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Reversal of Fortune (1990)

tomatometer

89

Average Rating: 7.9/10
Critic Reviews: 9
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.

audience

76

liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 5,175

My Rating

Movie Info

This film is a darkly humorous, determinedly ambiguous adaptation of Alan Dershowitz's book about his successful legal appeal of Claus von Bulow's conviction for the attempted murder of his wife, Martha "Sunny" von Bulow. Sunny (Glenn Close) -- who remains in a "persistent vegetative state" resulting from a suspicious injection of insulin -- narrates the film, summarizing the first murder trial, which ended with Claus (Jeremy Irons) convicted and released on bail pending appeal. Claus approaches

R,

Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Nicholas Kazan

Mar 13, 2001

Warner Home Video

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All Critics (34) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (32) | Rotten (2) | DVD (6)

It is a finely detailed manners study of the superwealthy, a drama of conflicting principles and values and an engrossing legal detective story.

March 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What it all adds up to is something the film never quite seems prepared to address, but this is a fascinating look at all the secondary questions.

February 11, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is a strange, unsatisfactory mixture of satire and docudrama which engages the mind and leaves the emotions intact.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There is a high degree of sometimes shocking intelligence running through Reversal of Fortune.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Reversal of Fortune is an often chilly movie, but the chill cuts to the bone.

May 12, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What happened? Who knows? The movie's strength is its ability to tantalize, to turn the case this way and that, so that the light of evidence falls in one way and then another. You tell me.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Gripping drama.

February 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Director Schroeder takes the 'did-he didn't-he' conundrum surrounding Claus von Bülow and makes it the film's greatest virtue, with Irons mesmerising.

February 11, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

This is a movie rich in moral ambiguities and one which should thoroughly please voyeurs and detective story enthusiasts alike.

February 11, 2008 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

In his black satire, Kazan and Schroeder go beyond issues of guilt and morality, exposing and contesting the stereotypes of an Odd Couple: Von Bulow as rich, arrogant Eurotrash who needs thw work of a bright, hardworking and sweaty Jewish laywer.

December 11, 2007 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

Here's the movie that made Jeremy Irons such a memorable villain.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

intriguing and surprisingly gripping

May 13, 2005
Shadows on the Wall

Reversal of Fortune is one of those rare films that deals with class difference in supposedly classless America, which makes for an unusually provocative tragicomedy of (bad) manners.

July 30, 2003 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Compelling portrayal from Irons (who sounds like Boris Karloff)

September 18, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

reconstructs the infamous von Bulow scandal and makes it more mystifying than ever by presenting it as a real-life 'Rashomon.' As a result, Claus' defenders may question their position after seeing the film, but his critics may have some moments of self-d

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: rec.arts.movies.reviews
rec.arts.movies.reviews

It is told with wit and subtlety.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: rec.arts.movies.reviews
rec.arts.movies.reviews

It's an amazing exploration of the American judicial system in a way that is both highly entertaining and incredibly informative.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Audience Reviews for Reversal of Fortune

A passable TV drama that fails to focus on one specific genre, and offers a mixture of thriller, mystery & a bit of courtroom drama. The conventional dramatic execution limits its effectiveness. Not having much expectations probably saved me the miseries, and made it a passable fare.

Edit: In retrospect, I feel it'd be justifiable to rate it 3/5 for what it is.
September 18, 2012
imrealgod

Super Reviewer

To spite the fact that this is a film based on real information regarding real events and people...this film comes across like one of those ridiculous, late night soap / dramas from the 80's. (Think Dynasty or Dallas).

Everyone comes across as over-the-top caricatures. But who knows...perhaps these are accurate portrayals of the people they are meant to represent?

In any case, it is a horrible and tragic story made all the more painful by these hammy, scenery chewing performances.
September 21, 2010
RCCLBC
Robert C

Super Reviewer

After Fisher Stevens' first scene, Jim said, "This movie is off the hook," and we couldn't even figure out what "off the hook" meant in this case, but it certainly is. From the campy yet seemingly true portrayal of moneyed debauchery, to Glenn Close's beyond-the-coma narration, to Jeremy Irons' deep-voiced, sometimes comical, accent. "Sawhny..." Good performances with a decent commentary on legality versus morality but slightly slow in parts.
March 28, 2010
aliceinpunderland

Super Reviewer

"This is the most dangerous case I have ever worked on. --- I am breaking every rule."Film adaptation of the book "Reversal of Fortune: Inside the von Bülow Case" by Alan Dershowitz, based on a true story.Director: Barbet SchroederGenre: Law, Drama, Crime & Mystery
August 18, 2009
Gx7
Ginny  X

Super Reviewer

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