6.2/10
76,353
256 user 176 critic

Case 39 (2009)

Trailer
2:33 | Trailer
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.

Director:

Christian Alvart

Writer:

Ray Wright
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Popularity
4,032 ( 659)
3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Renée Zellweger ... Emily Jenkins
Jodelle Ferland ... Lilith Sullivan
Ian McShane ... Detective Barron
Bradley Cooper ... Doug
Callum Keith Rennie ... Edward Sullivan
Adrian Lester ... Wayne
Kerry O'Malley ... Margaret Sullivan
Cynthia Stevenson ... Nancy
Alexander Conti ... Diego
Philip Cabrita ... Javier
Vanesa Tomasino ... Javier's Wife
Mary Black ... Custody Judge
Domenico D'Ambrosio Domenico D'Ambrosio ... Plainclothes Cop
Benita Ha ... Therapist
J. Winston Carroll J. Winston Carroll ... Judge (as John Carroll)
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Storyline

"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

Taglines:

Some cases should never be opened. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Chloë Grace Moretz and Isabelle Fuhrman were considered for the part of Lilith Sullivan. Coincidently, this movie opened in the United States the same week as Let Me In (2010), which featured Moretz. See more »

Goofs

At Emily's first visit to the Sullivans, after getting out of her car, she is seen from top window, standing on the walkway. On next shot, she crosses the grass to get to the walkway and then get to the door. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Featured in Great Movie Mistakes III: Not in 3D (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Like Dat
Written by Stat Quo (as Stanley Benton), Gerald Griffin & Lt. Mo (as Todd Moore)
Performed by Stat Quo
Courtesy of Interscope Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
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User Reviews

 
A surprise scary movie with two terrific performances
29 January 2011 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

Case 39 (2009)

The clever plot isn't quite clever enough to keep you going through the whole movie, but almost. And both Renee Zellwegger as the passionate and trapped social worker and Jodelle Ferland as the adorable but mysterious child are quite amazing. Both are actors at the best of their powers, Zellwegger limited only by the role and the writing, which is very good but not quite flexible enough to let her show as many of those perplexed and touching nuances she is so good at (seen equally in "Bridget Jones's Diary" and "Nurse Betty"). But it's possible Ferland has the role of her life here. She's not only playing a precocious child, but is clearly a precocious young actress, bright, expressive, surprising, and not merely cute. By the way she was fifteen when it was filmed, even though she looks and acts, in most ways, like she's ten.

You can't ignore the plot, of course, since this is a plot driven movie saved by two great actresses, not the other way around. And the story is a little bit of a formula with a twist. The twist is good, but it is singular. Eventually we are carried from a personal and social drama with some evil people to a supernatural drama. It's here where things get scariest, but also where things wobble slightly in terms of believability or logic, if logic has any place here. For example, once the antagonist is shown to have really limitless powers of some kind (possibly imaginary), why does this person not have the power to just kill someone out and out? There is dangled the idea that this bad force depends on fear to proceed, but this isn't developed clearly, or maybe you have to see it twice to get.

On the other hand, if you just go with the flow, it's really increasingly scary. There are some scenes, like the woman in the hospital room that turns into a kind of large oven, that are chilling and really well done. Certainly Zellwegger's character is able to find the outlines of logic as she tries to survive by outsmarting the situation, and we're on her side. Eventually it comes to a dramatic climax, and it's pretty exciting. A sleeper, for sure.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

MySpace | Official site | See more »

Country:

USA | Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 October 2010 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Case 39 See more »

Filming Locations:

Burbank, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$26,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,350,570, 3 October 2010

Gross USA:

$13,261,851

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$28,190,603
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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