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RBG Re-Watch: Revisiting The Ruth Bader Ginsburg Biopic ‘On The Basis Of Sex’

09-23-2020 by Andi Ortiz

  ( © Focus Features)  


How do we cope when we lose a national hero? For some, it feels odd to be so affected by the death of someone we didn’t even know personally – to even need to cope in the first place. But with the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, it seems just about everyone in the nation has been rocked.


RBG leaves behind a legacy that affected every single person in this country, man or woman. After fighting valiantly for so long, both against society and actual medical issues, it seems impossible to believe that she’s really gone. Which brings us back to, how do we cope? Well, we take solace in the work a person left behind.


Of course, in RBG’s case, that is a whole lot. In her 87 years on this earth, the woman got work done. So much so that it can be hard to know where to start when it comes to really learning about all RBG did for this country. There are children’s books, there’s the Internet, but, perhaps best of all, there’sOn The Basis Of Sex.




Released in 2018, the biopic centers on a young Ruth Bader Ginsburg, played fabulously by Felicity Jones, as she enters law school and follows her through to the groundbreaking Moritz v. IRS case. This case was the first to find that gender discrimination violates the Constitution and was simply the beginning of RBG’s impactful career.


Beyond showing the work she did, though, the film humanizes RBG in the realest way. We see how she was (deservedly) frustrated but consistently hopeful. We see how hard she worked, not only for this country but for her family too. We see exactly why she became known as "THE NOTORIOUS RBG". And while the film is technically a dramatization, it never strays too far from reality. Prior to her passing, Justice Ginsburg has said that the only thing the movie gets factually wrong is that it portrays her at a momentary loss for words when she addresses the court for the first time. (Because, of course, RBG always had the words.)


In the grand scheme of things, On The Basis Of Sex shows just a small portion of RBG’s legacy, but it’s the story of hope we need right now. As we approach a pivotal election, this biopic is the perfect weekend watch to inspire hope and determination. It should come as no surprise. After all, RBG’s most sound advice was always “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you."


On The Basis Of Sex is currently streaming on Netflix and will be re-released in select theaters in the U.S. this weekend.