Tuesday, January 21, 2020
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Movie review: On the Basis of Sex

Whether you’ve seen enough comic book-based superhero movies or you’re in the mood for a true hero, check out On the Basis of Sex, starring Felicity Jones as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Ruth Bader Ginsburg as herself in a brief cameo.

But let’s face it: Trying to write a two-hour movie about the life of one of this nation’s premiere jurists—and releasing that film to coincide with the 25th anniversary of her appointment to the Supreme Court—is a hopeless endeavor. As such, the film quickly winds down into a mess of hagiography as a biopic. Oh, it’s well-acted, but what Justice Ginsburg did was a task beyond the ability of any movie maker to capture and retell.

Still, so much in the movie is unknown to younger viewers today, for whom a world of women being able to pursue any career they want has always been a fact of life—one in which women could argue before an appellate court, where men could become teachers, where women could serve in the military or men could work as nurses. It wasn’t always that way, and Justice Ginsburg’s work as a lawyer fighting for gender equality when more than a hundred laws were on the federal books that discriminated against men or women on the basis of sex, paved the way for the world young people now inherit.

Her life’s extraordinary work—and not so much this biopic—however, makes this an inspirational and informative film that will jerk more than a small tear from most eyes. Whether you believe men are better than women or not, the film will inspire you, much like Barack Obama’s victory brought a tear to the eye of many conservative Republicans I call my friends. If, on the other hand, you believe men and women should be treated equally under our laws, this film will reinforce your beliefs like no other story that can be told in two hours.

Because the movie was released in 2018, it didn’t make the list of “things to look forward to,” as published in The Scarlet Ink, the student newspaper at Orion High School in Illinois. Here’s the list of movies they’re anticipating in 2019, along with the release dates:

  • Glass, Jan. 18
  • What Men Want, Feb. 8
  • Happy Death Day 2U, Feb. 14
  • Captain Marvel, March 3
  • Us, March 15
  • Hellboy, April 12
  • Avengers: Endgame, April 26
  • Aladdin, May 24
  • Godzilla: King Of Monsters, May 31
  • Dark Phoenix, June 7
  • Men In Black International, June 16
  • Toy Story 4, June 21
  • 47 Meters Down: Uncaged, June 28
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home, July 5
  • The Lion King, July 19
  • IT: Chapter 2, Sept. 6
  • Joker, Oct. 4
  • Zombieland 2, Oct. 11
  • Frozen 2, Nov. 27
  • Star Wars: Episode IX, Dec. 25

Now on wide release in US theaters but released on December 25, 2018, the film also stars Armie Hammer, Cailee Spaeny, and Justin Theroux. It is directed by Mimi Leder and has a runtime of about 120 minutes. We saw the movie in Towson, Maryland.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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