Citizen Ruth Reviews
An abortion comedy. Right from the start of his career we can see Alexander Payne reaching to do something different. For the majority Citizen Ruth works very well indeed - at least while you're watching it. Laura Dern is very good indeed as Ruth - and there are some nice supporting turns from people like Kurtwood Smith, Burt Reynolds and Swoozie Kurtz. The biggest problem facing Citzen Ruth is that it doesn't quite hold together - Payne is so keen on having Ruth experience both sides of the abortion argument that the film comes closer to a series of loosely connected sketches rather than a full blown narrative. Some interesting characters are interesting only to be abandoned before the half way stage - the daughter of the uptight pro-lifers who wants to be a wild child suggests some interesting opposition to the main argument of the film, but she is quickly forgotten.
Nevertheless, Citizen Ruth is protean Alexander Payne, and as such it makes for fascinating viewing. Not a great debut, perhaps, but very enjoyable whilst your watching. I just don't think I'll ever return to it.
Written and directed by Alexander Payne (see SIDEWAYS).
Laura Dern gives a creditable performance as an irresponsible, ne er-do-well, occasional reproducing mother, and constant/addicted? huffer. There is nothing about her character to root for. Its only a little less difficult to root for a huffer; than, say, an axe murder or a pedophile. The humor in her character was hard to relate to.
So, the story plays itself out. Our sometimes pregnant huffer, wanders to and fro; trying to gain some advantage and find her next inhalant high. There are a few amusing moments. But, the whole thing just sort of peters out at the end.
Maybe worth a rental.