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.
It's confident storytelling, in which often the actors' faces, rather than dialogue, tell us what we need to know.
Tells a relatively simple story but does so with enough artistic intent and truth of character that the common story that it tells becomes uncommonly good in its telling.
| Original Score: 4.0/5.0