Allow me to introduce myself, to paraphrase Jay-Z, my name is Felicia Malone. Like Jay, I am a lover of words – spoken or written verse. All forms tell a story. The art of storytelling is our heritage. In times past, that is how history was transferred from generation to generation. The word become immortal.
Middle of Nowhere, a filmby Ava Duvernay (of Selma fame), tells the story of Ruby who struggles to hold on to the love she has for her husband Derek who has been sentenced to eight years in prison. Ruby drops out of medical school to passionately stand and fight for her man who seems more resigned to his fate.
Duvernay uses well-crafted dialogue and imagery to tell a beautiful story of love and self-discovery from a black woman’s perspective. I love the added nuance of Ruby struggling to wrap her hair in a scarf, becoming frustrated with the act, and then tossing it to the side in silent acquiescence. Only a black woman who has performed this hair ritual would have added it to this scene. Its addition lends credence to the character and story.
4 Things Love:
- Honesty - The honest portrayal of the affects the incarceration of black men have on the women left behind. Ruby, her sister Rosie and her mother Ruth are all single women struggling to connect with each other while coping with the harsh reality of the absence of men in each’s lives. This film illustrates the truth of how complicated and powerful the force of love is. It can make you willfully blind and selfless. If that same love is turn inward, it can make you brave.
- The cinematography - It is the shot of Ruby’s left hand on a bed after a night with her lover that allows Duvernay to show the story and not tell it. There are multiple scenes where the directing and camera fill in the gap when the words are absent.
- David Oyelowo - (also of Selma fame) is wonderful to watch. I kept looking for his British accent to slip through, lol. I think it is his gaze. It commands attention. I was left wanting to see what he would say and do next.
- Omari Hardwick - (we are not worthy!) is so flipping gorgeous. He has that, ‘hood dude you cannot help but love even though your momma says he is no good,’ steeze on lock. There is a scene in which he almost cries that had me yelling at the screen, “I’ll wait eight years, baby!” ROTFL. Good looks aside, the brother can emote. Some handsome actors just stand there and flex. I give props to the guy for having genuine skillz.
This is my first review. I look forward to sharing with you other stories from African American women. I promise not to reveal too much, after all, I want you to see the films and support our sisters.
Please check out the Sundance Award winning fill Middle of Nowhere now streaming on Netflix.