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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
There is no "normal." Don't be embarrassed about who you are sexually. If two consenting adults are involved, everything is OK.
Positive Role Models
Dr. Ruth has always been a bold, unashamed, encouraging voice who sees no shame in discussing sex and sexual dissatisfaction. She may have gained her strength from enduring the trauma of losing her beloved family and surviving the Holocaust.
Violence & Scariness
The Nazis killed Dr. Ruth's family. Although she was sent to a Swiss orphanage for protection, she was treated like a second-class citizen there because she was Jewish. She was forced to clean the house and care for Christian children who were also residents.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
No sex or body parts are shown, but sex talk is frank. Dr. Ruth has worked as a sex therapist in private practice, through her radio and TV shows, and through her books, with intention of putting people at ease with what were once thought of as embarrassing situations and terms not uttered in polite company. She asks people what arouses them and encourages them to communicate with their partners to achieve sexual pleasure.
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"Vagina," "penis," "sex toys," "vibrator," "orgasm," "clitoris," "erection," "ejaculate," "breasts," "blue balls," and "s--t."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ask Dr. Ruth is a 2019 documentary about sex therapist, radio host, television pundit, and author Ruth K. Westheimer. At 91, she's a pioneer of frank sex talk, famous for schoolmarm-ishly forcing talk show hosts to utter such words as "erection" and "vagina" in her quest to ease a squeamish American public into comfort with their own bodies and with the ordinariness and universality of sex. No sex or body parts are shown, but the sex talk is direct. Dr. Ruth helpfully describes sexual positions with exacting specifications in response to radio show callers looking for help in achieving satisfying sexual lives. Language includes "penis," "blue balls," "clitoris," "orgasm," and, briefly, "s--t." The Nazis killed Dr. Ruth's family. Although she was sent to a Swiss orphanage for protection, she was treated like a second-class citizen there because she was Jewish. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
One can't help but love a grandmother who's out there stumping for universal pleasure, and there's plenty of that in this film. "Don't just sit and suffer," Dr. Ruth exhorts. "Don't fake it. Do something about it!" In the 1980s, when she first started publicly offering solutions to people's sexual woes, her advice was startling and embarrassing to some, but Ask Dr. Ruth reports how often she hears from fans who credit her with "saving" their lives, marriages, and self-esteem.
Although she tells Gloria Steinem that the feminist's pioneering work "allowed people like myself to talk," Ruth's daughter and granddaughter still wrestle with Ruth's refusal to call herself a feminist because she takes issue with radical stridency and mythical "bra burning." She wants men and women, gay, straight, trans, to stand up for their rights to be healthy, happy sexual beings in a society that has long kept sex, female desire, homosexuality, and gender otherness under wraps. "Give her an orgasm!" she advises one puzzled guy. "If you don't know how to do that, I'll teach you."
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.