Citizen Ruth: Synopsis

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In his first feature, Omaha native Alexander Payne takes us straight into the American heartland with CITIZEN RUTH, an irreverent satire recalling the social comedies of Preston Sturges. An ironic commentary on our times, Payne's film is both a send-up and a very human story.

With a cast headed by Laura Dern, Swoosie Kurtz, Kurtwood Smith, Mary Kay Place, Kelly Preston and Burt Reynolds, CITIZEN RUTH chronicles one woman's struggle to climb out of the spotlight and emerge a winner.

Laura Dern stars as Ruth Stoops, a down-on-her-luck drifter who gets two pieces of unexpected news after her umpteenth arrest for hazardous vapor inhalation: she's pregnant for the fifth time, and she's facing felony charges. Behind closed doors, the judge offers Ruth an intriguing proposition: if she agrees to visit the doctor and "take care of her problem," he just might reduce her charges. But Ruth is soon joined in her cell by an unlikely foursome: a group of passionate pro-life women arrested at the local abortion clinic. In no time, Ruth is out on bail thanks to her kindly cellmates, who are more than willing to adopt her until she has the baby. But having that baby wasn't exactly what Ruth had in mind...

For unsuspecting Ruth, it's just the beginning of a series of chaotic twists and turns that will introduce her to fanaticism on both sides of one of the most divisive issues of our time, all clamoring to make her a national symbol for their movements and give her a very unwanted fifteen minutes of fame.

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