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Tribeca 2019 Film Review: “Ask Dr. Ruth” (2019) ★★★★


Openness is key in any relationship. Discussing normal human desires with your loved one is essential between two individuals which can allow the creation of a new level in the part of life we call intimate. Dr. Ruth is widely known as a sex therapist who helped America in the 1980s and is doing so even now by transforming the conversation around sexuality, letting people be open in a language that’s been labeled unethical and unacceptable to be used in public. If you still doubt it, ask Dr. Ruth.

Ryan White’s distinguishingly humoristic “Ask Dr. Ruth” follows its titular character, a woman in her 90s who is more energetic than most of us. The film offers a look at her life dating back during World War II,  how she ended up in a Switzerland’s orphanage, the tragic story of her parents who die in the Holocaust, and how since ten years old, as an orphan, the girl creates an interestingly rich persona that helps her to become the world’s most famous sex therapist in a time when talking about it live on radio could have caused a heart attack to a conservative and that too in censored America.

Through animation, the film helps paint a clear picture of Dr. Ruth’s troubled yet eventful childhood, how she got an education at a time when women were not allowed to go study but were forced to have only one option in their life – to become a housewife. As the story unfolds, we become more clear of not only how Dr. Ruth became America’s most needed sex therapist but also someone who needed to repair the relationship with the language in a way nobody could even think of.

In the end, “Ask Dr. Ruth” is a charming and funny film about an outstanding woman who must be served as an example to all of us. She once says, “normal” is the least of her most favorite words and that normality is not defined by certain standards because there is no such thing as normal existing. As you watch her or listen to her story, we learn a lot through her path, her thoughts on education, and why we should never be ashamed of ourselves nor our desires and how talking about it is the first step to progress. I am sure, as soon as we get used to it, we will never stop taking advantage of it and Dr. Ruth is living proof of that.

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