Generally favorable reviews - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 39
  2. Negative: 1 out of 39
  1. 30
    As creator and head writer of "The West Wing," Aaron Sorkin had a gift for making policy debate seem sexy, but what worked in the context of that liberal fantasy founders badly amid the realpolitik of this cold war drama.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 106 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 42 out of 49
  2. Negative: 1 out of 49
  1. May 29, 2012
    First and foremost, Charlie Wilson's War is extremely well-performed, with Tom Hanks giving his best performance in years as the Texas Congressman who transforms from an irresponsible playboy scumbag to a moralistic defender of Afghanistan. Julia Roberts also impresses as Joanne Herring, a manipulative and religious socialite, as does Philip Seymour Hoffman playing the maverick CIA operative Gust Avrakotos. Aaron Sorkin's script is an absolute joy, full of fun, energy and satire not only of the past, but the present as well. It's really a wonder why the events shown are not more widely known about, or heavily appropriated for film, as "the largest covert operation in history" makes for cinematic gold. Everyone thinks of this fascinating period of history as simply another war (albeit without actual military engagements) between the USA and the USSR, and it's easy to forget how many other countries were drawn into this conflict between two superpowers. The film does attempt to address this oversight in cinema, and its hugely gratifying to witness lesser-known history on the big screen. The finale is a little generic and disappointing in comparison to the rest of the film, and you could certainly ccuse director Mike Nichols and Sorkin for presenting a rather rose-tinted view of the controversial Wilson. Though the congressman's intentions may have been noble, you cannot ignore the fact that he lent substantial support to groups and individuals whose intentions were decidedly less so. Romanticised though it may be for the sake of empathy and dramatic resonance, the film is still an enjoyable insight into an extraordinary figure in the history of international politics, and a fitting and intelligent tribute to a man who many remember with much admiration. Full Review »
  2. Feb 23, 2013
    When I sat down to watch Charlie Wilson's War, I thought it would be a can't miss. A true story, covered up by the government, starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts!? How could that be bad!? Well, for a change, Tom Hanks isn't playing a likeable character. Charlie Wilson is portrayed as a sex addicted man whore, who follows his dick more than his brain. As for the film, it was just so confusing to me, they jump from scene to scene so quickly and introduce a ton of characters so fast, that by the time they got to Julia Roberts, I was already sick of the film. I didn't even get through the whole thing to be completely honest with you. It's an unbelievable cast and a pretty cool story, but I was not happy with the way the movie was done. It was not easy to sit through or follow. Full Review »
  3. Jan 17, 2013
    Superb performances from Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and the brilliant Philip Seymour Hoffman have helped create a well-written, cunningly humorous and era-driven tale based on a true story surrounding 1980s congressman Charlie Wilson.
    Aaron Sorkin's writing capability is completely out the open in this film and its nothing short of genius. Sure, the film is not going to run away with any honours because it does sometimes stray from the point by going from a biopic to a straight up war film. But it is definitely the acting capabilities and Soviet era surroundings which make this film worth 90+ mintues of your time.
    The process by which this film plays out, i.e. funding the mujahideen to defeat the soviet onslaught in Afghanistan, is seen as the eventual ramifications which led to the events of 9/11. This shouldn't deter you from watching. The chemistry between Hanks and Hoffman in particular are wonderful scenes to watch, as they bounce off each other like Chuckle Brothers in suits.
    Julia Roberts is delectable as Charlies 'friend' Joanne Herring, bringing a touch of elegance and class to to her role, and lest we forget the then up and coming Amy Adams as Wilson's assistant Bonnie Bach.
    Hanks is a very convincing Charlie Wilson, he has clearly spent much of his time preparing for the role by learning mannerisms and through Sorkin's writing and Mike Nichols direction, has fluidly combined a business and pleasure persona to make a very likeable character.
    The dialogue, as stated before, is very well written and spoken brilliantly by the cast, the chemistry is is natural and doesnt feel forced, and the lines in the film are delivered in a comedic, sometimes elitist fashion, but fun nonetheless.
    Excellent talent at show here has resulted in a thoroughly enjoyable movie that will be hard not to like, and in several occasions, hard not to laugh at.
    Full Review »