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55 Steps

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Germany, Belgium · 2018
Rated PG-13 · 1h 55m
Director Bille August
Starring Helena Bonham Carter, Hilary Swank, Jeffrey Tambor, Johan Heldenbergh
Genre Drama

Based on the true story of the unlikely relationship between the wickedly smart Eleanor Riese, a mistreated patient in a psychiatric hospital, and Colette Hughes, a workaholic patients’ rights lawyer. When Eleanor files a class action suit against the hospital, Colette takes on her case.

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What are critics saying?


Variety by Dennis Harvey

August, whose English-language films have seldom compared well to his distinguished Scandinavian ones, can’t elevate this material much above the flat, pat TV-movie earnestness it seems content to aim for.


Los Angeles Times by Gary Goldstein

The filmmakers’ choice to focus so heavily — and, unfortunately, dully — on the odd-couple friendship between the tightly-wound, workaholic Hughes (Hilary Swank) and the brashly spirited Riese (Helena Bonham Carter) instead of on the bigger-picture legal wranglings and wider effects of the landmark lawsuit against a San Francisco hospital may point to the chapter’s cinematic limitations.


The Hollywood Reporter by Keith Uhlich

Scene by scene you wish 55 Steps made you angrier than it does. Yet August's docile filmmaking acts as an emotional soporific, removing even the potential camp pleasures of Bonham Carter's histrionics.


Washington Post by Michael O'Sullivan

As Eleanor, Bonham Carter delivers a sweetly oddball performance playing a high-maintenance but fiercely determined grouch who is mostly impossible to like. Swank, for her part, is no picnic either: A former psychiatric nurse who discovered law later in life, her Colette is a largely charmless workaholic.

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