Citizen Ruth

( 3 )

Overview

The divisive issue of abortion is at the center of Citizen Ruth, a political satire that attempts to subject both pro-choice and pro-life forces to equal ridicule. Laura Dern portrays Ruth Stoops, an irresponsible, unemployed woman who's addicted to inhaling household chemicals and has becomes pregnant, for the fifth time. After she is arrested for substance abuse, the judge offers to lessen her sentence if Ruth chooses to abort her child. Ruth agrees, but that night she encounters a group of pro-life activists. ...
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Overview

The divisive issue of abortion is at the center of Citizen Ruth, a political satire that attempts to subject both pro-choice and pro-life forces to equal ridicule. Laura Dern portrays Ruth Stoops, an irresponsible, unemployed woman who's addicted to inhaling household chemicals and has becomes pregnant, for the fifth time. After she is arrested for substance abuse, the judge offers to lessen her sentence if Ruth chooses to abort her child. Ruth agrees, but that night she encounters a group of pro-life activists. They take her under their wing, promising to help her, while secretly planning to make her case public as a symbol for the pro-life movement . When Ruth discovers the deception, she takes refuge with a pro-choice group, sparking a media frenzy. Yet Ruth soon finds her new friends are also only interested in her value as a media icon. Realizing she has been used as a pawn in the abortion rights battle, the apolitical Ruth turns the tables, offering to join whoever will give her the best deal. What results is a frantic, comedic session of wheeling-dealing which argues that activists on both sides have become more concerned with waging political warfare than helping women.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Although little-seen, Citizen Ruth introduced the film world to one of its best new satirists: director Alexander Payne, whose follow-up, Election (1999), won raves for skewering high school politics (indeed, the entire American political system) with dead-on finesse. No less ambitious in his debut, Payne goes after the abortion debate with rawness and vigor, shrewdly refusing to favor either camp. Instead, he exposes the transparent agendas of both sides, getting terrific help from Laura Dern, who plays Ruth Stoops with impressive disregard for audience sympathy. Strung out and utterly amoral, Dern's Ruth is a heroine typical of Payne's caustic wit -- in a landscape devoid of good-hearted impulses, this is the person left to support. It's a courageously unlikable and funny performance by Dern, and she's surrounded by character actors (Kurtwood Smith, Mary Kay Place, Swoosie Kurtz, and even Burt Reynolds) who inhabit their aggressive personality types with relish. What's remarkable about Payne's light touch is that he can craft a totally unsentimental film filled with soulless characters and still manage to leave the viewer feeling kind of bouncy and fulfilled. Citizen Ruth is a strong debut from a bright new talent.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/4/2003
  • UPC: 786936033601
  • Original Release: 1996
  • Rating:

  • Source: Walt Disney Video
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Laura Dern Ruth Stoops
Swoosie Kurtz Diane
Kurtwood Smith Norm
Mary Kay Place Gail
Kelly Preston Rachel
M.C. Gainey Harlan
David Graf Judge Richter
Tippi Hedren Jessica Weiss
Diane Ladd Ruth's mother
Kenneth Mars Dr. Charlie
Kathleen Noone Pat
Burt Reynolds Blaine Gibbons
Alicia Witt Cheryl
Caveh Zahedi
Technical Credits
Alexander Payne Director, Screenwriter
Lisa Beach Casting
James Glennon Cinematographer
Rolfe Kent Score Composer
Cathy Konrad Producer
Heather Kritzer Asst. Director
Tom McKinley Costumes/Costume Designer
Jay Patterson Sound/Sound Designer
Jane Ann Stewart Production Designer
Andrew Stone Co-producer
Jim Taylor Asst. Director, Screenwriter
Kevin Tent Editor
Kevin Trent Editor
Cary Woods Producer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Stay with it

    I agree 100% with previous reviewer's comments and the summary of the movie and its central theme - what gets lost in the whole pro-life/pro-choice debate. Laura Dern was great and is not afraid to be gritty. After the first 5 minutes I didn't know if I could watch but it was oddly captivating and got better. Don't know how this movie was missed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Very Interesting

    Citizen Ruth was truly an amazing movie. At first I didn't want to subject myself to another abortion debate, since they usually lead to headaches. But this movie focuses more on the people behind the debate rather than the debate itself. While it does cover a serious topic, with some very jarring scenes with the superb Laura Dern, it's a surprisingly funny movie. The best part about Citizen Ruth is that it never leads to an absolute conclusion. It doesn't tell you what to believe, which is the mark of a good film.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews