Ruth Stoops is an irresponsible, unemployed woman who spends most of her days attempting to quench her addiction of inhaling household chemicals. After Ruth becomes pregnant, for the fifth time, she is arrested for substance abuse where the judge agrees to reduce the sentence if she aborts the baby. Ruth agrees, but that night she encounters a group of pro-life activists who take her under their wing, promising to help her while also secretly planning to use her unique case for the greater good of the pro-life movement. Alexander Payne's Citizen Ruth is a satirical look into the ongoing war surrounding abortion that is both hysterical and profound. Ruth is a great character who is perfect for the films intentions, being incredibly clueless and oblivious to everyone around hers true intentions. This makes the tug and pull between both the pro-choice and pro-life groups that much more clear, exposing both groups as manipulative and selfish, only using Ruth to further their cause. Laura Dern is terrific in the role of Ruth, capturing every aspect of this character with this genuine absurdity that is hard to describe. Much like the character of Ruth, Alexander Payne doesn't seem very interested in the moral debate or picking sides, intentionally staying neutral while capturing the circus of this heated social debate. Alexander Payne's Citizen Ruth is a funny and smart look into a the abortion issue, effectively showing how most people aren't fighting for human rights but simply their own desire to be right.
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