Ask Dr. Ruth (2019)

7.6
  • Not Rated
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Release year: 2019 (2019-05-03)
  • Running time: \N min
  • Original Title: Ask Dr. Ruth
  • Voted: 210
Ask Dr. Ruth is a movie starring Susan Brown, Jonathan Capehart, and Leora Einleger. Charting the incredible life of Dr. Ruth Westheimer, a Holocaust survivor who became America's most famous sex therapist.
#PersonCharacters
  • Laugh, cry, repeat. 2/2/2019 12:00:00 AM by lynsieharris 9

    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.

  • a Self-Made dynamo 5/30/2019 12:00:00 AM by ferguson-6 7

    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.

  • Remarkable Woman 6/3/2019 12:00:00 AM by sarahknutson-113-768081 10

    What a remarkable woman! Her life, her career, her humor. I highly recommend this! So so good

  • I laughed, I cried, I felt inspired 6/2/2019 12:00:00 AM by jwassdesign 10

    This was not what I expected, it's even better.She's kind of a hardass and I didn't even know!

    I was prepared for a light hearted Dr. Ruth montage of people asking questions.What we get is a deeper look into her past including diary entries while orphaned in Switzerland during the war. That part might make you cry among other things.Overall we see a woman who doesn't let anything drag her down as she's changing the culture and how we talk about sex today.

    The film was well made, it does kind of end without a conclusion, or at least that's what it felt like to me. Oh, and the parts with the child voice-over reading the diary was weird without a German accent.

    Should you watch it?Yeah! It's not about sex as much as it's about her life and career. The woman is 91 and still writing books. We all have something to learn from this film.

  • mrs versatile 6/5/2019 12:00:00 AM by ops-52535 10

    A lovely and extremely biased documentary about dr ruth westheimer, the queen of sexuality, the princess of variety and the godmother to millions ogf american born citizens due to the deeds and inspirational words in radio and television since early 1980's, making couples spit in both hands and have sex without boundaries and inhibitions whenever however and wherever.

    its a lot of '' i was'', ''i did'', ''i know'' and ''i can'' in this feature, but we must all bear over with her age and lust to tell her story. the makers have spiced the film with some ingenious animation sequences, mostly covering her childhood, brilliant.

    the grumpy old man, still with a handfull of tricks recommends, well made and sooo cute.

#PersonCrew
1Ryan Whitedirector
2Jessica Hargraveproducer
3Chris Leggettproducer
4Rafael Marmorproducer
5Ruth Westheimerself