RBG Movie Review
So apparently Ruth Bader Ginsburg is so popular and awesome—at least among liberal millennials—that she not only is known as the Notorious R.B.G. but is the subject of a critically acclaimed documentary—yes, called RBG—that explores her life, motivations and vigorous Crossfit routine.
The 85-year-old Supreme Court Justice is only one of four women to ever serve on the bench, and understandably had an interesting career in a traditionally male-driven business. Now a feminist hero who loves opera, lifting weights and writing dissents, Ginsburg makes a surprisingly solid candidate for a documentary—not because of her personal history, which is ripe for retelling, but for just how entertaining and adorable she is in an old, tiny woman kind of way.
An old, tiny woman who probably could crush you both physically and intellectually in a second.
From filmmakers Julie Cohen and Betsy West, RBG is a fast and furious look at the Justice, complete with a look at her law school days (she was by far the shortest person in her class), marriage, confirmation hearings and key cases, most notably revolving around women’s rights. Cohen and West blend humorous aspects of Ginsburg—she clearly has a sense of humor, and there is even a scene in which the filmmakers have her watch and react to Kate McKinnon’s SNL imitation—with her life’s achievements.
They clearly have reverence for their subject, and while RBG only sort of dabbles in politics, it clearly caters to the more progressive audience that has built Ginsburg into the unassuming superstar that she has become. I was hoping to see a bit more of how she reacted to grilling during her confirmation hearings in front of the Senate—according to the film, everyone only had nice things to say about her—and for the film to dive a little deeper into criticisms of her.
Despite viewing Ginsburg through rosy glasses, it’s hard to deny the tour de force that is Ruth Bader Ginsburg. RBG is an entertaining and informative documentary, and what more can you ask for from a doc about an 85-year-old Jewish Supreme Court Justice who can plank longer than you can.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.