RBG, photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

Biggie Smalls gets face time in RBG, a new biopic about octogenarian Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Of course he does—he is the inspiration for her fan-given nickname, "the Notorious RBG." On being compared to the late rapper, Ginsburg says it's perfectly sensible: "We have a lot in common," she quips. (Turns out they both grew up in Brooklyn.)

The film is like that. It traces Ginsburg's rise from Cornell coed to law student at Harvard and Columbia to women's rights litigator to judge to icon. She's a "superhero," it says; long before she joined the high court's ranks, she was forcing it to grudgingly overturn laws that treat the sexes unequally; her likeness graces mugs and T-shirts; her dissenting opinions cause the internet to erupt.

But for all the overwrought superlatives, RBG humanizes its subject. It focuses on two very personal relationships with now-deceased men: her husband, Marty—who would not rest until his beloved was considered for a Supreme Court seat—and her ultra-conservative colleague on the bench, Antonin Scalia. In a clip, the latter explains how they felt about each other, and how we might feel about her: "She's a very nice person. What's not to like? Except her views on the law!"

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  1. There’s something very… disturbing about the RBG cult of personality that’s being pushed. In addition to such documentaries and apparel, there are children’s books about her.
    She’s become an idol – a judge, a judge with final say on federal (And state) legislation, a judge known for judicial activism and taking positions that “the constitution says whatever I want it to”, a judge that feels free proclaiming her partisan political position in elections.
    By all accounts, she’s exactly what a judge should not be. She is a hero for being a dictator

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