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On the Basis of Sex

Mimi Leder‘s biopic is about Ruth Bader Ginsberg‘s beginnings – her studies, her job as a professor, and the precedent case in which she enforced gender equality before the law for the first time.


A legion of suit wearers pour out of a classic, distinguished-seeming building. Harvard Law School. The next generation about to come into power, and they‘re almost entirely male. In the middle of it all, and only visible upon second glance, is a petite, red-haired woman who is walking just as purposefully: Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

Director Mimi Leder has drawn an image of a lawyer who turned the US legal system upside-down with broad, efficient strokes. Leder does away with the details when it comes to Ginsberg‘s private life. Ruth and her husband Martin are shown as a dream couple: in love, loving, and supportive. When he gets cancer, she goes to both their seminars and she never loses her patience. But it isn‘t about Ginsberg‘s private life, her career is what‘s interesting – the detours she has to take and the determination which she employs when fighting against legal discrimination. Despite her excellent grades there isn‘t a single law firm willing to hire her. “We recently hired a woman. We are a family business and the wives will get jealous.“ So Ginsberg takes a position as a professor and teaches instead of fighting for justice in court like she dreamt. Then one day an interesting tax case flutters on top of Martin‘s desk. Mr. Moritz in Denver made a tax deduction for the care cost for his old mother, whom he cared for alone. He was sued for reimbursement, since only wives and widows could get that money, but not bachelors. It‘s the legal precedent Ruth has been waiting for: a discrimination on the basis of sex – against a man!

Hendrike Bake

Translation: Elinor Lewy


Original title: On the Basis of Sex
USA 2018, 120 min
Language: English
Genre: Biography, Drama
Director: Mimi Leder
Author: Daniel Stiepleman
DOP: Michael Grady
Montage: Michelle Tesoro
Music: Mychael Danna
Distributor: eOne
Cast: Felicity Jones, Armie Hammer, Kathy Bates, Justin Theroux, Jack Reynor
Release: 07.03.2019




  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles

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