Netflix’s Oscar slate is off to a strong first start thanks to Aaron Sorkin’s protest drama “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” featuring a star-studded cast that includes recent Emmy winners Jeremy Strong and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II opposite Sacha Baron Cohen, Frank Langella, Michael Keaton, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eddie Redmayne, and more. The film follows the peaceful protests outside the 1968 Democratic Convention as they unravel into a fatal clash with police officers and the trial that ensues.
Netflix’s official synopsis for “The Trial of the Chicago 7” read: “What was intended to be a peaceful protest at the 1968 Democratic National Convention turned into a violent clash with police and the National Guard. The organizers of the protest—including Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Tom Hayden and Bobby Seale—were charged with conspiracy to incite a riot and the trial that followed was one of the most notorious in history.”
Following a world premiere virtual event screening this week, “The Trial of the Chicago 7” was met with rave first reactions by film critics and journalists. IndieWire’s deputy editor Kate Erbland writes of the movie, “It’s great, a wily marriage of Sorkin’s strengths, timely material (though the film makes a cogent argument this stuff is always timely), and an ensemble cast made of top to bottom standout performances (but that Strong/Cohen combo is particularly inspired).”
“Aaron Sorkin’s ‘The Trial Of The Chicago 7’ is absolutely terrific, and will definitely be among the year’s best,” adds Fandango’s Erik Davis. “Sharp, riveting, timely, tremendous writing and sensational performances across the board. A chilling but inspiring film about the power of protest.”
“The Trial of the Chicago 7” will be released similarly to Netflix’s previous Oscar contenders, starting with an exclusive theatrical run three weeks ahead of its streaming debut. At least eight theaters will be playing the film in theaters starting September 25 (including Landmark Theatres’ Kendall Square in Cambridge, Mass. and Chicago’s Century Centre, plus Alamo Drafthouse theaters in the Phoenix, Austin, and outlying D.C. areas). Netflix will expand the film over the next two weekends before a global streaming launch October 16.
Watch the official trailer for “The Trial of the Chicago 7” in the video below.
#TheTrialOfTheChicago7 is great, a wily marriage of Sorkin’s strengths, timely material (though the film makes a cogent argument this stuff is ALWAYS timely), and an ensemble cast made of top to bottom standout performances (but that Strong/Cohen combo is particularly inspired).
— Kate Erbland (@katerbland) September 23, 2020
Reveled in The Trial of the Chicago 7 as great actors run with Aaron Sorkin dialogue. He was already working with witty characters and high-pitched drama. Emmy-winners Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Jeremy Strong pop along with SB Cohen and Mark Rylance. Catnip for Academy Boomers.
— Anne Thompson (@akstanwyck) September 23, 2020
Reviews are still embargoed, but since people are sharing reactions to TRIAL OF CHICAGO 7: 1. Never thought this was the role Sasha Baron Cohen was born to play (though the Groucho biopic is welcome). 2. Courtroom dramas aren’t for all, but everyone should know about this one.
— erickohn (@erickohn) September 23, 2020
The Trial of the Chicago 7: I’m not much for first reactions, but since I’ve annoyed everyone about this for a week now…Sacha Baron Cohen (Abbie Hoffman) and Jeremy Strong (Jay Rubin) might be my favorite thing of the year. Franchine Maisler is the best casting director alive.
— Chris O’Falt (@cofalt) September 23, 2020
Aaron Sorkin’s #TheTrialOfTheChicago7 is absolutely terrific, and will definitely be among the year’s best. Sharp, riveting, timely, tremendous writing and sensational performances across the board. A chilling but inspiring film about the power of protest pic.twitter.com/N7yv9aa6km
— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) September 23, 2020
Oh, man, I loved THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7. Even in my house, had actual chills. Yeah, weird, turns out Aaron Sorkin can do a courtroom drama. (Also I’d watch a doc on Sacha Baron Cohen and Jeremy Strong’s off camera interactions because Strong is doing “a thing.”)
— Mike Ryan (@mikeryan) September 23, 2020
Powerful and oh so important to see now , Aaron Sorkin’s Trial Of The Chicago 7 is a triumph with a superb acting ensemble. Eddie Redmayne as Tom Hayden, Frank Langella, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jeremy Strong, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mark Rylance, everyone so great. A must this season
— Pete Hammond (@DeadlinePete) September 23, 2020