Box art for The Call

The Call


When veteran 911 operator, Jordan (Halle Berry), takes a life-altering call from a teenage girl (Abigail Breslin) who has just been abducted, she realizes that she must confront a killer from her past in order to save the girl's life.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 17
1 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
1 out of 5
4 out of 5
Positive messages
1 out of 5
Positive role models
1 out of 5
2 out of 5
5 out of 5

Gripping thriller has tons of violence directed at a teen.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Call is a gripping but very violent thriller about a heroic 911 operator trying to rescue a kidnapped teen girl. The girl is punched, beaten, stripped to her bra, and briefly tortured. Her age isn't specifically mentioned in the movie, but actress Abigail Breslin is 16. There are also scenes in which characters are stabbed with a screwdriver and lit on fire. Other aspects of the movie are fairly mild, including language, with just a few uses of "f--k" and "s--t," as well as some mild sexual innuendo involving teens (and one grown-up kiss). Several of the 911 calls heard on the soundtrack describe acts of violence, including drug use. Ultimately, because all of the movie's intense, serial killer-related violence centers around a teen victim, this movie isn't recommended for any but the most mature viewers.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about The Call's intense violence. How did it affect you? Do you think the story could have been told with milder violence?
  • Why do you think there are so many movies (and other types of media) about serial killers? Why are we so fascinated by them?
  • Do you feel that the teen characters were sexualized in any way? If so, do you feel this was acceptable or unacceptable? Why?
  • What's the movie's take on revenge? Do you think it's realistic? Justifiable?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 20
    see all The Call reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: Yes, it's cheese, but it's good cheese.

- Adam Graham, Detroit News, Friday, March 15, 2013

Rotten: Can't someone come up with screenwriting software that signals when a script has made the fatal slip from hyped-up suspense to sheer ludicrousness?

- Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, Friday, March 15, 2013

Rotten: Thinking about seeing The Call? You may want to put that on hold.

- Bruce Demara, Toronto Star, Thursday, March 14, 2013

Audience Reviews

2 stars

Here's another generic thriller that isn't really anything fresh, but it's still entertaining. Halle Berry stars as a 911 operator who gets a call from a kidnapped girl(Abigail Breslin), and she tries to save her. There's a few good scenes, but it's one of those "seen it all before" type of movies. Berry does good, and Breslin is fine even though she spends most of the movie in a trunk just freaking out. I watched this at home, but I have a feeling this would play better in the theater as a "date movie", full of people. It has a good run time of around 90 minutes, and when it starts to feel long, it wraps it up. I didn't really care for the way the movie ended. The last 15 minutes didn't make a whole lot of sense, and felt like a different movie from the rest of it. Still, it's ok, worth a watch, but not much more than that.

- fb100000145236770, Monday, March 25, 2013

2 stars

Surprisingly passable...then the third act begins.

- fb100001050230219, Friday, March 22, 2013

3 stars

Sometimes a filmmaking challenge is enough to sustain my interest. How to you make a film exciting which takes place almost entirely in confined spaces? CUJO, BURIED, and PHONE BOOTH are examples of these contained thrillers. THE CALL joins this list, and most of the time, it works really well. Halle Berry is Jordan, a 911 Operator, who takes a call from a kidnapped girl (LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE herself, Abigail Breslin), and tries desperately to save her while redeeming a past mistake. This is pretty cookie cutter stuff here, but director Brad Anderson knows how to keep things moving. In lesser hands, we would have grown bored right away, because the large majority of this film shows us two people talking on a phone. Anderson, however, ratchets up the tension, aided by a lean, mean script by Richard D'Ovidio , and managed to keep me on the edge of my seat through most of it. Things do run off the rails in the last act, where Halle Berry manages to ignore ALL of her considerable training and become the person audiences are guaranteed to scream such things as, "Don't go in there!" and "Girl!!!". Additionally, there are a few too many loose ends (seriously with the inability to track the call?) and shoddy police work (if only the cops had looked around a little bit more), and I could have done without Anderson's annoying habit of freeze frames right before something excessively violent was about to happen. The editing is crisp and there isn't one ounce of fat in the film. It hits GO and GOES! Berry is appropriately tense and Breslin proves scrappy, but poor Michael Imperioli is not going to let this topple THE SOPRANOS on his resume. A big shout out to my friend, Rakefet Abergel, who shows up briefly as a fellow operator. WTG Girl! All in all, THE CALL plays out like an exciting series pilot. Imagine if Clarice Starling from SILENCE OF THE LAMBS could solve crimes using a headset and a good GPS, et voila! It's not terribly deep or original, but it does the job.

- fb720603734, Sunday, April 7, 2013