The New “RBG” Documentary Celebrates Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Incredible Career

by Erika W. Smith

Directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen
Out May 4

Directors Betsy West and Julie Cohen give viewers an unprecedented look at the “Notorious RBG” in this documentary about the Supreme Court Justice. Ruth Bader Ginsburg welcomed the filmmakers into her life, which means we get to hear from her directly along with her children, grandchildren, colleagues, contemporaries, and biographers. Though West and Cohen cover her recent meme-ification—“I dissent” tattoos, viral Tumblrs, Kate McKinnon’s SNL sketches—they pay equal attention to her groundbreaking career, particularly her work representing women in gender discrimination cases. They also show, touchingly, how Ginsburg’s belief in gender equality was reflected in her marriage with Martin Ginsburg, who died in 2010.

Perhaps because of Ginsburg’s direct involvement, West and Cohen only briefly touch on criticisms of Ginsburg—though they do give her space to explain why she decided not to retire when Obama could have replaced her with a similarly liberal Justice. Some might wish for a more balanced approach, but it’s hard to imagine anyone not coming away from this film with a greater respect for the Notorious RBG. (4/5) –Erika W. Smith

This article originally appeared in the June/July 2018  print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

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