On the Basis of Sex Review


Kira Patton, Staff Reporter

People of all ages packed the 4:30 Tuesday movie theater. Many I’m sure are here for the AP extra credit, or because it’s Tuesday and it’s only six-dollars and seven cents, half of the usual twelve dollar ticket! I was the latter, plus the preview of “On the Basis of Sex” intrigued me and you can always learn more about RBG. The movie began when Ruth, or Kiki—given at a young age for being a kicky baby and called by many close to her—was in Harvard Law School. The scenes that took place early on with the Dean of the Law school highlighted what it was like, not too long ago may I add, when gender inequality was everywhere. The Law school only had maybe eight women, and even in the welcoming speech, men and their roles were the underlying core of the Graduate school. Fast forward through early significant events and challenges: husband with cancer, parenting and school work. During Martin’s (Marti’s) recovery, Ruth’s dedication to her husband’s studies, her own, as well as to her family was very touching. I gained a lot of respect and admiration for Ruth’s strong work ethic and perseverance specifically during a scene where she is juggling with the baby crying, typing Marti’s paper while he recites it, and working on her own studies after an already long day. Ruth was a professor at Rutgers University Law School and eventually became the first permanent female professor at Columbia University at the time of the Vietnam war. During this time she learns of a case in Denver with a man who faced charges in his taxes that related to him taking care of his mother while keeping a job and never having been wed. This case allowed for Ruth to argue sex discrimination; instead of the case being against women, it was discriminatory to men. This case provided many setbacks for Ruth and her team, with detrimental consequences and forces pushing for her to fail.

After leaving the theater my initial and overall reaction was: wow. The film was powerful, moving, and sweet, a combination that I feel gives a film about someone unique and personalized. It was really an aspiring movie as well as a fascinating portrayal of the times, the social norms and how society perceived the sexes, the culture, and the cool of the times outfits. Well done on the costumes. I thought the writing and cast was spot on, Felicity Jones was a very believable Ruth. A quirky height difference compared to Marti (Armie Hammer) with innocence as well as fierceness. This made the struggles Ruth took upon realistic and add to the story. The cinematography and directing captured essential feelings and themes that I thought made the movie more interesting and less documentary like.

The shot of Ruth walking past the sea of men in suits on their way to work gave the visual impression of the reality of working as a woman during the time. Budding through the tall black suit and brief-cased men while wearing a colorful flowy skirt and ribbon in her hair juxtaposed the sexes as well as highlighting inequality.

The directing of the film captures a fair amount of Ruth’s early life. Beginning school as well as a new mom and wife and through the years moving through her children growing up and issues between parent and kid and “To Kill a Mockingbird” homework. This made Ruth’s family and lifestyle feel like the common family, someone we can all relate to.

Overall if you’re contemplating what to do for a night out to buy overpriced hot dogs and eat popcorn filled with popcorn you can smell from the entrance (hey I’m not judging, I like my popcorn to be nicely buttered), then I highly suggest you see “On the Basis of Sex” while you’re at it.