Ruth Bader Ginsburg died September 18 at age 87 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. The longtime Supreme Court Justice has been immortalized in a movie and a documentary: On the Basis of Sex, a biographical legal drama about Ginsburg’s life, or the documentary RBG, released in 2018.
The two movies about Ginsburg show the beginning and the near-conclusion of a long career. The biographical film follows a young Ginsburg, a new mom who is struggling in her work as an attorney. She takes on a groundbreaking tax case with her husband, Martin Ginsburg, knowing it could change the direction of her career and become a stepping stone in her fight for gender equality, according to Rotten Tomatoes. In the documentary RBG, filmmakers explored how those early cases reshaped the world for women.
Ginsburg was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton in 1993.
Here’s what you need to know:
‘RBG’ Documentary Is Available for Streaming Online
“I ask no favor for my sex,” Ginsburg said on the documentary. “All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.”
“At the age of 85, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has developed a lengthy legal legacy while becoming an unexpected pop culture icon,” the documentary’s description said. “But the unique personal journey of her rise to the nation’s highest court has been largely unknown, even to some of her biggest fans – until now. RBG explores Ginsburg’s life and career. From Betsy West and Julie Cohen, and co-produced by Storyville Films and CNN Films.”
The documentary was also released in select theaters on May 4, 2018.
Felicity Jones Plays Ginsburg in 2019 Biographical Film, ‘On the Basis of Sex’
“There are 178 laws to differentiate on the basis of sex,” says Ginsburg’s character in the movie.
Felicity Jones, known for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016), The Theory of Everything (2014), The Aeronauts (2019) and Inferno (2014), plays a young Ginsburg in the biographical film based on her early days in law. The film was released in January 2019.
You can watch the trailer here or later in this post.
“On the Basis of Sex is nowhere near as groundbreaking as its real-life subject, but her extraordinary life makes a solid case for itself as an inspirational, well-acted biopic,” a Rotten Tomatoes review said.
It received a 73% on the Tomatometer and a 76% audience score.
“Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a struggling attorney and new mother who faces adversity and numerous obstacles in her fight for equal rights,” a Rotten Tomatoes review said. “When Ruth takes on a groundbreaking tax case with her husband, attorney Martin Ginsburg, she knows it could change the direction of her career and the way the courts view gender discrimination.”
It was directed by Mimi Leder, produced by Robert W. Cort and Jonathan King and written by Daniel Stiepleman. The two-hour movie brought in $24,587,797 at the box office.
‘I Didn’t Stumble,’ Ruth Bader Ginsburg Said of the Film ‘On the Basis of Sex’
Ruth Bader Ginsburg discussed her views on the dramatization of her life story with Vanity Fair, saying there were some inaccuracies, but they comprised a wonderful storyline.
“This film is part fact, part imaginative. . . . But the imaginative parts fit in with the story so well,” she said.
She referred to a scene when she faltered as a judge questioned her.
“I didn’t stumble at the outset,” she said.
In the same interview, a reporter asked her to speak about division and polarization in the country at that time, in 2019. In response, she referred to something her late husband told her.
She said, “I think there will be a way back; I can’t predict that I’ll see it in my lifetime, but one of the things that Marty often said about the country that the true symbol of the United States is not the bald eagle; it is the pendulum, and if it goes too far in one direction, it’s going to swing back.”