Reversal of Fortune 1990

Reversal of Fortune

Critics Consensus

Featuring exceptional performances and a cunning script, Reversal of Fortune doubles as a tantalizing mystery and ruthless satire of the rich.

92%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 51

77%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 5,466

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Movie Info

When socialite Sunny von Bülow (Glenn Close) inexplicably slips into an irreversible coma, police suspect foul play -- and the obvious suspect is her urbane husband, Claus (Jeremy Irons). After being found guilty of murder, Claus is granted a retrial and hires showboat Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz (Ron Silver) to represent him. Though unconvinced of Claus's innocence, Dershowitz enjoys a challenge and -- along with a group of his students -- fights to have the verdict overturned.

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Critic Reviews for Reversal of Fortune

All Critics (51) | Top Critics (15) | Fresh (47) | Rotten (4)

  • TV might make cautionary stick figures of Claus and Sunny. Reversal of Fortune treats them as if they were Noel Coward lovers gone to hell in a Lamborghini.

    June 17, 2020 | Full Review…
  • Irons' Von Bulow is easily the most attractive and entertaining movie heavy since James Mason`s villain in North by Northwest, a figure with whom he shares a taste for elegant homes and wry understatement.

    June 17, 2020 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Screenwriter Nicholas Kazan, director Barbet Schroeder and, especially, Jeremy Irons--in a glittering performance as the divinely decadent Dane--have chosen to treat this social death spiral as a tragicomedy of manners. It's an inspired tone.

    June 15, 2020 | Full Review…
  • The trial of Claus von Bulow has been turned into more of a rumination on the American criminal justice system with a strong focus on celebrity defense counsel.

    June 15, 2020 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • This brilliant and outrageously entertaining film is a meticulous reenactment of one of the great dark-side-of-the-privileged sagas of our time.

    September 7, 2011 | Rating: A | Full Review…
  • 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…

Audience Reviews for Reversal of Fortune

  • Dec 27, 2015
    I'm not a big fan of Barbet Schroeder's work. He often fails to commit to saying much of anything at all. It seems he considers his subject matter deeply, but then ultimately sits on the fence after having considered all the perspectives in what is often subversive, controversial, and/or provocative material. Still, I do think it is commendable that he doesn't pander to any one view, but instead attempts to turn the experience into a meditation on the curiosities of human nature. It's just that sometimes this approach works, and can be quite rewarding, and other times it doesn't really work at all. Here, it basically does. But by turning some of the story elements into social satire and others into courtroom/moral drama and detective fare, they either combine brilliantly or flatly don't work at all. Jeremy Irons is brilliant. There are also some surprisingly entertaining scenes with Jeremy's character and the appeals team, not to mention a clever meditation on the strengths and dangers of the American legal system.
    Super Reviewer
  • Sep 17, 2012
    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.
    familiar s Super Reviewer
  • Aug 28, 2012
    Very entertaining, the perfect murder picture about the death of Sunny von Bülow and how her husband Claus von Bülow may have or may not have been the one responsible. Although to be honest, I didn't care who was the one responsible. What mattered was how the film was able to be darkly funny, intriguing and frank about the possiblities of the case. Ther performances are great. Jeremy Irons is very good as Claus von Bulow who has a drab voice and smokes his ciggs like a hardcore smoker. Ron Silver plays as von Bulow's lawyer Alan Dershowitz who believes von Bulow is guilty but agrees to defend him so von Burlow fund's Dershowitz defense of two poor black teenagers accused of capital murder. Dershowitz gets a bunch of law working students to help him in the case and it's amazing how they all work together. One woman wants out and feels von Bulow is a murderer while Dershowitz in a stunning scene explains why she should stay. Annabella Sciorra is sarah who plays as one of the law students and possibly Dershowitz's lover, is sharp and careful with her own facts. She tries to see things from a different angle. I also admired the narration done by Glen Close as the vegetative Sunny von Bülow. It's erie just watching her play that role while narrating the story. I must say I did cringe when she played a vegetable in bed. "Reversal Of Fortune" is a great movie and an intelligent one. You can look at it as entertainment or one can have their own feelings on von Bulow and the trial. Again I didn't care if he did it or not but it was funny when he scared the cash register to buy him lots of insulin. He was just kidding of course.
    Brian R Super Reviewer
  • Jul 20, 2012
    They threw Jeremy Irons an Oscar for this which I think reflected a body of work rather than this in particular. THere is nothing terribly wrong with it. It just reeks of dullness.
    John B Super Reviewer

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