V.C. Andrews’ Ruby (2021 Lifetime)
Synopsis (via Lifetime)
Ruby centers on Ruby Landry (Raechelle Banno), born in the Louisiana bayou and watched over by her loving Grandmère Catherine (Judd). Ruby is filled with hope as love blooms with her high school sweetheart Paul Tate (Duke), but lingering thoughts of her mysterious father and her mother’s death often creep into Ruby’s mind. As dark family secrets begin to reveal themselves when Paul’s parents forbid him from seeing Ruby, Ruby is further devastated when her beloved Grandmère passes away. Forced to flee to New Orleans from the bayou, Ruby searches for her estranged father (Bellows), one of the richest men in the city, as she clings to her memories of Paul and their forbidden love.
Ruby is a bayou cajun girl who helps her clairvoyant grandmother Catherine deliver babies (and destroy demon children?) When she isn’t banishing spirits, she plans to go on school dates with her forbidden boyfriend Paul and paints pictures of ghosts. (The ghost paintings are surprisingly a hit with a guy named Dominique LaGrande, who buys them all.)
Paul tells Ruby that he loves her, and she reciprocates the feelings. They make out passionately, and I’m nervous they are related because this is V.C. Andrews, after all. Catherine sees them together and breaks the news that THEY ARE HALF SIBLINGS. (Why is V.C. Andrews obsessed with this theme?) WHY!) Ruby obviously breaks up with Paul to “focus on her art.”
Grandma Catherine breaks some more fucked up news on her death bed. Ruby’s father, Pierre, and her grandfather Jack sold her twin sister off for some whiskey. Ruby’s mother died in childbirth, and Grandma Catherine banned Pierre from ever stepping foot in the family home.
With no one left to turn to, Ruby goes to Paul for comfort. She tells him that they are half-siblings. She tells him what her grandmother told her, and he doesn’t care. They almost get it on, but Grandpa Jack interrupts. Ruby kicks Grandpa Jack out of the house after he calls her a ho and tries to arrange a marriage with some rich guy named Busted. That doesn’t go over well, and Ruby ends up chained to a bed and pimped out for $1500. (Gross, WTF.) Ruby isn’t going down like that she unshackles herself and takes Buster and Grandpa Jack out. Ruby steals their money and goes on the run to find her father in New Orleans. (A woman at the bus station gives Ruby a bone from a black cat killed at midnight… you know… for good luck!)
Ruby finds her father’s house with no problem. She meets her twin sister, the wealthy Gisselle, and her boyfriend, Beau. The reunion doesn’t go well. Gisselle won’t accept that she has a twin and storms off. One person who is warm to Ruby is the housekeeper named Nina.
Things go better with Ruby’s father, who invites her to stay the night and then takes her to see New Orleans. His new wife, Daphnie, isn’t thrilled. She tells Ruby that they will need to lie about where she came from to keep up appearances. The story is to be that swamp kidnappers stole Ruby as a baby.
Gisselle gives Ruby a makeover and trains her on how to be a socialite in town. Then Gisselle gets the bright idea to Parent Trap and swaps places. Beau doesn’t fall for it and kisses Ruby knowing she is. Gisselle gets her revenge at a slumber party and arranges for some boys to take photos of Ruby with her top off. The plan backfires and gives Ruby and Beau more time to spend together. Beau breaks up with Gisselle and takes Ruby out on a date where he tries to sleep with her.
The family secrets keep coming. Ruby’s father has a brother who was in an accident and has brain damage.
Beau learns that Ruby is an artist and asks her to paint him like one of her French girls. He strips down naked, and disapproving Daphne almost catches them. Ruby is grounded when the topless photo circulates at school, and Gisselle bad mouths her sister and sully her reputation.
Nina sees Ruby is struggling and takes her to see a voodoo priestess named Dee Dee. After some chanting, rattle shaking, and a giant snake, a spell is cast. Ruby’s difficulties will soon be in the past if you trust the voodoo.
Gisselle gets into a car accident and is paralyzed. Her new boyfriend Martin dies. The Mama DeDe spell has taken effect, and there is no turning back. Ruby visits her twin sister and tells her about the curse she put on Gisselle.
Daphne asks Ruby to come with her to visit Pierre’s brother in the mental institution. It turns out not to be a visit, and Ruby is involuntarily committed. In the mental institution, she meets her uncle Jean. He screams “Jib!” at her over and over, so that isn’t going to go anywhere. Ruby decides to attempt an escape.
Ruby makes it back to the mansion and confronts Daphne directly and tells her that things will be different from now on. Pierre agrees and sides with Ruby. He decides to send Gisselle and Ruby to a boarding school for young girls. Ruby is reluctant to go help her sister at a new school and doesn’t want to leave Beau behind. Well, that is until Paul shows up.
Minority Report: Pregnant woman, Dominique Lagrande, Mrs. Tihibodeu, Nina, Martin, Dee Dee. Dr. Cheryl,
Charming cast and no stunt casting helped elevate this V.C. flick a cut above the rest.
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