"A soul-stirring drama… ‘Middle of Nowhere’ carries the imprimatur of Sundance, but without the dreary stereotypes or self-satisfied politics that can at times characterize its offerings. The writer and director Ava DuVernay is after something exquisitely simple: she wants you to look, really look, at her characters.”
Manohla Dargis | NEW YORK TIMES
"To say that ‘Middle of Nowhere,’ winner of Sundance's coveted directing award for writer-director Ava DuVernay, sheds long-overdue light on infrequently explored aspects of African American life is true as far as it goes - but it doesn't go far enough. For the truth is that it is uncommon to see serious adult dramas this moving and accomplished, so attuned to real people and their complex, recognizable emotions, no matter the racial makeup of the characters involved."
Kenneth Turan | LOS ANGELES TIMES
"Yet another delightful surprise has dropped in the lap of Oscar this year in Ava DuVernay’s ‘Middle of Nowhere.’ You’ve probably never seen a film like this, I know I never have. The magic in DuVernay’s writing and filmmaking is that it feels like you’re driving down a familiar road but every turn, every stop sign leads to something unexpected. To that end, ‘Middle of Nowhere’ is revolutionary in its storytelling. It is haunting, unexpected, deeply erotic at times and ultimately the kind of thing that only comes around once in a decade."
Sasha Stone | AWARDS DAILY
"Like Ruby, DuVernay's film resists easy categorization. Formally, there's a powerful tension between aesthetics and content. The filmmaker's stolid, unblinking eye serves as a sharp contrast to Ruby's impatience to claim the life she has been fantasizing about. It's beautifully nuanced."
Karina Longworth | LA WEEKLY
"Every so often, Sundance midwifes a film that reminds us that a sense of discovery still exists on the margins of American moviemaking. Half Nelson, Compliance and Take Shelter are perfect examples; Ava DuVernay’s extraordinary chronicle of a marriage interrupted is another. This character study’s refusal to pander by sensationalizing its central social issue skirts such pitfalls with amazing grace; this is humanistic drama done right."
David Fear | TIMEOUT NEW YORK
"As a storyteller, DuVernay has an interesting way of parsing out information without seeming to keep anything from us, and we trust her. Her command of tone is astonishing. The last beat with Derek, for instance, mixes heartbreak and eroticism in a way I've never seen onscreen."
Jason Bailey | THE ATLANTIC
"Elegant, powerfully emotional and courageous."
Andrew O'Hehir | SALON