Supreme Court judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 85 is an American pop culture and feminist icon, nicknamed by many fans as “RBG.” This tiny woman (152 cm tall) has spent her legal career advocating gender equality and women’s rights. She is in her 25thyear as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court Of The United States and is a hard working, moderate liberal. The senate vote for her election was 96-3.
This film, based on her exceptional career, opens in 1956, when the incoming law class at Harvard, the country’s most prestigious university, is entering the building. Dressed in blue RBG is the only woman walking, with lots of dark suited men to the musical accompaniment of “Ten Thousand Men of Harvard”. She is one of nine women in a class of 500.
Ruth (Felicity Jones. The theory of Everything) is happily married to Martin (Armie Hammer. Call Me by Your Name) who is in his second year studying tax law. Their marriage is an equal partnership – discussing their studies, sharing the running of the home and taking care of their baby daughter.
Martin develops testicular cancer and is given a five percent chance of survival) and Ruth manages to balance her life as mother, carer and student, attending classes for both of them – transcribing lectures as well as looking after her family.
Two years later the cancer is in remission and Martin is hired by a tax law firm in New York. Ruth finishes her degree at Columbia and is top of her class. Despite being a brilliant student, she finds it impossible to get work in the male oriented law firms. She becomes a college law professor teaching gender law at Rutgers. She is paid less than a man.
Martin brings a tax law case to her attention. Charles Moritz (Chris Mulkey), a man who had given up his job to care for his old and ailing mother, been denied a tax deduction. This becomes the opportunity to begin to challenge the many laws that assume men work to provide for the family while women stay at home to take care of the home and children. The Ginsbergs and the American Civil Liberties Union take on the case pro bono. Eventually the case goes to the Supreme Court.
This is the second film made in 2018 about the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The first one (called RBG) was an acclaimed hit. This screenplay is written by her nephew Daniel Stiepleman “based on a true story”. She had some input into the making of this film, and makes an entrance herself in a cameo role.
The format of the film is unexciting and Felicity Jones’d portrayal, rather wooden. Her American accent is inconsistent and she does not look Jewish. The musical clues were very obvious in telling the audience how to feel.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s story is inspiring and her legacy will live on. Recent health scares have not stopped her working and she says, “As long as I can do the job, full steam will be there.” She works out in a gym in a T-shirt printed with Super Diva and you can buy T-shirts and mugs with her image on them.
Showing at Luna Leederville and Luna SX from 7 February.
Watch the trailer…