By John H. Foote
This is the worst kind of Hollywood biography.
To be merciful, I will be quick.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is one of the most extraordinary women on the last one hundred years and certainly deserved so much more than this. Earlier in the year, the superb documentary RBG (2018) beautifully documented the life of this courageous woman, and the film, reviewed by Melissa was a doc masterpiece in every way. Ginsburg deserved a narrative film like that, not this old fashioned Ginsburg’s Greatest Hits mess that is insulting and frankly embarrassing.
Felicity Jones is a gifted actress, no question and richly deserved that Oscar nomination for her performance as Mrs. Stephen Hawking in The Theory Of Everything (2014). Up for Best Actress, she was excellent as the loving, strong woman who bore Hawking children and sacrificed her life for him for more than twenty years. I like Jones as an actress, but the director, Mimi Leder has no clue how to use her, to guide her in the film.
With her adorable overbite and bright sparkling eyes, Leder shoots Jones to resemble an energetic, perky, chipmunk, a mini never say “
The last film of note Leder directed was Deep Impact (1998), the asteroid film with a soul, going toe to toe with Disney’s
Jones does what she can, but measured against recent biographies, Meryl Streep in Julie and Julia (2009), Sally Field in Lincoln (2012) and Amy Adams in Vice (2018) her performance belongs in a second or third rate made for TV movie in the seventies. Cast as her adoring husband, Armie Hammer has little to do but smile on adoringly at his pert, perky little wife.
Like the energizer bunny, Jones burns through the film seeking equality and not once did I believe her. Not a single second did I think I was watching Ginsburg.
The film is an unmitigated disaster.
John H. Foote is a well-recognized Canadian film critic/historian who has been an active critic for 30 years. His deep love for the movies began at a very young age. He began his career as co-host of the popular TV show Reel to Real where he remained for nine years. While on TV he began dabbling in education, eventually ascending to Director of the Toronto Film School, where he also taught film history. After leaving the college to care for his wife, he returned to teaching at Humber College where he taught both Film History and Method Acting Theory. John has written two books: “Clint Eastwood – Evolution of a Filmmaker” and the upcoming “Spielberg – American Film Visionary”. He is currently working on two books, one about the films of the seventies and another on the films of Martin Scorsese. Through his career he has worked in TV, radio, print and the web. John has interviewed everyone in the industry (more than 300 interviews) except Jack Nicholson, he says sadly. Highlights include Martin Scorsese, Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep Robert Duvall, Jane Fonda, Francis Ford Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow.