Beautiful and brilliant, the young Ruth Bader met Marty Ginsburg when she was 17 years old and a student at Cornell University. She was reserved and bookish, he was outgoing and funny. They both graduated from Harvard Law School, he later going into private practice, she spearheading cases relating to women’s inequality at a time when the Women’s Lib Movement was making headlines.

They married, had a son and daughter, and a granddaughter who, for this documentary, tells us what her Bubby (that’s what she calls her) and her TaTa (grandfather) are all about. He can cook, she can’t.


Some grainy interspliced archival footage attempted to show the times and give a sense of history in the making, but they were limited to only a few clips of when in the 1980’s activist-attorney Ruth Bader-Ginsburg took on and won five out of six women’s rights cases tried before the Supreme Court, and when she was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton.

The more recent clips of Justice Ginsburg (now 84 years old) on stage being interviewed at Columbia University showed her as an inspiration to her college-age audience, and the brief interviews with her former Law partner, her son and daughter, and a few friends confirmed she was and still is a dedicated workaholic; and that when Marty, her beloved husband of 56 years died, she got comfort from going to the Opera, often with her opposing-view-friend, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Notorious RBG takes us on a tour of this phenomenal woman’s life, however this documentary didn’t leave me knowing any more about Ruth-Bader Ginsburg, the “person” until the scene when this very serious woman laughed out loud when viewing for the first time, the over-the-top comedic portrayal of herself on Saturday Night Live.      

Notorious RBG touches on the exceptional life and career of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It was directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen, and co-produced by Storyville Films and CNN Films. Photos courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

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