On the Basis of Sex (2018) Poster

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Brings on Flashbacks
theRetiree11 January 2019
My wife and I, both professionals about 15 years behind the real RBG, found this movie both fascinating and painful--almost as painful as the negative reviews that object to the Subject on the basis not of sex, but of politics. Too bad the knuckle-draggers can't get past their own biases to enjoy this very good and intellectually engaging movie. And yes, we did find it suspenceful. My wife, too got directed to the typing pool after four years of college and three of grad school, and I hope I was half as supportive as Marty. We thoroughly enjoyed this reminder that even today the arc of history doesn't bend itself, and that the only way to achieve your goals, especially (gasp) equality, is to keep pushing. And we thought the acting was first-rate, and loved the physical mismatch of the tiny Jones and towering Hammer.
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We loved it!
parons-5043220 January 2019
Hubby and I are Canadian seniors who just saw this movie and we both loved it. I was fighting back tears at the end and experienced a range of emotions throughout. RBG's indomitable spirit, hers and Marty's commitment to each other, and when she truly and passionately finds her voice - we found it truly inspirational! RBG is obviously a remarkable legal mind and the USA is lucky to have someone of her quality on their Supreme Court.

One thing though: I don't understand the reviews that slam the movie as being "political" all we saw was a lawyer sincerely trying to ensure everyone received the same treatment under the law.

Long may she serve!
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A character study inside a monument
ReadingFilm3 June 2019
Her non-intuitive grasp of words. The way her intelligence does not fully integrate and is an annoyance is a gradual forming of a parallel map with the purposes of its thoroughness cleansing inefficiencies. This is a use of intelligence as subversion. Then it's not feminist per se but a witnessing of subversion itself. The exceptional all come to know their destructiveness. Most interesting is its home life where dysfunction highlights how different they are to you and I; see the mother and daughter where, not only her ethics ("well yes it's an A paper") is the same familial crime as rock n roll, but the nuance of her ethics being linear not lateral creates a dispute. Naturally then the daughters rebellion would be an intellectual one. "(Ruth) is a bully and she needs everyone to know how smart she is." I wonder is it a worse pain to grow in this setting or surrounded by no intelligence at all? "She taught your mom to question everything." In a movie making her unquestionable... But her grating tediousness is still a bit of theater in all the ways her intelligence is outrageous. The husband as the second seems odd especially as her unconventional manner combats the power of such chiseled Aryan athletes; she demands the same rewards. Then the film's hopeless journey is the same as Rocky but language performance not boxing. "Lost causes are the ones worth fighting for." The climax of language shows, in their face, the moment where they turn. This is how she captures the old boys club requiring eloquence to match the narcissism of their power. Take note as her coaches keep training her eloquence > being right, always. 'Let Ruth be Ruth but on their terms.' <--the script's emotional journey is the power when meeting them half way. It is also not just the effect of the machine of her intelligence but how it can't be disputed, reaching something stirring. For this presented as a 'voice of god' the final text proceed to give her one reward after another for being stirring, almost to the point of shame how it so embraces the theater performance warranting accolades not the simple act of being right. It's championing subversion as the healthy mechanism of society, as all art does. Then this was a subversion of a power structure while embodying its utmost, making the walk to Lincoln showing a living saint--a danger repeating the mistake of the old boys club to begin with mistaking power for merit. As in Ruth would grow herself to be the power and new Ruths must come in; it keeps making it about 'her'. But being lionized has always been misunderstood as some sort of an endpoint and for art it's a convenient shorthand.
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Unfair to compare to documentary
ljcesq26 December 2018
A documentary is a documentary and a movie inspired by real events is just that. Each stand alone. RBG is an outstanding documentary to which On the Basis of Sex should not be compared. Yes, the movie is old fashioned reminding one of the classic movies of the 40s. So what. The subject matter is still timely even more so in the climate we are now living in...unfortunately there are probably many who want to go back to the "great" pre-Ginsburg days.
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Wonderful Film!
imdb-5-mbrna11 January 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Disclaimer: I saw this movie not knowing anything about the main character's real-life persona except that she's a Supreme Court Justice, and that she's dealing with health issues in the late stages of her life.

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie! I was drawn in and enjoyed the acting very much. The subject matter and characters felt very real, and to think it was even remotely based on a true story made this movie a home-run for me.
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A battle and challenge for equality, the right to speak up and be heard.
blanbrn12 January 2019
The film "On the Basis of Sex" is one pretty good auto bio type picture of one legal hero Ruth Bader Ginsburg(Felicity Jones) as she's a flame and light who fought for equality and equal rights for women. The film does good to trace Ruth's humble start of going thru law school and raising a family all while trying to challenge and change the system as in her era it was a male dominated world and females took a backseat. I for one enjoyed the film for it's historical background as I enjoy pictures of history and bio type stories of political and well known figures. So give the film a see if you want to see how a woman fought for change with passion and be educated about the past of a legal legend.
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It's not a movement if everyone is just sitting.
nogodnomasters15 April 2019
Warning: Spoilers
The film starts in 1956 with RBG (Felicity Jones) entering Harvard Law school as one of 9 women. Unable to get a job practicing law in NYC, she takes a job teaching at Rutgers. The production then jumps to 1970 where it focuses on Moritz vs Commissioner, a case used to end gender discrimination.

The film showed us a human RBG with fears and flaws. It also shows the overwhelming support she received from her family, which helped make her the success she had become.

Guide: 1 F-word.
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"Reason is the Soul of Law"
lavatch18 April 2019
Warning: Spoilers
In the bonus track of the DVD of "On the Basis of Sex," it is revealed that the nephew of Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the screenplay for this film biography. One of the strengths of the film is the very intelligent script that finds a way to make potentially dry legal cases and legal jargon intelligible and dramatic.

It was mentioned as well in the extras track that the film sought to depict "one of the greatest love stories of all time." While this statement may have been an exaggeration based on all the time that Marty and Ruth Ginsburg devoted to their careers rather than the enterprise of love, the film was successful in blending biography with an influential legal case that argued discrimination on the basis of sex to be unconstitutional.

Armie Hammer performs role of the litigator husband Marty, who is assigned the role traditionally given to long-suffering housewives. Marty cares for the children while Ruth spends long days teaching at Rutgers, where her classes are filled with young, intelligent women with a token male student. In the kitchen, Marty wields a knife like a surgeon as he dutifully chops vegetables while Ruth prepares to take revenge on her sexist male professors from law school.

The film is worth viewing as a civics lesson. As a liberal attorney and later Supreme Court Justice, Ginsburg is a perfect illustration of how the powerful courts engage in "legislating from the bench," as opposed to strict interpretation of the Constitution. In Ginsburg's argument before Denver's Tenth Circuit Court, the result was a change related to tax law that had ramifications for universal revision of gender equality in the marketplace.

The phenomenon of the court flexing its muscles demonstrates how our separation of powers work, especially when Congress is foot-dragging in failing to change the law to suit the times, as apparent in this film in gender discrimination. The epigram of "Reason is the soul of law" appeared in the courtroom of the Denver Circuit Court, demonstrating that a persuasive legal argument may cause the powerful judges to rethink the application of individual laws.

The film was crisply directed primarily on location in Montreal. The costumes were effective in evoking the timeframe of the film primarily from the 1950s through the '70s. Felicity Jones was outstanding in the role of Ginsburg. Although her Brooklyn accent wasn't always consistent, she nonetheless captured the poise and determination of Ruth Bader "Kiki" Ginsburg. The relationship between Kiki and her feisty daughter Jane was especially well performed.

From start to finish, Jones delivers a moving performance of the little fireball Kiki Ginsburg. First in her class at Harvard and Columbia law schools, Ginsburg is a demonstration of how one person can truly make a difference in the world. This is a film to be watched and enjoyed by the entire family.
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"On the Basis of Sex" vs. "RBG": and the winner is...
paul-allaer9 January 2019
"On the Basis of Sex" is a bio-pic about the early years in Ruth Bader Ginsburg's career. As the movie opens, she is a first year student at Harvard Law. When her husband Martin, himself a second year student there, becomes gravely ill, she attends both her own and Martin's classes, and of course caring for him. A couple of years later, Martin is hired by a prominent New York law firm, and Ruth transfers to Columbia Law to finish her law degree. She graduates top of the class, yet not a single law firm in New York offers her a job... At this point we are less than 15 min. into the movie but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: this is the latest movie from director Mimi Leder, best known for 2000's "Pay It Forward". Here she brings to the big screen the early years in Ruth Bader Ginsburg's career. Let be very clear: Ruth Bader Ginsburg is an amazingly sharp lawyer who endured sex discrimination at every opportunity, to the point that she decided to do something about. AND THEN DID IT. Flash forward: June, 2018 marked the 25th anniversary of her stint on the US Supreme Court. In other words, this is such a remarkable woman. Sadly, "On the Basis of Sex" doesn't do justice to this outstanding woman and lawyer. In fact, "On the Basis of Sex' is done strictly by-the-numbers, without any dramatic tension and with an utter predictability that makes this almost into a snooze fest. (Some reviewers here apparently do not/cannot differentiate between this remarkable woman and what a good movie actually is or should be...) As it happens, in 2018 a documentary about Ruth Bader Ginsburg called "RBG" was released. "RBG" puts "On the Basis of Sex" to shame, frankly, and I am 99% certain that "RBG" will pick up an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary in the near future (and I am equally certain that "On the Basis of Sex" will not get any Oscar nominations). Playing the role of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Felicity Jones, bless her heart, tries the best she can with the material that she is given, but in the end she cannot overcome the movie's fatal flaw, namely a weak script. To be clear: Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a shining light and role model for so many, and very deservedly so. But that doesn't make "On the Basis of Sex" a good movie... Bottom line: if you haven't seen either of "RBG" and "On the Basis of Sex", by all means chose "RBG". If you've seen "RBG" already, don't bother with "On the Basis of Sex".

"On the Basis of Sex" has seen a very limited release so far, but will expand nationally this coming weekend. It currently has been playing in one single theater here in Cincinnati. The Tuesday evening screening where I saw this at was attended okay but not great (about 10-12 people). I had good hopes for this movie, but when I compare this to "RBG", there is no doubt which one is (by far) the better movie. Of course I encourage you to check out "On the Basis of Sex", be it in the theater, on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion. And don't forget about "RBG"!

*UPDATE* 1/22/19 As I predicted, "RBG" received an Oscar nomination (for Best Documentary). "On the Basis of Sex" did not get any Oscar nominations. (While "RBG" is a strong contender, in the end I see the Oscar for Best Documentary going to "Free Solo".)
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Feeble, telemovie-style travesty of a potentially fascinating story
veardleyw20 February 2019
At the end of this movie there's a shot of the real character on whose experiences the movie is based : Ruth Bader Ginsberg (who is portrayed in the film by Felicity Jones). She looks scarily powerful and fascinating. In fact, in this one glimpse of the real Ruth, makes you realise that she has everything this movie hasn't got: intelligence and guts. It's a very cookie-cutter, cliche-strewn, by-the- numbers telemovie-style story of a young woman overcoming gender bias to finally triumph. She, as portrayed by Felicity Jones, who despite valiant attempts at feistiness, plays her as a drip. She's married to a drip, and there's so much cosy drippiness going on that I found myself constantly groaning. Ruth is pretty; hubby is handsome and caring; all Ruth's male antagonists aren't pretty; etc. I shan't go on. but I shall see the documentary about Ruth Bader Ginsberg
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zhaoyusee13 January 2019
I was so excited to see the movie but it was a true disappointment! She was emotional and angry for the first and half hours- The husband and her daughter are stars and need to calm her all the times- I think the documentary is much better than this. Anyway, it is a good story and the camera is good. Just not a good movie
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Informative biopic on Ruth Bader Ginsburg's early career drifts toward hagiography
Turfseer17 June 2019
Warning: Spoilers
On the Basis of Sex is Mimi Leder's earnest but standard biopic of Ruth Bader Ginsburg starring Felicity Jones as the iconic Supreme Court jurist. The difficulty in crafting such an enterprise is of course avoiding hagiography, which unfortunately is what On the Basis of Sex kind of turns out to be.

Leder avoids Ginsburg's tenure as the present day Supreme Court justice and focuses on her early career as a student at Harvard Law school and later as a Rutgers professor leading the fight in an important tax case linked to the issue of sex discrimination.

The first quarter of the film deals with Ginsburg having to cope with her husband Marvin's diagnosis of testicular cancer while they're both students at Harvard Law. While he's laid up, Ginsburg takes his classes for him (as well as her own). While her efforts to help her husband were certainly noble, there isn't much conflict at this point in the narrative. Only Sam Waterston as the law school dean, and his pushing back on Ginsburg's request to finish her degree at Columbia, provides some dramatic relief.

The bulk of the film deals with the case of Moritz vs. Commissioner, the 1970 tax case in which Moritz was denied a tax deduction after hiring a nurse to care for his disabled mother. At that time, the tax code only allowed for a deduction for "a woman, a widower or divorcée, or a husband whose wife is incapacitated or institutionalized". So ironically, Ginsburg ended up championing a man who was the victim of sex discrimination in this particular (and rather anomalous) case.

Perhaps the best character in the film is Mel Wulff (Justin Theroux), the ACLU attorney whom Ginsburg is referred to by noted civil rights activist Dorothy Kenyon (Kathy Bates). Theroux does a fine job conveying the character's folksy qualities. In contrast, Jones as Ginsburg gives a virtual generic performance. Perhaps it's also screenwriter Daniel Stiepleman fault, as Ginsburg's idiosyncrecies are not at all evident. Only Ginsburg's conflict with a rebellious daughter is trotted out to flesh out her character.

Things pick up a bit toward the climax when Ginsburg loses her cool during a practice moot court and it's decided that her husband will be first chair during the final Court of Appeals hearing. Jones has her best moment when she offers up a stirring summation which leads the court to strike down the antiquated laws that kept the shibboleth of sex discrimination in place for so many years.

On the Basis of Sex provides some information about Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her early career that is certainly informative. But what makes Ginsburg different from other civil rights pioneers who have gone up against the establishment and won? I don't see this film answering that question. Perhaps focusing upon the later unlikely friendship between Ginsburg and the right-wing conservative Supreme Justice Scalia, would have proven more interesting.
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Poor acting...a little behind the times
ryan-shipley28 December 2018
I don't know how much of this story is factual versus wishful thinking. But based on what I know about the history of this Supreme Court justice, much of RBG's background was sensationalized and little credit should be given as to the accuracy of this picture. This movie seeks to make a political message rather than document the life of a Supreme Court justice.
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Bland, poorly acted, glossy biopic
kyloqueen11 November 2018
So bad it's criminal given the subject matter and heroine. Oscar bait at its worst. Felicity and I should remark, Armie Hammer, are terribly miscast. Somehow the emphasis on her marriage reduced her strength also. RBG documentary did her justice. Watch that instead.
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Inspirational & moving cinema
barrlloyd13 November 2018
Beautiful film about the career and life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, symbol of our time. A strong woman that never gave up. The cast is brilliant: Felicity Jones (perfect as Ruth Bader Ginsburg), Armie Hammer, as wonderful as Felicity like his loving husband. They have an unbelievable chemistry together in the film, and I can´t imagine another performers for the roles. The rest of the cast have great performances too: Kathy Bates, Sam Waterston, Justin Theroux, Cailee Spaeny... This is a necessary film in our days, and Ruth´s story inspire us. You have to see it.
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Such a fabulous movie about an amazing woman
prdm-5543613 January 2019
The people that are saying the movie was boring probably aren't interested in court cases as that was a big part of the movie. After all RGB is an attorney! The movie is about how she was one of the first that fought for gender equality & won. The entire theater was applauding. If you are a fan, than you definitely should go see it.... but bring some tissue - the very end of the movie will give you the feels.
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An average Good Wife episode padded out for 120 minutes
mattbeaver200223 February 2019
An average Good Wife episode padded out for 120 minutes
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kinda dull
anniewitt12 January 2019
I didn't know much about Ruth Bader Ginsburg before I saw this movie and honestly this movie is pretty preachy.It's all very tasteful and subdued and sanitized and PC, but lacking in bite, heft, and grit. Felicity Jones is good, but her character is presented as more saint than human. It seems like something a high school class could watch to learn a bit more about her life, but it failed to engage me fully. I fell asleep in all honesty at one point.
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Well worth going to see!
MikeChm15 January 2019
This movie was very well done. Good acting and a good story. Please ignore the obviously biased trolls. This is a very good movie.
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Absolutely terrible
tracey-435-61933730 December 2018
What a missed opportunity! They had an amazing, once in a lifetime, real Story and they made a movie that was a piece of garbage!! She was miscast. Army Hammer is the worst actor of all time. The script was terrible!! And they MISSED the most important and impactful areas of her life. What a shame! One of the worst films of the year
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Makes no sense.
Viking1313132 February 2019
Why would you make a movie about the second female SCOTUS Associate Justice, and not the First? May as well make it about the 59th or 281st.

Sandra Day O'Conner is the woman who actually blazed a trail for women in the field of law, and to the highest court in the land.

But, I suppose no one in Hollywood would want to do an honest film about a Conservative woman who battled her way to the top, and was the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court, by a Conservative President Ronald Reagan.

It would just make it harder to sell the lie that conservatives are misogynists.
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The_Boxing_Cat18 October 2019
I really liked this film. It was entertaining in telling RBF's story.

I like Felicity Jones a lot, but it was distracting when she couldn't maintain an American accent- sort of lost some authenticity, luckily for the most part, she did a good job.

All the other actors did a great job.
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joyceaudette7 January 2019
Nothing but a political statement of the times. Total artistic license.
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Forget the haters, it's a great docu-drama
fpnicolasfacebook31 December 2018
The same people praising a Walk The Line or other drama-geographic movies about mens have decided that RGB only deserves the documentary treatment but no her own larger than life movie about her critical fight for woman rights and equality. Forget about those haters: this movie like Walk the Line is a great mix of emotion, humor and reminder of how social justice is something still that need us to fight for it. Go enjoy this great optimistic movie perfect for the start of a new year.
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Ah! Why coudn't this be good?
mitchlb45221 December 2018
I really like RBG. She was my second favorite justice behind Kennedy... but wow. This was just so boring and obviously politically biased. Everything RBG does is apparently gold... also, was it just me or was Cathy Bates character very weird?
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