RBG (2018)

rbg poster 2018 movie documentary ruth bader ginsburg
9.0 Overall Score

A rounded look at a controversial but influential lawmaker


Movie Info

Movie Name:  RBG

Studio:  CNN Films

Genre(s):  Documentary

Release Date(s):  January 21, 2018 (Sundance)

MPAA Rating:  PG

rbg notorious ruth bader ginsburg crown

She’s notorious!

When Ruth Bader Ginsburg entered Harvard Law School in the 1950s, she was a minority.  Women were thought to be better suited for the home and the idea of a woman lawyer to many was laughable.  Ginsburg set to prove them wrong.  A successful attorney, Ginsberg took on gender discrimination cases that many other lawyers wouldn’t have considered and eventually was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1993.  Now, Ginsberg once again finds herself a minority among the other Supreme Court justices…and is becoming the Notorious R.B.G.!

Directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen, RBG is a documentary about the life and career of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (born Joan Ruth Bader in 1933).  The film initially premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2018 and found critical acclaim.  The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary and Best Original Song (“I’ll Fight”).

As the war in Washington ramps up again, Ginsberg has gained prominent importance.  Always a visionary, Ginsburg is the perfect subject for a documentary because regardless what you feel about her position on politics, she has played an important role in shaping the United States.

rbg husband martin ruth bader ginsburg

The man behind her…

The film jumps around a bit on the telling of Ginsburg’s story, but it primarily is linear which helps make it attainable.  The filmmakers interviewed not only Ginsburg, but her “enemies” and her friends who have known her over the years.  From her early childhood to the loss of her husband Martin Ginsburg in 2010, the movie mixes the personal life of Ginsburg with court cases she both prosecuted and oversaw.

The movie makes a point of highlighting Ginsburg’s relationship with the ultra-conservative Antonin Scalia who passed in 2016 which also helps show that politics can be separated from personal if efforts are made.  Their public friendship seems rare, but I suspect from the movie that more of these cross-party friendships exist in Washington…something that should be celebrated instead of hidden.

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DC’s odd couple

The movie also dips into some of Ginsburg’s admitted mistakes.  Ginsburg shocked people by speaking out against Trump before his election, and she was forced to admit that she should not have done that.  It was an error in judgment, and her own personality should have been enough to demonstrate that she wasn’t a fan of Trump to most…but it also explain why she has the nickname the Notorious R.B.G.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was elected to the Supreme Court with a vote of 96 to 3…something unheard of today when the bipartisan politics force senators to vote in the direction of their party or to “not” vote to seat a nomination.  It is a sad state in Washington in a position that really shouldn’t be politicized but cannot help but be politicized.  With ailing health but a strong personality, Ginsburg will undoubtedly go down swinging…notoriously.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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