Generally favorable reviews - based on 39 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 109 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Charlie Wilson's War is the true story of how a playboy congressman, a renegade CIA agent, and a beautiful Houston socialite joined forces to lead the largest and most successful covert operation in history. Their efforts contributed to the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, with consequences that reverberate throughout the world today. (Universal Studios) Expand
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. 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.
  3. 83
    Philip Seymour Hoffman steals the movie.
  4. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    Julia Roberts has never played a dowager before, but heaven knows she makes a good, and funny, one.
  5. Like Sorkin's D.C.-set TV series, "West Wing," his script for Charlie Wilson's War is full of rapid-fire badinage, with movers and shakers moving smart and shaking snappy as a squad of aides trot along behind, briefcases and coffee cups in tow. A decade - not to mention a war - never went by so quickly.
  6. Philip Seymour Hoffman carries the movie. As the CIA operative who hates Communists and his myopic superiors in equal measure, he has a wily, don’t-give-a-shit drive that makes you wish he’d been in Baghdad in 2003.
  7. 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.

See all 39 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 43 out of 51
  2. Negative: 1 out of 51
  1. 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.
  2. Jul 27, 2011
    This movie was hilarious and considering the fact that it was based on politics made it even more amusing. I was not expecting what I got out of this movie. Expand
  3. Apr 5, 2012
    All the acting was right on the target. A quick smart script that tell a fascinating story about how modern government works. Funny in many places, but knows exactly when to add the drama. Expand
  4. 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. Expand
  5. May 16, 2014
    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. Expand
  6. 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. Expand
  7. May 31, 2014
    "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 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. Expand

See all 51 User Reviews