The Genius and the Opera Singer is an intimate documentary set in a claustrophobic penthouse apartment in New York's West Village where Ruth and her daughter Jessica have shared uneasy quarters for over half a century. Both hilarious and heartbreaking, the film mines the fraught emotional territory of a parental relationship stuck cycling between the past and the present. Once an aspiring opera singer, Ruth is now housebound and reliant on the 55-year-old Jessica and her sometimes live-in partner, Robert. The intelligent, high-strung, and confrontational Jessica, whose life has perhaps not unfolded quite as she'd planned, feels that her mother spent her formative years neglecting her in favor of a superficial pursuit of glamour, and is determined to unravel and analyze their shared history. Having been declared officially 'incompetent' by the city and deemed unable to live independently, Ruth was relegated to a nursing home for a year. After fighting a long legal battle on her behalf.