Chicago Sun-Times - 04/04/1997
"...The movie is a gallery of sharp-edged satiric portraits..."
USA Today - 04/05/2005
"Brazen but also fairly droll....Pretty cheeky."
A misguided drifter with a penchant for inhaling aerosol fumes to get high finds herself in the middle of a heated national debate after she's arrested (again) and discovers she's pregnant (again). The judge offers to let her off lightly if she has her pregnancy "taken care of," but when she's put in a cell with a group of pro-life protestors, her new roomies "adopt" her and try to force her to have the baby. A double-edged satire from first-time feature director Alexander Payne.
Description by Buena Vista Home Entertainment:
Meet Ruth Stoops. She's homeless, dumb as a cinder block, and loves to get high huffing spray paint. Life would be dandy if it weren't for one tiny problem -- she's gotten herself knocked up for the umpteenth time, and it seems like everybody's got an opinion about what she should do -- from an angry judge to God-fearing Baby-Savers to radical lesbian feminists. And Ruth just wants to party! Laura Dern stars in an award-winning bravura performance backed by a stellar ensemble cast including Burt Reynolds, Mary Kay Place, Swoosie Kurtz, Kelly Preston, Kurtwood Smith, and Tippi Hedren. Written and directed by the team who brought you ELECTION and ABOUT SCHMIDT, CITIZEN RUTH is a hilarious, provocative look at what happens when a sperm meets an egg and sparks fly.
A satirical look at the abortion issue, that takes jabs at both Pro-Life and Pro-Choice proponents. Ruth Stoops, a low-class, unintelligent, unfit mother of four discovers while in jail that she's pregnant again. The judge charges her with endangering the fetus, but tells her in confidence that he'll reduce the charges if she has an abortion. When word of this gets out, it changes Ruth's life dramatically, as she becomes caught in the middle of a tug-of-war between Pro-Lifers and fervent Pro-Choicers, each of whom want to use Ruth to get their messages and propaganda across. The proceedings escalate to bizarre proportions -- and in the process Ruth is virtually forgotten about. That is, until Ruth makes a decision about her pregnancy...