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Citizen Ruth (1996)

An irresponsible, drug-addicted, recently impregnated woman finds herself in the middle of an abortion debate when both parties attempt to sway her to their respective sides.

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3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Harlan
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Dr. Charlie Rollins
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Judge Richter
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Nurse Pat
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Lance Rome ...
Ricky, Ruth's Lover
Jim Kalal ...
Tony Stoops
Shea Degan ...
Arresting Officer
Vince Morelli ...
Dr. George
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Storyline

Ruth Stoops is a poor indigent drug-user (a huffer - inhaling glue and paint for a high) whose down and out existence is complicated once more by becoming pregnant (she has had and lost four children already). When a judge orders that she gets an abortion or face a felony charge, she is befriended by Gail Stoney, a pro-lifer whose husband is president of the local "Babysavers" group. Suddenly Ruth is thrust into the middle of the pro-choice/pro-life struggle, with each side wanting her to take their side as a "message" to others - and the situation escalates... Written by Gary Dickerson <slug@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Life, liberty, money and the pursuit of happiness. She's gotta have it. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for substance abuse, strong language and a sex scene | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Country:

Language:

Release Date:

13 December 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Meet Ruth Stoops  »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$26,709 (USA) (15 December 1996)

Gross:

$153,155 (USA) (12 January 1997)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(FotoKem)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lance Rome who played Ruth's lover, was not a professional actor and was picked up out of a bar by the director to act in the film. See more »

Goofs

On the morning when Ruth is taken to have her abortion, no one notices the blood on the bed or her bloody hand print on the door. See more »

Quotes

[Ruth is the on phone after seeing a news report about her]
Ruth: You wanna send a message? I ain't no fucking telegram, bitch!
[pause]
Ruth: Nothing's wrong! I'm fine now. You think I'm a fool. You're the fool, cause guess what? This is a war and Diane's a spy. How bout that?
[pause]
Ruth: Now you're catching on!
[pause]
Ruth: Oh yeah! Well you're a cunt!
See more »

Crazy Credits

About halfway through the credits, we hear the beginning of Tape 2, Side 1. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Payne's underappreciated gem
3 October 2002 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It's truly gratifying to see that Alexander Payne has really made a name for himself in the art of film direction, having made nothing less than two fantastic social satires. "Election" garnered him considerable praise as will "About Schmidt," but in my mind, "Citizen Ruth" is the best. It's not as funny as Election in the sense that there aren't the moments that make your jaw drop in terms of the delightfully vicious nature of the satire, but the script is just as thoughtful as it is funny, and Payne did a remarkable job satirizing what, by most accounts, is an "un-satirizable" subject. Laura Dern really deserved some kind of award (you know the academy would never have the stones to recognize a film such as this...) as her performance is both touching and hysterical. Some said the film started off great and then didn't really go anywhere, but I disagree. The final shot says it all with respect to the direction of the story, and it really amazes me that this film could be made without really taking a side on anything. Ultimately, I was blindsided by the film's astute message, which was not even about abortion itself, but the selfish nature of the two sides arguing it. Payne will undoubtably move on to make compelling films in the future that take advantage of higher budgets, etc., but "Citizen Ruth" deserves a place amongst the best first features in any genre.


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