Kate Winslet Discusses ”I Am Ruth”; How The Movie Examines Teenage Phone Addiction And Says, “Social Media Has Always Frightened Me”

Kate Winslet Discusses ''I Am Ruth''; How The Movie Examines Teenage Phone Addiction And Says, "Social Media Has Always Frightened Me"

I Am Ruth, a Channel 4 film starring Kate Winslet and her own daughter Mia Threapleton, examines how young people now interact with technology. The Oscar-winning actress discusses why the tale struck a chord in this interview with Sky News.

Kate Winslet plays the mother of a teenage girl in her newest movie (I Am Ruth), played by her real-life daughter Mia Threapleton, who is dealing with problems tied to what appears to be a phone addiction.

I Am Ruth is a part of the I Am series on Channel 4, a collection of stand-alone dramas with female leads that were created and written by director Dominic Savage in partnership with the star of each movie.

Given the current political climate and the controversy surrounding the Online Safety Bill, Winslet’s topic is particularly timely. It aims to safeguard children in the wake of teen deaths, notably Molly Russell, who passed away in 2017 after seeing suicide and self-harm content.

The Oscar-winning actress is concerned about how her own kids will interact with technology, just like any parent.

We all worry, she said, adding that her youngest is approaching the age of nine and she worries. But being a parent isn’t easy at all, is it? Because we’re doing it, we’re saying, “No, you can’t have that, hey, stop looking at it, don’t look at it.”

“Social media has always scared me; I believe there are tremendous benefits to it for some people, but I believe you have to be fairly robust to know how to utilize it sensibly and carefully.”

Winslet thinks that the pandemic made children’s pre-existing problems worse.

Kate Winslet Discusses ''I Am Ruth''; How The Movie Examines Teenage Phone Addiction And Says, "Social Media Has Always Frightened Me"

“Young people, I think specifically because of COVID, it just got very out of control – loneliness, and insecurity and just creating a fundamental sense of self-esteem for so many of these kids. Self-esteem was something they were essentially looking for online during COVID, and that is incredibly awful.

And I believe that everyone can relate to that tale in some way, and most parents today who have teenagers can relate to the idea that it’s extremely difficult.

“None of us have a manual as parents,”

In I Am Ruth, Winslet’s Ruth is depicted as being clearly unprepared for how to handle her daughter’s withdrawal, refusal to speak to her, and occasional arguments with her.

The actor believes that some of the characters’ traits or experiences may be recognizable to the audience. Creating a safe environment for people to discuss topics that are extremely unpleasant is vital to her.

When doing something like this, we had to really get it right because hopefully people will watch, listen, and feel like they can start to open up and have those conversations, I was aware that being a little bit in the public eye and being someone who does have a history with hopefully inspiring women and making women feel celebrated and seen as part of a wider conversation.

“Therefore, I was aware of my responsibilities. Never a burden, I just had the sense that this needed to be done correctly. Because of the character’s appearance, for instance, we were unable to outfit her at all; instead, we had to take a radically different approach.

“It was also very important to me to set this in a middle-class society. I told Dominic [Savage] that we can only do this if we avoid placing it in a lower socioeconomic setting because I feel that stories like that are frequently told on television or in movies, and typically they are set in a more lower-class environment, which I don’t think is right or current.

“Since none of us as parents have a manual, I believe that the middle classes are the ones who are battling and encountering these problems, and I believe that it is overwhelming them. We do occasionally stare our kids in the face and simply think, “Oh, my God, I don’t know what to do.”

“We are skilled at pushing each other’s buttons.”

The actors discussed situations before shooting, but there was no precise screenplay because the movie was improvised. There were instances, according to Winslet and her daughter when the fictional plot crossed the line into reality.

“Since we had all experienced something with our children, there was always going to be a natural area of the crossing. When Mia and I are together, it’s evident that we know how to push each other’s buttons and aren’t scared to yell at one another, even though it’s a really awkward thing to do.”

Kate Winslet Discusses ''I Am Ruth''; How The Movie Examines Teenage Phone Addiction And Says, "Social Media Has Always Frightened Me"

Other aspects of the production likewise blurred the lines between truth and drama, lending the movie a certain realism.

“In I Am Ruth, there is a scene where we meet with a real doctor named Doctor Susie, whose surgery truly took place in that very moment. Additionally, Mia and I first encountered her as the cameras were rolling as we entered the room, so it was a visceral experience for both of us.

“My character responds, “I don’t know what that is,” when she says, “I’m going to get a referral to CAMHS [children and adolescent mental health services] since some people don’t know.”

“Parents are sick of their children being obsessed and addicted to their phones, but at the same time, they don’t know how to handle it,” the author says. “I think giving that little bit of education, throwing things into the conversation, and hopefully making people feel as though they aren’t alone.”

Winslet appears to be prioritizing her work outside of the camera as much as her acting by creating this plot and producing her successful drama Mare of Easttown.

“As a woman in her 40s, many women believe that this is the time when we kind of fade and diminish a little bit — NO, you become more woman, more powerful, and more significant. Your voice is stronger; get out there and utilize it.

“It’s a completely different ballgame because you’re constantly juggling everything, being aware of what’s going on, on set all the time, making sure everyone is happy, as well as playing the character and raising the financing — it’s a lot, but the sense of achievement is enormous and always wanting to tell stories with a degree of integrity and truth to me is absolutely paramount.”

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