“On the Basis of Sex” (Focus)

Armie Hammer and Felicity Jones star in a scene from the movie "On the Basis of Sex." The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. (CNS/Focus)

By Catholic News Service

This legal drama proves that even though a tax case may be destined to serve as a landmark for equal treatment under the law — as well as a breakthrough for future Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Felicity Jones) — in the absence of compelling dialogue or performances, it’s nearly impossible to keep stodginess at bay.

Director Mimi Leder and screenwriter Daniel Stiepleman (Ginsburg’s nephew) have ameliorated the deficiencies somewhat through discussions of legal morality — and Ginsburg’s record as a wife and mother, nursing her husband (Armie Hammer) through a cancer scare, attending his law school classes as well as her own and later raising a son and a daughter, is undeniably impressive. But the film is an unapologetically heroic narrative that lacks only a college fight song to pump up emotion at its conclusion. Possibly acceptable for mature adolescents, though they’re likely to regard this profile more as a homework assignment than a piece of entertainment.

A scene of marital sensuality, at least one use of profanity, a couple of milder oaths, a single rough and several crude terms. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

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