Set in America through the 1950s, 60s and 70s, On The Basis Of Sex provides a gripping account of real-life events that helped shape the world we live in today. The film follows the true events of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life from the days of her Harvard Law education to the ground-breaking case she worked on with her husband Martin Ginsburg.
Studying and working in law, a field dominated by men, at a time when women were discouraged from pursuing a career, Ruth is faced with adversity and opposition as she tries to make her way in the legal world. When her husband Martin shows her a tax case where sex-based discrimination is pitted against a man, Ruth seizes the opportunity to challenge the status quo. With her husband and fiery activist daughter by her side, Ruth sets out to make history.
Though Ruth is a hero in many senses, On The Basis Of Sex manages to showcase her incredible story without sugar-coating it. Script writer and nephew of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Daniel Stiepleman, said his aunt was involved closely in the writing process and that it was important to her that the story remain factual. Director Mimi Leder clearly had a similar vision, as the film manages to be deeply moving but still retains a sense of authenticity.
Felicity Jones’ portrayal of Ruth takes a similar line of strength and credibility. Rather than acting the traditional sparkling Hollywood hero, Felicity’s Ruth is equal parts vigour and vulnerability, showcasing a down-to-earth woman with a fierce determination for justice. Armie Hammer’s performance as a charming, encouraging Martin is equally commendable. Exuding charisma, Armie’s Martin offsets the steadfast Ruth without undermining her. Together, the pair present a loving and considerate relationship based on respect and team work.
With a heart-warming romance, a fierce female lead and an incredible true story, On The Basis Of Sex really does have it all.
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