Screened as part of NZIFF 2018

RBG 2018

Directed by Betsy West, Julie Cohen Framing Reality

US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has developed a breathtaking legal legacy while becoming an unexpected pop culture icon. RBG is a revelatory documentary exploring her exceptional life and career.

USA In English
98 minutes DCP




Claudia Raschke


Carla Gutierrez


Miriam Cutler


Sundance, San Francisco 2018

‘Witch’, ‘Anti-American’, ‘Icon’, ‘Bubby’: US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been called it all. Before she became the ‘Notorious RBG’ and an internet sensation, Ginsburg was laying the foundation for a fairer and more just America by fighting against gender discrimination well before women were welcome in the courthouse. Surmounting the rampant sexism of America in the 1950s, Ginsburg defied expectations by being appointed to the Harvard Law Review before transferring to Columbia Law School where she graduated tied for first in her class.  

Unreservedly supported by her husband Marty (and free to pursue her passions), Ginsburg was blazing a highway of progress one step at a time. The Women’s Liberation movement of the 1970s allowed the reserved yet powerful Ginsburg to utilise her legal prowess to push the revolution forward with the American Civil Liberties Union. Working on sex discrimination cases for both men and women, her professional life was focused on providing equal protection under the law and elevating women from second-class citizenship. “It was like teaching kindergarten,” Ginsburg muses, recalling her experience trying to open the eyes of male lawmakers to the glaring inequalities faced by women and minorities. 

In contrast to the hard, heartless image her dissenters would like you to believe, Ginsburg is a warm, magnetic and humorous woman who loves the opera as much as she does winning cases. Betsy West and Julie Cohen’s documentary presents a full picture of Ginsburg, introducing us to a pioneering women’s rights activist, grandmother and fighter. — Kailey Carruthers 

“Ginsburg has never shied away from tough stuff, and West and Cohen echo that approach during the film’s opening credits, which include a slew of slurs unleashed against the associate justice during her long tenure (terms like ‘anti-American’, a ‘zombie’, and ‘vile’ are tossed around, while our own president pipes in to call her a ‘disgrace’). When Ginsburg finally appears on screen, she’s working out while wearing a bright purple sweatshirt bearing two words: ‘super diva’. The message is clear: She’s tough as nails, and she couldn’t care less what the haters think. That’s only the half of it.” — Kate Erbland, Indiewire