5.8/10
32,916
148 user 244 critic

The Paperboy (2012)

Trailer
2:31 | Trailer
A reporter returns to his Florida hometown to investigate a case involving a death row inmate.

Director:

Lee Daniels

Writers:

Peter Dexter (screenplay by), Lee Daniels (screenplay by) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
2,701 ( 652)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 4 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Zac Efron ... Jack Jansen
Matthew McConaughey ... Ward Jansen
Nicole Kidman ... Charlotte Bless
John Cusack ... Hillary Van Wetter
David Oyelowo ... Yardley Acheman
Scott Glenn ... W.W. Jansen
Ned Bellamy ... Tyree Van Wetter
Nealla Gordon ... Ellen Guthrie
Macy Gray ... Anita Chester
Edrick Browne Edrick Browne ... Hustler #1
Kevin Waterman ... Victim
Danny Hanemann Danny Hanemann ... Sheriff Thurmond Call
Peter Murnik ... Death Row Guard
John P. Fertitta ... Sam Ellison (as John Fertitta)
Jay Oliver ... Mr. Guthrie / Wedding Guest (as James Oliver)
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Storyline

Eldest son Ward Jansen is a star reporter for a Miami newspaper and has returned home with close friend Yardley to investigate a racial murder case. Younger brother Jack Jansen has returned home after a failed stint at university as a star swimmer. To help give his life some direction, Ward gives Jack a job on their investigation as their driver. But into the mix comes the fiancée of the imprisoned convict who stirs up confusing feelings of love and lust for the young Jack. Meanwhile, Ward and Yardley's investigation stirs up deep-rooted issues of race and acceptance which could cause serious consequences for everyone involved. Written by napierslogs

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content, violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 October 2012 (Belgium) See more »

Also Known As:

Amores peligrosos See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$102,706, 7 October 2012, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$692,640, 18 November 2012
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Alex Pettyfer was first choice for the role of Jack. See more »

Goofs

Jack tosses his beer as he's walking towards Charlotte. Then he takes the boxes but still has the beer in his left hand. When he turns around again, the beer is gone. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Interviewer: [off-screen] Just tell me when you're rolling.
See more »

Connections

Featured in 19th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Lucky in Love
Written by Eddie Bo
Performed by Eddie Bo
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The moral swamp of the seedy South
22 March 2013 | by rooeeSee all my reviews

Lee Daniels' follow-up to the powerful Precious is an atmospheric work of Southern Gothic, based on a novel by Pete Dexter. Some might be precious (!) about their favourite books, but great films have been made which bear little resemblance to their source material, as fans of Dr Strangelove will know. I wouldn't call The Paperboy great, but with weightless yawners like Hansel & Gretel and Oz currently clogging the cinema, its rawness and energy is like licking an electric fence. In a good way. Grainy, saturated and wilfully unfocused, The Paperboy is a reminder of the power of 2D.

Matthew McConaughey continues his resurgence, tapping into a hitherto hidden vulnerability. He plays Ward Jansen, a journalist who arrives in the back-of-beyond with his partner, Yardley (David Oyelowo). They're in town to write a story about the unlawful conviction of Hilary Van Wetter (John Cusack). To entice him they employ Charlotte (Nicole Kidman, fearless), who's in love with Hilary, or the idea of Hilary. Finally, and centrally, there is scared, smouldering Jack Jansen, played by a very capable Zac Efron.

Jack wants to steal Charlotte away from all this: the alligator-gutters and the insufferable heat. Nicole thinks he knows nothing because he's young, but one of the films myriad themes is the value of youthful idealism: Jack is the only one of the main characters yet to plunge down a rabbit-hole of hopelessness and self-service. There is genuine affection on show, though, of the brotherly kind between Ward and Jack, and the motherly kind between Jack and Anita (a subtle and funny Macy Gray; further proof of Daniels' aptitude for bringing the best and least showy from musicians-turned-actors).

The film is ramshackle and imperfect - but this kind of works. It skitters along with little attention paid to the audience, with precise relationships between characters rarely spelled out, and chunks of action entirely elided. It's not quite as funny or bleak as the similarly southern-fried Killer Joe, but I do believe that The Paperboy has a more humanist agenda than William Friedkin's film, basically emerging on the side of people, broken as they often become.

Like Precious, this is a film containing difficult individual scenes, and a troubling ambivalence about whether we're investing in a set of real characters or peering at them through museum glass. But there's no doubt, when the camera starts rolling, that Daniels sets out to challenge his audience. In that respect, he has succeeded.


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