Incest? Check. Overcooked class dynamics? Check. Hot cast? Check. Oh, of course, it’s another VC Andrews adaptation! The Landry Series is the newest to get the small-screen treatment from Lifetime, following both the Dollanganger and Casteel film series. Ruby is a saucy and vibrant movie, one that amplifies the twists and turns by embracing the soap opera of it all. Despite being ghostwritten by Andrew Neiderman using VC Andrews’ pen-name, this first installment in the series feels every bit as pulpy and fun as the best Andrews output. The old-time Louisiana flavor provides a dash of pizazz that urges the audience to get invested in its ridiculousness.
Ruby Landry (Raechelle Banno) lives a simple life deep in the bayou with her Grandmere (Naomi Judd). Ruby falls completely in love with Paul Tate (Sam Duke), a young man from a family she equates against her own as “the Hatfields and the McCoys.” Their relationship causes friction between the Landry’s and the Tate’s. On her deathbed, Grandmere reveals a shocking secret that permanently impacts Ruby’s sequestered existence. Ruby seeks out her rich estranged father (Gil Bellows) and twin sister, Giselle (Karina Banno), as she clings to memories of Paul.
Impeccably cast, every member of this ensemble is cherry-picked to fit these characters and this world. The twins have great chemistry. Both Raechelle Banno and Karina Banno chew this dialogue up with gleeful abandon. Their dynamic is perfectly encapsulated in a hilarious scene where the twins first meet: Giselle acts like there’s no possible way they could be related, despite looking exactly the same. I loved seeing Ruby adjust to this world, in a riff on the rags-to-riches of Cinderella. Ty Wood, as Beau, was one of my favorite characters, and Sam Duke’s Paul is equally easy on the eyes. There’s nothing realistic about any of these people, yet you’re somehow so invested in their journey. This film does a good job laying the foundation for what’s to come, with overall strong scripting that frames the action.
Ruby doesn’t have much of an ending, and leaves you craving more. This newest beauty mark on the VC Andrews brand proves Lifetime knows exactly what they are doing. If Ruby is any indication, this is a promising new film series that will find a huge audience. I’m excited to see what crazy things the next installment, Pearl in the Mist, has in store. The Landry series is—so far—a worthy spiritual successor to the four Flowers in the Attic movies. Ruby premieres Saturday, March 20th, exclusively on Lifetime.
Check out the review for the second film in the series, Pearl in the Mist, here.