Though writer-director Ava DuVernay avoids any and all cliché right up until the closing titles, I have no qualms ending this review with one: I wholeheartedly look forward to her next project.
An imperfect film about devotion and crumbling self-respect. Emayatzy Corinealdi is fantastic.
| Original Score: 3/4
Poignant drama explores the world of dilemmas of a Los Angeles woman who cares for her imprisoned husband while struggling to keep her true self afloat. Director Ava DuVerney is a fresh female voice, with a sharp point of view.
An intimate, confidently directed and superbly acted humanistic drama utterly at home in the subtle push-and-pull of long-standing family tensions and arguments.
| Original Score: B+
The title Middle of Nowhere refers to Ruby's state of being as well as the location of the prison where Derek is incarcerated.
| Original Score: 8/10
A film remarkably true to life's haphazard rhythms.
Made by a black American woman, about a black American woman, it's a study of a culture where the matriarchs are strong by necessity and trapped by circumstance - adrift in the middle of nowhere.
This is a very effective and moving film, which is remarkable given the film's microscopic budget and 20-day shooting schedule.
| Original Score: B
The fine acting between the two leads is filled with determination and passion for their characters.
[A] hushed, tenderly observant drama about a young woman trying to do right by herself and her marriage while her husband is in prison.
It's so real we can't help but smile.
A simple but affecting slice-of-life drama.
| Original Score: 3/5
Its unadorned simplicity belies the exquisite thought, craft, and heart that only could have made such an accomplishment possible.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
There's also a fine line between meditative and just plain pokey ... It's only the charisma and passion of the film's performers that carries us to the end.
| Original Score: B-
Ava DuVernay won a best director's award at Sundance for Middle of Nowhere, a prize that seems fitting for the sort of film that has the kind of gravity and authority that sneaks up on the viewer.
| Original Score: 3.5/5
This is a tough-minded story of change that happens in almost imperceptibly tiny increments - as true growth so often does in reality.
This film is about a particular African-American experience, true, but it's also about the human experience. It will haunt you. It should.
| Original Score: A
A heartbreaking but teachable story about love and the morbid sacrifices we make to find it.
A sluggish enterprise, not measured or languorous or full of detail, but plodding, with scenes that run too long and others that are unnecessary.
| Original Score: 2/4
It's confident storytelling, in which often the actors' faces, rather than dialogue, tell us what we need to know.