Writer-director, Bess Wohl, depicts the early throes of motherhood in Baby Ruby. An arty, ambitious movie centered around the uncertainty of mental health.
Baby Ruby is Admirably Ambitious
Tackling a delicate subject like mental health is a brave endeavour. If it’s done right and with respect, the resulting movie can be powerful; relatable and, above all, a great means to spread awareness. If approached wrongly, however, the result could quite easily only succeed in the alienation of the target audience.
Baby Ruby falls firmly into the former category. French actress, Noémie Merlant, excellently portrays new mother, Jo. A popular vlogger, with a commendable following.
Her performance is masterful as she steps into the shoes of a world-beaten new mother. An eclectic range of emotions are wonderfully acted, as the character falls further and further into a dark world of paranoia, horror and deep despair.
Merlant, in many ways, is akin to the great Elizabeth Moss, in terms of portraying these melancholy emotions with such fine prowess.
Kit Harrington Shows Range in Baby Ruby
Another laudable performance comes from Kit Harrington as he steps into the shoes of Spencer, Jo’s partner.
From the sprawling, fantastical lands of Westeros where he played Jon Snow – The King in the North – in Game of Thrones, to rural America, acting the part of a worried partner living a domestic life. Harrington shows he is far from typecast in Baby Ruth as he brings his evident range into the spotlight.
The role of Spencer would have been a tricky part to play. As Jo’s trust in her family becomes conflicted, as does that of the viewer. Harrington pulled off a sterling performance as he played the doting partner, all the while leaving just that tiny shred of doubt in the minds of the audience.
Baby Ruby – The Story
Fast approaching the birth of their daughter. Jo (Merlant) and her husband, Spencer (played by Game of Thrones’ Kit Harrington), are excited about becoming parents. However, their fairytale visions of an idyllic family life are soon shattered, as emotions become wrought and tensions rise.
With motherhood proving all too much for Jo, she begins an emotional journey as sleep-deprivation and psychosis steer her down a sinister path of imagined betrayal and a collapse of trust for all those she previously thought close.
The Cinematic Beauty of Baby Ruby
Baby Ruby works cinemography in ways that are perfect for the downward spiral of mental health theme, adding an arty edge to the movie. Jaunty camera angles and multiple versions of the central character wandering the garden, babe in arms do a praiseworthy job of adding to the emotional turmoil in which our heroine is living.
Inducing a hanging paranoia in the viewer, the camera work is largely the reason for our generous scoring of Baby Ruby. Instilling emotions through clever camera trickery is no easy feat, after all.
Baby Ruby – Summary
After watching the trailer above, our hopes were set far from high going into Baby Ruby. Very few scare scenes were shown and the arty aire shown gave us a real feeling that the movie was going to be pretentious and bourgeois.
However, our initial thoughts proved to be presumptuous, premature and wrong. Baby Ruby is, by no means, a genre defining move, but it is a clever take on the all too real dangers of mental health and the difficulties involved in becoming a new mom.
With its short runtime of 93-minutes, Baby Ruby is a decent dose of mild horror. Rather than keeping you awake at night or watching from behind your sofa, this movie brings with it the horrors of the human psyche and highlights the fragility of our mental integrity.