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Ask Dr. Ruth

Country: USA, Language: English, 100 mins

  • Director: Ryan White
  • Producer: Jessica Hargrave; Chris Leggett; Rafael Marmor; Ryan White

CGiii Comment

Diminutive...yet, demonstrative...this is the story that made Karola Ruth Siegel...Dr Ruth.

And what a story it is! Standing at 4'7'' and aged 90...this remarkable woman has [not only] history but energy...and, opinions. She stands firm...she will not [publicly] discuss politics...and, she's not a feminist...well, perhaps, a reluctant one!

There is nothing overtly controversial...Dr Ruth does have a few views that would raise an eyebrow or two...but, those 'views' are not mentioned. Instead, this is her life's timeline...gleaned from archives and put together with commentary, interviews and animation. This is a beautifully composed piece of work...kudos to Ryan White.

The emotional intensity ebbs and flows...the horror of the Holocaust, the horror of HIV/AIDS...and then, there's the charm...when she meets her old boyfriend [aaw], her best friend who tells her that her hair is a mess...her children.

This is a respectful portrait of a woman who spoke out, shook the ground and helped many people. Many will regard her as that-woman-who-talks-about-sex...the truth is, that-woman-who-talks-about-sex is a history lesson...a lesson everyone should be taught.

An incredible story...a magnificent film.


The(ir) Blurb...

Don’t let her small stature fool you. Standing at under five feet tall, Dr. Ruth Westheimer is a force. A pioneer in the field of sex therapy, she became a household name in the ’80s and ’90s. At 90 years old, she hasn’t stopped working—and still promises the best sex you’ve ever had if you listen to her.

Filmmaker Ryan White captures Dr. Ruth’s exuberant and snappy personality as she hopscotches from speaking engagements to TV and radio appearances. Her infectious energy is colored with an almost arresting openness that is joyous and nonjudgmental, and the affable rapport between filmmaker and subject is a welcome source of laughter. Alongside her optimism, however, are storybook-like animations that bring Dr. Ruth’s childhood as an orphan of the Holocaust to life. The tragic loss of being separated from her parents and never seeing them again shaped how she would embrace the world. The film is an inspiring and entertaining portrait of a trailblazer that reveals the darkness Dr. Ruth emerged from to bring light to so many people.

Cast & Characters

Ruth Westheimer
Susan Brown
Jonathan Capehart
Leora Einleger
Ari Einliger
Pierre Lehu
John Lollos
Walter Nothmann