Film – On The Basis of Sex

Film – On The Basis of Sex

It must be Oscar season as there is yet another based-on-a-true-story film following Vice, Green Book, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Welcome to Marwen, Collette, Stan & Ollie and even Bohemian Rhapsody. And these are just the ones I’ve seen.

With the exception of Marwen, all of the other films have been made after the person has deceased. In this case, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is very much alive and still kicking at the US Supreme Court of Justice.

And why are you here Miss Ginsburg? Occupying a place that could have gone to a man?

On the Basis of Sex starts in the 1950s where Mrs Ginsburg (Felicity Jones) is one of a handful of women popping up from a sea of dark suits at Harvard Law School. Firstly, I want to know how and why a wife and mother in the early 50s is looking to further her education. After which, I instantly love this woman and then we meet her husband (Armie Hammer) and realise there is no friction. They are a rock solid team who simply both want to be lawyers. And parents.

Incidently it’s interesting that British people can always play well-to-do American people as they pretty much have an English accent, especially back in the day.

Frankly, this sort of balanced relationship is not always that common today, seventy years later. In this, Mr & Mrs Ginsburg work together completely supporting each other’s ambitions. [Spoiler Alert] When early on Marty Ginsburg collapses and then learns he has testicular cancer, she’s determined he will recover to the point of attending his classes (he’s one year ahead) and her own, until he can go back to university.

Upon graduation, he gets a job back home in what is now 1960s New York and she has no choice but to leave Harvard and finish her studies at Columbia so she can be with him, especially in case he relapses. The Dean (Sam Waterston) won’t let her transfer her degree so she never does graduate from Harvard, despite being a year ahead in studies.

Judge : The word ‘woman’ does not appear even once in the US Constitution.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg : Nor does the word ‘freedom,’ Your Honor.

Furthermore, no law firm will employ the Notorious RBG so she resorts to an academic career, teaching the next generation while keeping an eye on equal rights cases. It’s in the 1970s we see her come to the forefront as she works on her first case, recommended by her husband. Having grown up in this era, I’m pretty sure as I only saw women working – including my mum, that I knew this is where my life was heading.

On the Basis of Sex is scene after scene of brilliance and the best thing about this film is not just that it’s based on real-life person, a woman who fought against all the odds, as fantastic as that is, even in the present day. What I love about this is all the love; the love for justice, for community, for the world,  for family and before all that, the love for each other.

Apart from the odd title, that’s clearly just to draw attention, this film is a knockout.

8½/10

 

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