RBG

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Living - - ARTS & CIMEMA - AINE O’CON­NOR

Club Cert; Now show­ing, IFI

Some­times on any jour­ney the ten­dency is to fo­cus on how much ground is left to be cov­ered, but some­times it’s re­ally good to pause and ap­pre­ci­ate how far we have come.

This ex­cel­lent doc­u­men­tary by Betsy West and Julie Co­hen looks at the life of Ruth Bader Gins­burg, the quiet pow­er­house who has for more than half a cen­tury been at the fore­front of the bat­tle for equal­ity.

It sounds dry, but the Amer­i­can Supreme Court jus­tice with the pop icon moniker No­to­ri­ous RBG is not only a fas­ci­nat­ing sub­ject, but a tremen­dously en­gag­ing one.

There’s a par­tic­u­larly lovely mo­ment to­wards the end where the tiny 84-year old gig­gles when she is shown the Satur­day Night Live ver­sion of her­self. It is ab­so­lutely not ac­cu­rate, she says, but it is funny.

Be­cause of the cases and causes she has fought dur­ing her le­gal ca­reer, RBG is re­garded as a lib­eral rot­tweiler. But the real wo­man, while su­per­hu­manly driven, is re­served in man­ner and be­liefs; her cru­sade has not been a po­lit­i­cal one, so much as a pro­found be­lief in fair­ness and equal­ity.

She grad­u­ated from law school in 1957 as one of the top stu­dents, even though she not only had a baby at home but a hus­band who had cancer.

But not a sin­gle law firm in New York em­ployed women then, so RBG had to be­gin break­ing the bar­ri­ers that blocked the way.

She has been in­stru­men­tal in chang­ing so much of what we now take for granted; this in­sight into the wo­man be­hind the law is ut­terly charm­ing.

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