MOVIE REVIEW – On the Basis of Sex
Felicity Jones and Armie Hammer star in On the Basis of Sex, the inspiring origin story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Jones), a passionate young lawyer who dedicates herself to ending gender discrimination when she takes on a ground-breaking case in 1975. At the heart of Ruth’s journey is a moving romance with her husband Marty (Hammer), her greatest ally in a partnership built on love and equality. Now an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Ruth has become an international icon. This is where her story began in this stirring, heartfelt drama.
The film, one of many “based on a true story” running around at the moment, spans several decades and is basically just a history lesson about Ruth Bader. It is well paced, never boring, but at the same time never totally gripping. The film just does its job of showing how Ruth got her start, as one of the first women to attend Harvard Law School in the 1950’s and then her uphill fight to become a fully-fledged practicing lawyer. No one wants to hire a woman lawyer back in the 1950/60’s even though she was top of her class.
The acting is good, in fact, often very good and convincing. Felicity Hammer plays Ruth Bader well, and is often portrayed as a “dog on a leash” with her conviction to right the wrongs of America. The case that “made” her famous involved a single male who was a carer for his mother but unable to claim costs on tax because he was a male. Men at the time were not allowed to claim these deductions, only women. Ruth and her husband Marty argued that this was discriminatory on the basis of sex. This remember was 1972.
It is not a perfect movie and indeed does run slow at times. However, it is worth seeing to see the passion Ruth and Marty had for changing the world. And indeed, change the world (well at least America) they did. A history lesson we should all learn.
Special mention to Cailee Spaeny, who plays the Ginsburg’s teenage daughter. She is rebellious and challenges her mother at every turn. A stellar performance.