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The Accused (1988)

The Accused (1988)

A chilling crime drama based on real events that still keep happening today

7.8

Movie

Canada, United States of America
English
Crime, Drama
1988
JONATHAN KAPLAN
Allan Lysell, Andrew Kavadas, Ann Hearn
111 min

TLDR

You don't mess with Jodie Foster.

What it's about

After a violent gang rape, a young woman named Sarah Tobias (Jodie Foster) tries to bring the culprits to justice with the help of a female prosecutor.

The take

An arguably tough watch, The Accused fluctuates between crime and courtroom drama, eschewing any kind of sentimentality in its storytelling. No place for pity where trauma reigns: the fact that the film is based on a real case of as gang rape means little in a world were that's still a daily occurrence. The Accused knows it well and invests its two protagonist with all the anger in the world, hoping the justice system will be on the right side of history at once: that of women. Two amazing leads set the bar very high: Jodie Foster and Kelly McGillis who plays prosecutor Kathryn Murphy. Together, they make a powerful duo of heated performances that embody the contradictions of being a woman under patriarchy.

What stands out

Here's Jodie Foster, only a couple of years before The Silence of the Lambs, already exploring the limits of composure and stoicism in her acting. With a character like Sarah—a rowdy, desiring woman—nuance is key. At the beginning of the film, we see her distraught, barely speaking and her voice cracked, which makes it hard to imagine what she was like before the rape. The only key to her previous life is her anger, and Foster packs a punch. She can go from zero to a hundred in a second, her quiet simmering turning to screams of rage in a heartbeat. 

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