By Jim Tortolano
Not all heroes wear capes. Some wear judicial robes. That’s the main focus of “On the Basis of Sex,” the film biography and hagiography of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the celebrated U.S. Supreme Court associate justice.
Since her appointment to the high court in 1993, she’s turned into a kind of cult figure and is also known as the “Notorious RBG” for her outspoken performance as a liberal judicial icon.
Felicity Jones portrays our heroine as a spunky overachiever who evolves from being the somewhat contented housewife of a new law student at Harrr-vard to becoming a fierce legal advocate for women’s rights.
As Hollywood typically wills it, the leads – Jones and Armie Hammer as Ruth’s practically perfect husband – are themselves physically gorgeous and always dress as if they just stepped out of a Lord & Taylor catalogue.
However, if you can ignore the artificiality of the film, it really is a good (and entertaining) civics lesson about how women were treated as second-class citizens – even as tall children – until the federal court rulings began to reverse gender discrimination.
The movie does not follow her all the way to the highest court – except for a brief cameo by RGB herself – but does effectively show the background for a career in seeking equal justice for the other half of the population.
Daniel Stiepleman’s script hits all the right notes, and Mimi Leder directs a nicely-paced story that qualifies as useful history and as a tribute to a history-making woman.
“On the Basis of Sex” is rated PG-13 for language and some sensuality.
Categories: Arts & Leisure