Citizen Ruth - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Citizen Ruth Reviews

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March 13, 2013
this is a really good movie that surprised me. most effective if seen when it came out, when the abortion debate was raging but hold up, shows all the sides, and laura dern is fantastic.
March 1, 2013
There's a little thing called an unlikeable protagonist. I'm not a fan of an unlikeable protagonist. But still, it's an Alex Payne film, so at least it has some redeemable qualities.
½ September 11, 2012
Unless you actually have lived the lives of some people or been involved closely with them it is impossible to understand their life experience. Even people who work with "social problems" after years of experience throw up their hands and say, how can you keep doing this. Laura Dern is disturbingly convincing as a serial fuck up and glue and solvent sniffing addict who falls pregnant after having 4 children taken out of her custody by the state. She unwittinlgy becomes the cause celebre of both the pro and anti abortion lobbies with dark and disturbingly funny results. There have been many films made about addiction and the life of the addict. This one is right on the money.
August 18, 2012
A whole lot of fun, much of which is down to Laura Dern's excellent turn as Ruth.
½ June 16, 2012
Citizen Ruth shows early indications of the great film maker Alexander Payne would come to be recognised as. Laura Dern plays the title character, a young woman pregnant woman who is taken in by Norm (Kurtwood Smith) and his family, leaders of the local "pro-life" movement. The movie is audacious and courageous not simply for its relentless satire on the abortion debate, but for the way it lampoons both sides. Ruth becomes a pawn in an ideological war in which both factions may actually care little about her at all. The plot device that kicks off the story -- Ruth is court-ordered to get an abortion or face jail time -- feels a bit flimsy, but there is more than enough biting satire throughout (Burt Reynolds plays a "pro-life" celebrity, an eleventh hour secret weapon of his party), Laura Dern's wonderful performance, and a fantastic ending that work together to make this a great film.
½ June 4, 2012
the controversial subject matter of alexander payne's "citizen ruth" may make the film often difficult to watch, partly due to laura dern's very convincing performance, though unlike "the descendants", the film never feels like a drama. this isn't a bad thing by any means, as payne's brand of humor is laced all through out the film and often in the oddest moments. it's not as good as most of payne's films, but it's still really good.
½ May 22, 2012
Successfully satirizes both sides of the abortion debate (at least circa 1996). Still conflicted about the ending (though I love how both sides end up fighting over literally no one), but this is a film that needs to be seen and discussed more.
½ April 28, 2012
Dern is fantastic as a pawn between a bunch of parody characters on either side of the abortion debate. The film itself is a bit uneven but still enjoyable and effectively interesting and fun.
Super Reviewer
April 8, 2012
"Citizen Ruth" is the most blatant satire I have ever seen, and it's one of the funniest as well. Alexander Payne is such a gifted writer and his execution is usually spot-on as well. "Citizen Ruth" is not his best film, but a darn good one regardless. It's eccentric and a little out and I doubt that very many will really like it, but it's funny and endearing and Laura Dern gives a wonderfully childish performance as the titular character. Also, Kurtwood Smith is great as well. I absolutely love watching him act. Why isn't he cast in roles like this more often?
March 12, 2012
Very funny satire which pokes fun of both sides of the abortion debate. Laura Dern gives a wonderful performance
March 2, 2012
The success of The Descendants in 2011 made me track down a copy of this, Alexander Payne's debut feature which somehow I missed on its inital release, despite reading every film mag and working in a video rental store at the time. Maybe if I did read about it then, I forgot about it quickly because its premise seemed not for me - for Citizen Ruth is an abortion comedy.

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.
November 22, 2011
Over-all, this movie fell short for me. The movie does a good job of poking fun at both extremist sides of the abortion battle. The story idea was good. The dialogue and the casting was pretty good. All of the principle characters were well acted.

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.
½ September 16, 2011
The satire gets in the way of a lot of conventional narrative elements, but it's still an interesting and well-acted film with some unexpected angles.
½ August 31, 2011
It's brilliant in the way it's not really about what it seems to be about. It takes a risk in suggesting a debate between a very touchy issue such as pro-choice and pro-life, but it's ingenius in the way that it uses this debate as only a device, when in reality, it's not a film about abortion at all. It's a film about being one with our own selves, understanding who we are, and how our choices define ourselves. The ending is a brilliiant twist on a happy ending, born out of chaos. It's tone and style is light and delicious to the taste, not to mention done with a sophisticated taste. Laura Dern is absolutely magnificent with her character being so enigmatic and simple and at the same time, bringing the tone to it's simple quirk.
July 27, 2011
Over-the-top satire that makes excellent arguments about abortion.
July 11, 2011
there are agendas on every issue, so let's get high and not worry about it.
July 4, 2011
Kind of a corky movie. I'm not big on these type of movies so my rating isn't very good. I suppose it got better nearer the end but I just wasn't impressed. Didn't really make me feel anything.

Maybe worth a rental.
½ May 23, 2011
Perculiar little movie thats half cute, half degradation. A bit like crossing Mary Poppins with Trainspotting. All i can say is that if i lived in a town like that id resort to inhaling adhesives too
½ March 25, 2011
Very satire but I spot a number of plot hole in this movie. Overall it's an enjoyable and fun movie. Thumbs up for Laura Dern
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