At A Glance
Ask Dr. Ruth is a deeply moving personal account charting the extraordinary work and life of world renowned Sex Therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer, the lady who asserts that ‘respect is not debatable’.
Directed by Ryan White
Released by Lionsgate UK
2019, 100 minutes
In Picturehouse Cinemas for a one day special event on Thursday 29 August
Available to download & keep on 9th September
Available on DVD on 16th September
Dr. Ruth Westheimer as herself
Susan Brown as herself
Jonathan Capehart as himself
Leora Einleger as herself
Ask Dr. Ruth Review
By Claire Bueno
Dr. Ruth Westheimer has lead an extraordinary life. An ‘orphan of the Holocaust’ as a 10 year old she was evacuated by Kindertransport to Switzerland, in her 20s became a sniper for the Israeli underground army Haganah, and in her 40s went on to educate the world that ‘Respect is not debatable’ as Sex Therapist Dr. Ruth.
Ask Dr. Ruth is a remarkable, deeply moving documentary. With the run up to her 90th birthday filmmaker Ryan White (Netflix Docuseries The Keepers) journeys with her to gain an intimate insight into an extraordinary lady who has triumphed over adversity with dignity and courage.
Born in 1928 into an Orthodox Jewish family in Frankfurt, Germany, as the only child, Karola Ruth Siegel as she was then known, recalls a happy childhood with her mother, father and grandmother. But all that would change with the rise of Nazism, Karola was evacuated never to see her family again.
Dr. Ruth shares her diaries and letters exchanged between her and her parents, and with tasteful animation and narration certainly sets an emotional, more personal tone of the documentary.
Respect and education are paramount to Dr. Ruth and the filmmakers have taken that ethos on-board as this certainly serves as the foundation of the film.
Any good film of this nature is all about capturing the person and not just the public personality and Ask Dr. Ruth does that. We see a modest lady who has used her sense of humour and education to break boundaries, work relentlessly to help others, and break stereotypes so we may be more accepting of each other. Whatever the odds, she has embraced life and walked the walk and not just talk the talk.
As the documentarians follow Dr. Ruth, we see how she always brings them little treats, if there’s food, she makes sure they have something. This may be a small observation on my part, but it really does demonstrate her nurturing nature, generosity of spirit and how unaffected she is. You either have that quality or you don’t, and this is a gift that has transcended throughout Dr. Ruth’s work.
Ask Dr. Ruth is a film that resonates and celebrates the life of a direct lady brimming with humanity.