User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 24 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
Watch On

Review this movie

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling
  1. MichaelF.
    Jun 8, 2002
    9
    It's really good. It's powerful and funny. It's great direction and writing and acting all around.
  2. raVen
    Sep 4, 2004
    8
    And so I return once again to laud the talents of one William H. Macy. He is the true incarnation of his acting hero, Martin Balsam. Just as Balsam appeared consistently in great films like 12 Angry Men, Psycho, Breakfast At Tiffany's, All The President's Men and Cape Fear, so too has Macy. And it isn't just that he shows up for work. He gives consistently great And so I return once again to laud the talents of one William H. Macy. He is the true incarnation of his acting hero, Martin Balsam. Just as Balsam appeared consistently in great films like 12 Angry Men, Psycho, Breakfast At Tiffany's, All The President's Men and Cape Fear, so too has Macy. And it isn't just that he shows up for work. He gives consistently great performances, even in small roles. In this movie, which features a list of big names as long as your arm, he again adds something that would have been lacking otherwise: a sort of manic comedy relief that buoys you through a story that really isn't funny in any way. With a cast so huge, (James Gandolfini and Kathy Bates appear as well, though not credited here) the true story might have been in extreme danger of being subverted altogether. But everybody seems happy with less, and the movie is better for it. Understated, heavy, but entirely watchable. Expand
  3. PatC.
    Jan 13, 2004
    8
    In a legal battle, whoever comes to their senses first loses. Never forget this. Justice is not about fairness, though fairness can result. It is about the resolution of controversies in the quickest dirtiest way available. See for yourself. The story is flawed, but its lessons emerge intact.
  4. Oct 15, 2011
    7
    the movie was interesting to watch, though it has the general flaw of 'based on a true story'-movies of the ending being kind of an anticlimax. but the characters were very believable and i watched it all the way through.
  5. May 7, 2013
    4
    It's a good movie and I went back-and-forth between giving this a 7 or 8, but ultimately chose an 8. Travolta is good in the lead role and Macy is great in his supporting role as well. Being that the movie is based on a true story, the empathy you feel for the plaintiffs is certainly more powerful and I think that really helps the film along. Robert Duvall was also great in his role as theIt's a good movie and I went back-and-forth between giving this a 7 or 8, but ultimately chose an 8. Travolta is good in the lead role and Macy is great in his supporting role as well. Being that the movie is based on a true story, the empathy you feel for the plaintiffs is certainly more powerful and I think that really helps the film along. Robert Duvall was also great in his role as the defense attorney. Expand
  6. Nov 18, 2012
    7
    A Civil Action proves to be a solid legal drama, and that's mostly thanks to its stellar characters, who are played with quiet control by some talented actors.
Metascore
68

Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. 75
    A courtroom drama which is sufficiently different and thought-provoking that I can recommend it with a clear conscience.
  2. Reviewed by: Emanuel Levy
    70
    A solid and intelligent legal thriller that may be too complex in its issues, and too low-key and unexciting in its style, for today's market demands.
  3. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    90
    Zaillian's meaty movie, at once bleak and hopeful, speaks volumes about the maddening distance between justice and the justice system.