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Parents' Guide to

Runaway Jury

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Legal thriller isn't aimed at kids.

Movie PG-13 2003 127 minutes
Runaway Jury Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 12+

A Well-Made Thriller...

RUNAWAY JURY is exactly the movie it sets out to be. Nothing less, nothing more. It promises you an engaging legal thriller, and it delivers on all acounts. It is by no means disappointing, but certainly not awesome. It just is. And it is very satisfying. However, there is plenty of material that is iffy for kids, starting with the messages. All of the characters in the film save one are unethical and break the law often. The whole plot of the film centers around a criminal plot by two competing parties to stack, bribe, and threaten a jury of 12 to recieve a swung verdict. The plot is intense, but not action-packed, and it might be confusing for some kids. In the end, the good guys win, but the criminals aren't punished. Two of them are made to look like heroes. Aside from that, there are a couple of violent scenes, starting with a shooting that opens the film. It isn't graphic, but the camera and sound make it realistic and intense. A woman attempts suicide by pills after a blackmail. A man fights a woman and beats her up pretty badly (some blood), but then she stabs him in the leg and runs. Language is mild ("h*ll", a few "SOBs") until the end, when a man lets loose a "f**k" in the middle of a heated argument. There is one brief sexual situation (kissing in bed, no nudity), but it isn't graphic.
age 17+

Alright movie for adults, but only if you are an anti-gun activist.

Too political, for my blood. The acting was wonderful and the actors great, but only on an adult level. The hi-tech equiptment was a little far fetched tho.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (2 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

John Grisham's courtroom thriller is given the big-time Hollywood treatment and the result is as reliably entertaining -- but also as forgettable -- as an airplane novel. This is the kind of story that benefits from the willing suspension of disbelief (and logic). As much fun as it is to see Oscar-winners Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman square off against each other, they overpower the material. Star power in even the smaller roles provides more distraction than support. This movie could have worked better with a made-for-tv-movie level cast more suitable to its potboiler sensibility.

The drama does not come from what happens in the courtroom but what happens outside it. That leaves room for lots of intrigue and Grisham knows how to hold the attention of the audience. But the conclusion feels too easy, not earned by the way the issues have been presented throughout the movie or even the powerhouse performances. Like the insider on the jury, Grisham is a facile manipulator. But audiences are likely to be a little less willing to go along with it than the other jurors -- unless they're watching it in the same low-brain-cell-output locations the book is most often read -- on an airplane or at the beach.

Movie Details

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