Metascore
84

Universal acclaim - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Mar 8, 2013
    83
    War Witch is most effective not when we are looking in on Komona but when we are inside her head. When she says that, in order to survive in the rebel camp, she “had to learn to make the tears go inside my eyes,” our identification with her is total.
  2. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Feb 28, 2013
    90
    Superstition, witchcraft, exorcism, talismans that ward off evil: in this land of the supernatural, irrationality prevails. But War Witch is so cleareyed that it makes you wonder how much more irrational this world is than the so-called civilized one under its camouflage of material wealth.
  3. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Mar 28, 2013
    88
    War Witch deals with a reality so horrific that the film’s touches of magical realism are welcome, even necessary — the only way to retain one’s bearings and sanity in a world without signposts.
  4. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Mar 7, 2013
    90
    The powerful things we expect from War Witch are as advertised, but what we don't expect is even better.
  5. Reviewed by: V.A. Musetto
    Feb 28, 2013
    88
    Brutality and tenderness are a potent mix in War Witch.
  6. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Mar 29, 2013
    100
    Feels startlingly real and inherently relevant, a shining, sterling example of cinema at its most powerful and urgent.
  7. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Mar 28, 2013
    83
    Nguyen reportedly worked on War Witch for a decade, and it shows in both the immediacy and authenticity of his tale, and the meticulous craft with which it's told.
  8. Reviewed by: Tasha Robinson
    Feb 27, 2013
    91
    War Witch is a remarkably mature portrait that trusts its audience to have their own reactions to its material; it doesn’t yank at the heartstrings so much as expertly strum them.
  9. Reviewed by: Jordan Hoffman
    Feb 27, 2013
    83
    It does a marvelous job at giving us an impressionistic taste of horrific circumstances without using them to beat us into submission.
  10. Reviewed by: Leslie Felperin
    Feb 22, 2013
    80
    Along with the moral lesson, Nguyen remembers to give auds some pleasures, including the exquisitely chosen soundtrack of African folk and pop music, Nicolas Bolduc's cinematography and the very artful use of sound throughout.
  11. Reviewed by: Calum Marsh
    Feb 28, 2013
    50
    Though ostensibly a character study, it's nevertheless characterized by the vaguely moralizing tone of an issue film, one whose candor in the face of brutality seems calculated for maximum liberal appeal.
  12. Reviewed by: Charlie Schmidlin
    Feb 28, 2013
    91
    Blending a surrealist perspective of battle-tinged faith with the harrowing tale of one girl's resilience, the film is a laser-focused fable threatened occasionally by its drifts into character shorthand, but equaled by a wrenching lead performance by Rachel Mwanza that results in one of the finest of the year.
  13. Reviewed by: Zachary Wigon
    Feb 26, 2013
    80
    Nguyen's matter-of-fact storytelling proves to be the right match for a life of extraordinary suffering. In art, lives like Komona's are all too often given an alien sheen. Here, they feel unnervingly plausible.
  14. Reviewed by: Sam Adams
    Feb 26, 2013
    80
    The film’s subject is almost too horrible to contemplate, but it finds a way to space out the blows without softening them.
  15. Reviewed by: Deborah Young
    Feb 22, 2013
    70
    Managing to be neither sentimental nor sensationalistic, the film tells its story from the heart, and from the simple, straightforward viewpoint of young heroine Komona, warmly played by the talented Rachel Mwanza in her screen debut.
  16. Reviewed by: Guy Dixon
    Feb 22, 2013
    75
    So is this a Western take on Africa? Yes, but Rebelle is full of such careful detail, and is carried so beautifully by Mwanza’s performance, that questions of authenticity slide away.
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 12 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Apr 2, 2013
    9
    A remarkable story that even though it does not claim to be based on a true story, it probably is. It is the story of a 12 year old narratingA remarkable story that even though it does not claim to be based on a true story, it probably is. It is the story of a 12 year old narrating to her unborn child the harrowing story of how she ended up in the rebel forces in an unnamed country in Africa and what she'd been through. It is such a good film that without ever being over the top it manages to mesmerize the audience with a mix of great acting, exquisitely chosen soundtrack of African folk and pop music, extraordinary cinematography including the hair raising depictions of the spirits of the dead. It is a film that will not easily be forgotten. Full Review »