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Ruby in Paradise
Directed by Victor Nuñez
Produced by Keith Crofford
Sam Gowan (exec. prod.)
Written by Victor Nuñez
Starring Ashley Judd
Todd Field
Music by Charles Engstrom
Cinematography Alex Vlacos
Editing by Victor Nunez
Distributed by October Films
Release date(s) January 1993 (Sundance)
October 1993 (USA)
Running time 115 min.
Language English
Budget $800,000 (estimated)

Ruby in Paradise is a 1993 film written, directed, and edited by Victor Nuñez, and starring Ashley Judd, Todd Field, Bentley Mitchum, Allison Dean, and Dorothy Lyman. It is loosely based on Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. [1]

Judd plays Ruby, the title character and narrator of the film. As the film begins, she is leaving Tennessee, landing in Panama City, Florida, a summer resort town she visited as a child. Although she arrives there in fall, at the beginning of the off-season, she gets a job at Chambers Beach Emporium, a souvenir store run by Mrs. Chambers (played by Lyman), overcoming the owner's initial rejection of her employment application by telling her "I've done retail before, and I work real cheap." Over the course of a year she keeps a journal (from which the film's narration is taken) and contemplates her career ups and downs, her love life, her past, and her future.

The film is a character study, proceeding at a leisurely pace with Ruby's introspective comments interspersed with routine scenes at the souvenir store or conversations with her friend Rochelle (played by Dean), or the men she dates (played by Field and Mitchum).

Filmed on location in Panama City, Florida, the movie features actual college Spring Breakers in roles as extras, which served to highlight the difference between Ruby's "paradise" and the college student's "paradise". Of particular note is the scene of Paul Heuwetter, Eric Olsen, Mark Woodard, and Chris Musillo in the surf-shop where Ruby works. Heuwetter, Olsen, Woodard and Musillo are typical college Spring Breakers from elite northern private colleges.

Together with Public Access it won the 1993 Grand Jury Prize for Drama at the Sundance Film Festival. Roger Ebert picked it as one of his Top Ten Films for the year. It also won an Independent Spirit Award for Judd as Best Female Lead.

After the movie's theatrical run, the film was released on videocassette in 1994 by Republic and that same year in Canada by Cineplex Odeon. In 2008, Alliance Films released the movie on DVD in Canada.

External links


  1. ^
Preceded by
In the Soup
Sundance Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic
tied with Public Access
Succeeded by
What Happened Was


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