I Am Ruth: Kate Winslet and real-life daughter Mia Threapleton put mental health front and centre in Channel 4 drama

If you watch one thing this Winter...

Kate Winslet and Mia Threapleton hugging in a still from I Am Ruth
(Image credit: Channel 4)

December marks the return of the critically acclaimed Channel 4 series I Am with a feature length special that sees another formidable female actress steering the story.

Raw, honest and authentic in its storytelling - I Am Ruth's message will stay with viewers long after the credits roll. Rooted in post-pandemic, peak-mental-health-endemic times, the narrative follows Oscar-winner Kate Winslet as single mum Ruth, concerned by her teen's emotional state and social media dependence. 17-year-old Freya (played by Winslet's real-life daughter Mia Threapleton) is obsessed with snapping selfies and staying up on her phone way into the early hours.

"Can you just leave me alone," a withdrawn Freya tells Ruth in a line that's an all too-familiar exchange between parents and teenagers. The audience empathises with an emotionally exhausted Ruth, as she grapples between giving 'tough love' and compassion to her daughter in a situation that she doesn't quite understand herself. 

The feature length special puts the current mental health crisis amongst young people in full focus. Adolescents retreating further and further into themselves, seeking social validation, and struggling with inner demons is encapsulated triumphantly through Threapleton's performance. Meanwhile generational attitudes towards 'mental wellbeing' are highlighted and questioned, as Ruth's initial brush off of counselling in favour of "getting a good night's sleep" prove to be ineffective.

Those aware of the mother-daughter duo's connection off screen and their visible closeness on screen will find it adds to the intensity of the story. As the strained relationship continues to play out in the 90 minute drama, you'll flit between feelings of frustration, sadness and sympathy for both female characters.

Kate Winslet and Mia Threapleton sat at a dining table in I Am Ruth

(Image credit: Channel 4)

The story is co-authored by Winslet and BAFTA-winning director Dominic Savage - the man behind the lens of the first two series starring the likes of Line of Duty's Vicky McClure (I Am Nicola) and Gentleman Jack's Suranne Jones (I Am Victoria).

"Collaborating closely with the incredible Kate Winslet to bring this important story surrounding child mental health to the screen has been an absolute highlight of my filmmaking career," says Savage. "It encapsulates everything that I love about making drama - experimental, raw, instinctive, with fearless acting, and above all, about something that affects all of us in some way. 

"I believe that many parents and children will relate to our story of immense difficulty and hope."

I Am Ruth premieres on Channel 4 on Thursday 8th December and is available to stream on All 4.

Emily Stedman
Features Editor

Emily Stedman is the former Features Editor for GoodTo covering all things TV, entertainment, royal, lifestyle, health and wellbeing. Boasting an encyclopaedic knowledge on all things TV, celebrity and royals, career highlights include working at HELLO! Magazine and as a royal researcher to Diana biographer Andrew Morton on his book Meghan: A Hollywood Princess. In her spare time, Emily can be found eating her way around London, swimming at her local Lido or curled up on the sofa binging the next best Netflix show.