Movie review: On The Basis Of Sex
I'm not sure how many here are that familiar with US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or the Notorious RBG as she's affectionately called.
At 85, she is the oldest sitting US Supreme Court justice, and a pop culture icon because of her lifelong dedication to the advancement of gender equality and women's rights.
If On The Basis Of Sex feels heavy-handed, it is deservingly so. This woman is, after all, a real-life American superhero.
So to see English rose Felicity Jones playing the diminutive trailblazing Brooklyn legal eagle is slightly disconcerting.
But her easy chemistry with Armie Hammer (portraying Ginsburg's beloved husband Marty) eases everything into place, especially when the film focuses on their solid, loving relationship.
Marty is a superstar tax lawyer and also Ginsburg's ardent supporter. He willingly takes a step back and even helps her shine - something frowned upon in the '60s and '70s.
The opening scene, showing Ginsburg as a lone woman in a sea of men marching up the stairs of Harvard Law School to the tune of Ten Thousand Men Of Harvard, sets the tone.
We then see her getting grilled by the dean (Sam Waterston) at a dinner for incoming female students on why they should take the place of a man.
She was one of nine women in a class of 500.
It does not matter if she's top of her class, sitting through Marty's class to take notes for him when he is diagnosed with testicular cancer or raising their young daughter, she is still harassed by her classmates and her professors are constantly condescending towards her.
The over-qualified Ginsburg also gets passed over for legal jobs because of her gender.
She finds an academia job only because her employer could not "find a black man, so a woman is the next best thing".
If you are familiar with the Rocky or Creed films, you will know how this movie unfolds, in a climactic fight - this one takes place in a courtroom, where Ginsburg battles for her client and her gender.
Anchoring this flat though inspiring story are the excellent performances, in particular Justin Theroux as Mel Wulf, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who gives Ruth her first case, and young Cailee Spaeny, who plays the Ginsburgs' fiery teenage daughter Jane. -3 Ticks
MOVIE: On The Basis Of Sex
STARRING: Felicity Jones, Armie Hammer, Justin Theroux, Cailee Spaeny, Sam Waterston
DIRECTOR: Mimi Leder
THE SKINNY: This biopic is based on the life and early cases of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Jones), from her struggles with gender discrimination in law school and after graduation to becoming a US legal powerhouse.
Movie reviews: Instant Family, The Old Man And The Gun
INSTANT FAMILY (NC16)
Loosely inspired by writer-director-producer Sean Anders' experiences, this comedy-drama from the man behind Daddy's Home and its sequel gives us a glimpse into the world of foster parenting.
The movie follows clueless married couple Pete (Mark Wahlberg) and Ellie's (Rose Byrne) journey to becoming adoptive parents.
They are ultimately won over by rebellious 15-year-old Lizzie (Isabela Moner), her clumsy younger brother Juan (Gustavo Quiroz) and temperamental little sister Lita (Julianna Gamiz).
The film does a great job depicting the harsh reality of the foster care system yet balances it out by keeping things light throughout, with jokes aplenty.
The storyline and performances hit all the right notes.
Instant Family is truly a perfect blend of heart-warming moments and unexpected heartaches that make adoption seem worthwhile. - 4 Ticks
- CHARMAINE SOH
THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN (PG13)
This crime dramedy - which opens here on Jan 17 - based on the story of Forrest Tucker (Robert Redford), whose definition of living is the thrilling activity of robbing banks.
That aside, he seems like a genuinely good guy, doting on his sweetheart Jewel (Sissy Spacek) and being kind to people.
However, that is not enough to assuage his desire to commit crime, and he is incarcerated no fewer than 17 times by the end of the movie.
To his credit, while he owns a gun, he has never once shot it - a testament to the strange benevolence of this criminal.
The cinematography is casually elegant, its pace is slow-moving, and its plot has a deep touch of humanity, in the styling of another more famous Forrest - Forrest Gump.
Redford shines as the conflicted protagonist. Near the end, we are led to believe - just for a moment - that with the love of a good woman, Forrest has changed. But in an act that is equal parts amusing, admirable and ridiculous, he proves that he has stayed just the same. - 4 Ticks
- JASMINE LIM
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