Still, director Mimi Leder (working from a script by Ginsburg’s nephew, first-time screenwriter Daniel Stiepleman) feels like she’s checking off boxes in presenting a story we’ve seen, in one form or another, many times before. While the last act provides a thundering articulation of this moment in the feminist movement, it’s hard not to wish there was a bit more of that in the stately build-up to it.
“On the Basis of Sex” is still worth seeing, not only as a tribute to the jurist nicknamed “Notorious RBG” — particularly with renewed concerns about her health — but for the welcome context that it provides and the cerebral manner in which it explores the legal issues at play. The fact that Ginsburg has generally blessed the movie — never a given when Hollywood puts its stamp on actual events — should also add to its sizzle and credibility.
As a drama, though, the film is just a bit too thin to warrant much more than ending up on the favorable side of a split decision.
“On the Basis of Sex” premieres Dec. 25 in the US. It’s rated PG-13.