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On The Basis of Sex Movie Review

If your kids are a little older and you’re looking for something fun, educational and inspirational to do this holiday break, take them to the see On the Basis of Sex movie followed by a tour of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg exhibit – Notorious RBG – at the Skirball Cultural Center.

On the Basis of Sex follows RBG’s life from the time she begins law school at Harvard to her arguing her first big legal case – one of the most important for women’s rights.

When Ruth (Felicity Jones) arrives at Harvard in the 1950’s she’s one of only nine women in her class. She’s invited to a dinner at the home of the Harvard dean and the women are asked to stand and tell the table why they chose to attend Harvard and take the spot from a man. In spite of all this, she excels, making the law review even after she has to take not just her classes, but also her husband Marty’s (Armie Hammer) after he’s diagnosed with cancer. And did I mention they also had a baby and toddler at the time? 

Ruth and Marty’s great love story is at the heart of the film. Their romance is an ideal that we should all strive for; he is her biggest champion. While he is often the most charismatic person in the room, he knows she is the smartest.

When he graduates college, he can get any job he’d like where Ruth is constantly turned away. She was born to practice law, but can’t find anyone to hire her in New York so she takes a teaching job at Rutgers.

By then it’s the 70s and times are changing. Ruth’s daughter Jane believes the way to make change is to take to the streets. Ruth believes it must happen by changing the law. One of the things I love about this movie is the respect that the family shows for one another. Even when they’re arguing, they’re listening to each other’s ideas.

When Ruth takes on the case that changes everything, it’s a family affair. Marty shows her the case of Charles Moritz, a bachelor taking care of his elderly mother who is denied a caregiver tax deduction because he is a man. It’s sex-based discrimination and if Ruth can win the case it could set the precedent for other cases in the future.

On the Basis of Sex is entertaining while also sharing the history of a time that some kids might not know about. In the early 70s a woman could be fired from her job for being pregnant, Ruth tells her students. You see ideas changing (and Ruth’s fantastic outfits) with the times.

The film, which is playing in Los Angeles now and and opens everywhere else on January 11th, covers a short period in the incredible woman’s life.

To learn more, head over to the Skirball Cultural Center to see the exhibit, Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The exhibit, which is on display from now until March 10th, 2019, celebrates the life of one of the most influential legal minds of our time and coincides with the 25th anniversary of her appointment to the Supreme Court.

It’s based on the New York Times bestselling book of the same name. Through photographs, art, media stations and documents, learn about her life growing up in Brooklyn, her groundbreaking legal cases and her personal relationships. And don’t forget to take your picture wearing her “dissent” collars.

For more information on the exhibit and tickets pricing, visit the Skirball.org.

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