The Lincoln Lawyer (film)

The Lincoln Lawyer is a 2011 American legal thriller film adapted from the 2005 novel of the same title by Michael Connelly. The film is directed by Brad Furman, with the screenplay written by John Romano, and stars Matthew McConaughey as the titular lawyer, Mickey Haller. The film also stars Ryan Phillippe, Marisa Tomei, Josh Lucas, William H. Macy, and Bryan Cranston.

The Lincoln Lawyer
The Lincoln Lawyer Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBrad Furman
Written byJohn Romano
Based onThe Lincoln Lawyer
by Michael Connelly
Produced by
CinematographyLukas Ettlin
Edited byJeff McEvoy
Music byCliff Martinez
Distributed byLionsgate
Release dates
  • March 10, 2011 (2011-03-10) (Hollywood)
  • March 18, 2011 (2011-03-18) (United States)
Running time
118 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$40 million[1][2]
Box office$87.1 million[2]

The story is adapted from the first of several novels featuring the character of Mickey Haller, who works in a chauffeur-driven Lincoln Town Car rather than an office. Haller is hired to defend the son of a wealthy Los Angeles businesswoman in an assault case. Details of the crime bring up uncomfortable parallels with a former case, and Haller discovers the two cases are intertwined.

The film was released on March 18, 2011. It received generally positive reviews and grossed $87 million.


Criminal defense attorney Mickey Haller works in LA County, California, from the back of his black Lincoln Town Car, chauffeured by Earl Briggs. He typically works for low-end criminals including Eddie Vogel, leader of a biker gang. His ex-wife, Maggie McPherson, with whom he shares a daughter, is a district attorney who disapproves of his choice of clientele.

Haller is unexpectedly hired to represent Louis Roulet, a wealthy Beverly Hills playboy and the son of real estate mogul Mary Windsor. Roulet is accused of brutally beating prostitute Regina Campo, and surprisingly, chose Haller specifically for the case. Haller and his investigator, Frank Levin, analyze photos and evidence and find similarities to a prior case where a prostitute was killed. Haller represented the defendant, Jesus Martinez, and due to the overwhelming evidence and in spite of Martinez's earnest proclamations of innocence, convinced him to plead guilty to avoid the death penalty.

Haller visits Martinez, who becomes agitated when he shows him Roulet's photo. Haller realizes that Roulet is likely the killer and that he chose Haller as counsel in order to bind Haller by attorney–client confidentiality rules and keep him from talking about either case. His own hands tied, Haller tells Levin to investigate Roulet.

Roulet breaks into Haller's house and nonchalantly admits to committing the murder for which Martinez was convicted. He also makes veiled threats towards Haller's daughter. Later, Levin is found shot dead after leaving him a voicemail message claiming he found Martinez's "ticket out of jail." Haller discovers the bullet that killed Levin matches his late father's rare .22 Colt Woodsman, which is missing from its box.

Legally obliged to defend his client, Haller ruthlessly cross-examines Campo and discredits her. He also secretly sets up a known prison informant, Dwayne Jeffrey "DJ" Corliss, to testify against Roulet with information on the previous murder. Haller is able to discredit DJ's testimony, getting Roulet's current charges dismissed. However, when Roulet is set free, the police arrest him immediately for the previous murder based on DJ's description.

Haller acquires a pistol from Earl for protection. Roulet's family gets him released due to lack of evidence and he goes to Maggie's home where he is confronted by Haller. Haller vows that he will not stop until Martinez is freed and Roulet is convicted for his crime; Roulet mockingly tells him he cannot guard his family all the time. The biker gang suddenly arrives and brutally beats Roulet.

Maggie discovers Levin had found a parking ticket issued to Roulet near the murder victim's house, strong evidence against him. Upon arriving home, Haller discovers Roulet's mother, Mary Windsor, waiting inside. She shoots him with the Colt Woodsman, confessing that she murdered Levin. When Mary moves to shoot Haller again, he draws the pistol obtained from Earl and fatally shoots her.

Martinez is released and the DA is seeking the death penalty for Roulet. As Haller and Earl drive off, he is pulled over by Vogel and the biker gang, whose case he takes pro bono in gratitude for their help.



On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 83% based on 177 reviews, with an average rating of 6.70/10. The site's critics consensus reads: "It doesn't offer any twists on the predictable courtroom thriller formula, but with a charming Matthew McConaughey leading its solid cast, The Lincoln Lawyer offers briskly enjoyable entertainment."[3] At Metacritic, the film has an average weighted score of 63 out of 100, based on 31 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[4] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale.[5]

After watching a rough cut of the film on November 12, 2010, Michael Connelly, author of the book The Lincoln Lawyer, said:[6]

The movie comes out March 18. A couple days ago I saw an unfinished cut of it and could not be happier. I thought it was very loyal to the story and the character of Mickey Haller. Matthew McConaughey nails him. Those who loved the book will love the movie, I think. Those who don't know the book will love it just the same. The casting and acting is really superb. Like I said, I could not be happier. I'm very excited and can't wait to see what fans of the book think.

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3 stars out of a possible 4, saying, "The plotting seems like half-realized stabs in various directions made familiar by other crime stories. But for what it is, The Lincoln Lawyer is workmanlike, engagingly acted and entertaining."[7]

Home mediaEdit

The film was released on Blu-ray and DVD on July 12, 2011.[8] It was later released on Ultra HD Blu-ray on August 15, 2017.


  1. ^ Kaufman, Amy (March 17, 2011). "Movie Projector: Matthew McConaughey, Bradley Cooper and an alien battle for No. 1". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California. Archived from the original on June 17, 2018. Retrieved March 17, 2011.
  2. ^ a b "The Lincoln Lawyer: Total Lifetime Grosses". The Numbers. Archived from the original on June 22, 2012. Retrieved September 29, 2011.
  3. ^ "The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on January 8, 2020. Retrieved August 7, 2022.
  4. ^ "The Lincoln Lawyer Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on November 28, 2019. Retrieved August 7, 2022.
  5. ^ Young, John (March 20, 2011). "Box office report: 'Limitless' conquers weekend with $19 mil". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on March 11, 2022. Retrieved March 11, 2022. with a solid "A-" score from CinemaScore graders, Lawyer should hold up well the next few weeks.
  6. ^ The Lincoln Lawyer Movie Adaptation Archived 2010-09-15 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2011-01-27.
  7. ^ Ebert, Roger (March 16, 2011). "His chauffeur chases ambulances". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on March 11, 2022. Retrieved March 11, 2022.
  8. ^ "The Lincoln Lawyer Blu-ray and DVD Arrive July 12th". MovieWeb. May 9, 2011. Archived from the original on June 19, 2013. Retrieved May 23, 2016.

External linksEdit