10 Aug 2022

Review: Ruby's Choice

From At The Movies, 7:30 pm on 10 August 2022

There’s nothing quite as off-putting to the movie-going public than being told they ought to see something.  Goodness knows they’ll go and see something they’re told they shouldn’t watch – that’s how curiosity works.

But a story that you’re assured, while it may not be particularly entertaining, is nevertheless good for you is a hard sell. 

There was a famous New Yorker cartoon of a well-meaning parent encouraging her offspring with “It’s broccoli darling”. To which the child retorts “I say it’s spinach and I say the hell with it.”  Which brings me to a piece of Australian spinach called Ruby’s Choice.

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Photo: Screenshot

It stars English Hollywood TV star Jane Seymour – or as the credits read “Jane Seymour OBE”, which isn’t a good start.

I mean, Judi Dench and Michael Caine very rarely introduce themselves in the titles as “Dame Judi” and “Sir Michael”. I see the executive producer not only calls himself “Sir Owen Glenn”, but piles on the broccoli with “of the Glenn Family Foundation”.

The Foundation is clearly connected to good works in the aged care field, which is what Ruby’s Choice is selling.

We meet Ruby – Jane OBE – going to the movies, and not realizing she keeps seeing the same one.  Did you spot her memory’s going?  OK, we can carry on then.

We met Ruby’s family – daughter Shaz and her husband Doug – who are concerned that Ruby’s grasp on the plot is a bit tenuous.  She seems to have forgotten, for instance,  that her husband Frank died some years ago. 

The narrative turns into a story when Ruby accidentally sets fire to her own apartment. And it seems she’s let her insurance lapse.

It’s now obvious to Shaz that her mum is going to have to move into the family home.

While Ruby’s there she can make herself useful – like look after Ollie the goldfish, say, and the pet parrot.  I mean, what can possibly go wrong?

Clearly Ruby now needs looking after all the time.  But permanent care is expensive, particularly as the number of house-guests mounts up. Doug’s recently divorced brother arrives on the scene with a son in tow, cluttering up both the home and the plot unnecessarily.

The short solution is to get daughter Tash to take time off school to look after Ruby.

So, the story lumbers on in fits and starts – there are a lot of first-timers in the making of Ruby’s choice. And the first thing you notice is that there’s not much Seymour can do with the character of Ruby.

She looks lovely, and she alternates between oblivious and confused perfectly well. But she mostly goes where the plot pushes her.

Meanwhile the rest of the cast seem to spend half their time being the wacky Aussie family from The Castle – what’s with all Dad’s junk in the garage? – and the other half being Grandma’s support team, hoping to find a magical place to put her, paid for by a magical pot of gold.

In the end it’s an improving message rather than a believable story.  Despite the best efforts by Jane Seymour OBE and her game supporting cast, the would-be broccoli of Ruby’s Choice remains, I’m sorry to say, spinach. 

And you know what you can do with that.

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