Universal acclaim - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
Watch On
  1. 100
    What makes it such a mesmerizing, wickedly witty entertainment is the revealing portrait it paints of an era in which everyone is presumed guilty where greed is concerned... It's an often chilly movie, but the chill cuts to the bone.
  2. 100
    It is a surprisingly entertaining film - funny, wicked, sharp-tongued and devious. It does not solve the case, nor intend to. I am afraid it only intends to entertain.
  3. Reviewed by: Robyn Karney
    An intriguing and absorbing movie, reeking of class and quite packed with powerhouse performances.
  4. 100
    This engrossing mystery-comedy peeks through the keyholes of the rich and infamous in a manner both droll and delicious.
  5. The juxtaposition of liberal Jewish attorney Dershowitz (Silver) and von Bulow working together on the latter's defense makes for some engagingly offbeat drama, with some interesting insights into the legal process.
  6. Barbet Schroeder directed the ingeniously made film, which weaves fact, hypothesis, and conjecture into a harrowing yet continually gripping and often highly amusing narrative. [12 Oct 1990]
  7. The comic contrast between the genteel snobbery of von Bulow, a Danish aristocrat, and Dershowitz's dry contempt for his well-tailored client is treated with understated but stinging wit in Nicholas Kazan's brilliant script. [9 Nov 1990]
  8. 88
    Irons' Von Bulow is easily the most attractive and entertaining movie heavy since James Mason's villain in ''North by Northwest,'' a figure with whom he shares a taste for elegant homes and wry understatement. [17 Oct 1990]
  9. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    If Silver is superb, Irons is transcendent. As some forgotten comic once said of George Sanders: A grapefruit wouldn't dare squirt in his eye. [17 Oct 1990]
  10. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    Irons's canny performance dominates the film. He plays the role with apparent frankness and dignity rather than melodramatic villainy.
  11. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    Funny and scary, Reversal is a tour de force for Schroeder, who examines the idle rich, the intricacies of the legal system, and the imperatives of morality concisely but with unmatched brio.
  12. 100
    The performances of Close and Silver are flawless, but it is Irons' portrait that remains behind, an enigmatic after-image… Reversal of Fortune is a delectable tour through facets of the lives of the rich and famous that Robin Leach wouldn't touch with a forked stick. [17 Oct 1990]
  13. What makes it so instructively entertaining is the pivotal character of Claus von Bulow, played by Jeremy Irons within an inch of his professional life. It's a fine, devastating performance, affected, mannerly, edgy, though seemingly ever in complete control. [17 Oct 1990]
  14. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    A marvelously sad and funny docucomedy. [22 Oct 1990]
  15. Irons, busily offset by Silver, gleefully choreographed by Schroeder, gives the picture its real bravura reason for being. [19 Nov 1990]
  16. What's fun about this movie is the sight of Mr. Irons's Claus stalking the mansion like a tall, skinny ghost smiling at the perverseness of it all. [18 Oct 1990, p.A14(E)]
  17. 60
    Dershowitz's life-enhancing scenes are flatulent, and they're dishonest: the movie seems to be putting us down for enjoying the scandal satire it's dishing up. [19 Nov 1990]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 27 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 11
  2. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. Jan 7, 2015
    With its opening long shot panning above numerous estates in Rhode Island, REVERSAL OF FORTUNE inks a plaintive sentiment to this morallyWith its opening long shot panning above numerous estates in Rhode Island, REVERSAL OF FORTUNE inks a plaintive sentiment to this morally ambiguous true story, the case of socialite Sunny von Bülow (Close), who descends into an unexplained brain-dead coma in the 1980, and her current husband, Claus von Bülow (Irons) is charged with attempted murder by an overdose of insulin injection. Against all the odds to his trial, Claus hires Alan Dershowitz (Silver) as his defence and eventually gets away with the indictment while the truth remains a moot point. In real life Sunny died in 2008 after almost 28 years as a human vegetable and Alan would be involved as an appellate adviser in another notorious case of O.J. Simpson.
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  2. BrendanH.
    Apr 7, 2006
    I've watched RofV six times and I never get tired of it. Never get tired of Ron Silver's vastly underrated performance, Jeremy I've watched RofV six times and I never get tired of it. Never get tired of Ron Silver's vastly underrated performance, Jeremy Irons' introverted despair, Glenn Close's intoxicating mix of rage and ennui. The film confronts our assumptions of the "whodunnit" and turns them on their head. In RoV, as in life, we can't always come to definite conclusions to what happened, or why; whether a man is good, evil, or lives in some point in between. Doesn't deserve to be mentioned with "The Godfather", but I love this movie. I think I'll watch it another six times. Full Review »
  3. HanselH.
    Mar 24, 2006
    No. 9 on the all time metacritic list? No way. Not a bad movie. But highly overrated.