Critic Consensus: RBG might be preaching to the choir of viewers who admire Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, but it does so effectively.
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Critic Reviews for RBG
At the same time, although West and Cohen get around to the version of Ginsburg that has become a meme for Millennials and a symbol of resistance, the greater part of the film celebrates her tireless determination.
I left the theatre informed, inspired, and eager to go to sleep at a normal hour.
Ginsburg emerges as a woman of remarkable intelligence and fortitude - who can get by on very little sleep.
What emerges is an intriguing portrait of a woman described as shy and retiring but with "a quiet magnetism," a work horse and a master legal strategist.
One thing's for sure: She's still standing. May she stay strong.
Audience Reviews for RBG
A fine documentary, this show about the life and career of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is also about developing the law, and through it a nation, intelligently and according to fairness, justice and principle. In their dealings with Ginsburg, leaders from both sides could find common ground; there is plenty of wit and humour. You see good for the future, in all of the young people and especially women, who are inspired and taught by Ginsburg's example, her advocacy in the Supreme Court, her majority judgments and her dissents. Ginsburg's legal achievements are told simply and clearly, her life story and marriage with touching emotion. Plus, she has excellent fashion sense, is a workout inspiration and right up to date with social media. Though Justice Ginsburg is described as having a retiring personal manner, when interviewed she gives fearless, razor-sharp observations and displays keen comic timing; she is sparing with words, and the film delivers these items sparingly. It would have benefited from some more: maybe that leaves a thirst. Every potential office-holder, say, all senior high school students - should have this item on their curriculum. For women, but not only women, aspiring in the law, but actually in any field, this is an excellent manual on leadership.
My 73 year old neighbor and I were both quite underwhelmed by this. Her critique was that, even at 97 minutes, witnessing Ruth Bader Ginsberg's ascension to the supreme court in real life seemed to take less time than watching this movie. I wasn't inclined to disagree, as some sections of this documentary on one of our greatest champions of gender equality almost made me nod off on a full stomach of cold press coffee. I haven't watched a limited release documentary with such production value this bad for quite a few years. Let's get one thing perfectly clear, Ruth Bader Ginsberg is an American hero and one of the few voices of sanity in our government today. Her hard work and cunning in the court has left an indelible mark on our legal (and thus political) landscape, but watching the rejected editing staff of Buzzfeed usher her as the "Notorius R.B.G." into meme world reminds me too much of Bill and Ted introducing Napoleon to ice cream. I get that Julie Cohen and Betsy West need to find a way to incentivize younger audiences to be engaged with Bader Ginsberg's legacy, but by the end it comes off as superficial and hollow. It doesn't help that we have esteemed character witnesses Bill Clinton and Antonin Scalia attesting to her greatness. When you get down to it, Ruth Bader Ginsberg is not a terribly interesting subject. She's led a life of highly restrained conflict, incremental accomplishment, and due professional respect. She made a very normal nuclear family, exceptional mostly for her grindstone work ethic that helped her through the fledgling years after college, her first child, and her husband's battle with cancer. After the five minutes covering that time period, the rest of her life doesn't make for riveting cinema, especially when the most compelling focus subsequent to this is courtroom oration on landmark cases. The film ultimately becomes unfocused, vacillating between her enjoyment of opera and how American politics has declined around her in the past few decades, then stuff about her family, then her watching SNL, and a paralegal sorority girl talks about getting RBG "merch". Just read her Wikipedia page, and spare yourself the almost parodical banality.
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