The Sentence (2018)

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Movie Info

Rudy Valdez shows the aftermath of his sister Cindy's 15-year sentence for conspiracy charges related to crimes committed by her deceased ex-boyfriend - something known, in legal terms, as "the girlfriend problem." Valdez's method of coping with this tragedy is to film his sister's family for her, both the everyday details and the milestones - moments Cindy herself can no longer share in. But in the midst of this nightmare, he and his family begin to fight for Cindy's release during the last months of the Obama administration's clemency initiative. Whether their attempts will allow Cindy to break free of her draconian sentence becomes the aching question at the core of this deeply personal portrait of a family in crisis.

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Critic Reviews for The Sentence

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (6)

The Sentence is the beginning of a conversation that needs to continue.

Oct 12, 2018 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

What unnecessary imprisonment does to families is often written about in abstract terms, but to see what it did to one specific family runs an emotional gamut that the patience of this heroically committed filmmaker does full justice to.

Oct 11, 2018 | Full Review…

By making you feel deeply for his sister and her children, Valdez has fashioned his film to make the lapses less glaring.

Oct 11, 2018 | Full Review…

Here's a true surprise in 2018: a documentary about an American injustice that will likely leave you, by its end, blubbering tears of relieved joy.

Oct 10, 2018 | Full Review…

The subject is inherently engrossing, but a better documentary could (and probably will) be made about it.

Aug 1, 2018 | Full Review…
Variety
Top Critic

The Sentence is so committed to its concentration on emotion and heart that it's difficult not to get carried away and it feels almost churlish to quibble with the intellectual responses it barely aspires to.

Jan 21, 2018 | Full Review…

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