User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 188 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 23 out of 188
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  1. StephenS
    Feb 27, 2010
    3
    Clearly the reviewers and I did not see the same movie. The writing was contrived and plot-driven. The audience was laughing out loud at scenes that were supposed to be tense. There was so much implausibility here. Then when the wife of the prime minister jumps into bed with MacGregor, the audience fell out of their chair. This is a weak movie. Could someone please tell me I'm not Clearly the reviewers and I did not see the same movie. The writing was contrived and plot-driven. The audience was laughing out loud at scenes that were supposed to be tense. There was so much implausibility here. Then when the wife of the prime minister jumps into bed with MacGregor, the audience fell out of their chair. This is a weak movie. Could someone please tell me I'm not crazy? thank you. Expand
  2. PaulM.
    Mar 6, 2010
    1
    Contrived and boring. Not even DVD worthy. Comparing this to Hitchcock is akin to comparing Mannheim Steamroller to Mozart.
  3. maxwellf.
    Feb 28, 2010
    1
    Terrible boring movie. what is everyone so happy about? this movie does not work on so many levels. its like watching paint dry. these reviewers who loved it must be gettin paid off by the studio who released the movie.
  4. KaryK
    Mar 13, 2010
    3
    I can't believe critics liked this, maybe because Polanski directed it? Kim Cattrall with a fake British accent (sometimes American, sometimes fairly British, sometimes in between -- yes I know she was born in Liverpool). Olivia Williams' performance was completely uneven, and I normally like her in everything. Pierce Brosnan's character was totally 1 dimensional, a I can't believe critics liked this, maybe because Polanski directed it? Kim Cattrall with a fake British accent (sometimes American, sometimes fairly British, sometimes in between -- yes I know she was born in Liverpool). Olivia Williams' performance was completely uneven, and I normally like her in everything. Pierce Brosnan's character was totally 1 dimensional, a stereotypical politician as acted in any movie. And, Ewan McGregor's character was unbelievably stupid. I predicted in the beginning who the bad guy was (won't tell here) and what the likely outcome would be. There were no real plot twists at all. I just wanted the 2+ hours to be over so I could know my prediction was correct (it was). This was a waste of time and money. Expand
  5. Lyn
    Aug 22, 2010
    2
    I'm very surprised at the critics' adoration for this film, and can only assume it's because of their admiration for the director. Despite the excellent actors, there's virtually no suspense, and a twist at the end is one that you can see coming from 90 minutes away. And Kim Cattrall does perhaps the worst put-on British accent in film history!
  6. DavidY
    Mar 29, 2010
    4
    Rather predictable, and somewhat slow, the film failed to thrill or provide interesting suspense. The dialogue was well written, and the tone was spot on - helped in large part by Alexandre's Desplat's score, but in the end, I left the theater disappointed. I would have given the film a 5/10, but for the final shot - Polanski should be embarrassed by such a cliche ending.
  7. Mar 18, 2011
    0
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I fell asleep several times during the movie, but so did the main character. What exactly was the plot ? I don't remember. If you have something to hide, why would you let someone into your house, and actually hire someone to sniff out your past ? Investigative journalism must have taken a turn for the worse when an amateur can simply use Google search to uncover the most secretive things of your past. Quite embarrassing, especially if you are the British Prime Minister. It's all right there, on the Internet.
    Things moved along, yes, but they moved along at the speed of sound in a vacuum. At one point, the main character shakes a tail, where did these guys learn to follow someone ?
    The ending was probably the most ridiculous one in movie history. I was in DC recently, and you can see the sniper on the roof of the White House from about 5 miles away. Security for the British PM must have forgotten that a guy in full camouflage, carrying a rifle and climbing onto the roof of the airport building might not be hunting for ducks.
    Wait, that was not really the end. The end was that the main character got hit by what, a car, a bus ? After surviving all sorts of dangerous situations, he simply gets run over in the middle of a big city ?
    In summary, this movie is just god awful. What is the purpose of making these films ?
    Expand
  8. DinoR.
    Mar 11, 2010
    1
    When did P-L-O-T get thrown out the window in film? "The Ghost Writer" doesn't have one, you don't care, and, frankly, if you do, you've lowered your standards to the point it doesn't matter. Polanski should be arrested and put in jail for THIS as well as victimizing a thirteen year old girl.
  9. TArkoB.
    Mar 10, 2010
    3
    You're joking--this is like a moderately well directed episode of Murder She Wrote. The performances are weak, especially in the day player roles, and the dialogue seems to have been written by Stephen J. Cannell. Manhola Dargis needs a new job.
  10. KenP
    Mar 12, 2010
    3
    The Ghost Writer has some decent performances and occasional good lines, but is just not believable as a political thriller. Ewan McGregor's character switched between cynic and naif. Many of his character's decisions are incredible, and exist solely to progress the plot. Roman Polanski's depiction of politics in the US seemed completely imagined, and is not believable. The The Ghost Writer has some decent performances and occasional good lines, but is just not believable as a political thriller. Ewan McGregor's character switched between cynic and naif. Many of his character's decisions are incredible, and exist solely to progress the plot. Roman Polanski's depiction of politics in the US seemed completely imagined, and is not believable. The plot borrows ideas from many other movies, and offers nothing new. The smoking gun revealed at the end is more like child's cap gun, without the caps. Very disappointing- I can't understand the rave reviews. Obviously, Polanski thought the conspiracy theories presented in The Ghost Writer would resonate with European audiences, but it's a very juvenile effort overall. P.S. It was funny how Belmont, MA. was depicted. There are no rural roads in this fully developed suburban community, much less pine forests like the ones shown in the film. FTR, this did not bother me at all- it was just humorous. Expand
  11. DougE
    Mar 14, 2010
    2
    The interesting aspect of the plot is that the dots are connected by a google search that only 4 billion people could have done rather than the protagonist of the movie. There are flashes of Hitchcock in this movie but the plotline that pivots on secret connections does not survive any reasonable scrutiny. A very poor conclusion to the film.
  12. OgdenU
    Mar 19, 2010
    2
    I never comment on movies, but this one compelled me...this is a worthless waste of time and money. The story line (was there really actually one?) was absurd, the "who dunnit" entirely predictable, and the only suspense was wondering when the movie would finally captivate my attention.
  13. lindas
    Mar 28, 2010
    2
    Such a draggy film. Lang was handled by his CIA wife and agent. Why would Lang ever want to write a book about his life - "setting his own pants on fire" - duh- And how would the ghost writer, ever have figured out a highly unbelievable code in the original manuscript about Lang's wife. It was not suspense at its' best, it was a nervewracking, unoriginal, and unbelievable plot Such a draggy film. Lang was handled by his CIA wife and agent. Why would Lang ever want to write a book about his life - "setting his own pants on fire" - duh- And how would the ghost writer, ever have figured out a highly unbelievable code in the original manuscript about Lang's wife. It was not suspense at its' best, it was a nervewracking, unoriginal, and unbelievable plot at its' worst. Expand
  14. buffalo
    Mar 15, 2010
    2
    This is a textbook example of bad filmmaking. You have actors who can't pull off their lines or accents, a plot that is so contrived and silly that it would feel awkward on Columbo, a score that misses the tone and mise en scene by a hundred miles, and a twist that is so predictable and unremarkable that you can't help but leave the theatre feeling exhausted, disappointed and This is a textbook example of bad filmmaking. You have actors who can't pull off their lines or accents, a plot that is so contrived and silly that it would feel awkward on Columbo, a score that misses the tone and mise en scene by a hundred miles, and a twist that is so predictable and unremarkable that you can't help but leave the theatre feeling exhausted, disappointed and insulted. Really, the only intriguing mystery about the Ghost Writer is how in the hell it is getting such good reviews. A colossal failure of a movie. Polanski should be ashamed and mortified. Expand
  15. Nov 1, 2010
    0
    Yikes. Couldn't wait for this mess of a movie to end, to say nothing of my indifference as to how it would, after a great deal of tedium, end. The idea is paper (ha ha ha) thin, and certainly didn't warrant the 2+ hours worth of bad writing it took to complete this exercise in... I need a adjective for god awful crossed with paralytic boredom. Anyway, a hell of a lot of talent got wastedYikes. Couldn't wait for this mess of a movie to end, to say nothing of my indifference as to how it would, after a great deal of tedium, end. The idea is paper (ha ha ha) thin, and certainly didn't warrant the 2+ hours worth of bad writing it took to complete this exercise in... I need a adjective for god awful crossed with paralytic boredom. Anyway, a hell of a lot of talent got wasted on this film. If there was a conspiracy it was on the part of the script writer, editor, and Polanski, to create wooden characters who people a sterile 2 dimensional world it is impossible to care about. The twist, when it finally does come, is paltry, and irrelevant, precisely because so little effort was put into creating a background against which the revelation might matter. And then the very end, when the car speeds by, and the papers come floating past the camera. All I could think is, "are you fuc*ing serious?" I think it's safe to say Mr. Polanski's best work was finished long long ago. Expand
  16. Jun 7, 2011
    2
    I've always believed that movie reviewers are desperate to be seen as cultured, intelligent, "I'm more insightful than you" types. Therefore, when they come across a movie like this - a movie that SEEMS like it should be good, has the look of something that should grab your attention, and, most important, sounds intelligent - they rave about it because their hubris prevents them fromI've always believed that movie reviewers are desperate to be seen as cultured, intelligent, "I'm more insightful than you" types. Therefore, when they come across a movie like this - a movie that SEEMS like it should be good, has the look of something that should grab your attention, and, most important, sounds intelligent - they rave about it because their hubris prevents them from saying, "I don't get it!" This is not a great movie. I'll be honest in saying that I don't quite get the ending. I mean, I do, but was the "secret" really that significant? If you didn't figure this all out in the private jet scene, then perhaps you are a movie critic. It's sad too, because the cast should have been excellent. Pierce Brosnan generally has his moments, Ewan McGregor is often quite good, Olivia Williams has had a few brilliant roles, and Tom Wilkinson is, in my opinion, one of the great, under appreciated actors, ever. Conversely Kim Catrall may be one of the worst actors ever and this role only solidifies her in that position. But in this movie they were all as flat and dull as Catrall's "accent". IMO the only really good acting in this movie was that of Wilkinson and Eli Wallach. Regrettably, these two roles are little more than bit parts. The rest was so ho hum that I needed two nights to watch it. Expand
Metascore
77

Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 35
  2. Negative: 0 out of 35
  1. This is a slicker, shallower exercise. It's hypnotic as it unfolds, but once the credit roll frees you from its grip, it doesn't bear close scrutiny.
  2. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    50
    What the picture most needed was a complete cinematic rethink and, yes, even some action to move it along.
  3. 70
    If it is possible to watch this work as a movie rather than using it as a referendum on its maker’s guilt or innocence, the audience that craves mature, sophisticated and grown-up entertainment will find much to admire here.