Body of War


Mixed or average reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 16
  2. Negative: 3 out of 16

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Critic Reviews

  1. 88
    Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro's powerful documentary takes a microcosmic look at the war and its devastation by focusing on a single casualty.
  2. 88
    To say the least, the film is awkward, like a piece of badly assembled Ikea furniture. Still, editor Bernadine Colish weaves together all that C-SPAN footage into a disturbing procedural indictment. Legislators use the same language - often the president's - to justify the rush to war. The repetition is comical until it's scary: They're parroting.
  3. 83
    Body Of War purposefully depicts an America in turmoil. But it also depicts an America far more capable of living with contradictions than the "Red State/Blue State"-obsessed cable-news pundits would have us believe.
  4. 78
    One of the most affecting and certainly the most intimate of the cinematic arguments against the war in Iraq yet made.
  5. The parade of senators parroting the rationale for invasion - what we now know was misinformation - does not undermine Young's story. Given the private's eloquence, the flashbacks to 2002 are superfluous.
  6. Joins the growing mass of excellent, disturbing and achingly sad documentaries about the Iraq conflict.
  7. 70
    Neither the most cinematic nor the most elegantly crafted of recent Iraq War documentaries, but that doesn't stop it from being one of the most deeply affecting. Where Spiro and Donahue triumph is in putting a human face on the war.
  8. It’s uneven and, in many instances, avoidably cheesy.
  9. Reviewed by: Alissa Simon
    By documenting the difficult life of their paraplegic subject, helmers Ellen Spiro and Phil Donahue succeed in personalizing some of the war's grim statistics, but the purview of their portrait feels too limited for the pic to play widely.
  10. Politics recede in the face of the realities of Young's life, and Spiro and Donahue would have succeeded in making the same point had they omitted all but his day-to-day existence. Together, however, they comprise a powerful indictment of the tactical politics that led to the invasion and a heartbreaking account of one man's living with the aftermath.
  11. This movie wants to help make things better. But it also -- fervently, and for a purpose -- holds a grudge.
  12. 50
    There's never any mistaking the film's politics. If they were any different, it would be a surprise, given that the co-director and executive producer is the onetime talk-show god and lifelong liberal Donahue. But it is a film (as opposed to a collection of talking heads, Michael Moore-style ambushes or Robert Greenwaldian shorthand).
  13. There is another body of war at issue here, however, and it’s this body that throws the documentary off kilter and eventually off course: Congress.
  14. 30
    Simpleminded indictment of every senator who voted "yea."
  15. 25
    Lazy, shallow and repetitive, Phil Donahue's Body of War is one of the most incompetent documentaries to emerge from the Iraq war.
  16. When the veterans of this war are finally allowed to tell their own stories, we will have something worth listening to. Body of War is just election year claptrap.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 20 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Steve.
    Apr 27, 2008
    Truth is hard to come by these days. You will watch aghast at our politicians who craftily use fear to sweep this country into an erroneous Truth is hard to come by these days. You will watch aghast at our politicians who craftily use fear to sweep this country into an erroneous war. This movie looks beyond mainstream media and examines the true costs of war with a courageous hero who moves beyond his disability. Body of war is an inspirational movie for all of us to stand up to truth. Full Review »