Originally conceived as a TV series, Gaylene Preston's comedy was a local hit, uplifting recession-era audiences with its tale of resourceful misfits. Ruby (Yvonne Lawley), an 83-year-old trying to dodge a retirement home, rents a room to Rata (Vanessa Rare in her screen debut) — a solo mum with sidelines in music and benefit fraud. Rata's son is into shoplifting, while Simon Barnett plays a hapless yuppie wannabe. Marginalised by the deregulated economy of the 80s and living on their wits, they may just find common cause despite themselves, in this tale from writer Graeme Tetley.
Ruby and Rata is a 110-minute riposte to anyone who claims that New Zealand cinema is dour and grim.– Hamish McDouall, in his 2009 book 100 Essential New Zealand Films
Made in association with the NZ Film Commission
Presented with thanks to the New Zealand Film Heritage Trust – Te Puna Ataata
Rata's songs performed by Vanessa Rare
Soundtrack performed by members of the NZ Symphony Orchestra