On the Basis of Sex ★★

D: Mimi Leder
Focus Features/Participant Media/Alibaba (Robert W. Cort)
USA 2018
120 mins


W: Daniel Stiepleman
DP: Michael Grady
Ed: Michelle Tesoro
Mus: Mychael Danna

Felicity Jones (Ruth Bader Ginsburg), Armie Hammer (Martin Ginsburg), Justin Theroux (Mel Wulf), Kathy Bates (Dorothy Kenyon), Sam Waterston (Erwin Griswold), Cailee Spaeny (Jane Ginsburg)

An incredibly pedestrian biopic focusing on the early part of Ruth Bader Ginsburg's career as an advocate for gender equality, starting with her days as a Harvard student and culminating in her landmark case, where she and her husband exposed a tax law which proves discrimination between the sexes.
The film is well-intentioned, although a little too grandiose, while the courtroom scenes provide good moments of drama, but so much of the running time is bogged down with legal mumbo-jumbo in which the screenwriter probably had a challenge with himself to see how many sentences he could fit the word "constitution" or its derivatives into. For me, it's a common problem that films which focus on US law are incredibly America-centric when it comes to presenting its story and this is certainly no exception. The film also (probably wisely) decided to sidestep some of the more controversial things Ginsburg had said on her way to becoming an important figurehead for feminism.
Felicity Jones is good, as are the majority of the supporting cast, but the film really is as dull as sitting in on a lawsuit involving taxation issues.