Baby Ruby (2022): Drama/Thriller

When a young woman becomes a mother, her world starts falling apart and the line between what’s real and what isn’t keeps constantly blurring.

Intense, dark, and surrealistic! There is this slight paranoia in the first act. That something has happened, something is happening or something is about to happen – altogether. While pondering that, it starts feeling like something has happened to Jo (Noémie Merlant), or something is happening to her, or something will happen, and she is going to cause it – to herself or others. Writer/director Bess Wohl and editor Jin Lee deliberately confuse the audience with the way the story unfolds, the jump cuts, and the montage sequences, making them unsure if it’s Jo, the baby, everyone around them, or a concoction of everything and everyone. In the second act, that slight paranoia peaks, and only towards the end it starts steadily and gradually clearing up, revealing what is happening and what Jo thinks is happening. I’ll leave that for you to figure out, though.

Directorial debut for Bohl and the way she handles her brilliant actors, Noémie Merlant, Kit Harington, Jayne Atkinson, and Meredith Hagner, and her editing – when to cut, what kind of montage to use, etc – is remarkable. More importantly, though, she manages to start, develop, and finish a narrative that delves into a fear only women in that position can understand. For whoever is or whoever has to live with a person in that position is just a descent into madness. I, not being in that position, found it a tad excessive or surrealistic, but maybe that was the goal. Having worked for the NHS, though, and seen some post-natal mental illnesses, I can not say with certainty if it actually is. And just by wondering and asking relevant people about it after the post-credits have scrolled down and days after watching it, it shows how much it is worth watching.

All I can say is that it’ll be worth your while. Actually, it’ll keep you on the edge of your seat while making you experience every family’s happiest moment through the lens of a lurking darkness that can consume everyone. Especially women.

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