The emotional reason why Ruth Bader Ginsburg makes a cameo in her own biopic

Spoiler alert! This story contains minor spoilers about the ending of Ruth Bader Ginsburg biopic, “On the Basis of Sex,” now in theaters. 

“On the Basis of Sex” ends much like it begins. 

At the start of the period drama (now in theaters), a young Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Felicity Jones) – eye-catching in a cornflower-blue blazer and skirt and eager to take on the patriarchy – wades through a sea of gray-suited men on her first day at Harvard Law School in 1956. 

More:Fact-checking RBG biopic ‘On the Basis of Sex’ 

Related:How Ruth Bader Ginsburg helped Felicity Jones play her on screen

It’s a striking image that underscores Ginsburg’s singularity as a woman in a male-dominated field and one which director Mimi Leder returns to in the film’s final moments. After winning her first gender-discrimination case in federal court, Ginsburg confidently ascends the steps of the Supreme Court in the mid-1970s: alone this time and dressed in a dazzling sapphire-blue coat and dress, as audio of the real-life justice plays over the scene.

The camera then pans from behind a building pillar to reveal the real Ginsburg, now 85, slowly walking up those same steps in a similarly colored ensemble, before the screen fades to black. 

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