Betsy Douds ... Debrah Ann
Felicia Hernández Felicia Hernández ... Persefina
Divya Satia Divya Satia ... Indian Singer
Bobby Barnes Bobby Barnes ... Wanda
Sharon M. Lewis Sharon M. Lewis ... TV Weather Anchor
Paul E. Mills Paul E. Mills ... TV Evangelist
Brik Berkes Brik Berkes ... Jimmy
Abigail McKelvey Abigail McKelvey ... Canadian Tourist
Kristina Daman Kristina Daman ... Bar Manager
Mark Limmer Mark Limmer ... Spinnaker D.J.
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Storyline

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 <james@oz.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A woman's search for herself

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexuality and language | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 November 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ruby in Paradise See more »

Filming Locations:

Florida, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$25,297, 10 October 1993

Gross USA:

$1,001,437

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,001,437
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Was #10 on Roger Ebert's list of the Best Films of 1993. See more »

Quotes

Ricky Chambers: You know most people are only two paychecks away from the streets. Did you know that?
See more »

Connections

References A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

Raised on Promises
Performed and Written by Sam Phillips
Courtesy of Virgin Records America, Inc.
Published by Eden Bridge Music (ASCAP)
Administered by Bug
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Artful coming-of-age story starring Ashley Judd, by the director of "Ulee's Gold"
6 January 2007 | by briner-2See all my reviews

"Ruby in Paradise" is a beautiful, coming-of-age story about a young woman, Ruby Lee Gissing, escaping her stifling roots to become herself. Although the title character is played artfully by the gorgeous Ashley Judd -- in likely her first movie role, albeit one to be quite proud of -- the emphasis is not upon becoming "somebody," a la the next Madonna (whether Jesus' mother or the lurid, attention-hungry singer).

It instead emphasizes following ones' instincts and being somewhat introspective about them, to grow into one's ideal, adult self. NOTE: This isn't an action movie!!! It uses an occasional voice-over narration (by Ms. Judd) while writing in her journal -- and oh, I see I've just lost the male half of the readers out there. But be patient with this beautiful movie, where we learn that one's bliss can be discovered in -- oh, I dunno, carrying water and chopping wood.

Actor/director/writer Todd Field, who played Nick Nightingale in "Eyes Wide Shut," co-stars as Ruby Lee's noble love interest, one who helps her heal her idea of relationships implanted from youth.

But not even his character is the answer for Ruby Lee: There's no external hero imposed upon her. The ultimate message is that we are responsible for ourselves. Writer/director Victor Nunez, who also wrote/directed "Ulee's Gold," did an amazing job showing a young woman growing into herself -- confronting age-old challenges of good v. evil along the way.

The supporting cast is also stellar, and the music used, particularly the cuts by chanteuse Sam Phillips (whom I hear is the wife of T. Bone Burnett), is right on -- most especially "Trying to Hold on to the Earth." Now, when I hear the first few chords of that song, tears spring to my eyes, Pavlovian and unbidden -- not sure if it's the music, or the indelible connection to the movie's quiet, charming message of empowerment.

This movie is highly recommended for any young person trying to find his/her way. For any woman of any age, it is a must see! The downside: It is NOT on DVD, except in Spanish. (We learned, however, that it is legal to make one copy of a VHS version, which can be readily found online. My beloved husband found someone with a VHS copy and got a DVD copy made for me.) Although this treasure of a movie occasionally pops up on-air – on an indie channel, usually – you can't count on that when you might need it most as a tonic to soothe the pressures of the world. So buy a copy for yourself.

This movie should have a major re-release, and it would, if I were Queen of Hollywood.

-- Figgy Jones


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