Watch at Home 09.12.2023

Ahead of Time: The Extraordinary Journey of Ruth Gruber

Directed by Robert Richman
Film Movement
73 Minutes
USA, Israel
English, Hebrew
Documentary, Biography
Not Rated

A documentary on the remarkable life of Ruth Gruber. At 97 years old, Brooklyn-born Ruth still has that same sharp intellect and moxie that propelled her to become the world's youngest PhD at age 20. At age 24, she became a New York Herald Tribune reporter and photographer and the same year was the first journalist to enter the Soviet Arctic. A trusted member of the Roosevelt Administration during WWII, she was given a dangerous secret mission. A feminist before feminism, Ruth was never just an observer, she was a participant in the making of history. Ruth covered the turbulent Middle East throughout the 1940's, and the film combines verité footage of Ruth traveling back to Israel, with interviews and archival material.

Director & Cast

  • Director: Robert Richman
  • Starring: Ruth Gruber




  • "[This] graceful documentary portrait directed by Bob Richman, illustrates just how extraordinary her life [subject Ruth Gruber] has been."
    Andy Webster, The New York Times
  • "An inspiring documentary about a remarkable woman, “Ahead of Time” deftly recounts the career highlights — and what highlights they are! — of pioneering journalist, humanitarian and feminist Ruth Gruber...."
    Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times
  • "Through interviews, photos and letters, Robert Richman's documentary gives insight into Gruber's life as well as the immense potential that comes with an irrepressible personality and a good dose of patience."
    Stephanie Merry, Washington Post
  • "Richman's eye for talking-head cleanliness and spritely archival interpolation betrays the project's undeniable professionalism."
    Joseph Jon Lanthier, Slant Magazine
  • "The journalist as advocate and activist has rarely been contained in a more compelling package than Ruth Gruber."
    Betsy Sherman, Boston Phoenix
  • "Richman does a bang-up job with rare archival footage and new vrit interviews, even allowing for Gruber's acquaintances and their descendants to grill the still-sharp nonagenarian."
    Aaron Hillis, Village Voice
  • "A case study in pioneering feminist courage, ambition and individualism."
    Nick Schager, Time Out
  • "[A] deeply touching film."
    Shlomo Schwartzberg , Forward