Movie Reviews

Published on December 18th, 2018 | by Michael Newman

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On The Basis Of Sex

In the year 2018, it’s easy to forget how much the times have changed over the last century. We now carry computers around in our pockets, have the internet to conduct worldwide business in a matter of seconds and cars that run on electricity. Considering all of these amazing technological advancements you would think something as simple and no-brainer as equal rights must have been around for hundreds and hundreds of years, right? Well, the new movie On the Basis of Sex humbly reminded me that the equal rights movement was not too much longer ago than the invention of the internet and it was just the type of reminder I needed to once again appreciate just how far we have come.

On the Basis of Sex is a biopic detailing Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s (Felicity Jones) rise from one of the first women “invited” to attend Harvard Law School to becoming the 2nd woman nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court. The first part of the movie aptly chronicles Mrs. Ginsburg’s experience as a woman at Harvard Law School and then getting her first job as a professor at Rutgers Law School in 1963. Considering she graduated at the top of her class being a professor was not her dream job, but law firms were not looking to hire female lawyers, so she made the best of it. This all leads up to the main focus of the film which is Mrs. Ginsburg representing a Colorado man who has been denied caretaker tax benefits because the tax code specifically applied to women. The movie shows both her struggles and triumphs with the case and why equal rights were so important to her. Although the movie focused on this one case, it was crystal clear that Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a force to be reckoned with and this was just one of many cases she would take on to ensure greater equality for woman.

Felicity Jones does an incredible job portraying Mrs. Ginsburg. She brings a swagger to the character and used an authentic sounding Brooklyn accent to boot. Armie Hammer also does a great job playing the ever supportive and unshakable husband Marty Ginsburg. They had great chemistry on screen and did an excellent job showing just how supportive they were to one another. Even though their relationship was not the focus of the film, it was very touching and added a little extra heart to the story. Speaking of the story, it was both engaging and thought provoking, so much so that its effects are still there even after leaving the theater. I enjoyed how the story unfolded and the fact that it never got to preachy or political. As biopics go, there were a few spots that seemed to drag on a bit, but generally the pace never lingered in one spot for too long and it kept my interest the whole time.

On the Basis of Sex was a very good movie and a welcome addition to this year’s holiday movie offerings. If you are looking for something different after a couple of hours with web slinging spider-folk and yellow cars that turn into giant robots then this would be a great movie to check out. With excellent acting, a great inspirational story and even a little bit of heart, I really couldn’t ask for anything more.

4 out of 5 stars.


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