Screened as part of NZIFF 2019

Ask Dr. Ruth 2019

Directed by Ryan White Framing Reality

As her 90th birthday approaches, irrepressible Dr Ruth, the famed American sex therapist, reflects on her life and career in a film as spirited as she is.

USA In English
100 minutes DCP




Rafael Marmor
Ryan White
Jessica Hargrave
Christopher Leggett


David Paul Jacobson


Helen Kearns

Animation director

Eyal Resh

Production designer

Daniel Dulitzky


Blake Neely


Dr Ruth Westheimer


Hot Docs 2019


Presented in Association With

The Breeze

A mere four foot seven, but feeling six feet tall, Ruth Westheimer believes she has “an obligation to live long and make a dent in this world.” There’s no contesting that she has done both and continues to do so. She first came to the American public’s attention in 1980 with a New York radio show, Sexually Speaking, a 15-minute programme airing at midnight on Sundays. Within a few years, its popularity led to it being syndicated nationwide as the Dr Ruth Show and to Westheimer becoming a household name. As spirited as its subject, this film allows us to encounter the remarkable woman behind the phenomenon known as Dr Ruth. — SR

“A feminist icon before the term crystallized in popular discourse, Westheimer is perhaps best known as a media personality who frankly discussed sexual dynamics, AIDS, and women’s pleasure at the height of the Reagan era. But producer-director Ryan White, who follows the busy and ebullient Westheimer as she nears her 90th birthday, provides ample space for the luminary to tell her full story. Mostly conveyed through voiceover, with resplendent animation to color in her memories, that journey brims with tragedy and triumph.

A self-described ‘orphan of the Holocaust,’ she went on to become an Israeli soldier, a professor in Paris and New York, and the most famous person in America to ask about sex. Westheimer provides an essential public service, which the film, an affectionate tribute to her life and work, continues.” — Leah Pickett, Chicago Reader