'Ruby in Paradise'

Victor Nunez's 1993 release, one of the year's best, is an intimate, low-key film as endearing and staunch as its heroine. A warm, perceptive depiction of everyday life, "Ruby" illuminates the inner being of a seemingly ordinary young woman in the process of creating a life for herself. It reveals the courage it takes to strike out on one's own and take charge of one's destiny. It marks the screen debut of Ashley Judd (pictured) and features excellent performances from Dorothy Lyman as her first employer, Bentley Mitchum as Lyman's memorably nasty son and Todd Field as a pivotal man in Judd's life (HBO Monday at 12:50 a.m.).

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