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Citizen Ruth

1h 46m Comedy, Drama 1996

The critically-acclaimed director Alexander Payne made an immediate name for himself by tackling the thorny subject of abortion from a distinctly and blackly comedic perspective in his debut feature. Ruth Stoops (a typically fine performance from Laura Dern) is an addict and neglectful mother. On discovering she is once again pregnant after being yet again arrested, the judge offers leniency if she will agree to an abortion. After her story is publicised, Ruth becomes a focal point in the abortion debate, offered inducements by both sides to make a decision that will further their agenda. Payne’s film targets the extremes on both sides (including Swoosie Kurtz and a hilarious Burt Reynolds), attacking in a clear-eyed and balanced way all who would exploit the situation of a woman in need, for their own reasons, without thought as to the consequences for her.


Alexander Payne





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