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Citizen Ruth [VHS]
Top Customer Reviews
I loved this movie! Laura Dern is genuinely funny and quirky as the slow-witted Ruth Stoops, who finds herself at storm center as a judge convicts her of criminal negligence to her unborn fetus. However, out of court, he advises her to "take care of this problem," sotto voce telling her to get an abortion. Ruth doesn't really care; she just wants to find some Krylon or airplane glue to inhale.
Finding herself in jail, some Christian pro-lifers take her under their wing. Suddenly, she is no longer a rational actor whose free will determines the birth of her baby, but a pawn in a PR war between pro-life and pro-choice zealots. It is as if Ruth doesn't even exist as an individual, and is only important to these fanatics as a poster child for their respective causes.
What I most love about the characterisations of the activists is how Payne shows how removed they are from reality. The pro-lifers (Mary Kay Place and that guy from That 70s Show) are Christian evangelicals who won't even have a TV in their house, hold independent church services at their house and sing horrifyingly bad hymns like "Yes Jesus Loves Me, The Bible Tells Me So" (this hokum is probably the main reason people become atheists; whatever happened to church hymns by Bach or Cesar Franck?) Their clothes are right out of the Monkey Wards 1977 catalogue and they speak in that anti-intellectual sing-song style.
The pro-choicers are just as big a scream.Read more ›
Ruth Stoops (Laura Dern) is the very definition of troubled: an unemployed, drug-addled drifter with four children who were all taken away from her because she can't seem to get her life together. She's picked up for huffing and finds out that she's pregnant again, and the judge wants to impose a harsher sentence on her for endangering the fetus. This becomes a big news story, and soon Ruth finds herself being tugged at from both sides of the abortion issue.
Ruth is taken in first by the pro-life Norm and Gail Stoney, played by Mary Kay Place and Kurtwood Smith, whose intention it is to convince Ruth to have the baby. They want to help her get her life together, and offer her the guest room in their modest house as refuge from the sea of reporters that want the scoop on Ruth's story. All Ruth wants is to be left alone and to keep her life private. Oh, but she also wants to get high all the time to escape her life.
After Ruth has some difficulty with the Stoneys, another member of the pro-life commmitte, Diane Siegler (Swoosie Kurtz), takes Ruth in, and reveals that she is actually an undercover agent for the pro-choice force. The tug of war then kicks off in earnest, with the pro-lifers offering a large cash reward to Ruth for having the baby, and the pro-choicers attempting to match it.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The "abortion debate" seems to be a dispute that will never be resolved, and in Citizen Ruth, Alexander Payne skewers both sides. Read morePublished 4 months ago by George Washington, Jr.
Citizen Ruth is one of my favorite movies! Laura Dern is splendid in the role of Ruth. A very entertaining movie.Published 8 months ago by Shellie
Great film. When I first saw it I did not get the notion that it was intended as a comedy. A comedy is any play/movie/show that ends well. Read morePublished 14 months ago by John Pulliam
This is a great social commentary, but it made me weary at times.Published 19 months ago by Cathi Compton
I mainly bought this DVD because one of my most favorite character actresses has a part in this film, Mary Kay Place (from "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman). Read morePublished 19 months ago by Randy B Music/Film/Book Fan!
Excellent satire, clever script (of course--Jim Taylor and Alexander Payne wrote it), and a truly funny performance by Laura Dern. Read morePublished 22 months ago by William C. Stephens
Very funny (dry) slap at the pro and anti abortion zealots. Laura Dern plays the lead very accurately, not hesitating to play one side against the other.Published 23 months ago by Larry B.
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