Reversal of Fortune

1990

Reversal of Fortune

Critics Consensus

Featuring exceptional performances and a cunning script, Reversal of Fortune doubles as a tantalizing mystery and ruthless satire of the rich.

94%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 35

77%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 5,443
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Movie Info

Barbet Schroeder's fact-based drama stars Jeremy Irons as Claus von Bulow, the infamous New York socialite accused of attempting to kill his wife Sunny (Glenn Close) with an overdose of insulin. (She slipped into a coma instead.) Ron Silver stars as Alan Dershowitz, Von Bulow's defense attorney; it is Dershowitz's book on which the movie is based.

Cast

Jeremy Irons
as Claus von Bülow
Ron Silver
as Professor Alan Dershowitz
Uta Hagen
as Maria
Fisher Stevens
as David Marriott
Christine Baranski
as Andrea Reynolds
Julie Hagerty
as Alexandra Isles
Sarah Fearon
as Ala von Auersberg
Jad Mager
as Alexander von Auersberg
Glenn Close
as Sunny von Bülow
Jack Gilpin
as Peter MacIntosh
Stephen Mailer
as Elon Dershowitz
Michael Wikes
as Steve Famiglietti
Thomas Dorff
as Brillhoffer
Leo Leyden
as Englishman
Malachy McCourt
as Englishman
View All

News & Interviews for Reversal of Fortune

Critic Reviews for Reversal of Fortune

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (33) | Rotten (2)

  • It is a finely detailed manners study of the superwealthy, a drama of conflicting principles and values and an engrossing legal detective story.

    Mar 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • What it all adds up to is something the film never quite seems prepared to address, but this is a fascinating look at all the secondary questions.

    Feb 11, 2008 | Full Review…
  • This is a strange, unsatisfactory mixture of satire and docudrama which engages the mind and leaves the emotions intact.

    Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • There is a high degree of sometimes shocking intelligence running through Reversal of Fortune.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 4.5/5
  • Reversal of Fortune is an often chilly movie, but the chill cuts to the bone.

    May 12, 2001
  • Irons founds his adroit performance, from cadaverous countenance to crooked pinky, on strangled passion and noblesse oblige. And astonishingly, he manages to make old Claus oddly pathetic, even sympathetic.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Reversal of Fortune

  • Dec 27, 2015
    I'm not a big fan of Barbet Schroeder's work. He often fails to commit to saying much of anything at all. It seems he considers his subject matter deeply, but then ultimately sits on the fence after having considered all the perspectives in what is often subversive, controversial, and/or provocative material. Still, I do think it is commendable that he doesn't pander to any one view, but instead attempts to turn the experience into a meditation on the curiosities of human nature. It's just that sometimes this approach works, and can be quite rewarding, and other times it doesn't really work at all. Here, it basically does. But by turning some of the story elements into social satire and others into courtroom/moral drama and detective fare, they either combine brilliantly or flatly don't work at all. Jeremy Irons is brilliant. There are also some surprisingly entertaining scenes with Jeremy's character and the appeals team, not to mention a clever meditation on the strengths and dangers of the American legal system.
    Super Reviewer
  • Sep 17, 2012
    A passable TV drama that fails to focus on one specific genre, and offers a mixture of thriller, mystery & a bit of courtroom drama. The conventional dramatic execution limits its effectiveness. Not having much expectations probably saved me the miseries, and made it a passable fare. Edit: In retrospect, I feel it'd be justifiable to rate it 3/5 for what it is.
    familiar s Super Reviewer
  • Aug 28, 2012
    Very entertaining, the perfect murder picture about the death of Sunny von Bülow and how her husband Claus von Bülow may have or may not have been the one responsible. Although to be honest, I didn't care who was the one responsible. What mattered was how the film was able to be darkly funny, intriguing and frank about the possiblities of the case. Ther performances are great. Jeremy Irons is very good as Claus von Bulow who has a drab voice and smokes his ciggs like a hardcore smoker. Ron Silver plays as von Bulow's lawyer Alan Dershowitz who believes von Bulow is guilty but agrees to defend him so von Burlow fund's Dershowitz defense of two poor black teenagers accused of capital murder. Dershowitz gets a bunch of law working students to help him in the case and it's amazing how they all work together. One woman wants out and feels von Bulow is a murderer while Dershowitz in a stunning scene explains why she should stay. Annabella Sciorra is sarah who plays as one of the law students and possibly Dershowitz's lover, is sharp and careful with her own facts. She tries to see things from a different angle. I also admired the narration done by Glen Close as the vegetative Sunny von Bülow. It's erie just watching her play that role while narrating the story. I must say I did cringe when she played a vegetable in bed. "Reversal Of Fortune" is a great movie and an intelligent one. You can look at it as entertainment or one can have their own feelings on von Bulow and the trial. Again I didn't care if he did it or not but it was funny when he scared the cash register to buy him lots of insulin. He was just kidding of course.
    Brian R Super Reviewer
  • Jul 20, 2012
    They threw Jeremy Irons an Oscar for this which I think reflected a body of work rather than this in particular. THere is nothing terribly wrong with it. It just reeks of dullness.
    John B Super Reviewer

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