Ellen Wilcox (Blythe Danner) had worked hard to become a successful lawyer with a job at a prestigious law firm. Then one night when she is driving home she gets a shock when a young girl, Marie (Beth Ehlers), who had decided to take a kip in the back of her car sits up. It leads to the two of them having a series of run ins with Ellen learning that Marie has trouble at home with her violent dad and would rather lie about her age to be arrested and spend a night in a cell than go home. But working with Marie leads to Ellen meeting social worker Caroline Ruben (Joyce Van Patten) who has several young people who could do with legal representation. With the support of her photographer husband Paul (Sam Waterston) Ellen sets about helping these young children including opening a law office for those who have no where else to go.
As a movie reviewer I keep lists and not just the top movie sort of lists; I have lists featuring movies about cancer, movies about teen pregnancy and list of movies which come under the umbrella term of "their heart was in the right place". "In Defense of Kids" is one of those movies in that list because with the best of intentions this movie highlights through the work of Ellen Wilcox there are many children who have a bum deal with life happening to them and need help to gain some control be it being abused or looking after an ill parent.
The thing is that whilst "In Defense of Kids" does the job in showing that their are children who are getting a bum deal whilst also highlighting the fear that some adults had that if children had rights there would be no telling them what to do the movie lacks depth. What I mean is that we are dealing with a movie where they want to highlight a lot of different issues and scenarios and sadly it is unable to give each character enough depth. It also resorts to making the character of Ellen Wilcox a saint with her husband Paul even more of a saint to put up with things.
What this all boils down to is that "In Defense of Kids" is still an entertaining and uplifting movie. But like so many it is one which because it wants to cover so much it fails to really dig beneath the surface of the situations.