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Parents' Guide to

The Judge

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Mature legal drama is superbly acted but a bit predictable.

Movie R 2014 141 minutes
The Judge Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 15+

Reality Is Not Always Pleasant

Dan G.'s review offers some insight into what he thinks is morally correct/incorrect about the film. However, I'm concerned about his blanketing comment of what he terms as "a childish fascination with poop". He is referring to a scene when the character played by Robert Duvall experiences a bowel and upper digestive attack associated with advanced colon cancer. Yes, the scene is disturbing, but so is cancer. Watching this scene reminded me of my grandmother, who died of colon cancer and suffered the same painful and embarrassing death as Duvall's character. Since the disease is hereditary, my father had similar experiences with colitis, a condition closely related to colon cancer. To reduce inflammation and further tissue damage, my father had to take the steroid Prednisone, which presents the patient with uncontrollable nervousness and vivid, horrific dreams while under the medication. Yes, Dan, the scene is difficult to watch. However, which is more childish....the scene accurately portrayed, or peoples' refusal to have colonoscopies to screen for this preventable ( yes, preventable) cancer because of truley childish sexual innuendo attached to the medical procedure?
age 13+

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5 ):
Kids say (6 ):

There's no doubt that Downey Jr. can deliver on pretty much any role he takes on. In THE JUDGE, he imbues Hank with a certain cynicism that only he could get away with without making the main character entirely unlikable. And likability is important here, because Hank wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea. He's arrogant, cocksure, and difficult in his own right.

The fact that the film's characters are complicated actually heightens its appeal. But Downey -- and, by extension, the film, since his character is so central to it -- might feel just a little too slick. There's a knowing sheen here that points to a self consciousness about the movie being a type of crowd-pleasing thriller, one that milks all the right emotional notes. But there's no false note in Duvall's performance. He allows the titular judge to be difficult to like, at best. There's one particular scene in which his character is subjected to the indignities of age and illness, and Duvall goes to all the necessary dark corners. To watch him and Downey, who's best when he's paired with Duvall, is to witness a master acting class.

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