With the success of films such as “Bohemian Rhapsody” and the anticipation of “Rocket Man,” biopics seem to be the type of movie to make these days. With the critical praise the politically based “Vice” is receiving, it’s no surprise that “On the Basis of Sex” was released when it was. “On the Basis of Sex” is another film that contributes to and is sure to help move forward this trend.
The film follows the early life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice of the Supreme Court, when she was just an attorney. Her struggles to obtain gender equality in the courts and move past discrimination -- pardon the cheesiness -- on the basis of sex are represented surprisingly well.
Felicity Jones and Armie Hammer shine as Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Martin Ginsburg in this biopic. Jones brings a necessary depth to her character in order to showcase the struggles that Ginsburg went through to get where she is today. One complaint I have about the movie, though, is how they portrayed their relationship. There is no insight into Ruth’s life before she was married, and I wonder if that would have presented a different tone or shown more growth for her character.
There is one scene in particular set in the courtroom toward the end of the movie that really stuck with me. I feel that this scene had the tone and dialogue that I was expecting out of the whole film. The courtroom scene is especially uplifting, but the amount of time that it takes the film to get there is a little bit disappointing. If the film had a little bit shorter of a runtime, I think I would have enjoyed it much more. This seems to be an issue with a lot of biopics lately. There’s sometimes one scene that is outstanding while the rest of the film is merely mediocre, and it kind of throws off the feel of the whole movie.
This is a movie that I feel is definitely needed during this time of political division in our country. Ginsburg is an important person in our country and the work that she did to get where she is today should never go unnoticed. The film leaves the audience thinking about how these issues were dealt with in the past and caused me to think hard about what it would feel like to move backward instead of forward. This movie, to me, felt like an attempt at a call to action for those in this country who have turned a blind eye to inequality of all types for so long.
Overall, I feel that Jones did exceptionally well playing the role of, arguably, one of the most inspiring women in government today. Seeing this movie definitely allows those who do not know much about this political figure to understand the origins of her career and beliefs. If what you’re looking for, however, is something more historically accurate and factual I would recommend viewing the documentary “RBG” that was released last year.
That being said, this is still a film that is entertaining while also getting its message of keeping hope in tough times across. I don’t think that this is necessary to rush to see in theaters, but it’s one that I would recommend everyone to see at least once. Jones and Hammer perform exceptionally well with the platform they are given, and the message presented in the film is an inspiring one.
The views expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily those of The Torch.