Watch Citizen Ruth Online

Citizen Ruth

Where to Watch Citizen Ruth


Citizen Ruth is a satirical comedy-drama from 1996 directed by Alexander Payne, starring Laura Dern in the titular role of Ruth Stoops. It tells the story of a working-class woman struggling with drug addiction and unwanted pregnancy who becomes the center of a fierce political battle over abortion.

The film begins with Ruth, a young, unmarried, and irresponsible woman, being arrested for inhaling solvents and endangering her unborn child. She is given a choice by the court to either go to jail or have an abortion immediately. Ruth decides to go with the latter option as she sees no other way out of her predicament. However, before the procedure could be carried out, a group of pro-life activists, led by the firebrand Gail Stoney (Mary Kay Place), intervene and try to persuade Ruth to keep the baby.

In a bizarre turn of events, both the pro-life and pro-choice groups discover that Ruth is a pawn they could use to win their ongoing battle over abortion rights. The pro-life faction sees Ruth as a heroic, pro-family symbol, while the pro-choice camp sees her as a victim of society's failures and poverty. They both offer her material incentives to join their cause, such as shelter, money, and legal representation, but Ruth is not particularly interested in any of that.

Amid this political circus, Ruth meets several characters, including Swoosie Kurtz's character, Cheryl, who takes her in as a guest and tries to help her get her life back on track, and the affable Vern, played by Kurtwood Smith, who Ruth takes a liking to. However, as the pressure from both sides intensifies, she begins to feel increasingly lost and desperate, unsure of what she really wants from her life and the baby.

At its core, Citizen Ruth is a biting commentary on the culture wars and the politicization of personal choice conflicting in a judicial setting. It shows how the issue of abortion can be exploited for political gain and how both sides can oversimplify and dehumanize the real people involved in it. Ruth is not a symbol or a cause; she is a vulnerable person facing difficult choices, complicated emotions, and a lack of support from anyone in her life.

The film also explores broader themes of class, gender, addiction, motherhood, and morality. It portrays Ruth as a flawed but sympathetic protagonist, and Laura Dern delivers a remarkable performance, showcasing her comedic and dramatic range with equal finesse. The supporting cast also shines, particularly Mary Kay Place, who steals the show as the pushy and hypocritical Gail Stoney.

However, Citizen Ruth is not without its flaws. Some of the plot twists feel contrived and sensationalistic, and the film's moral ambiguity can be frustrating at times. It also doesn't offer any clear solutions or resolutions to the issues raised, leaving the viewer to ponder the film's message long after the credits roll.

Overall, Citizen Ruth is a thought-provoking, absurd, and poignant work of filmmaking that tackles a controversial topic with nuance, humor, and heart. It remains relevant to this day and serves as a reminder that behind every political slogan and soundbite, there are real people with real lives and real struggles.

Citizen Ruth is a Drama, Comedy movie released in 1996. It has a runtime of 102 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 7.0. It also holds a MetaScore of 64.

How to Watch Citizen Ruth

Where can I stream Citizen Ruth movie online? Citizen Ruth is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Kanopy, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Citizen Ruth for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

Alexander Payne
Laura Dern, Burt Reynolds, Mary Kay Place, Swoosie Kurtz, Kurtwood Smith, Tippi Hedren
Citizen Ruth is available on .