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Unlocking the Cage

HD   NR Closed Captioning

Chris Hegedus & D. A. Pennebaker

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About the Movie

Unlocking the Cage follows animal rights lawyer Steven Wise in his unprecedented challenge to break down the legal wall that separates animals from humans. Arguing that cognitively complex animals such as chimpanzees, whales, dolphins and elephants have the capacity for limited personhood rights, Steve and his legal team are making history by filing the first lawsuits that seek to transform a chimpanzee from a "thing" with no rights to a "person" with legal protections. Unlocking the Cage captures a monumental shift in our culture, as the public and judicial system show increasing receptiveness to Steve's impassioned arguments. It is an intimate look at a lawsuit that could forever transform our legal system, and one man's lifelong quest to protect "nonhuman" animals.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 36
  • Fresh: 29
  • Rotten: 7
  • Average Rating: 6.8/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: Part courtroom drama, part rumination on what separates human beings from other animals, the film is above all a sympathetic portrait of an advocate. – A.O. Scott, New York Times, May 24, 2016

Fresh: For those less familiar with her life, Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise should serve as a bracing introduction, and as an inducement to dive into her prose, poetry and speeches. – Maureen Ryan, Variety, Feb 21, 2017

Rotten: Likely to be of greater interest in 50 years, once the issue has been more thoroughly vetted in court, as opposed to today, when it feels a bit too much like a publicity stunt ... – Peter Debruge, Variety, Feb 8, 2016

Fresh: Makes a worthy case for reconsidering the sturdiness of laws that explicitly separate humans from animals. – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times, Jun 23, 2016

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes
Unlocking the Cage
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  • $9.99
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Released: 2016

Customer Ratings

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