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Citizen Ruth (1996)

Directed by Alexander Payne

Citizen Ruth

Ruth (Laura Dern) is a prego glue-sniffer whose ass is hauled into court for the umpteenth time and is given an ultimatum by a pragmatic judge. The absentee mother of four has to choose; either get an abortion or be charged with the reckless endangerment to her fetus for her rampant drug use. This is one of the most twisted comedies I have ever seen, right up there with "Swept Away". How this movie ever got made might be more interesting than the film itself and the film is pretty interesting. Dern is great as Ruth, a woman who has been consumed by her drug addiction. Pro-life and pro-choice nuts each seize on her fetus as a symbol of their own narrow cause. What they don't see, or even care about, is Ruth. She is someone you would avoid at all costs, a human car wreck who will blow you for five bucks or shank you to secure her next fix. The resulting musical chairs of you-don't-use-me-I-use-you makes this movie unpredictable, disconcerting fun. No one comes away looking good. There are no morally superior sides in this story. -- Rating: $9.50

Tom Graney -- copyright 1997 Hollywood Outsider

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