Last October, I complained that the movie Marshall needed to spend time with Thurgood Marshall’s entire body of work, rather than just one murder case. RBG, a documentary, does that but also becomes a hagiography(idealizes its subject) rather than a true biography. But, if you look hard enough, there is something for everyone. For conservatives, Bill Clinton admits selecting RBG to make law, her apology making her opinion of the President into a national story, and her friendship with Scalia. For history buffs, you will see her involvement in case after case seeking gender equality. For liberals, you will see her become Notorius RBG as she writes dissent after dissent.
In 1956, Ruth Bader Ginsburg entered Harvard Law School as one of nine women in a class of over 500. Ranked in the top 25, she became the first woman on Harvard Law Review. Despite her glittering academic credentials, she was unable to get a job at a major law firm in New York City. In 1963, she became a professor of law at Rutgers University. By 1972, she began work with the ACLU on gender discrimination cases. In 1980, Jimmy Carter appointed her to the US Court of Appeals. Bill Clinton recommended her appointment to the US Supreme Court in 1993.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is, of course, the star of the show. The problem is that she has a soft-spoken, reticent personality that, but for her writings, do not lend well to a movie. While giving all outward appearances of being a frail 85 year old, she apparently still works long hours and says she will continue to work until she can no longer do so. Besides Clinton, you will also hear from Arthur Miller, Gloria Steinem, and Kate McKinnon as she idolizes RBG on SNL.
This is not a “fun” movie to go see, but rather a movie with some historical importance. Many recognize RBG as the Thurgood Marshall of the women’s movement. Personally, I thought the best part of the movie was her ACLU years; the memes of recent years were just fluff that do nothing to advance her positions or change the minds of those with opposite philosophies. RBG deserves the accolades heaped on her as an attorney and Justice without all the silliness. While she clearly likes the attention, she acknowledges that she sees little of herself in the caricatures. Perhaps we will be treated to a more unbiased treatment of RBG in the future, one that will be more befitting of her legacy.