Argumentative August #29 – A Civil Action (1998) –

Rob and I would like to once again welcome you to another review for our Argumentative August Blogathon. This next film, A Civil Action is being reviewed by myself here at Let’s see what I thought of this movie….


What did I like?

I liked the realism of the story and it’s characters. John Travolta plays a lawyer who is not afraid to back down even if it ruins his life both personally and professionally. He’s not willing to give in to the powerful companies he’s suing or their sly lawyers who know every trick in the book to get the case dismissed.

What didn’t I like?

How Robert Duvall’s character is not given much to work with for character development. We get introduced to him and then watch him work his magic. There no explanation or background story.

Was A Civil Action a good story?

I remember watching this movie about a decade ago. I was drawn into the story, hanging by a thread for the verdict. After watching it a second time it seems my memories have been tarnished a little since I did not enjoy it as much. Although this movie is based on true events, I had no desire to look them up and see what actually happened before or after the trial. A Civil Action however is a very good court room movie that shows how tough some cases can be when challenging the people who by-pass the laws with their money and connections.

Notable Performances?

I already mentioned Travolta and Duvall, but the one character who stood out the most to me was played by William H. Macy. I wouldn’t consider him one of my favourite actors, though I appreciated his role in this film. He is the financial brains behind the law firm and there is not a stone he’s willing to check under for money to fight this case. I think in the limited time he had, he outshined both headliners in the film.

Would I recommend it?

Yes. A Civil Action has long been gone from theatres where it made $56 million dollars. It is a rare movie that is not easy to find (I found it on a foreign country’s Netflix) so if you ever want to watch it, I’d recommend your local library which may have a DVD copy.


my star rating: 5 out 10

imdb: 6.5 out 10 / metascore: 68/100 / rottentomatoes: 60% out 100%

roger ebert: 3.5 out 4 / richard crouse: n/a