- Noémie Merlant, Kit Harington, Meredith Hagner
- Written by
- Bess Wohl
- Directed by
- Bess Wohl
- Run Time
- 1h 29min
- Release Date
- February 3rd, 2023
For most, having a baby is one of those seminal moments that fill our lives with an unbelievable joy. It can also be a severe life-changing experience, that even with the months you get to plan for, can effect different people in different ways. For Jo (Noémie Merlant), she seems ready for it, even claiming that “it’s just a baby- how big are they even?” Jo though is going to find out just how much a baby can change what many see as an ideal life.
Jo, you see is a influencer, whose blog, Love Josephne, shares a picture perfect lifestyle with her husband Spencer (Kit Harington). That life though only shows the best parts and with her need to keep that image going, Jo even plans her own baby shower, so it can be perfect. The day finally arrives and baby Ruby is brought into this world but Jo’s appearance of a perfect life is about to be shattered. Jo and Spencer have trouble adjusting to sleepless nights, as Ruby’s endless crying seems to be leading to a breaking point in Jo’s psyche as she starts having horrific visions involving her baby and others. Time seems to disappear and soon Jo can’t discern reality from dreams. She become lost and feeling like Spencer and his mother are threats to her bonding with Ruby. Jo during one of her walks, meets Shelly (Meredith Hagner), a mother also, who Jo thinks can relate. That safe place doesn’t last long, as Jo starts to see everyone is out to get her, including Ruby’s pediatrician, who keeps assuring Jo that Ruby is perfectly fine. Things though only seem to get worse for Jo as she hardly recognizes herself anymore. Spencer sees where Jo is headed and tries to get her the help she so desperately needs.
Written and directed by Bess Wohl, who is a gifted playwright, that just happens to specialize in writing glorious characters that are messy. With her shrewd use of locations and exposition that is pretty sly, she brings the best aspects of her work on stage to film. Baby Ruby is a mixture of suspense, mystery and psychological horror in which subtlety is not its strong points. Instead Wohl can at times by heavy-handed, which can lessen the suspense at key moments. What Baby Ruby does induce, especially for new parents, is a stressful and at times, horrifying experience. Wohl shines a light on aspects of motherhood that often goes undiscussed and brilliantly talks post-partum depression and the sense of shame that comes from conveying that motherhood is anything but the best thing ever.
Baby Ruby could never be told by just anyone, it needed a female voice to tell it and Wohl is more than up to task. When you add a strong emotional performance by Merlant, who with Wohl provides a lens that show this transformation and female experience, unlike any way you have seen before. We spend too much time in life trying to hide the cracks, with filters and by only sharing our happiest moments. Baby Ruby thrives, because it shows life how it really can be and best of all it starts a conversation that not many talk openly about.