Friday, May 11, 2018

A supreme court justice and an icon

Directors Julie Cohen and Betsy West make little attempt to hide their affection and respect for Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in RBG, a documentary about a jurist who has become an icon of feminism, intelligence, and independence. The directors' approach would be unbearable if Ginsburg weren’t worthy of veneration born of a keen intellect and natural personal charm. One of the movie’s strengths is that it highlights the relationship between RBG and her late husband, Marty Ginsburg. They met as students at Cornell and spent 56 years in a marriage in which two very different attorneys (he was a tax lawyer) managed to support one another, and in which Marty's wit often proved a saving grace. Ginsburg, of course, was a groundbreaker. She attended Harvard Law School when women didn't find much representation in the nation's law schools, a gender wall Ginsburg helped topple along with a variety of other impediments to equality for women. And if the film is right, no one — male or female — should expect to outwork Ginsburg, who still works out at age 85 and isn’t afraid to burn the midnight oil. Even Ginsburg's detractors, who get short shrift here, would have to admit that RBG is formidable, whether on the bench or away from the court. Spending time with her proves a real pleasure.

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