At the age of 84, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has developed a breathtaking legal legacy while becoming an unexpected pop culture icon. But without a definitive Ginsburg biography, the unique personal journey of this diminutive, quiet warrior's rise to the nation's highest court has been largely unknown, even to some of her biggest fans - until now. RBG is a revelatory documentary exploring Ginsburg's exceptional life and career from Betsy West and Julie Cohen, and co-produced by Storyville Films and CNN Films.
During her interview, Ruth Bader Ginsburg's granddaughter Clara Spera calls Ginsburg "Bubbie" and explains that Bubbie is Yiddish for "grandmother." Later, Spera refers to her grandfather (Ginsburg's late husband Martin D. Ginsburg) as "Tateh" without explaining that Tateh is Yiddish for "father." See more »
IN BRIEF: Well researched, but slightly biased documentary about an early pioneer of woman's rights.
JIM'S REVIEW: Move over Captain America! There has been an onslaught of superhero movies this year, but none of these comic book crusaders comes near the awesome power of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. RBG is a well-made documentary that not only lauds her super power with the law but brings a sense of order about her fierce combat skills in protecting women's rights throughout the years and fighting for minority groups in America at a time when second class status was the norm.
As any moviegoer, I become a bit skeptical of any documentary that shies away from any flaws in telling the biography of a famous individual. And this film becomes a rousing testament to a strong woman. Biased and unbalanced in its storytelling the film is nevertheless a riveting tale to tell. (And the fact that I too greatly admire this person does show some bias in this review, I am sure.)
Filmmakers Julie Cohen and Betsy West create an informative and highly entertaining documentary which gives us the personal backstory behind this icon. Using archival footage, graphic imagery, personal photographs, and interviews with colleagues, family, and RBG herself, the film traces her happy marriage to Martin Ginsberg, a man who loved her and believed wholeheartedly in her causes and search for equality, It examines her struggle back in the sixties and seventies in becoming a lawyer in a male-chauvinistic environment to her eventual seat in the Supreme Court, appointed by President Bill Clinton. It showcases her triumphs to overturn many laws that oppressed the common people, striking out against homophobia and battling against forces that supported segregation and racism while continually advancing her mantra of equal rights for women.
The film is quite insightful and filled with interesting details. Known as Notorious RBG to a younger generation for her long hard journey fighting intolerance, the documentary follows Ms. Ginsberg's fascinating career and covers her early cases as a promising attorney representing the oppressed minorities, leading her to argue her progressive views to the Supreme Court for equal rights (and winning a record 5 out of her 6 cases). Later, she would herself become an active part of the highest Judicial branch of American government hearing many cases to render her verdict with the majority or, in most recent instances, eloquently dissent. Ironically, her closest friend on the Court became the most conservative voice of the Supreme Court, Justice Anthony Scalia, and their shared love of debate and opera adds yet another dimension to this opinionated and scholarly crusader.
RBG is a compelling dual portrait of a independent-minded woman and a changing America. Unafraid to dissent and take on any injustice that stood in her way, Justice Ginsburg became a singular consistent voice for the downtrodden and the persecuted. at a time when liberal thinking wasn't so much a curse (as it is today), but just another point of view. How refreshing! How sane!
RBG is an extraordinary film about an extraordinary life.
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