War Witch Image
Metascore
84

Universal acclaim - based on 16 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 12 Ratings

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  • Summary: Komona (Rachel Mwanza) is only 12 years old when she is kidnapped by rebel soldiers and enslaved to a life of guerrilla warfare in the African jungle. Forced to commit unspeakable acts of brutality, she finds hope for survival in protective, ghost-like visions and in a tender relationship with a fellow soldier named Magician (Serge Kanyinda). Together, they manage to escape the rebels' clutches, but their freedom proves short-lived. Komona then decides she must make amends with her past. [Tribeca Film] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

See all 16 Critic Reviews

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 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. Expand