The Dove Take:
On the Basis of Sex is an educational opportunity for families, with takeaways of perseverance, justice, and equality. But the language is out of Dove’s range.
The story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, her struggles for equal rights, and what she had to overcome in order to become a U.S. Supreme Court Justice.
On the Basis of Sex is an inspirational legal drama that provides a deeper understanding and a unique perspective regarding women’s fight for gender equality in the 1960s and 70s. The film tracks Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s (Felicity Jones) journey through dealing with a husband struggling with cancer and a young teen attempting to find her own identity during the “women’s movement.” Ruth juggles all these complexities while battling her way through minority status at Harvard Law School and into the workplace where she is turned down for every attorney role she applies for, clearly due to the male-centered environment in which she is looking to compete. Ruth settles for a professorship at Rutgers Law School where she specializes in “Law and Sex Discrimination.” It is here that her passion to confront the system grows, and when her loyal supporter and lawyer husband Martin (Armie Hammer) challengers her to take on a case of male discrimination with him, she sees the opportunity to begin to overturn laws upheld by the then-male centric Supreme Court.
This stellar cast brilliantly executes what could have been a film mired in legal minutiae, where old classmates and colleagues join Ruth and Martin in their war against the powers that be, to eventually find the couple arguing before the Supreme Court itself. In a dramatic climax, they win their case, and this precedent ruling inspires and determines them to move towards the larger goal of striking down every gender-based discrimination law in the books, one by one. This outcome also served to help Ruth finally find her voice as a lawyer.
We learn at the end of the film, as the real Ginsberg appears on the steps of the Supreme Court building, that Ruth went on to co-found the Women’s Rights Project at the ACLU, which supported her battle throughout, and in 1993 she, herself, victoriously became an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court.
The film can surprisingly and refreshingly be touted for not being particularly political in nature in spite of its subject matter. The focus rests mainly on Ruth’s personal drive for an honorable cause that she feels is a deep injustice.
Due to some mature content, and severe language On the Basis of Sex does not meet Dove Approved standards .