Rated: PG for some thematic elements and language. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: May 18, 2018 Released by: Magnolia Pictures
Diminutive, willful, groundbreaking Ruth Bader Ginsberg is the subject of this clear-sighted documentary from Julie Cohen and Betsy West.
In RBG the 85-year-old U.S. Supreme Court Justice (the second woman to hold the office) gets special treatment (though not really hagiographic) from the distaff filmmakers that strikes a chord, not just during a #MeToo Movement. At the outset the outspoken, independent-minded legalese who publicly criticized Donald Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign also gets plenty of verbal lashing from the right who wishes she would leave her precious post.
A modest, yet unwavering Brooklyn woman displays the drive and perseverance ("a quiet magnetism") to earn her way into Harvard Law School (after Cornell University) in the early 1950s, and then into the coveted Law Review. Her legal acumen and stratagems are put to task as a jurist and professor, also serving for the ALCU.
A gripping examination unfolds using typical genre tropes, the best being interviews with Ms. Ginsburg, who lost her husband, Marty, a prosperous tax attorney in 2010. How he was the love of her life way back from their courtship at Cornell where he was the only boy who saw beauty in her intellect. RBG excels in the personal domain (opera was really cherished) as Marty (not the unassuming type like his missus) pushed her in her strides towards equality and being part of landmark cases involving discrimination (even against men).
In a relatively short run-time an inspiring chronicle explains the social and legal upswings in society to the present with hurdles from a growing conservative court. Ruth's iconic generation-spanning prominence has been of a demurring nature in her position (like the late, infamous hip-hop artist with Notorious preceding her initials). Some of the noteworthy folks on view are Sen. Orrin Hatch, Anthony Scalia and former Pres. Bill Clinton (who nominated Ginsberg during his first term). Their perspectives manage to add insight into a workhorse who has accomplished so much, particularly during Marty's hardships.
In a country where arms are being used to continuous destructive effect (in Florida and Texas schools, e.g.), this two-time cancer survivor and gym rat (who wants to be around to work with a Democratic president) is a beacon for truth, justice, and the power of change.