Metascore
69

Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 21
  2. Negative: 1 out of 21
  1. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    88
    What's suspenseful - and so troubling - is seeing exactly how far the "progressives" of GCS are willing to go to put a decidedly unpopular candidate back into office, regardless of what it will mean for the future of the country and for Bolivian democracy itself.
  2. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    88
    It’s a galling and provocative experience to viewers of any political persuasion, and a reminder to the left of how easily idealism can run amok.
  3. A fascinating glimpse at the perils of ''exporting'' democracy.
  4. 80
    Our Brand Is Crisis manages to be remarkably suspenseful.
  5. Reviewed by: Laura Kern
    80
    Boynton's Our Brand Is Crisis, which chronicles the entire election-strategizing process in scrupulous detail, will pack a punch with even the most informed viewer.
  6. Reviewed by: Jessica Letkemann
    75
    This unlikely pairing of relentless U.S. pollsters and a Bolivian election is a fascinating glimpse of the Americanized marketing of international politics (and vice versa).
  7. 75
    Rosner works for famed Democratic strategist James Carville, who stops just short of dry-humping the camera lens in his hunger for the spotlight here. Our Brand Is Crisis is full of strangely resonant parallels to American politics.
  8. Our Brand Is Crisis well demonstrates the international efficacy of the methods used to twice elect Bill Clinton. Unlike in "The War Room," the charismatic Carville makes but fleeting appearances in this docu, and it suffers as a result.
  9. 70
    If the fascinating, if disconcerting Our Brand Is Crisis teaches us one thing, it's that consultants, handlers, lawyers, and middlemen can always find a job.
  10. 70
    What makes Boynton's film stand out amid the current crop of political documentaries is its rigorous reportorial fairness, and its refusal to simplify material in order to score facile ideological points.
  11. 70
    Rachel Boynton's painfully timely film is actually a full-court tragedy - the sorry tale of a battle won and a war lost; of a country decimated by 500 years of colonialism and poverty; of globalization and America's losing battle to export market democracy to the developing world.
  12. Most of all we see what a coldblooded sport campaigning is, and how desperately the people who are good at it want to win.
  13. Reviewed by: Ronnie Scheib
    70
    Proves as entertaining as the earlier "The War Room," which also featured Carville, but is more somber.
  14. Political junkies will love this movie.
  15. 70
    Among other things, Our Brand Is Crisis is about the failure of good intentions--a potent American theme at the moment. As the movie suggests, this failure, born of American arrogance, embraces liberals as well as neocons.
  16. 70
    An evil twin to "The War Room" (1993).
  17. Proves, unhappily enough, how U.S.-style media politics is spreading around the world.
  18. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    60
    It's hard to know whether to marvel or weep when James Carville goes into his Bill Clinton–meets–Looney Tunes act in Rachel Boynton's knockout documentary Our Brand Is Crisis--the context is so morally topsy-turvy.
  19. Clintonistas may want to look away when Carville and his colleagues lay out their political philosophy for Lozada, or, as he's affectionately known, "Gani." It's pragmatic in a way that defies the needs of the impoverished majority of Bolivians.
  20. Never more than a dull and confused film about Bolivia's 2003 presidential election.
  21. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    38
    Boynton isn't interested in telling a story, only in the atmosphere of political consultancy.
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 5 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 3
  2. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. DavidKing
    Jun 20, 2006
    6
    If you're already cynical about politics and the campaign world, this movie will feed right into your impulses. The Carville team gave a film crew deep access to discussions with "Goni," as the 2002 presidential campaign heated up. Much of the advice is exactly as we teach it: find a message, keep it simple, stick to it, define your adversaries, and so on. Carville's team was coming off of victories in England, Ireland, Israel and Germany... and their formula -- for the most part -- works. But was it best for Bolivia in the long run? The movie falls short in several areas. First, viewers are left with no clear picture of Bolivia as the lovely country that it is. The movie could have been made almost anywhere, but what ultimately "matters" in the movie is the fact that the Carville devices did not match Bolivia's history or needs. Would have been much better if viewers were given a sense for what that history was... Second, the role of the MNR party in Goni's election is entirely missing -- and that fact makes Carville's efforts seem more important than they really were. Third, Evo Morales is portrayed as a frightening populist -- which misses the point that Carville and friends should have noticed. Namely that the greatest deficit in Bolivia is not fiscal but moral -- and that Evo Morales touched the soul of the nation. Full Review »
  2. MikeG.
    Apr 11, 2006
    5
    I saw this at the Philadelphia Film Festival last weekend and was underwhelmed. The subject matter was certainly very intriguing but the filmmaker couldn't seem to decide whether to center her documentary on Bolivia's problems or on GCS. The result is a sometimes disjointed movie that doesn't do a very good job explaining what, exactly, Bolivia's problems are, who Evo Morales is, or why the United States cares enough to comment on Morales through its ambassador. There are a couple of telling scenes in the film - Gani shaking his head and saying "ours is not to question why, ours is just to do or die" when he's being pulled around by the nose by the consultants - but there aren't enough of these moments. I would like to have known what the Bolivian poltical culture thought of GCS and seen more of a comparative thrust. The movie didn't have this and, as a result, lacked balance. Full Review »
  3. SoniaC.
    Mar 27, 2006
    10
    Excellent documentary!