On the Basis of Sex Blu-ray Review

Ralph Potts reviews the Blu-ray release of On the Basis of Sex, the inspirational true story of early beginnings of the career of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the landmark case that would forever change the court’s view of gender discrimination.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )



Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )



Studio and Year: Universal – 2018
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 120 minutes
Genre: Drama/Biopic

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Felicity Jones, Armie Hammer, Justin Theroux, Jack Reynor, Sam Waterston, Kathy Bates, Stephen Root, Cailee Spaeny
Directed by: Mimi Leder
Music by: Mychael Danna
Written by: Daniel Stiepleman
Region Code: A,B,C

Release Date: April 9, 2019

“All Rise for the Fight of the Century”


“On the Basis of Sex is inspired by the true story of a young Ruth Bader Ginsburg – then a struggling attorney and new mother – who faces adversity and numerous obstacles in her fight for equal rights throughout her career.” – Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

My Take:

Inspired by the powerful true story of a young Ruth Bader Ginsburg, On the Basis of Sex depicts a then-struggling attorney and new mother facing adversity in her fight for equal rights. When Ruth takes on a ground-breaking case, she knows the outcome could alter the courts’ view of gender discrimination. Stronger together, Ruth teams up with her husband, Martin Ginsburg (Armie Hammer), to fight the case that catapults her into one of the most important public figures of our time.

On the Basis of Sex is based on the early life of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of the most influential women of our time. The film is part love story, part biopic drama and is an inspirational examination of the triumph of the human spirit. Presenting an intimate look into the life of Ruth and her husband Martin Ginsburg, the film depicts their commitment of love, devotion and support as it coincided with Ruth’s legacy of justice starting from her beginnings as a law student, professor and taking on the historical case that would open the door to changing the laws with respect to gender discrimination.

I thoroughly enjoyed On the Basis of Sex. It is a powerful and intriguing expose that distills the Ginsburg’s incredibly strong bond while presenting an informative glimpse into the fortitude behind the woman who would become affectionately known as RBG. The performances by Felicity Jones is simply wonderful, as is Armie Hammer’s take on Martin Ginsburg. Mimi Leader’s devoted direction of the film stands as a testimonial to its subject. All in all, On the Basis of Sex is a solid biopic/drama that struck nearly all of the right chords.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide: 

The rating is for some language and suggestive content.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

Video: 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail: 
  • Color Reproduction: 
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression: 

On the Basis of Sex comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound.

This video presentation has a filmic quality that doesn’t always lend itself to razor sharp images however resolution is excellent as both people and objects are rendered with clear definition that at times is meticulously resolved. The color palette isn’t a diverse one and sticks mainly to tamped down secondary hues with splashes of primary colors that render a cooler overall aesthetic. Flesh tones are on the bland side but fit right in with the visual style of the video. Contrast is bold which adds dynamic emphasis to sequences containing bright elements. Blacks are nice and deep which provides plenty of pop when onscreen with mixed content. Scenes containing uneven and/or dim lighting reveal discernible detail in shadowy backgrounds and darkened areas. I found little to complain about and thought that this one looked great.

This is primarily a dialogue driven film however there are elements in the film that require use of the entire system so its ability to clearly render them is essential. Dialogue is reproduced with transparent realism and lucid texture as it is appropriately balanced within the front soundstage. The surround mix utilizes the entire platform to recreate the acoustic sounds associated with the environments portrayed onscreen. The rear channels contain a mixture of spatial ambience/musical extension as well as directional cues that effectively integrate with the front soundstage. This is an enriching audio presentation that mates well with the source material

Bonus Features:

  • Legacy of Justice
  • Martin and Ruth: A Loving Partnership
  • A Supreme Team: Making On the Basis of Sex
  • Digital Copy

Final Thoughts:

On the Basis of Sex is an evocative and intimate portrait that is made all the better by apt direction and the sterling performances by its talented cast. It comes to Blu-ray from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring excellent high definition picture and crystal-clear lossless sound quality mated with a light supplemental offering that offers insights from the cast/crew. On the Basis of Sex is an inspirational film that comes highly recommended on Blu-ray.


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems