Home » Bethany Rose »Feature Film »General Content »Indie Reviews »Movie Reviews »Trailers » Currently Reading:

The Trials of Cate McCall

MV5BMTQ0MTUwNjI4MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTk4MDk3MDE@._V1_SX214_

The Trials of Cate McCall does not offer too much in the way of new ideas or characters, but it is still refreshing to see a complex and commanding female lead who truly does own the film.”

Recently sober lawyer Cate McCall is on a mission. Her five-year-old daughter is currently living with Cate’s ex, and her career took a massive hit from her substance abuse. So in order to turn her life around, and to once again be a part of her daughter’s life, she takes on a pro bono case. It is clear that while the film is a legal drama, Cate McCall’s trials extend well beyond the courtroom.

Lacey Stubbs was accused of murder, but filed a Habeas Petition in an attempt to free herself and clear her name of a murder she denies culpability in. Cate has no time for mincing words, so she tells Lacey that her case is no longer a matter of innocence or guilt. What Cate does need to prove is that the state court made a legal or factual error in the conviction.  Nevertheless, Lacey recounts the details of the night of Jen’s murder, and in doing so implicates Rusty, an alleged rapist of both Jen and Lacey.

The Trials of Cate McCall
Written & Directed by
Karen Moncrieff
Cast
Kate Beckinsale, Nick Nolte, Clancy Brown
Release Date
April 2014
Bethany’s Grade: B-

As Cate searches for the truth in Lacey’s case, she is constantly distracted from her personal battles, and she continues to break promises to her own daughter, Augie.  While the trial creates more problems in her personal life, she continues to pursue leads and piece together the mystery, knowing that a win in this trial could ultimately bring her shared custody of Augie and redemption for her troubled past. Her tenacity eventually brings her to a more hopeful point, but another obstacle soon stands in her way. As she is poised to begin feeling good about her life and her purpose, she is visited by Mr. Boothe, the father of Lacey’s friend, Dorrie. Dorrie is also serving time for the murder of Jen, and her father believes that Cate is her only chance for freedom.

Kate Beckinsale’s performance as Cate McCall is one of the strongest parts of the film. Beckinsale never allows the film to become too melodramatic. She is a victim of her own addiction, and she never searches for sympathy. It is clear that her only goal after sobriety is to be a part of Augie’s life again, and her lowest moments come when she fears that she has failed as a mother. As a lawyer, Cate is strong and smart. She faces constant deceit, but she never breaks down or seems frail. While she does sometimes find her emotions overtake her, they are always connected to her custody battle, and she is clearly more comfortable crying in a private therapy session than she is in a room full of people like during an AA meeting.

While Beckinsale carries the lead role, it seems that sometimes too much of the film is on her shoulders, detracting from the potential to get a better feeling for any character but Cate. The film features a number of known actors, but Nick Nolte’s performance as Bridges is probably the closest thing to a leading co-star that there is. Essentially, the rest of the cast is a supporting ensemble, which in many films does work, but in this film, it seems that the development of some characters was lacking. Lacey and her family were potentially fascinating characters who likely had deep backstories, but the film didn’t focus on any of them enough to make them more than side characters. This action was particularly frustrating in the case of Lacey, since her trial is the center of the film. Had Trials focused more on the actual trial, and used Cate’s maternal motivations as a secondary story, the film would likely have had the time to flesh out some of the supporting characters.


Still, Cate McCall is a fully realized character. The film could easily have been about too much, juggling Lacey’s trial, Dorrie’s case, Cate’s substance abuse, and her subsequent custody battle, but the film never felt too heavy with subplot. In fact, even part of Cate’s past was explored, as a case and a fling from years before both resurface. Even though the film never felt flooded with exposition, the placement of the stories was often jarring. Rather than successfully cutting back and forth between issues, there were times when it seemed like only one plot was covered, before switching over to a lengthy focus on a different story, but the film ultimately found its stride and the plot points were eventually integrated successfully.

The Trials of Cate McCall does not offer too much in the way of new ideas or characters, but it is still refreshing to see a complex and commanding female lead who truly does own the film. And while not every supporting character received as much attention as needed, the performances saved many of the potentially flat characters. The film will not disappoint fans of courtroom dramas or series.

Review by Entertainment Writer and Film Critic, Bethany Rose

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Seen it? Then Rate this Movie or Show!
Rating: 3.8/5 (5 votes cast)
posted on February 22, 2014

Comment on this Article:

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Choose a Category

Advertisement:

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Keep in mind, we may update multiple times daily.

Advertisements

AdvertisementAdvertisementAdvertisementAdvertisement

Follow us on Twitter

Recent Comments

  • Ed Blackadder: I stand corrected! I can't believe I got that wrong. I was n...
  • Gavin Croucher: Your memory is obviously faulty because as everybody knows -...
  • Nav Qateel: I tried to diversify as much as possible and this is the res...
  • Martin Hafer: While perhaps not ESSENTIAL, I loved his "Zebraman" and also...
  • Martin Hafer: I appreciate your comment, though am a bit horrified that th...

The Latest from Jason Howard

Lucy
Lucy (Review)

  "The important thing to note is that, whatever you think of the film, it’s apparent that it’s the exact movie More→

Purge2
The Purge: Anarchy (Review)

  "The Purge: Anarchy improves on the original in almost every single way, while somehow still managing to not be More→

The Latest from Nav Qateel

Speak No Evil (2013) IiXw6ipBZn4
Speak No Evil (Review)

  "Any movie about killer kids, if done correctly, can be extremely creepy, and on that score Speak No Evil scores Continue→

Bilocation NxAPx-lguL0
Bilocation (Review)

  "One would expect a great deal more from such a tantalizing premise, but the resulting narrative eventually falls Continue→

The Latest from Steve Pulaski

Planes Fire
Planes: Fire & Rescue (Review)

  "Characters are one-dimensional archetypes, clearly boasting their celebrity voices more than their More→

Life Itself z4SgwBRq-fU
Life Itself (Review)

  "James is all encompassing with Life Itself, tirelessly trying to capture everything that occurred in Ebert's More→

Reviews from Ed Blackadder

TBlood7 iu3Tw4-pKg4
True Blood: Season 7, Episode 5 (Recap)

Lost Cause (Spoiler Warning) This week's episode of True Blood had a decent mix of everything, Read More→

Under the Dome
Under the Dome: Season 2, Ep 3 (Recap)

Force Majeure (Spoiler Warning!) The plot thickens in Chester's Mill as we learn a bit more Read More→

The Latest from Rob Rector

Cross Bearer 5jRPmnBexGs
Cross Bearer (Review)

  "Cross Bearer wallows in its seamier aspects and turns up the volume when it comes time for a hammer claw to Continue→

Killer Legends (2014) IhCYLuUygRY
Killer Legends (Review)

            by Rob Rector Filmmakers Joshua Zeman and Rachel Mills Continue→

Recent articles from Bethany Rose

The Bunnyman Massacre eNbal4zI4k8
The Bunnyman Massacre (Review)

“Writer/director Carl Lindbergh actually creates a new villain to entertain Continue→

Reason Dirs
An Interview with Directors Andrew Schrader & Jordan Harris

I recently interviewed filmmakers Andrew Schrader and Jordan Harris about their newest film, The Age of Reason (read my Continue→

Advertisement:

Honda's Project Drive-In

Check it out!

Check it out!
Martin’s 100 Most Overrated Films, Part 1
Martin’s 100 Most Overrated Films, Part 1

Great reviews, interviews, articles and more!

Check out this week’s feature from Influx Magazine!

Read Article

In the Spotlight:

In the Spotlight:
An Interview with Yvonne Strahovski
An Interview with Yvonne Strahovski

Great interviews.

Great articles.

Great reviews.

We’ve got it all on INFLUX Magazine.

Get the insight you want from our writers!

Read More

Brian's Brain: Stark v. Kennedy

Hot on Influx Magazine:

Hot on Influx Magazine:
An Interview with Actor William Sadler
An Interview with Actor William Sadler

From established A-listers to up-and-comers, from the names you know, to the names you will know, read INFLUX the latest Influx Interviews.

Need more?

We have more.

Continue!

Influx Magazine Presents:

Influx Magazine Presents:
King Lear (Theatre)
King Lear (Theatre)

Check out this featured article from Influx Magazine.

We bring you great articles, exclusive interviews and the latest reviews.

Continue

Influx Exclusive Interview:

Influx Exclusive Interview:
An Interview with Actor Crispin Glover
An Interview with Actor Crispin Glover

INFLUX Interviews offer unique insight into the world of actors, directors, producers, musicians and many others in the various worlds of entertainment.

Check out our latest interviews and enjoy!

Continue

INFLUX Interviews

Eric
An Interview with Actor Eric Goins (AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire)

  Actor Eric Goins plays Larry in the new popular drama Halt and Catch Fire from AMC. The show features the talents More→

Uwe Boll 02
An Interview with Uwe Boll (II)

  "I think most filmmakers are like actors - basically whores who sit there and wait till they can get paid to just More→

AEckhart
An Interview with Aaron Eckhart

He was the antagonist to Batman in The Dark Knight! He's portrayed the President of the United States in Olympus has Fallen! More→

Alan Bagh jE5dJDgZ644
An Interview with Actor Alan Bagh (Star of ‘Birdemic: Shock and Terror’)

  An interview with Alan Bagh, star of cult B-movie Birdemic: Shock and Terror. Birdemic is currently the number 2 More→

YS1
An Interview with Yvonne Strahovski

She's immediately recognizable from her role on Dexter as Hannah and is a major player in the 24: Live Another Day More→

Coogan
An Interview with Actor Keith Coogan

I recently had the pleasure to sit and talk with lifelong actor Keith Coogan.  Notably recognizable for two of his most More→

Recent Articles

Cuckoo
Top 10 Best Picture Winners (List)

  The constant debate over what film won Best Picture, what film did not or which film got snubbed of a nomination will never end. The reality Continue→

10 Supporting actors
10 Movies with Supporting Actor Oscar Nominees (List)

On many lists they concentrate on only the winners. Here, attention is drawn to the performances that helped escalate a film, but simply fell short Continue→

Everybody Loves a List!

Cuckoo
Top 10 Best Picture Winners (List)

  The constant debate over what film won Best Picture, what film did not or which film got snubbed of a nomination More→

10 Supporting actors
10 Movies with Supporting Actor Oscar Nominees (List)

On many lists they concentrate on only the winners. Here, attention is drawn to the performances that helped escalate a More→

Changed Cinema
10 Films That Helped Define Cinema (List)

  "For a film to make this list, it had to be a film that broke barriers or discussed a taboo subject. After these More→

s2Member®