On The Basis Of Sex ★★ ½ ☆☆ | Movie Review


Ruth Bader Ginsburg has her sights set on changing the world one law at a time. When her husband brings her a case she finds a way to begin the fight against gender discrimination.


What a great way to start this film. Ginsburg walking through the crowd of men all set to the Harvard fight song "Ten Thousand Men Of Harvard", it sums up the message of the film so well and makes you realise just how much of a challenge she was up against.

With such a wide career to work with I was pleased to see that for the most part the film concentrated on that main case. The preamble up to that point was interesting and seemed to be well chosen, I did initially find it slightly confusing initially as I think I blinked slightly too long and missed the point where it showed the year change.

I liked the changing dynamic of Ruth and Martin, it showed an amazingly supportive relationship, when he couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel she was there for him and when she thought she was failing he was her rock. The emotion between the two showed throughout and was a welcome addition to the film and there's one moment that's just so amazing where Ruth looks up at Martin and I wondered for one second if Jones and Hammer were actually in love.

Hearing her listing the reasons she'd been rejected from jobs was mind-boggling and had it been me I'd definitely have ended up in jail after bitchslapping at least one of the interviewers. I think the film handles the sexism quite well, although I'm sure it wasn't quite as "easy" as it appeared. The "unintentional" sexism in the characters was interesting to see and added an extra layer into the story.

I could probably wade around in this film for ages nit-picking about things, it's a perfectly adequate production with nothing massively wrong with it... apart from Martin wearing a short sleeve shirt with his suit, that's still annoying me along with the question: why is she referred to as Ruth Ginsburg all the way through apart from once? I feel like we were being kept out of the loop on some in-joke/secret. I came out feeling let down though, partly because I don't think it was quite what I was expecting and partly because of the ending.

You know you're going to get a showstopper of a speech from Ginsburg but it actually was the showstopper from which we switch to a worded cut screen and voiceovers. This was completely at odds with the rest of the film and it robs us of the gratification of seeing the characters get their win. It almost felt like it was aware that it needed to do something to link it to the modern side of the story but didn't know how.

What you should do

It's not a bad watch, but I wouldn't worry about seeing it at the cinema. I'm going to seek out the RBG documentary next and it might be something to watch that covers a wider history.

Movie thing you wish you could take home

Some of those RBG logic and reasoning skills would be absolutely amazing.