Klute (1971) - Rotten Tomatoes

Klute (1971)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

In this excellent psychological thriller, Bree Daniels (Jane Fonda) a lonely, tough, neurotic high-priced New York City call girl is trying to change her life and become an actress. John Klute (Donald Sutherland), a private eye from Pennsylvania, is looking for his friend who vanished mysteriously the year before. Before his disappearance, Klute's friend might have been a client of Bree's and is possibly still stalking her. Klute is both a thriller, a psychological drama, and a touching love story as Bree learns to trust and love Klute as she helps him find his friend. The film has impressive performances by Sutherland who plays Klute as a soft-spoken, solid and compassionate man. Roy Scheider is perfectly cast as Bree's manipulative, narcissistic pimp, and Charles Cioffi is good as Klute's boss, a man with secrets of his own. In an Oscar-winning performance as Bree, Jane Fonda is unforgettable. Her finely nuanced performance gives insight into Bree's motivations and her fears. Bree is both tough and vulnerable, sensitive, but unable to trust. Alan Pakula directs his cast with great skill, carefully developing each character while moving the story along to its very exciting and suspenseful conclusion. The extraordinary use of close-ups to reveal character -- by Pakula and his masterful cinematographer Gordon Willis -- is particularly effective, especially in the final scenes where Bree, in panic and deeply in fear for her own life, silently cries as she listens to a audiotape of the murder of a friend. The script, by Dave Lewis, also received a well-deserved Oscar nomination.more
Rating: R (adult situations/language, nudity, violence)
Genre: Drama, Romance, Mystery & Suspense, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Andy Lewis, David P. Lewis, Andy K. Lewis, Dave Lewis
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 5, 2002
Warner Home Video


Jane Fonda
as Bree Daniels
Rita Gam
as Trina
Jean Stapleton
as Secretary
Richard Russell Ramo...
as Off-Broadway Stage M...
Vivian Nathan
as Psychiatrist
Anthony Holland
as Actor's Agent
Morris Strassberg
as Mr. Goldfarb
Betty Murray
as Holly Gruneman
Fred Burrell
as Man in Chicago Hotel
Robert Milli
as Tom Gruneman
Jane White
as Janie Dale
Shirley Stoler
as Mama Reese
Lee Wallace
as Nate Goldfarb
Robert Ronan
as Off-Broadway Directo...
Richard Ramos
as Off-Broadway Stage M...
Antonia Rey
as Mrs. Vanek, Landlad...
Mary Louise Wilson
as Ad Agency Secretary
Jan Fielding
as Psychiatrist's Secre...
Joe Silver
as Dr. Spangler
Tony Major
as Bill Azure
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Klute

Critic Reviews for Klute

All Critics (30) | Top Critics (5)

A movie resolutely of its moment that still surges with third-rail electricity ...

Full Review… | November 24, 2015
Village Voice
Top Critic

[Fonda] makes all the right choices, from the mechanics of her walk and her voice inflection to the penetration of the girl's raging psyche. It is a rare performance.

Full Review… | August 30, 2009
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

For once, a genuinely psychological thriller.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

With Fonda and Sutherland, you have actors who understand and sympathize with their characters, and you have a vehicle worthy of that sort of intelligence. So the fact that the thriller stuff doesn't always work isn't so important.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Pakula, when he is not indulging in subjective camera, strives to give his film the look of structural geometry, but despite the sharp edges and dramatic spaces and cinema presence out of Citizen Kane, it all suggests a tepid, rather tasteless mush.

Full Review… | May 21, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Playing a complex, sharpy written part, Jane Fonda won the Best Actress Oscar for her strongest dramatic performance in Alan Pakula's well mounted drmataic thriller

Full Review… | January 3, 2011

Audience Reviews for Klute

Some of the best cinematography ever - I love the look of this film. Maybe Jane's finest turn. As a suspense thriller however, it's just OK.

Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer

Astonishingly this thriller is one of the creepier films, not to be placed in the horror genre, that I have ever seen. Between the childlike voices in the score, the voyeurism from the murderer, and the strange ending, this film crept under my skin and lingered. Jane Fonda gives the performance of a lifetime as Bree, an unaffected prostitute who is wrapped up in a game of intrigue after one of her former clients disappears. Strait laced PI, Klute, comes to the city to find him and she falls in with the investigator. Most of what makes the film gritty and realistic comes from Bree, who is one of the most interesting female characters in seventies' cinema. She has long term goals to be an actress or model, but she doesn't see the problems with that goal, and she is also stubborn to see the inaccuracies in the world. She respects her clients when she's with them, but she feels shame and resentment towards them and herself. Bree is both audacious when confronted with her world and sullen towards the implications of her actions, making her interactions with Klute that much more interesting. Whenever Fonda is onscreen she illuminates with her performance, creating a complex portrayal of a sanguine woman without many options left. Thrilling and yet creepy, this is a film highly recommended for the hardhearted and the brave.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

The most interesting thing about this movie (viewing it in 2012) is the idea people had back then that being free of human entanglements was the only thing worth striving for. So, even being a prostitute whose best friends are either dead or strung out on H, is preferable to giving dinner parties in suburbia--which is how the script frames the issue. I liked the device of talking to the shrink as a way to get to know Bree (rhymes with free, get it?). I loved the dark moody sets. I thought Klute (Donald Sutherland) was creepier than the bad guys--he was protrayed as a huge voyeur--Jane Fonda was perfect as the messed up freedom rider/control freak who wanted to numb herself. Everyone I know who saw it when it came out said they loved it...I wonder if they would love it still?

Bathsheba Monk
Bathsheba Monk

Super Reviewer

Klute Quotes

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