RBG Documentary

Julia Kemp

With the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (the nation’s second female Supreme Court Justice) in September, I recommend watching the 2018 documentary titled RBG. The documentary describes Justice Ginsburg’s childhood, personal life, and legal achievements in a way that leaves you with inspiration and respect for the legendary female icon.

The documentary includes interviews with Ginsburg’s close childhood friends (Ann Kittner and Harryette Helsel) as well as Ginsburg herself as they explain her childhood and college education. They tell stories about Ginsburg’s quiet and serious temperament as a child and her close relationship with her mother. They also mention Ginsburg’s time at Cornell and Harvard law school. Ginsburg was one of nine women in her Harvard class. She felt pressure to excel in her class and to prove that she can succeed even under the constant disapproval of other male students and teachers. Her ambition and perseverance led her to make the law review, which means that she was in the top 25 percent of her class. 

At Cornell, Justice Ginsburg met Marty Ginsburg, who supported her education and career. Their love story is described by Ginsburg and longtime friend Professor Arthur Miller as two complete opposites who balance each other out perfectly. The heartwarming story of their love left me in complete happy tears. 

As Ginsburg grew older, she became known as a pop culture icon. Young followers adored her dissenting opinions. The documentary shows, with up-beat music and lively montages, Ginsburg’s daily work-out routine, iconic collars, and merchandise with her pop-culture nickname: the Notorious RBG. Her influence on the youth of America helps inspire them and teach them the importance of speaking up for what they believe in.

Finally, the documentary explains some of Ginsburg’s legal achievements. It goes into detail about some of the cases she made against sexist laws. She took specific cases of sexism in the workplace, schools, and home in order to take on a sexist law one at a time. Eventually, her success in law led to her nomination to the Supreme Court by Bill Clinton who describes her outstanding interview in the documentary. Ginsburg’s incredible legal accomplishments left me to admire her legacy and to form a new respect for the incredible things she did for women’s rights.  

I highly recommend RBG for anyone who wants to learn more about Ginsburg’s significant impact and incredible life. It was an extremely interesting documentary and I think it perfectly demonstrates her legacy.