User Reviews (40)

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  • I watched this movie with more than 65 Patients Rights Advocates at our annual CAMHPRA meeting. We thank you all for making the film, it reaffirms our passion for the struggle of Patient Rights and their Civil Rights The Actors should be given awards and in my opinion big abrazos for protraying Eleanor and Collette and Mort (RIP we miss you so much). and for bringing to light an issue that everyone takes for granted. We know the battle was long and heart breaking but we thank you for the end results. We may not always win but when we win our clients win big. Please watch the film. Please support the mentally ill, we all break at one time or another and we need to support each other. I highly recommend this film Gloria h/fresno
  • mhmarinator22 November 2018
    Terrific movie! Congratulations Colette! Eleanor would be amazed and proud. Authentic character development and story line. Helena's performance was stellar. Hillary was good however perhaps not her best role. I highly recommend 55 Steps, very meaningful and worthy message. Say I am not right!
  • Exceptional, inspiring story that is exceptionally, poignantly told. Bonham Carter embodies this most dignified of heroines, who withstood inhumane treatment beyond all reason and yet retained her own captivating humanity. Eleanor Riese was a warrior. Thank you to all the women and men who persevered to make and win her case and later, to get this unforgettable movie made.
  • When I saw this movie, I didn't have an idea as to what to expect. I clicked it because I saw HBC plus, Hillary Swank... I mean come on, those 2? Who wouldn't be interested in a movie that has them as the lead stars... Ok so, Helena gave an award-worthy acting on this movie. She was impeccable! I couldn't say much about hillary because her acting here is just ok, her role didn't really bring out the best of her acting ability. All in all, you should see this film because of the powerful message it wants to convey! I highly recommend this.
  • This movie is nothing less than a gem. What makes it so compelling is that although the issues are clearly and boldly presented, we never lose our connection to the individuals portrayed. The balance achieved is rare. Also, Eleanor and Colette are such different women, but the evolution of their relationship is believable and astutely rendered. Above all, how wonderful was it to see a story about generosity, compassion and high ideals?
  • 55 Steps tells the very important story of Eleanor Riese and her personal and legal struggle to gain control over her medical treatment and her life. Helena Bonham Carter is amazing as Eleanor. The movie is based on Eleanor's legal case and the efforts of her lawyers but is really about Eleanor's growing friendship with her lawyer Colette Hughes, played by Hilary Swank in a typically strong performance.
  • Who would've thought that there was a time where mental patients didn't have a say in their medical care? Fortunately, for those original 150,000 patients in California, and the many that came after them, Eleanor and Colette did not rest until they found justice! The connection between Eleanor and Colette was beautifully captured by Helena and Hillary. This movie is a must-watch!
  • Larger than life characters like this one are what talented actors are on the lookout for.

    Helena Bonham Carter hit it out of the park with this.

    One of two excellent films about mental illness at 2017 Tiff.

    Very moving story and well defined characters.

    Sadly, based on a story that is unfortunately very much true.

    We were very fortunate to have the cast and real life personalities at my screening for an extensive Q&A - thanks to all for coming.

    Particularly hopeful was learning that the central characters are still engaged in improving the quality of life for older people living in retirement and old-age institutions.
  • Very timely and touching movie which is based on a true story. Timely release due to current events in the media. Enjoyed Helena and Hilary's portrayals of Eleanor and Colette. Hope movie is shown to a wider audience in the future.
  • 55 STEPS (2017)

    I was drawn to this movie because of the topic of patient safety; I found it hard to watch because the film felt like it tried too hard to tug at viewers emotions and the main character seemed exaggerated to me, but I did cry at the end, so something worked.

    I am inspired by this real life story and incredibly saddened at the same time: the fact that doctors cover for the medical/pharmaceutical industrial complex is one that pains me every day. I applaud the efforts of Eleanor Riese and her lawyers, who I view as heroes, but how far have we come? Informed consent and a patient's right to choose is still violated across the board in the medical field every day, which is why I'm so busy working hard on these issues.
  • bstew-0124317 October 2018
    I think that most every movie which portrays a person with a psychiatric diagnoses recreates stereotypes, as in Slingblade, Halloween, Psycho etc. This one makes an honest attempt to paint an accurate picture. Thanks!
  • This is a beautiful story about a friendship between a lawyer and her mentally ill client. This is also a story about courage and perseverance. The movie provides a lense into the mental health system and into the world of those who are brave enough to stand up to the injustices endured by those who often have no voice. The acting is incredible and authentically represents Ms. Riese and her lawyers. Thank you to the producers who have brought life to this important issue.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    As many others, I didn't saw this movie because I was familiar with the story of Eleanor. I saw it because of those two names in the cast: Helena and Hillary. I know it's not the legal drama most of you were expecting, and it doesn't show that much about living inside of a psychiatric hospital. But I think it shows what's more important. First, the cause they were defending is noble and very well explained to the public, causing anger and sympathy at the same time, which is the point. Second, it teaches you that, even on that time, it was very much possible for a normal person not just to don't judge but to love, to care and to admire another who suffers from mental illness. And that is beautifully showed on this movie. At last, I have to say that, in my opinion, there are few actresses in this world who could do a good job as Eleanor, and Helena was just perfect to me.
  • Reading the synopsis of this movie, my expectation walking into this movie is full blown court action like The Lincoln Lawyer or something like that. After the end credit rolled, I understand why it only got 6.9 rating on IMDB.

    If you're in the mood of court action movie,then this movie will not satisfy your need. This movie focused on the relationship between a lawyer and her client, how a retarded person in public's eye can change the life of a white collar. That's where this movie shines. A simple gesture of appreciation and caring can change a person's life and this movie doesn't fail to show both points. Personally, the outcome i got from 55 Steps is to never judge anyone based on anything for such a simple person on the outside can have a great personality and mind on the inside.
  • This is a wonderful story. Based on a real relationship, it is about so much more than a legal ruling. It is a story about the profound difference a person can make in another's life. It is about valuing individuals not according to what they can't do but for what they can do and who they are. Helena Bonham Carter is a brilliant actress and her full art is on display here in all its understated brilliance (American accent, and all). Hilary Swank is perfect for her role. I can only imagine the topsy-turvy switch up that must have happened when they called "cut", two such highly awarded actors. I give this film an 8 (great) out of 10. {Life Inspired Drama}
  • Inevitably, some will avoid a film about mental illness and patients' rights for fear of it being "worthy" or "depressing". And, sure, this is undoubtedly the kind of story that used to be packaged for "disease of the week" telemovies. What elevates "55 Steps" above that lowly status is an extraordinary performance by Helena Bonham Carter as Eleanor Riese. It's not only a detailed, sensitive and touching portrayal of a woman with mental illness, but a smart, masterful exercise in calibrating a performance that balances both drama and comedy so that a difficult and potentially alienating subject becomes entertaining and ultimately uplifting. It takes an actor with incredible skill and range to pull off such a feat, and Bonham Carter is one of only a handful who could do it. That in the past few years she's also convincingly played roles as disparate as Elizabeth Taylor and Madame Thenardier demonstrates what a remarkable actor HBC has become. But this may be her best performance yet. Well worth seeing.
  • shinytomato8 December 2018
    I loved this movie! It deserves so much more attention. Helena Bonham Carter deserves an Oscar for her role. It is hands down the best thing she has ever done. The script is brilliant and shows a very important human rights case in an intimate drama between two fantastic women. Go watch 55 Steps right away!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I had the privilege of seeing the remarkable movie "55 Steps" followed by a Q&A with Colette Hughes, co-counsel in the California case "Riese v. St. Mary's Hospital and Medical Center", which gave competent mentally ill patients the right to give informed consent to their medical treatments with limited exceptions. The story focuses on the slow development of a deeply touching friendship between Eleanor Riese, the lead plaintiff, and Hughes, and contains important lessons on how to be a competent human. The performances are outstanding, and the story is important and should be better known. Ms. Hughes has been deeply involved with the making of the movie and spoke glowingly of how the story and people are portrayed, as well as highlighting current civil rights challenges in the field of patient consent. Sadly, the movie has not received much theatrical release - ask your indy cinema theater to book it if you want to see it on the big screen as it should be seen, but it is. becoming available for streaming as well. Not an easy movie, but a beautiful one. The lead actors worked without pay, and the funding seems to have come primarily from government sources in Germany and Belgium. However, this is an American civil rights story, through and through, and Eleanor Riese and Colette Hughes along with Mortimer Cohen, the other co-counsel are all true American heroes.
  • Such a heartwarming film which highlights the plight that people with mental health issues face.

    Swank and Botham Carter make a great duo, and the film is superbly written. I'm sure the real lawyers worked even harder to beat the system and the doctors.

    I recommend anyone who doubt that mental health patients need more advocates. Prisoners have more rights which is heartbreaking to hear.

    The lawyers are still fighting for patient rights and hopefully winning
  • This is the best movie I've seen in years! The acting is superb, definite Oscar material for both female leads. The story is one that any person concerned with human rights should find engrossing and inspiring. The screenplay is excellent in its moving dialogue and clarity regarding the mental health patients' rights issue central to the story. For all film buffs, this is not to be missed.
  • Outstanding film about Eleanor Riese (Helena Bonham Carter) , a patient in a psychiatric hospital who has been overmedicated against her will. Eleanor hires Colette Hughes (Hillary Swank) , a patients' rights attorney, to take her case. This leads to a landmark decision for advised consent for psychiatric patients held against their will. Helena Bonham Carter should have been nominated for an Academy Award for this performance and Hillary Swank also did an outstanding portrayal of Colette Hughes. Must see for anyone interested in human rights and patients' rights and psychiatry.
  • The story of the fight for the basic rights of the mentally ill in California. Outstanding, informative and engrossing.

    Helena Bonham Carter's portrayal is beyond description. Watch this just for seeing acting raised to an art.
  • Everyone should consider seeing this film to get some historic understanding of the way things were and the kinds of things that happened in the 80's and 90's.

    one of the worst parts about it is that these things STILL happened long after these kinds of cases made their ways through the courts and Won there! the ways that psychiatry occupies our bodies is Insidious and Disturbingly pervasive, the destruction which they cause is immutable and can never be forgotten, please see the movie and realize that it is only one of many stories, in which human beings were required to suffer such incomprehensible losses without cause at the alter of psychiatry (for it is certainly a Faith and NOT a science!!!) remember always!!!!!

    I added one extra star because I like the subject of the film and feel these things need to be shown and talked about more for social understanding of the realities of what can be considered nothing less than an epidemic.
  • brownpelican23 October 2018
    Real life movie based on a true event. Court room drama with mental patient litigating against the mental hospital. Rights of patient vs administrators and doctors. Medical doctors and pharmaceutical companies do care many times more about profit than people.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "55 Steps" is a new movie, German/Belgian co-production in the English language from 2018 that was directed by Danish Emmy-nominated filmmaker Bille August who has been in film for 40 years already and his writer Mark bruce Rosin is equally experienced as his previous credits date back to the 1970s. But these two are of course not as the two lead actresses in the center of it all: Oscar-nominee Helena Bonham Carter and 2-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank. And these two are the real reason why this film should be seen. Both are doing a really good job that reminded me a bit of female equivalents of Hanks and Washington in Philadelphia, but the production here will probably not be as prestigious enough to grant them the same amount of awards recognition, even if there is some great awards bai in this film here, especially for Bonham Carter. This is the story of a disabled woman who got drugged against her will in a psychiatrics clinic. And about the lawyer who seeks justice, not just for said patient, but also for patients in future cases as she tries to get a crucial court decision that may change forever the ways in which these clinics are allowed to treat their inmates. Aside from that, there are several sub plot that keep adding tension and drama, but at times maybe feel a bit too forced for their own good. Maybe sometimes, more focus on the story at the core of it all would have been better, so the script is far from perfect. It is just too much overall, even for a 2-hour movie. Let me mention here some examples, some sub-plots. It all feels a bit rushed in, especially as these are major events taking place: Bonham Carter's character's mother, Swank's character's declining health, Swank's character's marriage and plans to go to Mexico, Bonham Carter's character's death and there's more. Also the key story is a bit generic at times moving back and forth between they are losing, they are winning, they are losing, they are winning etc. Still there are also good moments, many actually and the weaknesses I mentioned also have positive to them like for example that the death at the end solves the conflict of Swank's character leaving her close friend behind. And there was one particular scene that I really really liked a lot, namely the one that takes place at a wedding where we have the two women watching the ceremony and it's quotes like these that she always sits on the the side that has less people to it that really made this maybe the best moment of the film because it was for once not as much in your face and trying to be important as instead it delivered truly nciely on the subtle side. There is a reason why I did not say self-important as this is not what the film is. It is not a failure, it is not a bad film, but maybe it lacks a bit substance at times and feels it is far from the level it could have reached instead. The experience by the two people who directed and wrote this one certainly shows on some occasions, but not always. Maybe you could even say that the two lead actresses saved the film to some extent. And even if I don't really believe it will make a huge impact come awards season (also because it is still so long until then), I am curious especially about the impact HBC wil make. All in all, the film is a bit of a missed opportunity, but still worth checking out for sure, maybe more for female audiences than for males, and of course also for those who like the lead actresses as much as I do. Everybody who hates on Swank because they call her overrated and thing two Oscars is two too many should check this one out. She is really good here and maybe the key reason why I hand out a positive recommendation. And finally a few words on the 2 men in here. As a fan of The Broken Circle Breakdown, it was pretty nice to see Johan heldenbergh in here, I guess Belgium being listed as a production company also has to do with him, even if sadly he really does not have the material to shine, but is just there to add to Swank's character. Nonetheless a nice inclusion. As for Tambor, the received a great backlash recently resulting in his exit from his career-defining television show, but he has such a great year on the big screen right now, also with his Stalin-themed film, and as long as he is not convicted of anything I think it's wrong that he's probably having a hard time getting cast for the final years of his career. I am glad we got to see him in here at least. Stay strong Jeffrey, we don't give up on you and appreciate your art. And finally for the film: Go watch it if you can.
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