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Case 39 (2009)

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A social worker fights to save a girl from her abusive parents, only to discover that the situation is more dangerous than she ever expected.



4,450 ( 196)
3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Javier's Wife
Custody Judge
Domenico D'Ambrosio ...
Plainclothes Cop
J. Winston Carroll ...
Judge (as John Carroll)


"Case 39" centers on an idealistic social worker who saves an abused 10-year-old girl from her parents only to discover that the girl is not as innocent as she thinks. Written by Unknown

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


They'll never stop. October 1 See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and terror including disturbing images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

| |  »




Release Date:

1 October 2010 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Caso 39  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$26,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,350,570, 4 October 2010, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$13,248,477, 14 November 2010
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


While shooting one of the fire scenes for the movie, a special effect fire got out of control and burned the whole set down, including the studio stage, into which it was built, and almost all of the crew's equipment. Nobody was seriously injured, and filming resumed the next day, with equipment being hauled in from all over the world. See more »


When Emily locks her self in the bedroom at night, Lilith tries to break down the door. When she stops, Emily is on the ground next to the closet. When Emily opens the closet, it is daylight outside. As Emily runs out of the house, it is night again. See more »


[first lines]
Lillith Sullivan: [waking] I can see you.
See more »


Featured in Phelous & the Movies: Phelous Is on Case 39 (2010) See more »


Army Of Angels
Performed by Nadeshda Brennicke
Music by Michl Britsch and Nadeshda Brennicke
Lyrics by Nadeshda Brennicke
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Definitely a case of peaks and valleys.
6 November 2010 | by See all my reviews

I found it somewhat difficult to rate this film in all honesty. Some elements are surprisingly good, while others are just cliché'd and melodramatic. I enjoyed it overall and would have given it an 8/9 had there not been various glaring inconsistencies that were impossible for me to ignore. I've never been one to overly obsess about plot holes or implausibilities, but at times Case 39 doesn't even bother to follow the rules that it's made for itself.

Renee Zellweger plays Emily, a child protective services worker, who ultimately saves a 10 year old girl, Lilly from her abusive parents. She takes a maternal interest in Lilly but problems arise shortly after having removed the girl from her home. At this point, even if you haven't seen the trailer (I didn't), you can guess where the story is headed. This is not a problem because it works in the films favor. The tension and buildup are excellent as we wait for Renee to catch up to where we are. We know what's going to happen and so it creates an uneasiness that stays with us throughout the entirety of the film. There are some genuinely creepy moments ( I think I counted 3), and a host of other cheap "jumpy" scenes that sometimes work and sometimes don't. The movie managed to catch me off guard a couple times, and seeing as how I'm a huge horror buff, I'd say that's impressive. More times than not, I can anticipate a scare, but there were some scenes that had me on edge.

The acting is adequate amongst all the principal characters, the direction choppy in places, the look of the film is beautiful. Once again I just had a problem with the factors that didn't add up. For instance, if a character is what the film says it is, then why can't it get itself out of the situation that occurs at the end of the film? By definition of what this character is, the laws that confine "normal" people shouldn't apply to it, right? Also the explanation for what "it" wants is very unclear and flimsy at best. Without a clear understanding of the motivation, without an answer to "WHY?", it left me feeling a little unstable about the whole story.

All in all, it's still a great way to spend a couple hours if you can spare them. I consider it money well spent. If nothing else, you will definitely be entertained.

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