Respectable, workmanlike biopic of Justice Ginsburg
The education and early career of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the first woman to sit on the highest court in America, is captured in this film. It stars Felicity Jones as the young woman who attended Harvard Law School with her husband (Armie Hammer) and went on to become one of the preeminent legal minds of her era.
The film centers on how Ginsburg was initially instrumental and ultimately essential in an appellate case that helped pave the way for gender discrimination in federal law being eradicated. Along with her husband, she worked on the appeal with the ACLU, heralded by Mel Wulf (Justin Theroux), a liberal with complicated principles. Kathy Bates makes a nice turn as a famous, hardened civil rights litigator who failed in some earlier cases. Sam Waterston is a welcome presence as the outwardly progressive but inwardly parochial Erwin Griswold, Dean of Harvard Law during Ginsburg's years as a student.
Jones shines in the role of the young Ginsburg, a dedicated, steadfast attorney who was undaunted by the entrenched views on gender in academia, the workplace and ultimately in the courts. She spends most of the film grappling with these challenges but all the while never letting go of her core principles and dedication to the law.
Although this film occasionally lurches into Oscar bait territory, it makes for a good portrayal of a woman who became a true pioneer in the history of gender equality and a good starting point to get to know Justice Ginsburg from where she started. Recommended.
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