Ruby’s Choice Image

Ruby’s Choice

By Bobby LePire | April 15, 2024

Directed by Michael Budd and written by Paul Mahoney and Ellen Shanley, Ruby’s Choice stars Jane Seymour as the titular character. Ruby is sweet and well-meaning, but in her advancing years, she’s becoming more and more forgetful. She drives to the library and, when leaving, forgets that fact and takes the bus home. Her absent-mindedness leads to her house catching fire.

Now, Ruby must move in with her daughter, Sharon (Jacqueline McKenzie), son-in-law Doug (Stephen Hunter), and teenage granddaughter Tash (Coco Jack Gillies). The family dynamics are further complicated by the arrival of Doug’s brother Ken (Brendan Donoghue) and his son Ned (Rory Potter), who are moving in due to an impending divorce. This sudden influx of people, each with their own quirks and issues, creates a chaotic environment that drives the bright but unpopular Tash up the wall, especially since Ned hates her and she must share her room with Ruby.

Ruby is sweet and well-meaning, but in her advancing years, she’s becoming more and more forgetful.”

The next day, everyone else heads out for work or school, leaving Ruby to take care of the house. Her struggles, from overfeeding Tash’s fish to burning the ironing, are not just a reflection of her condition but a heart-wrenching journey of a woman grappling with her fading memory. Due to how well Tash does in school, Sharon and Doug decide to take her out for a few weeks to watch Ruby until a proper carer can be found. This is not a decision the girl deals with well, holding animosity toward her grandma. Will Tash learn the value Ruby still has? Will Ruby cause more mayhem and wreck things even further? The emotional tension in the household is not just palpable, but it’s a thread that binds the audience to the plot.

Ruby’s Choice is a sweet, affirming drama with two setbacks. The more minor is the voice-over narration, which is poorly used. It strictly bookends the proceedings. This narration tells versus shows, which means audiences don’t witness character traits at the start. The other setback is the characterization of Sharon accepting her mother’s dementia and failing memory. Or rather, she does not accept it and directly allows terrible things to befall household pets, appliances, and belongings, bringing grief and frustration for no good reason other than a failure to accept the obvious truth that already resulted in a burnt-down home. Only a true narcissist, with nary a brain cell in their head, would think Ruby is capable of doing anything outside of reading a book without supervision. Yes, this extreme denial is a massive story point, but it also unintentionally makes Sharon the villain of the piece. Viewers will want to punch in square in the eye for the first 30 or so minutes.

Ruby's Choice (2024)

Directed: Michael Budd

Written: Paul Mahoney, Ellen Shanley

Starring: Jane Seymour, Coco Jack Gillies, Jacqueline McKenzie, Stephen Hunter, Brendan Donoghue, Rory Potter, etc.

Movie score: 7.5/10

Ruby's Choice Image

"…this is Seymour's show all the way."

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