Picks and Pans Review: Ruby Bridges

UPDATED 01/19/1998 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 01/19/1998 at 01:00 AM EST

ABC (Sun., Jan. 18, 7 p.m. ET)

C+

This nobly intentioned TV movie plays like a child's primer on race relations, but would you expect complexity from The Wonderful World of Disney? Based on a true story from the early '60s, the drama focuses on the first African-American pupil to enter the William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans. When 6-year-old Ruby Bridges (Chaz Monét) walks in—protected by federal marshals from furiously hostile demonstrators—white parents pull their kids out. The segregationist boycott leaves bright Ruby literally in a class by herself, where she is taught by Barbara Henry (Penelope Ann Miller), a transplanted Boston idealist. Child psychiatrist Dr. Robert Coles (Kevin Pollak), who seems never to have heard of racism before learning of Ruby's case, volunteers to help "this little tiny adorable Negro girl" through the traumatic situation, but mostly he just marvels at her courage and good humor. Although some of the elementary dialogue will have adult viewers squirming like restless first graders ("Ruby," says the teacher, "do you know what slavery is?"), Michael Beach gives grown-up depth to the character of Ruby's father, Abon. And Monét, 7, is adorable.

Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Emma and Andrew: All About Hollywood's Cutest Couple
  • Prince George! More Yummy Photos

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine

Advertisement

From Our Partners

Watch It

Editors' Picks

From Our Partners



Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters