Movie: On The Basis Of Sex (2019)

All the spoilers all the time.  You have been warned!

My Thoughts While Watching:

Sometimes a movie comes along and it smacks with the realization that progress is a slow moving beast.  For me, this is one of those movies.

Felicity Jones was amazing in this movie.

During the movie there was a “sexy scene” that was queuing up.  I looked at E and said “I do not want to see a naked Ginsburg.”  Funnily, closer to the end, there was another scene for which I said “Ok, I am ok with that Ginsburg being naked.”

I loved the line “It’s not a movement if everyone’s just sitting.”

There was a billboard for Cosmo that stood out to me while they walked down the street.  I cannot find a film reference for this shot online.  I thought maybe it popped for me because it was a reference to something.  Would like to find out if it actually is…

There was a continual theme of the color blue throughout the movie.  Blue hues, blue deco, blue clothes.  At the end, the real Ruth walks up SCOTUS stairs in blue.  I hope to find more reading on the coloration of the film and why there is a theme of blue throughout.

There are a few other things that I want to do more research on, I may do a follow up blog in the future or as an “extra” during Women’s History Month…

If ever you would be interested in what RGB’s favorite records are, they can be found HERE.

Extra facts on a few of the “players” within this story:

  • Marty Ginsburg:  In addition to also being an renowned tax lawyer, he taught law at New York University, Stanford University, University of Chicago, Georgetown University, Harvard and Columbia.  He was a star on Harvard’s golf team. He married Ruth once she graduated from Cornell.  He was a ROTC officer and shortly after was called up for active duty, stationed at Ft Sill, Oklahoma.  He had a degree in Chemistry but returned to school to study law. His firm represented Ross Perot and during that time the two became close friends.  When President Carter nominated Ruth, Perot was one of the people Marty reached out to market the nomination.  He passed away in 2010 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
  • Mel Wulf:  Upon his retirement, Wulf had been a lawyer 54 years, including 15 with the ACLU (1962-1977).  He was a graduate of Columbia.  He was the attorney in a number of cases regarding intellectual property which made their way to SCOTUS.  Information regarding Wulf online is a little sparce.  I did find an interesting interview with Rutgers.  If you are interested, click: HERE
  • Dorothy Kenyon:  When I watched the movie, I looked at her with “modern” eyes.  Kenyon was born in 1888! During the era of McCarthy’s hunt for communists, she was accused of being affiliated with 28 communist front organizations.  I plan to read more about her…
  • Erwin Griswold:  OMG to hate a person and not actually know them…  Griswold was an attorney for 60 years, serving as the president of the BAR Association.  He argued several cases before SCOTUS.  He was the Solicitor General under two Presidents.  He was the Dean of Harvard Law for more than two decades.  He was considered as a candidate for SCOTUS but never made it onto the bench.  I have to wonder if it chaffed his ass that Ruth made it.  I hope it did.  “How do you justify taking a spot from a qualified man?”  That question was not “created” for the Hollywood version of her life, it is an actual quote.
  • Jim Bozarth:  According to “The preparation for the case was also different on both sides. For one thing, Jim Bozarth (Jack Reynor) never turned to the Pentagon for help compiling Appendix E, though another member of the Department of Justice’s team did. The infamous addendum, which included every provision of the U.S. Code that differentiated on the basis of sex, also came after their court date in Denver, when the Ginsburgs’ former dean, Erwin Griswold, now U.S. solicitor general, petitioned the court to reverse its decision. The appendix was attached to his appeal—and was, according to De Hart, “a monumental accomplishment, because there were no computers in law offices at the time. The only way the solicitor general could have generated his list, the Ginsburgs concluded, was by using computers at the Department of Defense.” 

Some Interviews and Extra Video:

IMDB Synopsis: The true story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, her struggles for equal rights, and the early cases of a historic career that lead to her nomination and confirmation as U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice.


Felicity Jones  Felicity Jones Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Armie Hammer  Armie Hammer Martin Ginsburg
Justin Theroux  Justin Theroux Mel Wulf
Sam Waterston  Sam Waterston Erwin Griswold
Kathy Bates  Kathy Bates Dorothy Kenyon
Cailee Spaeny  Cailee Spaeny Jane Ginsburg

Director: Mimi Leder 


My ranking scores –

0-19 Levels of: Ugh

20-39 Levels of: Meh (aka I cannot reach the remote)

40-59 Levels of: I don’t hate it?

60-85 Levels of: That was solid.

86-100 Levels of: I Loved It!

I rank this movie a 97.48!



Additional Movie Info:

It received a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 71% Fresh.  It received a Rotten Tomato audience rating of 71% liking it.  Average Rating: 3.6/5 with a number of User Ratings: 1,293.

Movie Reviews:

Specs:  Release date: 11 January 2019 (USA) / Runtime: 120 minutes / Budget: $20M

IMDB Trivia:

  • Received 17 votes on 2014’s Blacklist competition, which ranks the best unproduced scripts of that year.
  • Daniel Stiepleman – the writer of the film – is Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s nephew.
  • The first case covered in Ginsburg’s contracts class when she was a student at Harvard Law School was Hawkins v. McGee (1943). This was also the first case covered in the contracts class in The Paper Chase (1973), also set at Harvard Law School.
  • Following an argument between Jane and Ruth, Jane retreats to her room and cranks up her stereo. Martin goes in to her room to comfort her, turns down the stereo, and tells her how Ruth grew up being taught to question everything. The song Jane was playing was “Question” by The Moody Blues.
  • The French title for the film is “Une Femme d’Exception” which translates to “An Exceptional Woman”
  •  men, is the most popular Harvard fight song: “Ten Thousand Men of Harvard”.
  • At the end they say that 3 people voted against Ruth Bader Ginsburg for the Supreme Court. One of the men was North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms who was a conservative republican.

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