If you lived through the 1980s, you may recall seeing a small, cheerful woman with an unmistakable German accent speaking frankly — and sometimes rather explicitly — about sex on your television. It was unprecedented at the time that anyone would be allowed to talk about the subjects she covered in such detail and to such a wide audience, but thanks to her efforts, an entire generation learned to be more comfortable asking questions about sex and frequently got the answers they were seeking.
Decades later, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, better known as simply Dr. Ruth, is still going strong, having hosted multiple TV and radio programs and written dozens of books about human sexuality. This week, a new documentary called Ask Dr. Ruth delves into the influential sex therapist’s remarkable life, from her time growing up in an orphanage as a Holocaust survivor to her pop culture omnipresence during the 1980s and beyond, all told through Westheimer’s own words. Ahead of the film’s release, Dr. Ruth herself took some time to give Rotten Tomatoes her Five Favorite Films, and her choices unsurprisingly fall right in line with her life story and philosophy. Read on for the full list.
Shirley Temple could always make people smile, and when I was in the orphanage in Switzerland, seeing one of her movies, like The Good Ship Lollipop, would make me smile for a little while.
Rhett Butler’s line about kissing is one of my favorites: “No, I don’t think I will kiss you — although you need kissing badly. That’s what’s wrong with you. You should be kissed, and often, and by someone who knows how.” I think there are a lot of people out there who need to be kissed a lot more often and by someone who knows how.
I was very moved by her story and her courage. Plus, she’s still going, though she is five years younger than me.
As an orphan of the Holocaust, this movie touched me deeply. And in the hands of Steven Spielberg, the story was told so that it kept you on the edge of your seat.
There’s a song in the movie, “I Want to Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair,” that I used to have my radio producer play whenever some woman would call with a question about a man who was mistreating or ignoring her. People have to learn not to get stuck in one place, but to move on when it’s obvious that sticking around will only break your heart.
Ask Dr. Ruth opens in limited release on Friday, May 3.