Sometimes, when we fight against an injustice, we change the world.
The new movie, On The Basis of Sex, starts in the mid 1950’s. Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Felicity Jones) is a first year law student at Harvard Law School, one of only a handful of female students among a sea of male classmates. In addition to her schoolwork, she is juggling motherhood and marriage to Marty Ginsburg (Armie Hammer), who himself is second year law student at the same university. Though she is smart and tough, she has to deal with the prejudice and rejection that comes with being a woman in a man’s world in an era where men and women lived in totally different worlds.
The film then flashes forward to the early 1970’s. Ruth is a Law Professor who is given a case to review by Marty. Charles Moritz (Chris Mulkey) is a middle-aged man caring his elderly mother. He is denied the right to deduct the cost of caring for his mother from his taxes because he is a man. Knowing that this case is the opening she is looking for, Ruth takes it on. The question is, will she win and open the door for American women or will they lose the case and set the American feminist movement back decades?
I loved this movie. I loved it because it is not the average bio-pic. Many bio-pics adhere to the “cradle to the grave” narrative. While that works for some movies within the genre, it would not have worked for this film. Focusing on these two very specific periods of time allows the audience to know the woman behind the title of RBG and appreciate her contribution to American history.
I absolutely recommend it.
On The Basis of Sex is currently in theaters.
When it comes to social reforms, there are two avenues: protest and amending the law.
When Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a young lawyer, the second wave of the feminist movement was at its height. While many saw the path to equality via protest, the future Justice Ginsburg understood that amending the law was just as important as public protest.
Her experience in this period of her life is documented in the upcoming film On The Basis Of Sex. Starring Felicity Jones as RBG and Armie Hammer as her late husband Martin Ginsburg, the film tells the story of the court case that would put RBG on the legal map and on the road to joining the Supreme Court decades later.
The problem with some biopics is that regardless of whether the subject is alive or dead, the facts don’t always make it to the final cut of the film. My hope (especially because RBG is still alive and kicking), is that the film (and Felicity Jones by extension) portrays RBG as she ought to be portrayed on the big screen.
On The Basis Of Sex hits theaters on December 25th.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is without a doubt an icon. Without her intelligence, veracity and legal acumen, American women would still be stuck in the same place that their mother and grandmothers were in.
The new documentary, RBG, directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen, tells the story about the life and career of Justice Ginsburg. Born in Brooklyn in 1933 to immigrant Jewish parents, she came of age in an era when women were merely expected to marry and raise a family. Instead, she went to Law school. In the 1970’s, she started to gain fame when she represented parties who were discriminated against because of their gender. Those cases would eventually lead to her joining the Supreme Court in 1993, where she has been ever since.
I really enjoyed the documentary. Though Justice Ginsburg is at an age when many have long since retired, she has the physical and emotional energy of a woman half her age. The fact that she still regularly works out is a testament to the fact that age is merely a number. I enjoyed the documentary because it is not only Justice Ginsburg’s story, but it is the story of America over the past 60-ish years and how she has helped America to reach the ideals laid out by our Founding Fathers.
I recommend it.
RBG is presently in theaters.