Thursday, November 16, 2006
Ruby in Paradise 2
This week's cinematic outing was a midweek journey down south to watch Ashley Judd give a very touching and multi-faceted performance in Come Early Morning. When I first saw the trailer, I got the feeling that this was the fraternal twin to her early film Ruby in Paradise. That made me very excited, since I love me some Ruby. While that previous film was more satisfying as a whole, both movies meander quietly alongside the struggles of a southern gal who hasn't had much luck in her life.
Come Early Morning was written and directed by Joey Lauren Adams, probably most famous for her role as the bisexual chiquita who wins Ben Affleck's heart in Chasing Amy. The plot is about as unevenly baked as a pan of cornbread in an old oven, but it still offers some quiet comfort. At times it feels like too many characters have been paraded out to add local color and layers of messaging, but the acting throughout is mostly solid. Besides Ashley's endearing interpretation of a sweet girl gone bad, the nicest surprise of the film is Jeffrey Donovan as Ashley's love interest. His is an unexpected face and his performance is equally refreshing. Laura Prepon, of "the red-head from That 70's Show" fame, turns in a nicely understated showing herself.
One of the most pleasing things about this film is the mood it captures. Cinematographer Tim Orr brings the small town feeling to life with a lustrous palette, the twangy soundtrack sets just the right tone and Adams deserves kudos for her ability to let moments linger lovingly. If she can just get her story straight, she has a promising career ahead.