My Review for, On The Basis of Sex (2018) starring Felicity Jones and Armie Hammer

January 9, 2019

I love documentaries and films based on real-life experiences. I have found that, many times, real stories are just as fascinating as fiction.

 

This is the story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her struggle for gender equality while facing great obstacles on her path to the U.S. Supreme Court Justice.  I must say, right off that this movie is very inspiring. We are given great writing, directing, cinematography and acting. Forget about the 5.7 out of 10 star review on IMDB, I am not sure what more you can ask for out of film. This movie is Excellent!!! 10 out of 10 stars!!!

 

Felicity Jones was cast perfectly as Mrs. Ginsburg. Small in stature, she carried the role with grace and class with respect to the larger than life Ginsburg. The film teaches us that it took strength, focus and tenacity to function in the world that Ruth Ginsburg lived in.  Armie Hammer as Martin Ginsberg held his own by showing us what a truly supportive husband was back in those days of bold sexism and gender bias. Ruth and Martin had amazing careers, but shared the load of home life and two children quite well. The film depicts Martin as a gracious, kind, giving and supportive man that wasn't intimidated by his wife's intelligence. The film is a nice balance of love story and political drama.

 

 Armie Hammer and Felicity Jones, "One The Basis of Sex" (2018)

 

What makes Ginsburg's story so phenomenal is her entire life's accomplishments. She fought one case after another, always advocating for equal rights with no bias towards a specific gender. In doing so she really helped to errode the effects of institutionalized sexism in America.  Jones’ performance coupled with a strong supporting cast of characters like ACLU legal director Mel Wulf (Justin Theroux)and lawyer-activist Dorothy Kenyon (Kathy Bates) make for a well rounded and informative film experience. In the third act of this film, when Jones' characterisation of Ginsburg comes face-to-face with her adversaries in the Charles E. Moritz v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue case, we are treated to a sensational depiction of what made the real life Ginsburg exceptional. You must see the film for the end as it plays out, in similar effectiveness as the closing remarks performance by Matthew McConaughey's character Jake Tyler Brigance in "A Time To Kill" (1996).

 

Director Mimi Leder ("Deep Impact"and "The Peacemaker") handles the material with razor sharp focus. She captures the heavy climate of injustice towards women during the mid-1950s and beyond.  The pacing of the story is easy to digest. It corresponds quite well with the very successful documentary, "RBG" (2018) which was released only a few months prior. The film is actually written by the nephew of Martin and Ruth Ginsburg, Daniel Stiepleman. I read that Daniel looked at his Aunt and Uncle's relationship as a model for his own. He wrote this film in "...August of 2012, two years after his uncle Martin passed." (https://www.newsweek.com/2018/12/28/basis-sex-daniel-stiepleman-1264276.html).  One can see that the film was written with admiration and respect for his Aunt's adherence to her own values and convictions. This is Daniel's first ever screenplay.

 

I must note that the cinematography is well executed as we are treated to several beautifully framed shots of 1950's, 60's and 70's Cambridge, Massachusetts, Washington, DC and New York City, New York. In one scene you can see the World Trade Center being constructed far in the background. 

 

I'm sure this story will solidify Ruth Bader Ginsburg's position in the hearts of liberals everywhere.

The French title for the film is "Une Femme d'Exception" which translates to "An Exceptional Woman" (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4669788/trivia?ref_=tt_trv_trv)

 

"On The Basis of Sex" (2018) is only showing in Michigan at:

The Maple Theater 

4135 West Maple Road, Bloomfield Hills MI 48301 | (248) 750-1030

Showtimes: 

10:30 am | 1:15 pm | 3:15 | 5:00 | 7:00

 

Check tour local listings! You'll be inspired!

 

AV3 out...

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