High Crimes

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
High Crimes Movie Poster Image
Mediocre thriller of the betrayed-woman genre.
  • PG-13
  • 2002
  • 110 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Violence

Violence, including peril, dead bodies and car accident.

Sex

Sexual references and situations, including prostitutes.

Language

Some strong language.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Alcoholic character.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the movie has some violent moments, including flashbacks to a massacre by US armed forces and a bombing that kills civilians. Characters are in jeopardy, and some are wounded, one has a miscarriage, and one is killed. A character is an alcoholic and there are scenes in a bar. There are sexual references and situations, including prostitutes, and some very strong language. The issue of betrayal may also be upsetting for some audience members.

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What's the story?

Ashley Judd plays spirited and telegenic defense lawyer Claire Kubik. She feels confident that she is doing the right thing in freeing a man accused of rape by claiming that his rights were violated by a technicality. As she explains to the television cameras, "When the rights of any defendant are violated, we are all at risk until justice has been redressed." But when a bungled robbery attempt leads to a fingerprint check of their house, she discovers that there are some things she didn't know. For example, she did not know that her husband's name is really Ron Chapman (Jim Caviezel), that he was once a Marine, and that he is wanted by federal authorities for his part in a massacre in El Salvador. He is arrested by military authorities, and Claire is almost as disoriented by her unfamiliarity with the military justice system as she is by the unfamiliarity of the husband she thought she knew. But she swings into action. The lawyer assigned to Chapman is willing, but inexperienced. Claire hires a "wild card" lawyer (Morgan Freeman) who has "beat the Marines before and is hungry to do it again."

Is it any good?

HIGH CRIMES is merely mediocre, an all-but-thrilless thriller of the "loved not wisely but too well" betrayed-woman genre. Freeman and Judd have a lot of chemistry, as we saw in the much better Kiss the Girls. But the script is at or below the level of the average Lifetime made-for-tv movie. Here's hoping they find a better one for their next movie together.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how we learn whom to trust and how we feel when our trust is betrayed. Characters also have to deal with ends-justify-the-means conflicts. How do you feel about the way they resolve them? Some family members may want to talk about the choice Charles makes when he is asked to take a drink.

Movie details

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