Peppermint (2018 film)

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A woman standing against wall, painted there are red wings, but with bullets instead of feathers
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPierre Morel
Produced by
Written byChad St. John
Music bySimon Franglen
CinematographyDavid Lanzenberg
Edited byFrédéric Thoraval
Distributed bySTXfilms
Release date
  • September 7, 2018 (2018-09-07)
Running time
102 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$22.8–25 million[1][2]
Box office$53.9 million[2]

Peppermint is a 2018 American vigilante action thriller film directed by Pierre Morel and starring Jennifer Garner. Also featuring John Ortiz, John Gallagher Jr., Juan Pablo Raba, and Tyson Ritter, the plot follows a mother who transforms herself into a vigilante in a quest for revenge against the drug cartel that killed her husband and daughter. The film was released in the United States on September 7, 2018. It grossed over $53 million worldwide and received generally negative reviews from critics, although Garner's performance was praised.


Riley North is a wife and mother working as a banker in Los Angeles, struggling to make ends meet with her husband Chris, the owner of a failing mechanic shop. They have a ten-year-old daughter, Carly. A friend of Chris' asks him to take part in a robbery involving Diego Garcia, head of a powerful drug-trafficking syndicate. Chris turns him down, but Garcia has already discovered his involvement and orders his men to make an example of him. Riley and Chris take Carly out to a carnival for her birthday, since no one showed up to her party after Riley offended an influential but stuck-up suburban mother named Peg. As the family walks to their car, Diego's triggermen gun them down in a drive-by shooting. Carly and Chris are killed, and while Riley is badly wounded, she survives.

Despite her injuries, Riley is able to positively identify the shooters. A senior LAPD detective, Beltran, warns his younger partner Carmichael about a previous detective who was murdered after trying to make a case against Diego, and warns him to "let what's going to happen happen." Prior to the preliminary hearing, Riley is visited by Henderson, a cartel lawyer. When Riley refuses to take the bribe, he offers her, he uses her anti-psychotic medication to portray her as unhinged and unreliable in court. Stevens, a crooked judge overseeing the case, declares there is insufficient evidence to allow the perpetrators to stand trial and dismisses the case, to which the prosecutor, Goldman, does nothing in response. Outraged, Riley tries to attack her family's killers, but is subdued and loaded into an ambulance to be taken to a psychiatric ward. Before the ambulance can leave, she fights her way out and escapes.

Five years later, Beltran and Carmichael arrive at the carnival and find the men who killed Riley's family hanging from a Ferris wheel, victims of an unidentified vigilante. The killings attract the attention of FBI Agent Lisa Inman, who informs the detectives that before vanishing five years earlier, Riley robbed the bank where she previously worked. She used the money to create false identities and travel to Europe, studying combat and military tactics before returning home and stealing high-powered firearms from a gun shop. Meanwhile, Riley murders Goldman by drowning him in his own pool, burns Henderson alive, and kills the now-retired Stevens by wrapping a length of explosive cord around him and detonating it. Inman, Carmichael, and Beltran decide to tell the media about Riley, triggering a debate on social media between those who see her as a hero and those who see her as a criminal. Elsewhere, Diego comes under pressure from his partners over Riley destroying several valuable shipments of drugs.

Riley guns down a gang of men laundering money for the cartel, and Diego vows to kill her. Inman discovers that Riley has been living on Skid Row, owing to recent changes to crime patterns in the area. She finds Riley's van, which is filled with the stolen weapons, and learns that the people there see Riley as their guardian angel for keeping them safe, especially those living near the locations where the cartel conducts their illegal operations since the police always turn a blind eye.

Diego sets a trap for Riley by rigging one of his warehouses with explosives. She survives, then humiliates the boss by breaking into his mansion and killing his bodyguards, including Salazar. She is about to kill Diego, but is interrupted by Diego's young daughter. This causes Riley to hesitate, allowing him to wound her and escape. Riley shows up to Peg's house and punches her out. After tying Peg up and mocking her for her failed marriage, Riley steals her SUV and drives away. Still on Skid Row, Inman calls Carmichael to meet her. She plans to wait for Riley, hoping to convince her to help take down Deigo. However, Carmichael, secretly on Diego's payroll, kills Inman to cover his tracks and then calls Diego to tell him Riley is on her way there.

Riley returns to Skid Row, where she confronts and kills Diego's lieutenant, including Cortez, and the gunmen sent to kill her. She uses Inman's phone and contacts the LAPD before exposing Carmichael. Diego shoots Carmichael dead after assuming he called the police, and flees before Riley catches and beats him. Beltran comes and asks Riley to stand down, but Riley is unwilling to hand over Diego. When Diego taunts her, saying that she'll rot in prison while he finds a way out, she shoots him in the head. She is shot by the police, but Beltran orders them to cease fire, and Riley once again manages to escape.

Beltran finds Riley critically wounded at her family's gravestone. He brings her to the hospital, despite Riley's expressed desire to die at the grave. Beltran later visits her while she is in police custody at a hospital, telling her that there are many who agree with what she did, and slips her the key to her handcuffs, allowing Riley to escape again.



In May 2017 director Pierre Morel was attached to the project, he previously directed the first film in the Taken series starring Liam Neeson. The script came from writer Chad St. John, who previously co-wrote the script for London Has Fallen which starred Gerard Butler.[3] In August 2017, Jennifer Garner was in talks to join the film.[4][5] The title "Peppermint" refers to the flavor of ice-cream the daughter was eating when she was murdered.[6]

Filming took place on location in California over fifty days.[1]

Stunt coordinator Don Lee previously worked with Garner on Daredevil and Elektra.[7] Garner trained for three months to prepare. Training included dance, cardio and weight training, boxing workouts, artillery sessions, and stunt work with her longtime double, Shauna Duggins.[8][9]


The film premiered at the Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE Stadium 14 in Los Angeles[10] Ahead of the release of the film Garner received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.[11]

The film went on general release in the United States on September 7, 2018.[12][13][14]

Box office[edit]

Peppermint has grossed $35.4 million in the United States and Canada, and $18.4 million in other territories, for a total worldwide gross of $53.8 million,[2] against a production budget of $22.8 million,[1] to $25 million.[2]

In the United States and Canada, Peppermint was released alongside The Nun and God Bless the Broken Road, and was projected to gross $10–13 million from 2,980 theaters in its opening weekend.[15] The film made $4.7 million on its first day, including $800,000 from Thursday night previews. It went on to debut to $13.4 million, finishing second at the box office, behind The Nun.[16]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 12% based on 142 reviews, and an average rating of 3.49/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Far from refreshing, Peppermint wastes strong work from Jennifer Garner on a dreary vigilante-revenge story that lacks unique twists or visceral thrills."[17] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 29 out of 100, based on 26 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[18] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[16]

Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter called the film "Death Wish on steroids", and said it "lacks subtlety and anything even remotely resembling credibility, but, like its heroine, it certainly gets the job done".[19] IndieWire's Jude Dry gave the film a "C+". He wrote that Garner deserves to be in better films, and said the film is a "rare return to form for Garner, who doles out her vigilante justice with effortless charm. Unfortunately, that's about the only reason to see Peppermint".[20]

Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film two out of four stars, writing, "In the stylishly directed but gratuitously nasty and cliché-riddled Peppermint, Garner plays essentially two characters cut from the same person."[21] Writing for TheWrap, Todd Gilchrist said that Peppermint "ultimately possesses the stale predictability of an unwrapped candy discovered at the bottom of a purse."[22] Andrew Barker of Variety wrote: "Garner gives everything that is asked of her, from brute physicality to dewy-eyed tenderness, but this half-witted calamity botches just about everything else. Drably by-the-numbers except for the moments where it goes gobsmackingly off-the-rails, Peppermint misfires from start to finish."[23] Emily Yoshida of New York Magazine wrote: "There was a time when a woman being the star of her own bad action franchise could have been considered the apex of progress, but that time is past." Yoshida criticizes the lack of originality in the film and says that casting Garner is not enough to change that.[6]


Year Award Category Recipient Result
2019 EDA Special Mention Awards Actress Most in Need of a New Agent Jennifer Garner Nominated
Golden Raspberry Awards Worst Actress Jennifer Garner Nominated
Houston Film Critics Society Awards Best Worst Film Peppermint Nominated
Young Entertainer Awards Best Supporting Young Actor – Feature Film Tate Birchmore Nominated


  1. ^ a b c Film and Television Tax Credit Program Program 2.0 (PDF) (Report). California Film Commission. p. 9. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d "Peppermint (2018)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  3. ^ Ford, Rebecca (May 21, 2017). "Cannes: Lionsgate Takes Female Action Movie 'Peppermint'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  4. ^ Lee, Ashley (August 8, 2017). "Jennifer Garner in Talks to Star in Revenge Thriller 'Peppermint'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  5. ^ Mike Fleming Jr. (August 8, 2017). "Jennifer Garner Joins Lakeshore & Pierre Morel-Helmed Revenge Thriller 'Peppermint'; STX films To Distribute". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 28, 2017.
  6. ^ a b Yoshida, Emily (September 7, 2018). "Peppermint is Bad, Old-Fashioned Action Schlock — and a Female Lead Doesn't Change That". Vulture.
  7. ^ Brittany Frederick (December 15, 2018). "Peppermint interview: Don Lee on coordinating Jennifer Garner's fights". FanSided.
  8. ^ Ruth Kinane (September 7, 2018). "Jennifer Garner had 'the greatest fun' training to kick butts for 'Peppermint'". Entertainment Weekly.
  9. ^ Amy Nicholson (August 20, 2018). "Jennifer Garner Talks Walk of Fame, TV After 'Alias'". Variety. I don’t like to give up my action scenes to my beloved double Shauna [Duggins] to do for me because I want to do them
  10. ^ Dave Quinn (August 29, 2018). "Jennifer Garner Returns to the Red Carpet in a Little Black Dress at Peppermint Premiere".
  11. ^ Delbyck, Cole (August 21, 2018). "Jennifer Garner Makes Rare Appearance With Kids At Hollywood Walk Of Fame Ceremony". Huffington Post. Archived from the original on November 27, 2018.
  12. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (March 22, 2018). "Jennifer Garner Thriller 'Peppermint' Sets Post-Labor Day Weekend Debut". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  13. ^ McNary, Dave (March 22, 2018). "Jennifer Garner's Action-Thriller 'Peppermint' Sets September Release". Variety. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  14. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (March 22, 2018). "'Taken' Helmer Pierre Morel To Direct 'The New Mrs. Keller' With Claes Bang Set As Lead". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  15. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (September 4, 2018). "'The Nun' To Fly To $40M+, Eyes Record Opening For 'Conjuring' Franchise – Box Office Preview". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 4, 2018.
  16. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony (September 9, 2018). "'The Nun' Hits The Hallelujah With $54M Opening, Best Ever In 'Conjuring' Universe – Sunday AM Update". Deadline. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
  17. ^ "Peppermint (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 16, 2020.
  18. ^ "Peppermint reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  19. ^ Scheck, Frank. "'Peppermint' Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  20. ^ Dry, Jude (September 6, 2018). "'Peppermint' Review: Jennifer Garner's Vigilante Mom Deserves Better". IndieWire. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  21. ^ Roeper, Richard (September 6, 2018). "'Peppermint' movie review: Jennifer Garner back to kicking butt in nasty revenge thriller". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  22. ^ Verhoeven, Beatrice. "'Peppermint' Film Review: Jennifer Garner Vengeance Saga Lacks Snap". The Wrap. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  23. ^ Barker, Andrew (September 6, 2018). "Film Review: 'Peppermint'". Variety.

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