In this moving, haunting drama, we follow Ruby (Emayatzy Corinealdi), formerly a promising young medical student and the once happy, cherished wife of Derek (Omari Hardwick).
Once Derek is arrested (for reasons ambiguously tied to drugs, but never fully explained), we see the bleakness of Ruby’s new life, where she takes long shifts as a night nurse to pay the legal fees of her incarcerated husband as they try to appeal his 8-year sentence.
This new life, wrought with loneliness, dwindling hopes, a dysfunctional relationship with a mother ( Lorraine Toussaint) who rubs this “failure” in her face, longing for her husband, and the temptation of a new man, is filmed in darkness, in shadows. Flashbacks of the life Ruby and Derek once had, where she was beloved, provided for, and in willful denial of her husband’s profession as she focused on becoming a doctor, are bright and dappled with sunlight, with hope.
Middle of Nowhere, or as I affectionately refer to it, “Don’t Be a Ride or Die”, is the story of so many women who’ve listened to Tammy Wynette’s Stand By Your Man one time too many. Throughout Derek’s incarceration, Ruby remains faithful and devoted, but once she learns of a shocking betrayal, Ruby is jolted from her self-destructive fealty to this man and must finally ask herself “What do I want?” This film is a 99 minute lesson on the virtues of selfishness and the pitfalls of selflessness.
I give this one 5 stars.