RBG

In Cinemas Now

Hero. Icon. Dissenter.

Documentary on the life and work of US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg whose legal legacy changed the world for women. Now, at 85, RBG continues to fight for equal rights and has become an unexpected cultural icon. Through interviews and unprecedented access to Ginsburg’s life outside the court, RBG tells the story of Ginsburg’s love affairs with both the Constitution and her beloved husband Marty.

Trailers

Directed by

  • Julie Cohen('American Veteran', 'The Sturgeon Queens', 'Pedro Ruiz: Coming Home')
  • Betsy West(feature debut)

Documentary, Festival & Independent

98mins

Rating: PG Coarse language

USA

Piecing together interviews, public appearances and archive footage spanning her career, RBG is a concise and surprisingly intimate portrait of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second female justice to ever be confirmed to the United States Supreme court and one of the most significant and influential women in modern political history.

Shot by filmmakers Julie Cohen and Betsy West during her 85th year (and her 25th on the bench), RBG tells the story of Ginsburg’s considerable accomplishments. From the almost unheard of feat of graduating law school as a woman and a mother in the 1950’s to her contemporary status as a pop culture icon, it is a truly remarkable story told with true affection.

Most striking is the sheer scale of West and Cohen’s access. Ginsburg is interviewed with her granddaughter who refers to her as “bubbie”; shown reading aloud letters from her late husband; and, most amazingly, observed at the gym, working out with her trainer.

Where it falters perhaps, is in West and Cohen’s apparent unwillingness to truly pick a side politically. Certainly, Ginsburg’s ideology is liberal, and the film - likely correctly - assumes that viewers will already be in agreement. Overall, however, RBG is remarkably centrist, cautious to remain balanced in representing both the right and the left, and applauding Ginsburg’s own talent for bi-partisan relationships.

Of course this is the tasteful choice: RBG takes the high-road, so to speak, and in doing so certainly reflects Justice Ginsburg’s own magnanimous temperament. Yet, as new battles - or the old ones, under a scarier, brasher guise - emerge for women, this is a somewhat harder pill to swallow.

With the US Supreme Court in the news for all the wrong reasons and American democracy in a state of total crises, RBG’s calm admiration of civility seems at best quaint, at worst vaguely delusional. Yet, however you frame it, Ginsburg’s story is one worth telling and her legacy one worth celebrating. Told simply and without fanfare, RBG is a fascinating and touching account of a woman who really did make history.

Collider

press

The documentary is at its best when it digs into how Ginsburg changed the legal landscape of America.

Hollywood Reporter

press

A documentary that, like its subject, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is eminently sober, well-mannered, highly intelligent, scrupulous and just a teeny-weeny bit reassuringly dull.

Variety (USA)

press

This spry celebration reveals that the real Ginsburg is neither beast nor badass, but an even-tempered, soft-spoken mediator-not typically the traits that inspire rousing high-fives

TimeOut (New York)

press

Finding reciprocity - in the eyes of the law, your partner, your colleagues - is the essence of this documentary, one that comes at a moment that desperately lacks it.

Vulture

press

Even with such rich material, the movie can be a tad prosaic. But as you listen to Ginsburg read her words, you begin to perceive the secret of her power.

Los Angeles Times

press

This woman is a force, and the great service this clear-eyed and admiring documentary provides is to emphasise not just Ginsburg's work on the court but how extraordinarily influential she was before she even got there.

Rolling Stone

press

You may love or hate her, badmouth her or bow down to her. But you have to recognise the impact that Ruth Bader Ginsburg has made to the fabric of our country.

New York Times

press

The movie's touch is light and its spirit buoyant, but there is no mistaking its seriousness or its passion.

Sydney Morning Herald

press

Respectful rather than revealing.

Stuff.co.nz (Graeme Tuckett)

press

As a primer in recent history, and a reminder of how shockingly recent some victories for basic human rights have been in the "land of the free", RBG is a necessary and very recommended film. Bravo.