On the Basis of Sex (2018)

Image result for on the basis of sex movie poster

Here is another of those limited 2018 release movies that I don’t get a chance to see until 2019.  This one is a biopic on the life, in particular a section of the life, of current Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

I must say that, while I enjoyed this movie, it was not as enjoyable for me as RBG, the documentary about Ruth Bader Ginsberg from last year.  Fact is though that I learned more about RBG last year and it contributed to my watching of this movie.

Film kicks off with Ruth at Harvard, one of the few women in her class, and dealing with the expectations of being a woman in society at the time.  The film rapidly progressed through this period to a landmark case of sexual discrimination that Ginsberg took on where a male was being discriminated against as a caretaker by tax code.  Ginsberg used this case to help propel her fights to battle against discrimination against women.

Felicity Jones was great as Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Armie Hammer was the perfect support for her as Ruth’s husband Martin.  One of those facts that RBG the documentary told me was that Martin was always a supporter of and an advocate for his wife and Armie Hammer showed that beautifully.

The film itself does feel fairly formulaic and typical for a biopic, but the strength of the story and the main performances really bring more to the film.

I thought the relationship shown us between Ruth and her daughter Jane (Cailee Spaeny) were some of the strongest scenes in the movie.  There was one scene in particular in the rain that I thought really brought some wonderful moments to the movie.

Unfortunately, some of the best parts of the third act court case were shown in the trailer instead of being saved for the film, which irritates me.

Kathy Bates was great here in a small role as famous lawyer Dorothy Kenyan.  Every scene Bates was in was worth the time.

On the whole, this was a fine movie, but it was not the grand slam that it could have been.  The typical beats of a biopic were hit and that minimized the emotional wallop at the end of the picture.  Last year’s documentary was much better and more impactful for me, but On the Basis of Sex was still a good watch.

3.5 stars

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