On the Basis of Sex is riddled with cliches but it’s an entertaining look at Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s achievements

On the Basis of Sex is riddled with cliches but it's an entertaining look at Ruth Bader Ginsburg's achievements

AFTER last year’s documentary RBG, is this biopic of US Supreme Court judge and gender rights trailblazer Ruth Bader Ginsburg even needed?
Written by her nephew, this is a seemingly slightly amalgamated portrayal of her early life, from applying for Harvard to winning her first landmark case.
Alamy Felicity Jones is OK as Ruth Bader Ginsburg in this cliche ridden script
The first half largely focuses on her juggling the perfect marriage with being a mother, going to Harvard and coping with her husband’s illness – she attended all his classes for him, as well as her own, and still came top of the class. Only then did she find that despite all her academic achievements, no one would hire her because “the wives wouldn’t like another woman in the office”.
The second half focuses on the build-up to her first case. With the subject of tax credit evasion not exactly setting the pulses racing, director Mimi Leder decides to take the path of A Few Good Men – irony noted – and turn this into a tense courtroom drama.
Both the leads are OK – Britain’s Felicity Jones plays RBG, Armie Hammer plays her husband Martin.Justin Theroux is better as memorable Mel Wulf, Kathy Bates is barely used and the film just…  happens.
It has its moments, but also its howlers.
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Lines such as “You’ve been ready for this your whole life” and “You don’t get to tell me when to quit” don’t do anything to elevate the tale above the average.
In comparison to RBG, Ruth is played a bit too klutzy – I wouldn’t have been surprised if there had been a scene of her dropping her notes on the floor in class as male students eye-rolled.
So a bit of a cliched stomp, but entertaining enough and if it makes more people talk about RBG’s achievements and seek out more – then great.

On the Basis of Sex 120 mins (12A)


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