55 Steps

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55 Steps
55 Steps poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed by Bille August
Written byMark Bruce Rosin
Produced by
  • Sara Risher
  • Mark Bruce Rosin
CinematographyFilip Zumbrunn
Edited by Hansjörg Weißbrich
Music by Annette Focks
Release dates
  • 7 September 2017 (2017-09-07)(TIFF)
  • 3 May 2018 (2018-05-03)(Germany)
Running time
115 minutes [1] [2]
  • Germany
  • Belgium

55 Steps is a 2017 German-Belgian drama film directed by Bille August and starring Helena Bonham Carter, Hilary Swank, and Jeffrey Tambor. The film is based on the true story of Eleanor Riese. [3]



The story is about a woman committed to a mental health facility. Prior to 1987, it was assumed that the Lanterman–Petris–Short Act allowed involuntary treatment for those who were detained under an initial three-day hold (for evaluation and treatment) and a subsequent fourteen-day hospitalization (for those patients declared after the three-day hold to be dangerous to themselves or others or gravely disabled). In 1987, in Riese v. St. Mary's Hospital and Medical Center, the California State Court of Appeals declared that these patients had the right to exercise informed consent regarding the use of antipsychotic drugs, except in an emergency, and if they rejected medication "a judicial determination of their incapacity to make treatment decisions" was required before they could be involuntarily treated. [4] [5] This case was a class action suit brought in the name of patient Eleanor Riese by the California ACLU. [4]



The film had its world premiere in the Gala Presentations section at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. [6] Its theatrical release began in Germany on 3 May 2018. [1]


Critical response

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 50% based on 8 reviews, with an average rating of 6.83/10. [2] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 42 out of 100, based on 4 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". [7]

Related Research Articles

The Lanterman–Petris–Short (LPS) Act regulates involuntary civil commitment to a mental health institution in the state of California. The act set the precedent for modern mental health commitment procedures in the United States. The bipartisan bill was co-authored by California State Assemblyman Frank D. Lanterman (R) and California State Senators Nicholas C. Petris (D) and Alan Short (D), and signed into law in 1967 by Governor Ronald Reagan. The Act went into full effect on July 1, 1972. It cited seven articles of intent:

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  1. 1 2 "55 Steps (2018) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Nash Information Services, LLC. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  2. 1 2 "55 Steps (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes . Fandango . Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  3. "'55 Steps' Based on the True Story of Eleanor Riese". The Mighty. 14 September 2017. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  4. 1 2 "Involuntary medications: Riese v. St. Mary's Case Summary - Mental Illness Policy Org". Mentalillnesspolicy.org. 20 September 2018. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  5. "Riese V. St. Mary'S Hospital Medical Center | Cal. Ct. App. | Judgment | Law". CaseMine. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  6. Pond, Steve (15 August 2017). "Aaron Sorkin, Brie Larson, Louis CK Movies Added to Toronto Film Festival Lineup". The Wrap. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  7. "55 Steps Reviews". Metacritic . CBS Interactive . Retrieved 7 October 2020.