Betsy West's and Julie Cohen's RBG
Movie review by Dennis D. McDonald
SPOILER ALERT: if you dislike Ruth Bader Ginsburg's support for equal rights and the U.S. Constitution you might not like this film.
One of the most important points made by this impressive and entertaining documentary is how fortunate we are in the U.S. to still have citizens such as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg that believe in the importance of both the Constitution as well as public service.
As a documentary this film skillfully interweaves history with contemporary takes on Ginsburg‘s significance as a tireless advocate of individual and equal rights.
Ginsburg’s early success in cases involving women’s rights are justifiably emphasized here. Such beliefs in equality before the law might have been considered by some in bygone days as fundamentally “conservative.” Yet we still face today, as this film deftly illustrates, the uphill battle those who are discriminated against must continue to fight for equal treatment before the law.
RBG focuses on Ginsberg and her rise to fame, her appointment to the Supreme Court, and her career as a promoter of equal rights and now as a leading voice of dissent in the U.S. Supreme Court. One point made by the film is that Ginsburg has frequently been able to take advantage of her legal adversaries’ consistent underestimation of her fierce intelligence and tenacity.
Another impression is that she has no intention of retiring from the Supreme Court anytime soon. When she finally does go, we will have lost a tireless advocate for the Constitutional rights of individual U.S. citizens. We will have also lost an advocate for civility and respect for our basic democratic institutions.
In these troubled times, as we see respect for law and decency being systematically weakened by the current Administration, it is refreshing to be reminded that leaders do remain who respect – and seek to protect – positive social values.
Review copyright © 2018 by Dennis D. McDonald