Archive of films Citizen Ruth / Citizen Ruth

1996, 105 min

Section: Forum of Independents - Competition
Year: 2005

A wildly funny black comedy set against the politics behind the abortion issue. Pregnant homeless junkie Ruth (Laura Dern) is arrested again and the judge offers her the option of an abortion. Ruth is soon involved in a pro-choice vs. pro-life dispute.


A wildly funny black comedy set against the politics behind the abortion issue. Ruth (Laura Dern) is a young homeless glue-addicted street junkie, who gets arrested again. The court realizes that she is pregnant for the fifth time, and the judge offers her the option of an abortion. Soon after her release, Ruth is involved in a pro-choice vs. pro-life (called “The Babysavers”) dispute. The film does not spare any side. Both camps are shown as fanatical and hypocritical. And Ruth herself doesn’t care whether she is going to have her fifth baby or not, she is only interested in the money offered by both sides. “People in Hollywood admonish you: It’s not called a show, it’s called show business. Well, for me, it’s an art form, first and foremost - a commercial art form.”  (Alexander Payne)

About the director

Alexander Payne (1961, Omaha, Nebraska) studied Spanish History and Literature at Stanford University and later took a film course at UCLA. He debuted as director in 1991 with the medium-length film The Passion of Martin, which was shown at the Sundance Film Festival. His first full-length film, Citizen Ruth (1996), was presented at the Montreal IFF, where Laura Dern, the film’s star, was awarded Best Actress. Payne’s next film, Election (1998) won numerous prizes for the screenplay and an Oscar nomination for Best Adaptation. In 2002, his film About Schmidt received Golden Globe awards for Best Direction and Best Screenplay and was nominated for an Oscar. Payne’s latest film, Sideways, was given an Academy Award for Best Screenplay. Films: The Passion of Martin (1992, short), Citizen Ruth (1996), Election (1999), About Schmidt (2002), Sideways (2004).


Miramax Films International
99 Hudson Str., 5th Floor, NY 10013, New York
United States of America
Tel: +1 212 219 4100
Fax: +1 212 941 3836

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Forum of Independents - Competition
Director: Alexander Payne
Screenplay: Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor
Dir. of Photography: James Glennon, A.S.C.
Music: Rolfe Kent
Editor: Kevin Tent
Producer: Cary Woods
Production: Independent Pictures
Cast: Laura Dern, Swoosie Kurtz, Kurtwood Smith, Mary Kay Place, Kelly Preston, M.C. Gainey, Kenneth Mars, Tippi Hedren, Burt Raynolds
Contact: Miramax Films International


Alexander Payne

Film Director


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