Rated R

Starring: Emayatzy Corinealdi, David Oyelowo, Omari Hardwick and Lorraine Toussaint

Rated: R Drama

The Middle of Nowhere film examines the relationships of those who try to remain connected with a loved one who is incarcerated.  Set in Compton, California, it is about the decisions and adjustment that Ruby (Emayatzy Corinealdi), a nurse, is undertaking while her husband, Derek (Omari Hardwick), serves an eight-year sentence.

Having married while she was in medical school, training to achieve her dream of becoming a doctor, Ruby’s life is abruptly halted when Derek is convicted.  Trying to remain true to their marital relationship, she continuously takes a bus, riding four hours each way, to visit her husband.  It is on these rides that she meets Brian (David Oyelowo), the kind and wise bus driver.

Ruby attempts to be supportive of Derek but complications arise.  These range from stern disapproval about her life choices from her mother, Ruth (Lorraine Toussaint) to the narcissism and selfishness of Derek.  As she struggles to balance all that is externally challenging her, it is the internal crises of character, vision and wants for a better life that Ruby must navigate. 

Will she discover and remain committed to her true self, which is far from the “middle of nowhere”?  Discovering the answers to these points render this film as a must-see!

Middle of Nowhere is an independent film that was written, directed and produced by Ava DuVernay.  It is the second feature film of DuVernay, whose first, I Will Follow (2011), was an official selection of the American Film Industry Fest, Chicago International Film Festival, the Pan-African Film Festival and Urbanworld Film Festival.

This film was universally praised for its storyline, acting and realistic choices.  Manohla Dargis gushed in The New York Times, that Middle of Nowhere is “Heartfelt … meticulously framed images of casual beauty.”  Building upon the East coast review was “This is classic filmmaking of a completely different sort”, championed by esteemed critic Kenneth Turan of the L.A. Times.  The revered critic Roger Ebert reflected on the film in his review for the Chicago Sun-Times.  In it, he shared, “Middle of Nowhere isn’t a highly charged drama, as you might have gathered.  Most of the action takes place within the mind of a lonely woman.  That’s why Corinealdi is so effective in the lead … Even in the film’s calm, gentle romantic scenes with Oyelowo, Corinealdi brings a grave dignity.” 

Nominated for twenty awards, Middle of Nowhere won twelve awards.  These wins include “Best Actress” – Emayatzy Corinealdi, “Best Screenplay” – Ava DuVernay, and “Best Independent Film” by the African American Film Critics in 2012; and the Josephine Baker Award for Middle of Nowhere by the Women Film Critics Circle in 2013.

DuVernay, Howard Barish and Paul Garnes won the “John Cassavetes Award” of the Independent Spirit Awards in 2013.  Ava DuVernay also won “Outstanding Director” and “Outstanding Screenplay” at the Black Reel Awards in that same year. 

Additionally, DuVernay was given the “Directing Award” for the U.S. Dramatic Film category at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.  Ava DuVernay’s win of this “Best Director Award” made film history, as she is the first African-American woman to be awarded this prestigious honor!

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