Metascore
69

Generally favorable reviews - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 39
  2. Negative: 1 out of 39
  1. 90
    The two actors (Hanks/Seymour Hoffman) have terrific chemistry and riff off one another like partners in a veteran comedy team.
  2. 90
    More of a hoot than any picture dealing with the bloody, protracted fight between the Soviet Army and the Afghan mujahedeen has any right to be.
  3. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    90
    A picture about war and politics that has manages to be both rational and inspirational. It is also the year's funniest smart movie.
  4. 88
    With its rapid pace, smart screenplay, and top-notch acting, this is one of the 2007 Oscar season's most appealing and compelling adult motion pictures.
  5. Hanks has a good time, romping around with the assurance of a holy fool. He and Roberts seem "actorish," putting on accents and mannerisms, but they're entertaining. Hoffman is something more, a scenery-devouring force of nature irresistible as a cyclone and irreverent as a stand-up comedian at a midnight show.
  6. It's all about a likable scoundrel who discovers what it means to act out of conviction. The film's underlying twist, though, is tartly ironic.
  7. 83
    You don't often hear critics gripe that a movie isn't long or explicit enough, but Sorkin and Nichols could have gone the extra lap or so to show that Wilson's saga is more than just a story of a good ol' boy accidentally pulling off a remarkable coup; it's a sobering account of the geopolitical hijinks that gave shape to our current world.
  8. A witty, literate, wryly sophisticated parable of American politics: just the kind of movie that Hollywood, in its search for the global audience, supposedly doesn't make anymore.
  9. 83
    Philip Seymour Hoffman steals the movie.
User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 108 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 43 out of 51
  2. Negative: 1 out of 51
  1. May 16, 2014
    7
    Besides oversimplifying serious and complex subject matters, Charlie Wilson's War brings a unique style of filmmaking that mixes comedy and seriousness in a way that becomes fun. Full Review »
  2. May 29, 2012
    7
    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 »
  3. May 31, 2014
    5
    "Charlie Wilson's War" is nothing more than an ok film. First and foremost, Philip Seymour Hoffman kills it and really is the brightest star here. In a small role, Amy Adams is also quite good. I cannot say the same for Tom Hanks or Julia Roberts, however. For some reason, Hanks' performance here was not up to snuff for me and I am not typically a fan of Roberts and this film was no difference. Both seemed to be out of their league compared to a talent such as Hoffman. As for the film, the story was...eh. The parts surrounding the operations in Afghanistan were interesting, but far too much time was spent on establishing Wilson as a drug addicted womanizer, rather than focusing on, you know, the story the film was trying to tell. So much time is devoted in fact that by the end, you are left wondering how this one was an hour and a half long since it feels like so little was truly covered. The depth it goes into on the issues in Afghanistan is cursory at best and it really feels as though we got maybe half of the story at best, which is really too bad. However, there are positives. As mentioned, Hoffman turns in a stellar performance and, in addition, when the film focuses on the main story, it is very interesting. It is even more interesting considering what we know now and how all of the events here wind up hurting us later (as hinted to by Hoffman towards the end). In terms of its attempts at satire, most of the time it hits and you find yourself laughing, which is obviously a plus. Overall, this one feels as though far too much was cut and we are instead left with some interesting pieces that do not add up to what they should. Full Review »