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Betsy West & Julie Cohen

Directors: Betsy West & Julie Cohen
Producers: Betsy West & Julie Cohen
Cinematography: Claudia Raschke
Editor: Carla Gutierrez
Composer: Miriam Cutler
Production Company: CNN Films
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
Release Date: May 4, 2018
Run-time: 97 minutes

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS: Octogenarian Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was sworn in as a Supreme Court justice in 1993, had spent her prior legal career battling laws that allowed gender discrimination. Supported by her devoted husband, a fellow lawyer, and their two children, Ginsburg becomes renowned for her tireless work ethic, liberal values and keen intellect.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is definitely a character. A small, quiet woman with a heart and drive more powerful than anyone would ever assume. Yes, we know her as the Supreme Court justice and the icon she has become today, with a younger generation rallying behind her as the liberal voice of equality, but her rise to that position makes for a great biographical adventure. From meeting her husband to her early court cases, we get a sense of the small beginnings she had and how an ordinary person could rise to the ranks, becoming one of the most powerful judges in the country. Hearing her son and daughter speak of her so affectionately also shows that she did not have to sacrifice her home life to pursue her dream of changing the country.

Despite still rallying behind the Mister Rogers documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” which failed to secure a nomination, I still believe “RBG” definitely deserves a place in the Oscar nominations. Both films deal with icons driving for change while pursuing their dreams. While Mister Rogers was attempting to give a voice to a younger generation, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was driving for equality among sexes. But Morgan Neville’s touch with Mister Rogers had me in tears while the team behind “RBG” offered a straightforward documentary with many personal touches.

When speaking about films nominated in the Best Documentary Feature category, I often echo the sentiment that to win this category it should be a documentary that pushes boundaries or offers a window into something we could never see otherwise. The best example of this would be “Restrepo” from 2010, which literally immerses you in a U.S. platoon in Afghanistan. and provides imagery that is once-in-a-lifetime. Similar is “The Act Of Killing,” which brings you face to face with communist Indonesian mass executioners as they reflect on their past transgressions. Under that litmus test, “RBG” falls somewhere in the middle as documentaries about prominent figures are quite personal and offer something unique in the fact that it tells the story of someone’s life from firsthand encounters and archival footage.

Does that compare to an Islamic man returning to his homeland, gaining the trust and insight of a radical Taliban supporter, and providing firsthand encounters with a jihadist? Or does it compare with the group of people that devote their lives to climbing mountains without harnesses and putting their wellbeing on the line in the process? As far as straightforward documentaries go, “RBG” is well-made and a story worth telling. But as far as moving me to action or making me feel anything (other than more respect for Justice Ginsburg), it’s not quite there. With a huge box office and people very high on the Justice these days, however, that could be enough to get it an Academy Award win.







Unless the Academy decides that Diane Warren is due after nine previous nominations, the song “I’ll Fight” from “RBG” is probably at the bottom of the totem pole. “Black Panther” and “Mary Poppins Returns” both appear to have better shots, but if anything is able to beat “A Star Is Born,” I will be completely surprised. Diane Warren has proven herself an extraordinary song writer, however, and this is definitely not the last time we’ve seen her.


1987 (60th) “Mannequin” Nominated Best Original Song
1996 (69th) “Up Close and Personal” Nominated Best Original Song
1997 (70th) “Con Air” Nominated Best Original Song
1998 (71st) “Armageddon” Nominated Best Original Song
1999 (72nd) “Music Of The Heart” Nominated Best Original Song
2001 (74th) “Pearl Harbor” Nominated Best Original Song
2014 (87th) “Beyond The Lights” Nominated Best Original Song
2015 (88th) “The Hunting Ground” Nominated Best Original Song
2017 (90th) “Marshall” Nominated Best Original Song


VIEWED: Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019



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