On The Basis Of Sex

February 4, 2019

It’s fair to presume that US President Donald Trump will not be rushing to see the new movie ON THE BASIS of SEX opening soon in Australia.

That’s because it is a true story of an 85-year-old woman he despises.

Today, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, famous for her diminutive stature, serious demeanour and long pauses, is a liberal icon in America.

Put simply, in spite of her age she refuses to retire from the bench thwarting Trump’s ability to cement the court’s conservative majority with the appointment of his third justice.

It’s why much of the US held its collective breath last December when she had cancerous growths removed from her lung which were discovered after she suffered fractured ribs in a fall in her office. She recovered.

It is the inspiring story of the now Justice Ginsberg when, as a spirited and extraordinary young mum and struggling lawyer, brought a case before the US Supreme Court in 1975 that would overturn more than a century of gender discrimination.

When Ruth takes on a ground-breaking tax case with her husband, attorney Martin Ginsburg, she knows it could change the direction of her career and the way the courts view gender discrimination which it did.

This point of her career is documented in the upcoming film ‘On The Basis of Sex’ which also chronicles the storybook-like romance between Ruth and Marty, a partnership that succeeded both personally and professionally.

British actor Felicity Jones plays the young lawyer with Armie Hammer in the role of her husband who died in 2010.

Academy Award-nominated Jones is fresh from her critically acclaimed performance in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story .

“I’ve been looking for a part like this for years,” she says. “It’s one in which a female character is fiercely devoted to what she does, but at the same time, explores the fuller sense of her life and character.”

Director Mimi Leder says she had a visceral response upon reading the script, inspired by a true story and written by Daniel Stiepleman, who is also Justice Ginsburg’s real-life nephew.

Leder was especially drawn to the human side of the formidable Supreme Court Justice.

“She’s someone who we know is absolutely ground-breaking and one of the most influential political figures of our time,” she says.

“But what’s most important to be reminded of is that she’s a human being and it was very important for me and the filmmakers to bring out her humanity and show her as a real person,” she stresses.

“I have to make this movie,” Leder recalls. “I have to tell this story. I immediately identified with Justice Ginsburg’s journey to who she was meant to be.”

Leder also felt a certain connection with Ginsburg.

“I wanted to tell her story because I, too, have felt adversity and discrimination and have fought hard for jobs that lesser men have gotten,” she says.

“I felt a commonality in our journeys, both being mothers, Jewish women, having a very long love affair and equal partnership with our husbands. I’ve been in a 32-year marriage. Justice Ginsburg had a very long marriage, that was so full of love and equality that really spoke to our film and spoke to the metaphor of the movie.”

Producer Robert Cort said the said the film was the origin story of one of the great women of our times.

When we first meet her in the film, Ruth is attending Harvard Law School along with her husband, Marty. As she learns to balance life as a mother with her role as a law student, Ruth faces adversity in a male-dominated, often hostile environment, in which she is only one of nine women in her class.

“I say ‘origin story’ with a real specificity of the world of superheroes, because Ruth, in many ways, is our superhero,” he explains.

On The Basis of Sex hits cinemas on February 7.

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