The Ledge (film)

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The Ledge
The Ledge Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Matthew Chapman
Produced by
Screenplay by Matthew Chapman
Music by Nathan Barr
Cinematography Bobby Bukowski
Release dates
  • January 21, 2011 (2011-01-21) (Sundance)
  • July 8, 2011 (2011-07-08) (US)
Country United States
Language English
Box office $610,986[1]

The Ledge is a 2011 drama film / thriller film written and directed by Matthew Chapman, starring Charlie Hunnam, Terrence Howard, Liv Tyler, Christopher Gorham, and Patrick Wilson.


The movie opens with detective Hollis Lucetti (Terrence Howard) receiving the news from a doctor that he has been sterile his entire life. Upon reaching home, he questions his wife about who their children's father is. The film quickly switches to Gavin Nichols (Charlie Hunnam), an atheist, standing on a ledge as if to jump to his death. A small crowd forms below Gavin, and Hollis responds to the emergency. At first it looks like a regular suicide attempt. It is quickly revealed to be more complex than that, as Gavin explains to Hollis that he has no other choice than to jump, or somebody else will die.

The movie then recounts the story of the love triangle between Gavin, Shana (Liv Tyler) and Joe (Patrick Wilson). Shana is the new girl at the hotel where Gavin works. Joe is Shana's husband. He is also a fundamentalist Christian. Gavin despises Joe, considering him a close-minded bigot who is unworthy of Shana's love. Joe, on the other hand, assumes that Gavin must be a coward since he doesn't believe in an afterlife. Philosophy, beliefs, and ethics are shown to not be the real issues between the three of them, but rather deeper emotional problems.



Chapman, an atheist who identifies himself as a distant relative of Charles Darwin, wrote the character of Gavin Nichols to be the first openly atheist hero in a story about religious conflict.[2] Chapman was able to recruit his desired actors starting with Hunnam and the film was shot in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in March 2010.[3][4] The film premiered in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2011.[5] Shortly after its premiere, IFC paid just over $1 million to win the domestic rights to the film over three other bidders.[6]

The film was primarily available on IFC's On Demand channel as it was given a very limited release in just 2 domestic theaters (making $9,216). The film did make $601,770 from foreign box office receipts.[7] Upon its release, the film was attacked by Bill Donahue of the Catholic League, to whom Chapman responded directly. [8]

Critical Reception[edit]

Critics' reviews for the film were mostly negative. The film received a "Fresh" rating from only 14% (four of twenty-nine) critics aggregated by Rotten Tomatoes.[9] Many critics felt the film was too heavy-handed in its message and forced in its melodrama. Stephen Holden in The New York Times called The Ledge "the cinematic equivalent of what used to be called a problem play, in which the characters’ crises neatly mesh: in this case, neatly and preposterously." Holden, along with most other critics, was also critical of Tyler for "her usual blank, cow-eyed performance, pitching her voice more quietly than usual and adding a tinge of sadness"[10] Wilson, and to a lesser degree Hunnam, were given some praise for working hard to give life to their mostly one-dimensional characters.[11]


External links[edit]