Baby Ruby Parent Guide
This chilling film reminds us that the scariest things are usually inside our heads.
Parent Movie Review
Bolstered by her successful career as an online influencer, Jo (Noémie Merlant) thinks she’s well prepared for the challenges of motherhood. After all, she’s used to being busy! Juggling her blog, her staff, a massive home renovation, and setting up an online store while being pregnant should make taking care of a newborn feel like a vacation. Except…it doesn’t. Even with the help of her supportive husband, Spencer (Kit Harrington) and his mother Doris (Jayne Atkinson), Jo just doesn’t seem to be able to get anything done. After she brings baby Ruby home from hospital, Jo finds herself exhausted to a dangerous degree. Ruby cries constantly around Jo, but seems quieter around everyone else. It’s hard not to take that personally, but Jo thinks something else is at work. There’s a conspiracy here, she’s sure of it, one revolving around Ruby, and she’s determined to get to the bottom of things…just as soon as she can stay awake and focus long enough to do it.
Motherhood is a target-rich environment for horror stories. Frankly, I find almost every aspect of it profoundly unsettling, and I think it’s deeply bizarre that that’s the best we as a species can do for procreation. Deliberately saddling yourself with a fast-growing parasite that will decalcify your bones and play with your hormones for nine months is insane enough, without even getting into the fresh hell of raising newborns. Thankfully, the film and I are sympatico on the subject.
I’m going to spoil the movie a little bit here, so if you’re planning to watch this slightly fictionalized version of the horrors of parenting, I’d skip this paragraph. For the those of you who remain, Jo’s situation is frighteningly clear to the audience: She’s obviously suffering from some form of postpartum psychosis. She’s hallucinating, paranoid, and has huge chunks of time that are missing from her memory. If you think the fact that her condition is obvious removes any tension the film has, it doesn’t. I actually think it’s a brilliant choice on the part of the writer. It’s hard to convince an audience that a newborn is somehow evil, so the story just makes it clear that Jo is suffering from a serious mental illness. Now all the tension comes from wondering what’s going to happen to her and her child before she gets the help she needs, which is far more realistic and far more compelling.
Baby Ruby is definitely not a film for everyone, though, and top of that list are expecting mothers. This is the last thing you need on your plate. It’s also got a little more nudity and profanity than you might enjoy, and while little is shown, some scenes imply some very gruesome endings for infants. The movie is not an easy watch, but it is tense and well-managed, which are pretty solid characteristics for a thriller like this.Directed by Bess Wohl. Starring Noemie Merlant, Kit Harrington, Meredith Hagner. Running time: 93 minutes. Theatrical release February 3, 2023. Updated February 2, 2023
Rating & Content Info
Why is Baby Ruby rated Not Rated? Baby Ruby is rated Not Rated by the MPAA
Violence: An impaled corpse is seen. A woman throws a baby at a car. There are scenes which imply that a baby has been cooked or dismembered, but without graphic detail. A character has a piercing ripped out of her ear.
Sexual Content: There are several scenes of breastfeeding and one of non-sexual toplessness. Married characters are seen kissing people other than their spouses.
Profanity: There are 14 sexual expletives, six scatological curses, and occasional mild profanities and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are briefly seen drinking and smoking tobacco.
Page last updated February 2, 2023
Baby Ruby Parents' Guide
What are post-partum depression and post-partum psychosis? How common are these afflictions? How are they diagnosed and treated? Why do these issues not receive more attention?
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Other horror films about motherhood include Tully, The Twin, Goodnight Mommy, A Quiet Place, When the Bough Breaks, Madres, and Mother!.