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The Paperboy (2012)

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A reporter returns to his Florida hometown to investigate a case involving a death row inmate.


Lee Daniels


Peter Dexter (screenplay by), Lee Daniels (screenplay by) | 1 more credit »
3,374 ( 1,261)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 4 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »





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 Peter Murnik ... Death Row Guard
John P. Fertitta ... Sam Ellison (as John Fertitta)
Jay Oliver Jay Oliver ... Mr. Guthrie / Wedding Guest (as James Oliver)


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 »






Release Date:

17 October 2012 (Belgium) See more »

Also Known As:

Amores peligrosos See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »


Box Office


$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


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This movie received a fifteen minute standing ovation at the premiere Cannes Film Festival, which brought Lee Daniels and Zac Efron to tears. See more »


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 »


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


Featured in Great MoVie Mistakes (2013) See more »


Wedding March
Written by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (as Felix Mendessohn)
Arranged by Mario Grigorov
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Daniels Messes Up Any Chance it Had
9 September 2013 | by RyanCShowersSee all my reviews

After the emotional kick in the gut with Precious, one may go into The Paperboy anticipating something of a roller coaster ride from Lee Daniels and the talented cast, but The Paperboy isn't Precious by any means. The quality of the film itself is so crummy, it's a wonder this high profile cast was attracted to it. Through all the cheesy and trashy aspects of the film, The Paperboy at least pushes the boundaries of what we expect and creates some shocking scenes in its plot.

The screenplay does have a fairly intriguing plot, it's bites off a lot of issues to talk about, but never fully realizes any of them. Sometimes the "issues" are so thin, they slide right by the viewer. The most fun for the viewer is to watch the interaction between Zac Efron and Nicole Kidman's characters. It's an usual romantic relationship. Everything unusual is what The Paperboy has going for its screenplay. The script does develop the characters fairly well, some of the characters more than others.

The acting is the saving grace of The Paperboy and is what makes it watchable. Though John Cusack doesn't convince us in his juicy role, the rest of the cast is good. Zac Efron is decent in his protagonist role, Matthew McConaughey does fairly good work, but the true star is Nicole Kidman. It's a role that requires a lot of courage. The actress who had to play Charlotte would had to embarrass herself completely; Kidman owns that and brings the character out through those humiliating moments.

Lee Daniels is the man who screwed the project up. It was never destined to be a groundbreaking film, but Daniels holds it back from being at least decent as a movie. It becomes campy, has stereotypical racism, and messy scenes drowning in disarray. The narrative isn't strong enough to overcome Daniels's misdirection, even with the cast trying their best.

Rating: 4/10

Grade: C

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