Citizen Ruth Reviews
This is a scathing satire on the hot-button issue of abortion, and the ballsiest move that is made is that the film takes neither side, and instead skewers them both equally.
Ruth is an unfit, drug addicted scumbag loser who, after finding out she's pregnant with her fifth child, finds herself unwittingly in the middle of the pro-life/pro-choice war as a hapless pawn who really wants nothing to do with either side, but is willing to play ball once she figures out that either side is willing to give her tons of cash if she joins in,
The film is a tad rough, but makes for a striking debut. It's got nothing but unlikable characters, and takes the best position on an issue where neither side is truly right or truly wrong. The portrayals of the pro-choicers and the pro-lifers are dead on accurate, and that will probably make some people very uneasy.
I think this is a bold film, and one that's also very sharp, funny, and entertaining, It does get a bit repetitive after a while, but overall, proves to be quite solid.
Laura Dern is brilliant as Ruth, and this is easily her most courageous and strong performance. It takes talent to pull off such a tough character, but she absolutely nails it. Other actors such as Kurtwood Smith and Swoosie Kurtz turn in some good work as well, but seem far less well rounded, and veer more often than not towards caricature. It's still some nice work though.
Payne obviously went on to far greater achievements, but this marked a great place for him to begin. Give it a go, it's quite something.
The film has some explorative cinematography, when put in the first person perspective of Ruth. It's nothing ground breaking, but is intriguing.
I felt that Ruth switched from mellow disinterest to extreme passion to often. Perhaps it was to show the ever changing moves of an inhaler addict, but it didn't always make sense. Luara Dern has gotten acclaim for this role, but I didn't see anything special. Little true emotion, and far to much swaying.
A brilliant dark comedy about abortion. Laura Dern gives the performance of a lifetime. Great cast and a great score.
Who does American satire better than Mr. Alexander Payne? All of his films (this, his earliest, along with Election, About Schmidt and Sideways) focus on people just a little too absurd to be living (i.e. Tracy Flick, Ruth Stoops, Warren Schmidt), taking up residence in places in America that always seem to be cloudy, as if even the weather couldn't give a shit about them.
Laura Dern plays Ruth Stoops, a homeless druggie addicted to snuffing patio sealant, who winds up pregnant and sentenced to a jail term for carelessly threatening the life of her unborn child... that is, until the judge bargains that he'll drop her term if she gets an abortion. Some women from a group called the Babysavers end up sharing a cell with Ruth, and one all-American couple (seen above) takes pity on her and invites her into their home, hoping to clean up the hopeless Ruth. From there, satire ensues.
What's amazing about a movie about abortion is what side it takes; Citizen Ruth decides firmly not to side with either group, and in lesser hands the movie could have seemed wishy-washy, but under the direction of Mr. Payne, every satirical moment works hilariously, and the closing sequence is almost breathtaking in its scope and message, without being preachy.
Laura Dern is strange-looking, but she works as white trash. The supporting cast is hilarious .. no other real big names, besides Burt Reynolds as a supah-creepy old man (as usual). Definitely worth a rental.