The Tomatometer rating – based on the published opinions of hundreds of film and television critics – is a trusted measurement of movie and TV programming quality for millions of moviegoers. It represents the percentage of professional critic reviews that are positive for a given film or television show.
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The Tomatometer is 60% or higher.
The Tomatometer is 59% or lower.
Movies and TV shows are Certified Fresh with a steady Tomatometer of 75% or higher after a set amount of reviews (80 for wide-release movies, 40 for limited-release movies, 20 for TV shows), including 5 reviews from Top Critics.
Percentage of users who rate a movie or TV show positively.
As a trailblazing figure, Ruth Bader Ginsburg deserves a knockout biopic about her life. Instead she gets... a serviceable, but by no means extraordinary origin story of a pre-Supreme Court RBG as she begins to shape her legacy.
We are invited by the filmmakers to regard Ginsburg as a saint in the making who also happens to be a real person. It's the kind of "tribute" that is actually a disservice because it flattens out a complex human being.
Worth seeing, not only as a tribute to the jurist nicknamed "Notorious RBG" but for the welcome context that it provides... As a drama, though, the film is just a bit too thin to warrant much more than ending up on the favorable side of a split decision.
If it pleases the court, I'd argue that there's one big problem with this honorable attempt to tell us who Ruth Bader Ginsburg is: There's too much material. RBG's life is not a movie; it's a miniseries.
A winning, inspirational crowd-pleaser à la Hidden Figures, Leder's film follows the early accomplishments of the young Ginsburg (an assured Felicity Jones, convincingly slipping into the trailblazer's shoes), beginning in 1956.
On the Basis of Sex mostly avoids hero-worship in recreating the shameful truth of where the country was a half-century earlier and the importance of Ginsburg in the legal aspect of the shift that continues to this day.
With few modifications, "On the Basis of Sex" could have been made 30 years ago, and its rousing portrait of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg would be a cheesy tearjerker with purpose. Today, it's out of touch.