Ruby in Paradise (1994)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Florida-based independent filmmaker Victor Nuñez gave young actress Ashley Judd her breakthrough role with his original script about a woman taking to the road to escape her past and forge a new future for herself. Feeling smothered and confused after the death of her mother, Ruby Lee Gissing flees her Tennessee home. She drives south to the panhandle of Florida, because she has always dreamed of living near the ocean. Mildred Chambers (Dorothy Lyman), the owner of a souvenir shop, hires her as a clerk and befriends Ruby as well. Soon, there are two men in Ruby's life: Mike McCaslin (Todd Field) and Mildred's ne'er-do-well son, Ricky (Bentley Mitchum). Although Ruby briefly succumbs to the advances of one of them, by the film's end, she is still on her own, understanding that a new chapter of her life is just beginning. In addition to the picture taking home the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, Judd was nominated for Best Actress by the New York Film Critics and won Best Female Lead at the Independent Spirits.
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
October Films


Ashley Judd
as Ruby Lee Gissing
Todd Field
as Mike McCaslin
Bentley Mitchum
as Ricky Chambers
Allison Dean
as Rochelle Bridges
Dorothy Lyman
as Mildred Chambers
Betsy Dowds
as Debrah Ann
Felicia Hernandez
as Persefina
Divya Satia
as Indian Singer
Sharon M. Lewis
as TV Weather Anchor
Paul E. Mills
as TV Evangelist
Brik Berkes
as Jimmy
Abigail McKelvey
as Canadian Tourist
Kristina Daman
as Bar Manager
Mark Limmer
as Spinnaker DJ
JD Roberts
as Fisherman
Jean Garrido
as Bar Dancer
Al Mast
as Ed
Michele Worthington
as Homeless Family
George Clark
as Homeless Family
Carl Brunczek
as Homeless Family
Donovan Lee Carroll
as Tennessee Boyfriend
Kathyrn Grubbs
as Tampa Lady in Red
Bud Floyd
as Laundry Manager
Molly Hayslip
as New Store Employee
DeeDee Alberts
as New Store Employee
Daryl Symore
as Nursery Family
Pamela Symore
as Nursery Family
Sarah Luther
as Nursery Family
Andy Anderson
as Nursery Family
Lorie Gene Saye
as Parking Lot Couple
David Ballasso
as Parking Lot Couple
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News & Interviews for Ruby in Paradise

Critic Reviews for Ruby in Paradise

All Critics (15) | Top Critics (2)

Nunez's best film to date--The nominal plot is less important than the sharp observation of how a young woman in crisis (Ashley Judd at the top of her form) deals with life's inevitable frustrations until she reaches inner quietness.

Full Review… | December 24, 2006

Judd shines like the movie star she was destined to become.

July 15, 2003
Roanoke Times (Virginia)

A great film about a woman running from her life and inadvertantly finding it.

February 26, 2003
KFOR Channel 4 News

Focuses on the inner life of one sensitive young woman as she ponders the meaning of love, loneliness, fear, intimacy and independence.

Full Review… | August 20, 2002
Spirituality and Practice

Judd is a most appealing performer with great screen presence. Here is your chance to see a genuine rising star in the early stages of her career.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Quote not available.

October 31, 2003
Las Vegas Review-Journal

Audience Reviews for Ruby in Paradise

One of the best evocations of smalltown living, capturing the mundane emptiness and the yearning for more from life. Ashley Judd is really great in this as Ruby trying to find a way to break free from her retail sales & trailer park existence.

Doctor Strangeblog
Doctor Strangeblog

Super Reviewer

A realistic portrayal of a down-on-her-luck young woman trying to keep her head above water. The acting is well done and the Florida backdrop is nice, but I didn't feel that the plot went anywhere.

Luke W
Luke W

Ashley Judd does a remarkable job and is totally convincing as Ruby. It's a touching and realistic movie, simple and poignant. Well photographed, very perceptive direction. Wonderful.

James Higgins
James Higgins

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