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Edward Kivlahan April 3, 2019

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a power player, and On The Basis of Sex is an excellent film showing a cinematic version of her first power plays in the landscape of American gender role. It was exciting and powerful, I rate it four stars because of the character development, acting, and modern relevance. I wish it were longer.

As per character development, I really enjoy the beginning because of how it establishes Mrs. Ginsburg (Felicity Jones) instantly as a strong woman against the odds. Striding into a lecture hall full of men to listen to a sexist dean, we see where she has been forced to stand and we know what she has to change. Ginsburg is the clear protagonist and we see her thoughts and motives as being an agent of change for the benefit of women’s rights, and I personally watched it through the lens of, “what has changed since then and what has not?” Through that I see that there are plenty of issues where the law and the constitution are perhaps being followed in letter, but not spirit. There are still sizeable differences in the “fair” treatment of men and women, so the movement is far from over, but thanks to Mrs. Ginsburg there has been progress.

In regard to the acting, Felicity Jones and Armie Hammer played Mr. and Mrs. Ginsburg fantastically. While watching, I felt connected to them. I already watched RBG and I remember Mrs. Ginsburg saying that her husband Martin was a good man, so I went in expecting him to be so and I was not disappointed. The empowerment that each actor drove home into the film was almost tangible and I loved each of the character’s drives, as they were all slightly different but directed toward the same ends. As Mrs. Ginsburg fought for equality in an uphill battle as a woman, Mr. Ginsburg worked to change the minds of fellow men from a male perspective, while their daughter was already living a life empowered by her parents’ work.

I think that On The Basis of Sex is a timely film that shines a light on Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s work in her early career as well as showing a commentary of life today. I like that it shows how far America has come since the 70s and how hard Mrs. Ginsburg has worked to bring America to where it is today with gender equality. I also think that it shows how much there is to lose if progress halts and reverses. Overall, I loved watching On The Basis of Sex. I give it four stars because the story is great but I personally wish it was longer. I would like to see a movie following her rise to the supreme court. The acting, character development, and relevance to modern society are all well thought out and executed, and I recommend this film to anyone.

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