4 Stars – Inspiring
The admiration people have for Ruth Bader Ginsberg is well placed. The earlier documentary of her life, RBG, directed by Julie Cohen and Betsy West, presented her as a person with a powerful intellect and uncompromising convictions. In this dramatization of her life, On the Basis of Sex, directed by seasoned TV director Mimi Leder, we are invited behind the facts for a glimpse into Ruth’s soul.
This film begins the story on Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s (Felicity Jones) first day at Harvard Law School, which had recently started admitting women. The year was 1956 and she was one of only nine women students. Ruth was already married to a remarkable man, Martin (Armie Hammer), who was a year ahead of Ruth at Harvard Law. Their daughter Jane (Cailee Spaeny as a 15 year-old) was a toddler. It was during that year that a life-threatening cancer both revealed and sealed the love they had for each other as Ruth attended Martin’s classes as well as her own to ensure that they both completed their assignments.
During the years after women gained the right to vote in 1920, many people thought that equality would come quickly, but this was not the case. Many laws were on the books which created an ongoing inequality in virtually every area of life, including the Internal Revenue Service’s tax laws. Ruth experienced discrimination first-hand in her inability to land a position in the law firms of New York and so became a law professor instead. But the great passion of her life was to bring justice to women.
Even though the outcome of her life is well known, we won’t spoil the personal journey Ruth had to take in order to accomplish such a noble task. Determined, intelligent, strong and hard- working, Ruth was the person of the hour and the film presents her in her first case of the many she won before the higher courts in our land.
Equality is seldom given by those in power. It can, however, be compelled by calling on the hearts and minds of those who hold the power such that true, reasoned justice can be achieved. This is the lesson of Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s life and a powerful model for all of us.
The personal commitment of Martin Ginsberg to empower his wife is a great model for all of us. How are you empowering the persons in your life? Have you placed any of them into a position of inferiority or a disempowered position? If so, what are you going to change to lift them up?
The truth that every person is created in the image of God regardless of how well they reflect that image at any given time requires that we treat every person with respect and honor. Do you show honor and respect to every person with whom you come into contact?
The brilliance of Ruth’s mind would be wasted were she not a person who worked hard to excel in her field of law. What gifts do you have that you are working hard to apply?