100 user 143 critic

On the Basis of Sex (2018)

1:43 | Trailer
The true story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, her struggles for equal rights, and the early cases of a historic career that lead to her nomination and confirmation as U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice.


Mimi Leder
183 ( 23)

Felicity Jones Reveals Her Film Idols

On the Basis of Sex star Felicity Jones take our Take 5 challenge, and reveals the actresses and characters she looks up to.

Watch Felicity Take 5 ...

1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

More Like This 

The Aftermath (2019)
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Post World War II, a British colonel and his wife are assigned to live in Hamburg during the post-war reconstruction, but tensions arise with the German who previously owned the house.

Director: James Kent
Stars: Keira Knightley, Ned Wills, Pandora Colin
Comedy | Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Ten fisherman from Cornwall are signed by Universal Records and achieve a top ten hit with their debut album of Sea Shanties.

Director: Chris Foggin
Stars: Tuppence Middleton, James Purefoy, Daniel Mays
Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A former wrestler and his family make a living performing at small venues around the country while his kids dream of joining World Wrestling Entertainment.

Director: Stephen Merchant
Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Lena Headey, Vince Vaughn
Cold Pursuit (2019)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A grieving snowplow driver seeks out revenge against the drug dealers who killed his son. Based on the 2014 Norwegian film 'In Order of Disappearance'.

Director: Hans Petter Moland
Stars: Liam Neeson, Laura Dern, Micheál Richardson
Wild Rose (2018)
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A musician from Glasgow dreams of becoming a Nashville star.

Director: Tom Harper
Stars: Julie Walters, Sophie Okonedo, Jessie Buckley
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A woman in Harlem embraces her pregnancy while she and her family struggle to prove her fiancé innocent of a crime.

Director: Barry Jenkins
Stars: KiKi Layne, Stephan James, Regina King
What They Had (2018)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Bridget returns home at her brother's urging to deal with her ailing mother and her father's reluctance to let go of their life together.

Director: Elizabeth Chomko
Stars: Hilary Swank, Michael Shannon, Robert Forster
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A kindergarten teacher in New York becomes obsessed with one of her students whom she believes is a child prodigy.

Director: Sara Colangelo
Stars: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gael García Bernal, Ato Blankson-Wood
The Mule (2018)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A 90-year-old horticulturist and Korean War veteran turns drug mule for a Mexican cartel.

Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Patrick L. Reyes, Cesar De León
What Men Want (2019)
Comedy | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.5/10 X  

A woman is boxed out by the male sports agents in her profession, but gains an unexpected edge over them when she develops the ability to hear men's thoughts.

Director: Adam Shankman
Stars: Taraji P. Henson, Kristen Ledlow, Josh Brener
All Is True (2018)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A look at the final days in the life of renowned playwright William Shakespeare.

Director: Kenneth Branagh
Stars: Kenneth Branagh, Lolita Chakrabarti, Jack Colgrave Hirst
Destroyer (2018)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A police detective reconnects with people from an undercover assignment in her distant past in order to make peace.

Director: Karyn Kusama
Stars: Nicole Kidman, Toby Kebbell, Tatiana Maslany


Cast overview, first billed only:
Felicity Jones ... Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Armie Hammer ... Martin Ginsburg
Justin Theroux ... Mel Wulf
Sam Waterston ... Erwin Griswold
Kathy Bates ... Dorothy Kenyon
Cailee Spaeny ... Jane Ginsburg
Jack Reynor ... Jim Bozarth
Stephen Root ... Professor Brown
Chris Mulkey ... Charles Moritz
Gary Werntz Gary Werntz ... Judge Doyle
Francis X. McCarthy ... Judge Daugherty (as Francis Xavier McCarthy)
Ben Carlson Ben Carlson ... Judge Holloway
Ronald Guttman ... Gerald Gunther
Wendy Crewson ... Harriet Griswold
John Ralston ... Tom Miller


The true story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, her struggles for equal rights, and the early cases of a historic career that lead to her nomination and confirmation as U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


It was a man's world. So she changed it See more »


Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some language and suggestive content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

11 January 2019 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

On the Basis of Sex See more »


Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$686,355, 30 December 2018, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$24,622,687, 7 March 2019

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$18,348,761, 21 January 2019
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Following an argument between Jane and Ruth, Jane retreats to her room and cranks up her stereo. Martin goes in to her room to comfort her, turns down the stereo, and tells her how Ruth grew up being taught to question everything. The song Jane was playing was "Question" by The Moody Blues. See more »


When Ruth is talking to Jane from her home office, the index cards that she has been taking down from her cork board reappear in subsequent shots. See more »


Jane Ginsburg: For whom, if not for me?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The closing credits include some "What happened to . . . " of the characters. See more »


Referenced in The Month in Movies: February 2019 (2019) See more »


Here Comes the Change
Written by Kesha, Drew Pearson, and Wrabel
Performed by Kesha
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

An army of trolls is rating this 1/10. Ignore them. This is a good movie.
13 January 2019 | by gcsmanSee all my reviews

For reasons that pass all understanding or sense of decency or a dozen other things, the internet trolls are piling on this movie. This is another lesson on how to interpret the "ratings" on IMdB. What I've figured out is this:

  • Look directly at the bar chart of the ratings (the histogram) which you get by clicking on the number of votes posted just below the average user rating.
  • And, look separately at the Male and Female marks distributions. Many times you'll see a difference by gender. Usually I think the women's votes are more accurate, but that's just me ...
  • For ANY movie whatsoever there is a noticeable little spike in the 1/10 bin. Those are the trolls. They don't even have to demonstrate that they've actually seen the movie - just trash it with some junk comments. But occasionally, a movie will rattle their little political cages and the "little spike" turns into a huge spike. Another well known example is Ghostbusters (2016) where you'll see the same thing -- and the trolls there are all male, poor offended little darlings.
  • And finally: cut out that bottom 1/10 bin entirely and take the average of the rest. That gets rid of the trolls in a single step. While you're at it, take the average from the female voters and the average from the male voters and and weight those equally to get a truly valid average rating. (That's because male voters on IMdB usually outnumber females by a big margin, but the actual moviegoing public is a lot closer to 50/50.)

A quicker thing to do is just to look at the median rating, not the average. That gets you close to the real center of the bar chart. For this movie, the median is 7 (men) or 8 (women) and I think that's pretty much on the mark.

OK, now about "On the Basis of Sex" itself. It's the early career of pioneering activists for women's (and human) rights Ruth Bader Ginsburg, later appointed to the Supreme Court and played here by Felicity Jones. The unreasonably tall, handsome Armie Hammer plays her husband and legal colleague Martin, who steadfastly supports Ruth in her crusade and works actively with her on the landmark case that highlights the plot and leads up to the courtroom drama at the end. There are many secondary parts played by excellent actors including Cathy Bates, Sam Waterston, Stephen Root ... lots of star power here that in a way is underused, because the Ginsburgs are the focus of most of the scenes.

Overall, it's a dynamite story about a key part of the social progress happening in the 1970's -- the painfully slow progress towards equality for women under the law. And it's well told. I liked that the pace of the film is measured, many scenes are allowed to develop without abrupt cutoffs, and of course Ruth's landmark final oration in front of the 10th Court of Appeals is gold. I admit I don't know how much of this history is exaggerated for dramatic effect, but it has real impact. Overall its style is similar to other recent movies about historical crusades for social justice like Spotlight (2015) and The Post (2017). Naturally enough, each of these makes one or two lead characters into singular heroes probably at the expense of many other contributors, but the choices for these leaders are all logical.

Felicity Jones is part of an excellent cohort of young English actresses who are all over the place these days (also including Claire Foy, Daisy Ridley, Emilia Clarke, Lily James among others). All doing great work, and Jones is great here at re-creating the nuances of Ruth Ginsberg's work.

As a final note -- I enjoyed this film a lot more than the recent A Star Is Born, which is getting all kinds of awards buzz. Too bad On the Basis of Sex looks like it's not going to be rewarded for generally high quality, if not over-the-top brilliance.

38 of 68 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 100 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Check Out What's Playing on IMDb Freedive

See what movies and TV series you can watch for free today, and visit IMDb Freedive for even more. Select any poster below to play the movie!

Find more things to watch

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed