Film Reviews

Twice in the documentary "RBG," celebrating Ruth Bader Ginsburg's personal life and professional career, she quotes nineteenth-century abolitionist and suffragette Sarah Grimké, "I ask no favor for my sex. All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks." RBG's decades of legal work is testament to this lifetime commitment to human dignity and equality.

Now rereleased in honor of Ginsburg, "RBG" is a treat for its engaging and often surprising breadth and depth of content in a quick ninety minutes. Directors Betsy West and Julie Cohen masterfully interweave comments from RBG's son, daughter, granddaughter and friends with analysis from a heady group: President Bill Clinton, Judge Harry Edwards, NPR's Legal Commentator Nina Totenberg, Gloria Steinem, her personal trainer Bryant Johnson, clients and colleagues. But most of all, the most delightful voice is that of RBG herself who epitomizes confidence and intelligence.

She juggled children and career demands in law school, helped launch the ACLU's Women's Rights Project in 1971, testified six times before the Supreme Court beginning in the 1970s, served as Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, and then ascended to the Supreme Court in August 1993. Ruth's husband Marty was the ideal partner, fully supportive of his brilliant wife, never intimidated by her intelligence but, instead, thrilling to her success. Once Ruth sat on the Supreme Court, Marty did have to insist she come home late at night (or early in the morning) for dinner and a few hours' sleep. RBG's work ethic remained astonishing until her last days and her principled moral compass firmly and always on track.

As enchanting, Ruth Bader Ginsburg had a quick wit and an infectious sense of humor, though Marty more often cracked the jokes. Marty died in 2010 after his battle with cancer; RBG had survived multiple bouts with cancer herself until pancreatic cancer took her life this September 18. Throughout her amazing life and career, RBG modeled the values she put into action and that make her legacy a gift to all. “RBG” is available in select cinemas, on Amazon for purchase, and streaming through some university library platforms as well as on Hulu.

Related Articles

Sign Up for KDHX Airwaves newsletter