December 2001
Ruby’s Bucket of Blood

Reviewed by Wilson Morales

Ruby’s Bucket of Blood
Director:Peter Werner
Producer:Angela Bassett
Executive Producer:Whoopi Goldberg
Screenplay:Julie Herbert, based on her play of the same name
Running Time:97 min
Cast:Angela Bassett, Kevin Anderson, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Jurnee Smollett, Glenn Plummer, Angelica Torn
Playdates:12/9/01 at 2:05pm, 12/17/01 at 6:15pm

Growing up in the South in the 60s during the civil rights movement was tense. For some, segregation was still a major factor. Either one was trapped within the compounds of the system or within their own community. In some backwater towns, everyone knows you and all your business. It’s like “Little House on the Prairie,” where one can’t eat without the neighbors knowing what you bought at the store. For women, what they want is security, a family, and happiness. In “Ruby’s Bucket of Blood,” Angela Bassett gives a strong performance as Ruby Delacroix, a woman longing for happiness that brings devastating results.

Ruby Delacroix (Angela Bassett) is a hard working mom and wife. She works too much to feed her teenage daughter Emerald (Jurnee Smollett) and her disrespectful husband Earl (Brian Stokes Mitchell). She runs a popular juke point on the Louisiana bayou called the Bucket of Blood. When Earl decides he can’t live in the small town, he leaves Ruby and Emerald. Besides dealing with that issue, Ruby has to find another singer when her regular one quits the band. Things start to look up when band leader Johnny Beaugh (Glenn Plummer) brings in white singer Billy Dupree ( Kevin Anderson) to fill in. Resistant at first, Ruby hires him. With his talent and musical voice, Ruby changes her tune about Billy. Billy offers his friendship and comfort, which Ruby so desperately needs. What becomes an issue is Billy’s wife Betty (Angelica Torn). Ruby’s got too many issues to deal with and wonders if any of it is worth the price of happiness.

Julie Herbert did an amazing job in fine-tuning the script so that it would work on screen. Angela Bassett gives her character strength and independence. The cast is good in capturing the mood of the setting and time. Whether one is black or white, there were certain things one couldn’t reveal about themselves in that era. One’s pride and name is all that matters in these small towns, and if either is tarnished through scandal, nothing’s the same. This film gives a glimpse of how things were and probably still are in the rural south.