7.0/10
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55 user 45 critic

Citizen Ruth (1996)

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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.

Director:

Alexander Payne
3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Laura Dern ... Ruth Stoops
Swoosie Kurtz ... Diane Siegler
Kurtwood Smith ... Norm Stoney
Mary Kay Place ... Gail Stoney
Kelly Preston ... Rachel
M.C. Gainey ... Harlan
Kenneth Mars ... Dr. Charlie Rollins
David Graf ... Judge Richter
Kathleen Noone ... Nurse Pat
Tippi Hedren ... Jessica Weiss
Burt Reynolds ... Blaine Gibbons
Lance Rome Lance Rome ... Ricky, Ruth's Lover
Jim Kalal Jim Kalal ... Tony Stoops
Shea Degan Shea Degan ... Arresting Officer
Vince Morelli 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:

Meet Ruth Stoops...One Bad Mother. 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Miramax | Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 December 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Meet Ruth Stoops See more »

Filming Locations:

Nebraska, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$26,709, 15 December 1996, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$153,155, 12 January 1997
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (FotoKem)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final theatrical film of Kenneth Mars. See more »

Goofs

When Ruth is going out to party with her host family's daughter, she takes a hit from a bong, but does so incorrectly, not clearing the smoke from the chamber. See more »

Quotes

Ruth: What's the mater? Are you fuckin' people deaf? I said I want an abortion.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

References Citizen Kane (1941) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Very Acid Social Criticism of the American Society Hypocrisy Regarding the Abortion Theme
1 October 2004 | by claudio_carvalhoSee all my reviews

Ruth (Laura Dern) is a young homeless glue-addicted street junkie, who is arrested again completely doped. The justice realizes that she is pregnant for the fifth time, and the judge offers her the option of an abortion. Ruth is released under the custody of a family and sooner she is involved in a pro-choice vs. pro-life (called 'The Babysavers') dispute. This is the first time I have seen this movie and it is a very acid social criticism of the American society hypocrisy regarding the abortion theme. The story does not spare any side, showing hypocrites persons on both sides. The pro-life are showed as religious fanatics and narrow-minded persons, the deranged family who lodges Ruth has a the father with sexual attraction in Laura and the mother a fanatic who does not see the behavior of her own daughter. The pro-choice group is showed as homosexual, but also faking a situation. In common, all of them are radicals hypocrites. And Ruth indeed is not caring whether she is going to have her fifth baby or not, abusing of drugs and alcohol and only interested in the money offered by both sides. And the rights of the citizen Ruth is the less important issue for both sides. Laura Dern has one of her best interpretations and in the very beginning of the movie, I did not recognize her. I believe she was not indicated for an Oscar due to the polemic theme of abortion. The performance of the cast and the direction are also excellent. My vote is seven, but maybe this movie deserves a better ranking after watching it for the second time.

Title (Brazil): 'Ruth em Questão' (Ruth in Question')


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