A high school teacher's personal life becomes complicated as he works with students during the school elections, particularly with an obsessive overachiever determined to become student body president.
Playboy does to softcore sex films what HBO's Tales from the Crypt did for horror. Contains the stories: "Dogs Playing Poker"; "The Branding"; "The Portal"; "The Perfect Woman"; "Within Ten... See full summary »
Playboy does to softcore sex films what HBO's Tales from the Crypt did for horror. Contains the stories: "Brush Strokes"; "Shrink Rap"; "Doubletalk"; "The Leda"; "My Secret Moments"; "Life ... See full summary »
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This movie marks the reunion of Laura Dern and Burt Reynolds in a theatrical movie. The 1970s Reynolds movie White Lightning (1973) had been Dern's uncredited film debut. Dern was just six years old when she appeared in a brief non-speaking walk on bit part. In White Lightning (1973), Dern played the daughter of her real life mother Diane Ladd who played Maggie. This time around in Citizen Ruth (1996), it is Dern who has the main part with Reynolds playing a supporting role. See more »
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 »
I'm gonna stay here. and I'm gonna have that abortion like I wanted. 'Cause I'm a citizen and... and I got my rights to, um, PICK!
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About halfway through the credits, we hear the beginning of Tape 2, Side 1. See more »
Before writer/director Alexander Payne was making deep, intimate pictures centered around eccentric humans playing a little game called "Life," he was concocting explosive satires, bursting at the seams with originality and charm. His directorial debut, Citizen Ruth, is a little stroll through the eclectic-side of his days.
Ruth Stoops (Laura Dern) is a rather despicable woman. She has had multiple kids and has been addicted to inhaling substances from glue to patio sealant for years now. When she discovers she is pregnant again, she tosses around the idea of having an abortion, so as not to give birth to another unfortunate, helpless soul. Having no family and no one to turn to for advice, she finds herself intrusively manipulated by pro-life and pro-choice groups from all walks of life, and his taken in by a well-meaning couple, played by Kurtwood Smith and Mary Kay Place. They will provide her with everything she could need, including protection from the media, so long as she doesn't give into the abortion.
The remainder of the film centers around the asinine attention the media pays to Ruth and her "family," and how she may be forcefully committed to one side because of their obnoxious manipulation.
What is truly amazing, however, is how Citizen Ruth manages to perfectly keep a centrist viewpoint, showing both sides at their utmost ridiculous. Never does the film show a direct bias. From watching this, we can sort of believe that Payne's view on the entire abortion issue is simplified to something along the lines of, "both sides are equally right and equally bizarre."
Dern here is spectacularly, embodying a character void of any likability traits and sophistication as a whole. She is an unkempt, sorry mess of a woman and Payne portrays her exactly as that. While it may not be the most complete film out there, or even one of the funniest satires (especially when you put to along side Election, Payne's sophomore effort), it still is a reasonable compliment to say that Citizen Ruth does a splendid job of keeping a film about a controversial issue neutral and viable throughout its runtime.
Starring: Laura Dern, Kurtwood Smith, and Mary Kay Place. Directed by: Alexander Payne.
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