The Crossing Guard

Released 1995


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Movie Summary

Sean Penn
The Crossing Guard is a 1995 independent film from writer and director Sean Penn. Penn brings us the story of Freddy (Jack Nicholson) and Mary Gale (Anjelica Huston), a married couple who lose their only daughter in a drunk driving accident. Freddy and Mary deal with their pain in very different ways and soon find their marriage collapsing under the weight of their grief. Freddy keeps going by planning and plotting revenge on John Booth (David Morse), the driver who killed his daughter. When Booth is released from jail, Freddy attempts to put his plan into action and breaks into Booth's home to kill him. Booth is living in a trailer on his parent's property, and while glad to be out of prison, he is a changed man, forever haunted by the death he caused. Booth, accepting his fate, tells Freddy he doesn't object to dying for his crime, but begs for three more days to set his life straight before dying. These three days prove pivotal for both men, with Booth finding love with Jojo (Robin Wright-Penn), a beautiful young painter, and Freddy reaching out to Mary, his estranged wife. Will Freddy's overwhelming desire for revenge control him? Does Booth really have a chance for redemption?moreless


Metacritic Score

  • 80

    The New York Times Elvis Mitchell

    But Mr. Penn mostly keeps a tight, impassioned grip on this material, preventing it from wandering too far afield. The influence of John Cassavetes is again clear in the characters...

  • 40

    Los Angeles Times Kenneth Turan

    The Crossing Guard, Penn's second film behind the camera, is a troubling, troublesome movie whose makeshift structure cannot contain the powerful flood of passions that he and his ...

  • 40

    Variety David Rooney

    Much of the film plays awkwardly, its tone veering undecidedly between volatile drama and contemplative psychological study.

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