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With: Felicity Jones, Armie Hammer, Justin Theroux, Sam Waterston, Kathy Bates, Cailee Spaeny, Jack Reynor, Stephen Root, Chris Mulkey
Written by: Daniel Stiepleman
Directed by: Mimi Leder
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some language and suggestive content
Running Time: 120
Date: 12/25/2018

On the Basis of Sex (2018)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Moment of Ruth

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's nephew, Daniel Stiepleman, wrote the screenplay for this sweet, bright biopic, the story of an early, crucial court case in Ginsburg's career. Ruth (adorably played by Felicity Jones) stumbles upon a case in which a man is denied financial aid to care for his elderly mother, and hopes to use it to establish a precedent for other examples of discrimination on the basis of sex. Stiepleman's screenplay is a subtle marvel, managing to take piles of tax law jargon and turn it into a dynamic, vivid, human story. The casting and acting here are the high point. Aside from Jones, Armie Hammer is excellent as Ginsburg's husband Martin, a unique man who was comfortable with his wife's immense power. Sam Waterston seems to enjoy his role as the villainous, sex-discriminating Dean of Harvard Law, as does Kathy Bates in her role as cynical, acid-tongued activist Dorothy Kenyon. But Justin Theroux steals the show as Mel Wulf of the ACLU, sinking into his 1970s mustache and wardrobe as if he'd time traveled from there. On the whole, On the Basis of Sex is not too heavy or serious, and also nicely compliments the recent documentary RBG.

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