RBG: A Legacy Captured in Film

RBG: A Legacy Captured in Film

This past Friday, one of our world’s greatest heroes, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, passed away. It’s devastating, but I take a very small bit of comfort in the fact that we are lucky enough to have her legacy captured in film. 

In 2018, the movie On The Basis of Sex opened at the box office. Felicity Jones expertly played Ruth Bader Ginsburg as she fought to dismantle the laws that allowed, and even encouraged, discrimination against women. From The Imitation Game to Rocketman, these past few years have seen the immergence of a number of movies based on the true stories of interesting people, and they are great in their own right, but this one hits differently. Every woman I know who saw On the Basis of Sex left the theater feeling empowered, like they could change the world because they saw one person do it. One person. But not just any person. A woman who fought tooth and nail to change the future for the generation watching this movie so that they could live fairer lives under the protection of the law. That’s a remarkable feat, but then again, Ruth was a remarkable woman and this is a fantastic movie.

A few months earlier, a documentary called RBG was released to a limited number of theaters. It covers most of Ruth’s life and includes fantastic footage and insight into the pieces of her personality that led to her many successes. Being a documentary, it’s less dramatic than On the Basis of Sex, but just as inspiring and thrilling because it gives a first hand account of Ruth’s life, from all angles. Through interviews, it shows the perspective of her kids, her grandkids, her friends, her colleagues, and many other people who hovered around her, watching in awe as she spent decades fighting for equality. And then you have the moments where Ruth is sitting in a chair, small in stature, but large in presence, humbly explaining her life’s work and basking in the joy of old footage that the documentarians dug up. Even those who have total disdain for documentaries will be moved by RBG.

I encourage everyone to watch at least one of these movies this week. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg improved the lives of every person in her generation and every generation afterwards. There are not many people who have such an incredible impact, and her story deserves to be told. 

Once you watch them, you’ll realize that Ruth worked day and night to fight for the rights of every American. Her husband often had to remind her to step away from her desk, come home, and eat a meal. Even during her final hours, she put others before herself, requesting that her granddaughter relay a message to withhold the vote for her replacement until the next President is sworn into office. We can honor her memory, her fight, and her strength by making our own voices heard. So please, vote.

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