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  • Writer's pictureLoren Javier

REVIEW REWIND: Ruby Bridges (1997)

Continuing my Disney+ watch list, we've come to 1997's Ruby Bridges.

Ruby Bridges aired as a film on The Wonderful World of Disney. It's based on a true story about Ruby Bridges, the first African American student to become integrated into the school system in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1960. Young Ruby (Chaz Monet) was selected by the NAACP because of her high test scores. Despite her academic gifts, she has to endure the endless protests in front of her school to get her education. She even has to be escorted by U.S. Marshalls. Some of the protestors even scream "I'll kill you" and "I'm going to poison you," causing Ruby to stop eating. Although she has the support of her teacher Mrs. Henry (Penelope Ann Miller) and a military psychiatrist Robert Coles (Kevin Pollak), it's Ruby's spirit that gets her through the tough times making her a truly inspirational figure.

This is a wonderful movie that, aside from the dated music, doesn't play like your standard made for television film. The performance were quite powerful, especially Monet, who is able to be cute without being cloyingly sweet, and Lela Rochon and Michael Beach who play her parents who encourage Ruby despite their own hesitance at times.

Sometimes, it's hard watching movies like this, especially when the target of such hate is an adorable six-year old girl. And, you wonder how people can yell such hateful things. But, then you fast forward to today and the Black Lives Matter movement where we are, once again, amidst a resurgence of a second Civil Rights Movement. It's sad that there is still opposition in the air and you have to ask yourself if we have learned nothing at all.

The only problem is that there was a little too much focus on the white protagonists who, I'm sure, aided Ruby, but, I was more convinced by her parents being the better moral guide for her. Otherwise, the film is inspiring to watch. I see so many youth involved in the Black Lives Matter movement that I can only think they could have been inspired by Ruby Bridges.

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