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Reviews & Ratings for
The Accused More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

No Means No.

Author: Robert J. Maxwell ( from Deming, New Mexico, USA
9 December 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a pretty decent movie in its direction (Jonathan Kaplan) and its principal performances (Jodie Foster, as a gang-rape victim, and Kelly McGillis is the prosecuting Assistant District Attorney).

In the opening scene we see Foster running out of a bar and onto a highway, sobbing, her dress torn. She's been raped by three young men on top of a pinball machine while a dozen others stand around and cheer. One young college student is appalled, however, and drops a dime on the others. Justice winds up being served.

The obvious point of the movie is that not all rape victims need to be saints to deserve our sympathy. Jodie Foster plays a sluttish waitress who lives with some tattooed moron, drinks too much beer, and smokes dope. And after she cuts her own long blond hair in a spiky fashion, she looks like hell. On top of that, she's so ensconced in her working-class world that, when McGillis is driving her home from the hospital, she turns to the lawyer and asks in her croaking voice, "Did you go to college?" College, for Foster's character, is as remote as the planet Neptune.

Charges are brought against the three rapists and McGillis, at the insistence of her boss (Carmen Argenziano), plea bargains them down to a guilty plea to reckless endangerment, not rape, because the boys don't want a sexual assault on their record. When Foster learns about this, she erupts with anger and accuses McGillis of selling her out. Foster wanted them convicted of rape, not reckless endangerment, although the sentences are identical.

McGillis, fraught with guilt, decides to prosecute the onlookers for encouraging the crime by clapping, shouting, and offering encouragement. There follows a sharp argument with the D.A. who tells her to go ahead and throw her career away because, win or lose, McGillis is fired. The jury brings in a guilty verdict and three of the onlookers wind up in the slams.

The strong performances bring out the weaknesses of the film, and they're simple flaws, easily avoided by a writer or director willing to challenge more than the rather mindless observation that some rape victims aren't perfect.

All the men are bad and all the women are good, or at least well intentioned. The rapists are horrible of course. (I've always wondered how a man who is drunk and stoned can beat a woman into submission and still achieve an erection, let alone maintain one.) The onlookers, free to walk the streets, are remorseless. They follow the victimized Foster around. They taunt her and call her filthy names when they meet her in stores. They ridicule her and block her exit from the parking lot. They're ugly too.

That's the second main point established by the movie -- men are beasts, from the loathsome rapists on up to the District Attorney -- and you can only trust another woman to jeopardize her own welfare for your sake. The message reeks of political correctness and is offensive to anyone of taste and perception. Life simply doesn't work that way and presenting reality so structured is a betrayal of art, although it would fit nicely into a Saturday morning children's cartoon. Granted, though, that the world might well be a better place if we could find some kind of antidote to all that testosterone.

None of this vitiates the film's many virtues. Nice location shooting. And effective performances from everyone involved, including the men who are villains, pragmatists, and weaklings.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Wrenching And Gripping

Author: jonathon_naylor from Manitoba, Canada
2 April 2007

Wrenching and clever, THE ACCUSED is about justice in all its flaws and wonders. Jodie Foster is the victim of a brutal gang rape who feels sold out by the legal wheeling and dealing of her lawyer, Kelly McGillis. With the rapists already behind bars for "reckless endangerment", McGillis agrees to go after the pathetic barflies who egged on her aggressors.

THE ACCUSED is equal parts gripping and disturbing, and in several key areas. It's a film about the indignities of victimization, as painfully exemplified in Foster's post-rape medical exam. It's a film about courage, seen in McGillis' selfless determination to help Foster and in the key witness's stepping forward against a close friend. And it's a film about how our contemporary legal system cheapens victims all in the name of expediency.

Though famous for Foster's Academy Award-winning performance, THE ACCUSED deserves to be remembered for its own merits. It is an important film, rare in that it grabs you and seldom lets you go.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

great film

Author: monkey-man from Australia
3 July 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film is really good it starts off with Jodie Foster running down a street in obvious distress of the portrayed rape which happened minutes before.

Jodie Foster then tries to take them to court but her lawyer does not think she will win so the lawyer accepts a deal from the defence. Jodie is obviously outraged about this decision, there for confronts her lawyer and lays her opinion on the line.

Jodies layer then decides to prosecute the witnesses who watched and encouraged the rape and she succeeds and the witnesses get sent to jail.

Over all this film is good with no boring bits my rating is 7 out of 10

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Powerful movie

Author: wnterstar from United States
16 April 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In The Accused, we follow Sarah Tobias'(Jodi Foster) fight to have the men who stood by and not only watched, but cheered on while other men raped her borough to justice.

I am having a hard time reviewing this movie. I think maybe it's because it really effected me so deeply. It is brutal and tough to watch in spots, but well worth it. It handles a very difficult subject very tactfully, but unflinchingly. We not only feel for Tobias, but we also care about her attorney, Kathryn Murphy (Kelly McGillis), who goes through her own set of problems because of the controversial nature of the lawsuit.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:


Author: ( from fairview, nj
21 February 2003

THE ACCUSED (1988) ***1/2 Jodie Foster, Kelly McGillis. Foster deservedly won her first Best Actress Oscar for her powerful performance as the victim of a gang rape who has to face some harsh realities in the American judicial process as well as her own character assassination when her lawyer (McGillis equally effective) is determined to prosecute those who rooted on the assailants. Expertly directed and a very important film in depicting a graphic rape sequence for what it is: an act of violence and not sex. Directed by Jonathan Kaplan. Based on a true story.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Powerful Film Deserving Of The Oscars It Won

Author: Big Movie Fan from England
2 December 2002

The Accused is a powerful film to be commended for taking a controversial subject and bringing it onto the screen.

Jodie Foster performs her best role as Sarah Tobias who is gang-raped. Kelly McGillis plays the prosecutor Kathryn Bigelow. The film is very powerful, just the right length and full deserving of the accolades it has been given.

Rape is a very controversial subject and this film reminds us that for the most, the onus is on the woman to prove she didn't consent. As a male, I do not agree with that. I equally think that in a court of law, a man should have to prove he was satisfied that the woman consented. I don't want to get into the ins and outs of such a heinous crime as rape but the good thing about this film is that it reminded us of how terrible rape is.

Throughout the film we see the effect on the victim and how she reacted to it. I used to work in a court here in my country in a clerical role and sometimes it seemed that the powers that be forgot about the consequences for the victim. This film shows us the mental scars that are left on a woman after being raped. It is important for us as people to remember that criminals may serve sentences but victims of crime more often than not serve life sentences. A criminal may leave jail after ten years, a victim is trapped in their own personal jail for life.

The film was very entertaining and deserved to win the awards it did. Whilst a film's primary role should be to entertain, a film such as this can have a good role in highlighting such an important issue. I would include this film on a top ten list of 'MUST SEE MOVIES.'

One more thing, I notice one IMDB user commented that Jodie Foster should have played the prosecutor and Kelly McGillis should have played the victim. That is a good idea and I think that would have worked well.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

An intense drama based on a real life account...

Author: Raven Tollett ( from De Queen, Arkansas, USA
18 July 2001

An intense drama based on a real life account of a foul-mouthed woman (Foster) who is brutally raped in a local bar by a group of men. The movie deals with her triumph of getting the chance to bring forth her violators in the court of law. Everything is credible and sufficient, but I was left with a feeling of dissatisfaction.

I give "The Accused" **1/2(C+)

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

One of Jodie Foster's best roles ever

Author: Dennis Hirschmann ( from Schwenningen, Germany
5 December 1999

It's easy to understand why Jodie Foster won the Academy Award for this movie. Her outstanding acting is certainly one of the highlights in this movie dealing with the theme of rape. The character she plays is a very rough person, a bit vulgar too, and most likely not the type of person you'd want your kids to hang around with. Yet Jodie Foster plays her role as a gang-raped woman so convincing, so real and so powerful that it's hard not to sympathize with her.

The overall movie is excellent too. It's one of the very few movies of it's kind that do manage to show what a rape is really like. And it tells a simple message, one often heard before: It doesn't matter whether one dresses up provocative or tells sex-jokes or whatever. No means No. But seldom this message is conveyed so powerful.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Foster's performance elevates tired material into a good film.

Author: Kevin Marshall ( from London, Canada
23 August 1999

"The Accused" takes material that is usually reserved for TV movies and transforms it into a quality film. This is not due to particularly good writing or directing, however. The fact that "The Accused" is not simply an average film is due to Jodie Foster's outstanding performance.

I would recommend seeing this film, if only for Foster's performance (she won a Best Actress Oscar for it). She is excellent; it's a shame the other aspects of the film aren't quite as good.

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A moving and important story-one of the best to come out of the 80's.

Author: triple8 from Conn
15 August 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***


The accused is an extraordinary film and one of my all time favorites. It's a very Very gripping movie starring Jody Foster and Kelly McGillis. The movie portrays a rape victim(Foster) who is gang raped in a bar and her Attorney(McGillis) makes the decision to prosecute the men who cheered the attack on.

This movie was very well done and very moving.(It is based on a true story.) as well. It featured excellent acting, knock out performances by everyone particularly the two female leads. Foster won the Oscar for her performance but I think the movie itself should have been nominated as well.

This movie was somewhat controversial, I remember when a group of us saw this picture we all had a spirited argument on whether the "eggers on" should in fact have been punished(I said yes). It's a tough,tough movie to watch, the rape scene is very graphic, Foster is just amazing, maybe hard to watch but gripping and important to view.

The attitudes of many toward rape victims, today, sadly are still somewhat disturbing, the "blame the victim" mentality is still very much alive. The Accused is very realistic in showing that but then again as mentioned it is based on a true story.

There was a comment or 2 that mentioned such a tale was highly impossible. Actually it isn't. Rape is a very common occurrence and can happen anywhere. Also I did not see this film as man bashing at all(there were some comments that mentioned this as well). The movie was not saying all men are capable of rape. Rather the opposite actually, in fact it is a male who winds up saving the day.

All in all a film not to be missed. 10 of 10.

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