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Rated 3.11 stars
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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
A National Treasure
by James Colt Harrison

With the dreadful title of On the Basis of Sex, one would think this might be a Stormy Daniels adult romp into the nether regions of Washington, D.C. But, it is not a film about carnal pleasures at all! A disappointment? No, actually, the film is about one of the most brilliant women the United States has ever produced, Chief Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

As played by actress Felicity Jones, we see that Ms. Ginsburg was once a lovely young woman who loved her husband Marty (devastatingly handsome Armie Hammer) and her daughter Jane (Cailee Spaeny). She was just like everybody else who wanted a family, home and normality. But Ms. Ginsburg was not like everybody else, for she displayed an intellect that made Aristotle look like a dunce.

“The word ‘woman’ does not appear even once in the U.S. Constitution,” says a judge.

Ginsburg retorts, “Nor does the word ‘freedom,’ your Honor.”

Very much an independently thinking woman, she headed a law firm partnered with Marty during their young years. The movie was inspired by the true story of Ginsburg causing a sensation by bringing a gender discrimination case before the Supreme Court. This began her lifelong quest of fighting for women’s equality as well as equal rights for everyone. Marty joined her in this endeavor.

One of her groundbreaking sex discrimination cases involved a man who was discriminated against by the tax code, which eliminated his deductions for a nurse to take care of his ailing mother (Moira Wylie). Veteran character actor Chris Mulkey plays Charles Moritz with sincerity and genuine concern in his facial expressions and general demeanor. Ginsburg felt that equal rights were for every U.S. citizen, not just women. She is helped by ACLU attorney Mel Wulf, played by Justin Theroux, who is sabotaged by wearing a fright wig that appears slightly ajar.

Intelligently written by Ginsburg’s nephew Daniel Stiepleman, the legal terms, “lawyer speak,” and the machinations of high court justices and big-time lawyers keep the audience alert and attentive to make sure all of it is understood. Just hearing the English language spoken properly and used in the correct manner is a beautiful experience.

Jones does an excellent job capturing the feisty young Ruth Bader as she raises a family, nurtures her husband during his medical crisis, and battles the establishment to find justice for everyone. It’s an inspiring story for both men and women, especially young girls today. Mrs. Ginsberg is a national treasure.

Felicty Jones, 35, made a big splash in The Theory of Everything (2014) for which she was nominated for an Oscar® and won Best Actress from the British BAFTA Awards, the Golden Globe and the Screen Actor’s Guild. She also won fans for her part in The Amazing Spider Man 2 as well as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2015).

Armie Hammer, 32, whose great grandfather was the infamous oil tycoon Armand Hammer, became an actor despite his parents’ objections. He won them over after appearing as the Winkelvoss twins in The Social Network (2010). He had fans swooning all over the world when he played in Call Me By Your Name (2017) with Timothee Chalamet and received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar® nomination. 

(Released by Focus Features and rated “PG-13” for some language and suggestive content.

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