What makes a man great? His ability to do justice when he has all the reasons to be anyone but be just. And this justice is not a promise to others but a promise to one's ownself. The Judge is a remarkable compendium of greatness; crafty in its story-line and incredible in its acting.

The story begins with Hank Palmer (Robert Downey Jr.), a successful defense attorney in Chicago, who is called to visit his family in Indiana after the death of his mother. Hank is already going through a divorce and his parental family doesn't make things any easier for him either. He meets his brothers and his estranged father who is a well-reputed Judge in the region. But while his father hugs everyone else on the funeral, he only shakes hands with Hank.

After attending his wife's funeral, the Judge (Hank's father) goes shopping while the brothers hang out with each other in a local bar. Hank tries to leave the town next day but is forced to return when his brother calls and informs him that the Judge is suspected of a murder that involves hit-and-run. There are traces of blood on the Judge's car that match that of the victim. Hank then chooses to represent his father in court, and the story that follows expose the troubled relationship the two are having.

Nevertheless, Hank is not able to defend his father in court and the Judge is sentenced to four years in prison on ground of voluntary manslaughter. The Judge dies soon after he's released. Hank is hurt, yet resolute more than ever to live up to his father's legacy. He goes to the courthouse where is father used to serve as the Judge for 42 years, and spins the Judge's chair as he stands there in deep thought. The chair then stops facing him, as if destiny has invited him to take his father's place.

This movie teaches us how important the subtleties of relationships are and how difficult it is to keep a family together. But it also inspires us with an important lesson: that sometimes you don't need to do much to get your family back, simple words or gestures of kindness and appreciation would do. Every person has feelings. Perhaps those who appear stone-cold to the world have hearts softer than wool, but they try to disguise it with an ugly character so that they can continue to survive in this cruel world.

Perhaps 2014 didn't have enough of brilliance and so The Judge came out at just the right time to let the year finish on a high. If it is not on your watchlist already, you need to be asking yourself if you even value living.