Class Action

Gene Hackman, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Colin Friels

Directed by Michael Apted
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
March 15, 1991

Playing Father and Daughter lawyers on different sides of a hot-potato case, Gene Hackman and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio give passionate, riveting performances that almost make you forget you're watching a glorified soap opera. Hackman is Jedediah Tucker Ward, a civil-liberties attorney who takes a case against an auto company that may have knowingly produced unsafe cars. Mastrantonio is Maggie Ward, a legal eagle on the partnership express at an ultratony San Francisco law firm; she's defending the auto-company fat cats against her bullying, disapproving dad.

Samantha Shad, who conceived the story while studying law in 1970, wrote the screenplay with Carolyn Shelby and Christopher Ames, a married couple who have collaborated on such television shows as Growing Pains and Once a Hero. Shelby and Ames may have moved on to features, but their TV roots still show; everything is conveniently clear-cut. Dad is the Sixties idealist; daughter the Nineties pragmatist. He cheats on his faithful wife (Joanna Merlin); she sleeps with her sleaze-bag boss (Colin Friels). Ultimately he learns from her, and she from him, before justice triumphs in the final reel. Director Michael Apted (Gorillas in the Mist) knows there are no surprises in this cinematic stacked deck, so he wisely leaves the job of resuscitating Class Action to Hackman and Mastrantonio. They're much better than the movie deserves. Somebody ought to sue.

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Stillness Is the Move”

    Dirty Projectors | 2009

    A Wim Wenders film and a rapper inspired the Dirty Projectors duo David Longstreth and Amber Coffmanto write "sort of a love song." "We rented the movie Wings of Desire from Dave's brother's recommendation, and he had me go through it and just write down some things that I found interesting, and they made it into the song," Coffman said. As for the hip-hop connection, Longstreth explained, "The beat is based on T-Pain. We commissioned a radio mix of the song by the guy who mixes all of Timbaland's records, but the mix we made sounded way better, so we didn't use it."

    More Song Stories entries »