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The Client Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    Variety Todd McCarthy

    The Client is a satisfactory, by-the-numbers child-in-jeopardy thriller that will fill the bill as a very commercial hot weather popcorn picture.

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  • 63

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    The Client is an example of what happens when a production team does the best they can possibly do with a routine script.

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  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Mike Clark

    With danger in every woods, elevator and hospital corridor, Joel Schumacher's by-rote direction will likely give audiences what they want: slick, superficial escapism with casting punch - ironically, virtues associated with the current flop I Love Trouble. To its credit, The Client moves faster and adds suspense, but ultimately seems as negligible. [20 July 1994, p.1D]

  • 63

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    The setup in The Client is done so well, it deserves a better payoff.

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  • 67

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    The movie keeps you occupied, but in a processed, unexciting way.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    The New York Times Janet Maslin

    The Client, with a fast, no-nonsense pace and three winning performances, is the movie that most clearly echoes the simple, vigorous Grisham style.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Wilmington

    Sometimes, it's exciting to watch a movie formula jell on screen-and that's what you can see happening in The Client, the latest, and best, of three successive films adapted from legal thrillers by John Grisham.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 12+

Plucky, terrorized boy at heart of legal thriller.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that threats of violence and death, often directed against an 11-year-old boy, are constant here. The movie begins with him almost becoming a victim in a murder-suicide (showing how to rig up a car exhaust as a suicide device in the process). Young Mark is no angel, swearing at PG-13 level (as do most other characters) and smoking. Both Mark's family and Reggie's have been ruined by drinking and divorce.

  • Families can talk about the relationship between Mark and Reggie. How does she eventually win his trust, despite a dysfunctional background? What could Mark have done differently from the outset, and how are his preconceptions from watching TV cop shows helpful or hurtful? How realistic do you think this movie is? How about TV cop shows?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Rebellious boy hero Mark is resourceful, and also ethical enough to try and stop a total stranger committing suicide. He still needs to be dissuaded from using violence as a solution in the end. Police officers and public prosecutors are portrayed as menacing or selfish characters who threaten Mark -- with the exception of the African American judge and Reggie, who is like a mother figure.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: A threatened murder-suicide, with a child as a potential victim. Shooting, and a tackle/beating, and one character blows his brains out (just offscreen). There's an arson fire and threats of stabbing and torture. Quick shot of a rotted corpse.

  • sex false0

    Sex: Not an issue

  • language false3

    Language: Lots of the "s" word, plus "asshole," "bitch," "bastard," and "hell." Mark gives the bad guy the finger.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Mostly local-color connections to Memphis and Elvis tourism, and the natural tie-in to John Grisham books.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Mark smokes cigarettes and "protectively" orders his little brother not to smoke more than one per day. Mark is asked if he does harder drugs. Statements of drug abuse in Reggie's past. Massive drinking by the suicidal lawyer.