Ask Dr. Ruth

2019

Biography / Documentary

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 93% · 84 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 93% · 50 ratings
IMDb Rating 7.7/10 10 1109 1.1K

Director

Top cast

Dahlia Salem as Irma
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
916.27 MB
1280*674
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 39 min
Seeds 5
1.66 GB
1920*1012
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 39 min
Seeds 16

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by ferguson-6 7 / 10

a Self-Made dynamo

Greetings again from the darkness. Your impression of Dr. Ruth Westheimer might be that of a little old lady who offers up entertaining segments on talk shows, or maybe even more extreme, that of a carnival-type sideshow meant to shock with its taboo topics. Director Ryan White (THE CASE AGAINST 8) profiles the now 90 year old (she turns 91 next week) icon and we are treated to a wonderful story of a fascinating self-made woman.

Karola Ruth Siegel was born in Germany and her parents shipped her to an orphanage in Switzerland at age 10 to protect her from the Nazis and the war. Though her parents did not survive the war, young Karola did and director White allows the adult woman, now known as Ruth Westheimer, to retrace the steps that resulted in her becoming a world renowned sex therapist, speaker, educator and author. Some of the filming takes place inside her Washington Heights, NY apartment ... her home for the past 54 years.

Animation is used to fill in the gaps of her childhood, as a narrator reads passages from the young girl's diary. Her own words connect two worlds - that of a lost child and those of today's strong woman whose work has impacted so many. Sure, Dr. Ruth has her critics, but she was a solitary voice of help and knowledge at a time "Sexually Speaking" (the name of her first radio show) was still not done in public. This tiny (4'7") woman with German-accented English spoke directly to her audience (many who chuckled or turned crimson with embarrassment) about matters that were causing much emotional turmoil - matters that were killing relationships. She was truly a life saver for many.

Educated at Columbia and Cornell, Ruth earned her Ph.D. and became a licensed sex therapist. It was her matter-of-fact delivery of facts and insight that made her so popular on radio and TV. Now, in her 90's, she still teaches two classes, makes appearances as a guest lecturer, writes books (published more than 60), writes a regular newspaper column, and travels the globe entertaining and educating young and old alike. This is a busy, focused woman.

Dr. Ruth was a calm voice in the storm of the initial AIDS/HIV epidemic as she reserved judgment and dispensed facts, while encouraging care and empathy. We learn she has espoused speaking of politics in public and doesn't much believe in "normal" as a description to be applied to anything. Pierre Lehu, her long-time Director of Communications admits they speak by phone 25-30 times per day. Most people half her age live daily lives much less busy.

Director White opens the film with Dr. Ruth asking Alexa if she's going to get a boyfriend. Her playful side is still evident, but quickly shifts into all-business mode when required. We hear from her daughter and son, as well as her 3 grandkids. We learn of her 3 husbands, and the situation with each. Did you know she was trained as a sniper in the Jewish Underground Army? Well there's a segment on that. She was a rare single mother in the U.S. in 1958 and transformed herself into "Grandma Freud". By the end, we know this spirited woman would have survived and been successful in whatever path she chose. Many are thankful she still walks that path.

Reviewed by Turfseer 9 / 10

Fascinating documentary chronicles life of iconic sex therapist and media personality

Ask Dr. Ruth is not only about the meteoric rise of the world's best known sex therapist but a fascinating tale of an irrepressible and dynamic woman who endured major tragedy in her life but emerged triumphant.

Born Karola Ruth Siegel in Wiesenfeld, Germany, Dr. Ruth was shipped off to an orphanage in Switzerland after her father arranged for passage via the Kindertransport (an organized rescue effort encouraged by the British government that took place during the nine months prior to the outbreak of the Second World War which saved approximately 10,000 Jewish children from death at the hands of the Nazis).

Dr. Ruth was never to see her parents again as her father was murdered at Auschwitz (and her mother's fate ultimately unknown). Director Ryan White adroitly brings Dr. Ruth's childhood and young adult recollections to life by utilizing old photos of her and animating them. Friends from the past are interviewed which shed light on her peripatetic lifestyle and "ballsy" personality.

We soon find out some amazing stories about Dr. Ruth, that she was a sniper in Israel during the Israeli War for Independence and almost lost her legs when a missile exploded as she took cover in a bomb shelter. She reflects on her two failed marriages and then recounts her successful marriage to Fred Westheimer, an engineer, whom she met on a ski slope. There are also interviews with both her adult children as well as glimpses of her grandchildren as they are on hand to celebrate Dr. Ruth's 90th birthday.

As Dr. Ruth tells it, her lifelong interest in education led her to earn degrees as a sex therapist. In the early 80s, Dr. Ruth become a worldwide celebrity after volunteering for free to host a call-in show on a late night radio program dubbed "Sexually Speaking." The 4'7" grandmother, with her heavy but cute German-English accent, and great optimistic personality soon became an international sensation. Director White utilizes a treasure trove of archival footage including numerous forays on late night TV and other TV interviews to highlight just how big an impact Dr. Ruth has had on the general public since the 1980s.

Despite the tragic death of her husband at a very young age in his 60s in 1997, Dr. Ruth has kept going on, remaining optimistic and continuing to impart wisdom about human sexuality without making her audience uncomfortable. Dr. Ruth really is an amazing person as this documentary confirms through her sagacious words as well as from all her admirers worldwide.

Reviewed by lynsieharris 9 / 10

Laugh, cry, repeat.

I grew up watching Dr. Ruth on PBS specials as she was encouraging sex education and self acceptance in young people. When I heard this documentary was premiering at Sundance it was the first ticket I bought, and it did not disappoint. The narrative shifts between Dr Ruth's childhood as an orphan of the holocaust and a playful retelling of her career highlights. Her quick wit keeps you laughing throughout the film, but there are many tender moments to be found as she reflects on the loss and upheaval she endured as a young woman in 1940's Europe. And of course, there's plenty of advice about sex.

This is definitely one of the better biographical documentaries I've seen. Even if you have no previous knowledge of Dr. Ruth and her glory days as a TV and radio personality, I promise this film will delight.

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