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Parents' Guide to

On the Basis of Sex

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Well-acted if uneven biopic about RBG's early life, career.

Movie PG-13 2018 120 minutes
On the Basis of Sex Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 8 parent reviews

age 9+

A must see for girls AND boys

Most of us take for granted that girls and boys should be treated equally. Not so long ago they weren’t. RBG is a heroine and her husband was her biggest supporter. Boys should watch to understand how being a good supportive husband Can help change the world.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
age 7+

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (8 ):
Kids say (7 ):

This sincere, well-acted biopic benefits from Jones' and Hammer's performances, but it's not as informative or extraordinary as the documentary RBG. The first part of the film, at Harvard, feels slightly unnecessary other than the fact that it lets the filmmakers showcase Jones going toe to toe with the likes of Sam Waterston and Stephen Root, who play a dean and a professor who underestimate the women the law school has deigned to admit. This slowest third of the movie also establishes what a dream of a husband Marty is to Ruth. It's clear, from their earliest scenes together, that the Ginsburgs have a remarkable marriage.

Director Mimi Leder, working from a script by Daniel Stiepleman (Ginsburg's nephew), picks up the pace in the second act once it's 1970 and the Ginsburgs start working on the case (Charles E. Moritz v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue) that puts her on the map as not only a law professor but an activist attorney. The character dynamics also ramp up because, by then, the Ginsburgs' oldest child, Jane (Cailee Spaeny), is an adolescent with her own feminist ideas, and the always entertaining Justin Theroux joins the proceedings as RBG's former camp friend/legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, Mel Wulf. On the Basis of Sex does a fine job capturing the early legal career of a feminist, legal, and cultural icon, but consider it a complement to -- not a substitute for -- documentaries and books about the legendary jurist.

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