“On the Basis of Sex” highlights the life of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spanning from her enrollment at Harvard Law School through her debut trial. This is the second film made on Ginsburg’s life — “RBG” can be found on Hulu if you need a good documentary to watch at home. This newest installment on the life of Ginsburg is perfect for ladies nights, especially if you’re getting ready to plan out Galentine’s Day with your friends.
Ginsburg currently sits on the Supreme Court after being confirmed in 1993 following a nomination from President Bill Clinton. The most notable moments in her legal career include advocating for women’s rights, which coined her the nickname of “Notorious RBG.”
The movie kicks off after Ginsburg (Felicity Jones) and her husband, Marty (Armie Hammer), have their first child, Jane. Shortly after they both begin school, Marty falls ill with cancer. While he is receiving treatment, Ginsburg attends both of their classes and takes notes for the both of them so that he does not fall behind. She never misses a beat and never complains.
Everything aspect of the movie was incredibly produced. The film features an intimate portrayal of the Ginsburg family and the blatant discrimination that Ruth Ginsburg faced while attending school and finding a job. She tried to push the ACLU, American Civil Liberties Union, for more support but found they were hesitant to step on board.
Ginsburg finds her way to the platform when a certain cases is brought to her attention — one in which gender discrimination is in play, but with a man. The man’s mother is elderly and ill and requires at-home care, so he hired a nurse to help out. When he tried to apply this as a tax deduction, he was denied for reasons based on his gender. The case was a perfect fit for the Ginsburg’s considering Ruth had devoted her law career to manage gender-discrimination written into the legal system, and Marty worked as a tax lawyer.
Ginsburg is an inspiration to many because of her fight for equal pay and equal rights. Ginsburg faced the repercussions of this gender discrimination early on, being rejected from several law firms because they didn’t “want to make [their] wives jealous.” In one scene, a group of men cat-call Ginsburg and her daughter, and in response, her daughter snapped to defend the two. This scene was a turning point for the movie, and the seemingly small moment brought tears to my eyes. It was efforts like those of Ginsburg’s daughter that motivated such a fierce and long battle for gender equality at the highest level of the United States legal system.
This movie brought me the thrill of seeing a portrayal of an iconic, but often overlooked, moment in history for women. The acting was incredible, the story was interesting and the movie’s pacing kept the audience attached until the very end. The film’s final shot is it’s most notable one. As Ginsburg actress, Jones, walks up the steps of the Supreme Court, the camera shifts to the actual Ginsburg at 85 years old, standing with pride.