Director: Mimi Leder
Cast: Felicity Jones, Armie Hammer, Justin Theroux
Release Date: April 9, 2019
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 7.5/10
Disc Rating: 7/10
Inspired by the powerful true story of a young Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Academy Award® nominee Felicity Jones), On the Basis of Sex depicts a then-struggling attorney and new mother facing adversity in her fight for equal rights. When Ruth takes on a ground-breaking case, she knows the outcome could alter the courts’ view of gender discrimination. Stronger together, Ruth teams up with her husband, Martin Ginsburg (Armie Hammer), to fight the case that catapults her into one of the most important public figures of our time.
Inspired by the moving true story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Jones), ‘On The Basis Of Sex’ chronicles Ruth’s life during her early days, accompanying her from her time in law school and the hurdles she overcame to be heard and able to move ahead, and well into her subsequent attempts to find a job after completing law school; being continuously overlooked or simply disregarded altogether just for being a woman. And finally focusing on the case that really began everything and how she had to fight just to take the case on, hoping and intending that it would also serve as the necessary starting point to initiate change and build toward true equal rights within the system. All the while benefitting from the love and support of her family and her ever-encouraging and supportive husband (Hammer) for what would only be the beginning of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s notable accomplishments.
Directed by Mimi Leder (Pay It Forward, TV’s The Leftovers) from a screenplay written by first time screenwriter Daniel Stiepleman, Leder does a pretty great job at the helm of ‘On The Basis Of Sex’ capturing the tone, struggle and reward of Ruth’s work and achievements. The film also benefits a great deal from the talented and well selected cast that includes Felicity Jones (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), Armie Hammer (Free Fire), Justin Theroux (The Girl on the Train), Jack Reynor (Detroit), Cailee Spaeny (Bad Times At The El Royale), Stephen Root (Office Space), Sam Waterston (Miss Sloane) and Kathy Bates (The Highwaymen) along with more, nearly all offering highly capable performances in each of their respective roles and helping to make this emotional and incredibly human true story wok as well as it does.
‘On The Basis Of Sex’ is an engaging, entertaining and generally well-constructed tale inspired by a collection of noteworthy moments in the career of the famous Ruth Bader Ginsburg, delving into her supportive and loving family relationship, as well as the various struggles and hurdles she refused to let defeat her during her challenging start to a career in law. As beautiful, encouraging and touching as it can be upsetting, the film does a pretty competent job of exploring the constant bias and discrimination Ruth faced while trying to do something as simple as merely work, and how it eventually led to some crucial and necessary changes in the government and throughout the country itself. Director Mimi Leder does a great job guiding along the powerful story and her capable work behind the camera is further complimented by a talented cast led by Felicity Jones who does a commendable job portraying Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I would definitely encourage anyone with an interest in the true story that serves as its basis, as well as fans of the talented cast to try and give ‘On The Basis Of Sex’ a shot whenever you find the chance. It’s a well-made biography for the most part that does some justice to the true life individual and also keeps things entertaining enough to ensure you remain intrigued. It should certainly be worth taking the time to watch, at least at some point down the road whenever it might be convenient.
Overall, ‘On The Basis Of Sex’ is a heartwarming and moving real life story inspired by a dedicated and talented woman that’s certainly well worth taking the time to check out. Boosted by a well selected cast led by Felicity Jones as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, it’s a touching exploration of the drastic change one woman was able to accomplish by refusing to give up. ‘On The Basis Of Sex’ is recommended, especially for fans of the key cast and particularly for those interested in the life, career and struggles of the real Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It may not be entirely necessary to make sure you get your hands on this one immediately if you’re only casually interested to begin with, but for those already thoroughly intrigued by the film and looking forward to it, odds are it shouldn’t have any trouble proving well worth two hours of your time and the price of a rental.
The Blu-ray release of ‘On The Basis Of Sex’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks wonderful altogether and delivers a clean, sharp and richly detailed video presentation from start to finish, with no notable faults or issues to be uncovered throughout; holding up perfectly even during the slightly darker and more heavily populated scenes. Overall, this is a great high definition video presentation from Universal that looks great every step of the way and should more than please both fans of the film and first time viewers.
The Blu-ray release features a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack makes for a nice compliment to the film and offers a clean, crisp and occasionally somewhat active audio presentation throughout. While never overly aggressive in its presentation due to the film’s content, it occasionally takes advantage of all five available channels in order to send nature elements, bits of crowd chatter and other subtle bits of activity throughout the various speakers whenever appropriate, and never conflicting with any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously. Overall, this is a solid 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that delivers in every way required of it and shouldn’t disappoint.
The Blu-ray release of ‘On The Basis Of Sex’ features a few brief extras in the way of some Behind the Scenes Featurettes that explore bringing the true tale to life, including interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more. The included Featurettes are ‘A Supreme Team: Making On The Basis Of Sex’ (running approximately 6 minutes in length), ‘Legacy of Justice’ (running approximately 3 minutes) and ‘Martin and Ruth: A Loving Partnership’ (approximately 3 minutes).