Saturday, January 5, 2019

On the Basis of Sex [2018]

MPAA (PG-13)  CNS/USCCB () (3 1/2 Stars)  AVClub (B)  Fr. Dennis (4+ Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB () review
Los Angeles Times (J. Chang) review (N. Minow) review
AVClub (C. Siede) review

On the Basis of Sex [2018] (directed by Mimi Leder, written by Daniel Steipleman) is a well-worth-the-view biopic about the early career of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (played in the film by Felicity Jones) who part of the first generation of women to be graduating from Ivy League law schools (she started law school at Harvard, graduated from Colombia) had co-founded the ACLU's Women's Rights Project.

Among the indignities that she faced was being asked at a dinner hosted by the Dean of Harvard Law School (played by Sam Waterston) to stand-up at the dinner table (along with the eight other invited women law students) and "explain" to him and to the other guests why she was at Harvard studying law when her spot could have been given to a male.  Then despite having graduated tied for first in her class (at Colombia, after being first in her class at Harvard, prior to her transfer on account of her husband Martin Ginsburg - played in the film by Armie Hammer - one year ahead of her at Harvard Law who had gotten a job in New York) SHE was UNABLE TO GET A JOB in New York except in academia at Rudgers University (despite having graduated tied for #1 in her class she wasn't taken seriously).

All this serves as an excellent reminder of what it was like to be a woman in the United States in the 1950s-60s, and why a fair number of the changes that have taken place in society since then took place.

And yes, if Ruth Bader Ginsburg had simply "stayed at home cooking dinner" the whole world would have lost a brilliant mind.

Excellent film.

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