Parents' Guide to

Ruth: Justice Ginsburg in Her Own Words

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Earnest but dry RBG docu celebrates a legend.

Movie NR 2021 89 minutes
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For a celebrated hero like RBG, you can't make a movie about her life that doesn't impress at some level. But Frieda Lee Mock's documentary doesn't quite do justice to the Justice. The title suggests that Mock interviewed Justice Ginsburg and that she's going to reflect on her life for us. Instead, the film repurposes archival interviews, trial audio recordings, and CSPAN-type footage to hear RBG speak the truth of her experience. She was measured with her words, so viewers get glimmers of insights about how she felt, but overall, the film doesn't offer too much new information. However, viewers do get a deeper understanding of Ginsburg's origin story as a voice for the oppressed when she speaks about how deeply she was influenced by the anti-Semitism she experienced as a child in the United States during World War II.

The gushiness of the film's approach may be shared by most RBG fans, but it isn't conducive to learning about her in a truly objective way. And while the film's style -- using grainy videos and pencil drawings -- will interest news-minded adults, it may be more difficult to engage kids and teens. Although the film is being released after RBG's death, no adjustments were edited into the segment about her vitality, which highlights her fitness routine and her excellent health. It feels a bit discordant, since we now know she was battling the cancer that eventually took her life (and the harsh reality that she was quickly replaced with a Justice who didn't share her values). Bottom line? It won't be especially compelling for kids, but for those researching Ginsburg, the collection of audio clips is a treasure.

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