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Going Upriver - The Long War of John Kerry Reviews


Time Out
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November 17, 2011
Derek Adams
Time Out New York
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August 16, 2007

Time Out
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June 24, 2006

Houston Chronicle
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July 21, 2005

Arizona Republic
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October 19, 2004
Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
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This should be revelatory to most people -- but most people will probably never see Mr. Butler's film, and certainly none of those who consider George W. Bush as next to God.

Full Review Source: New York Observer

October 14, 2004
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
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One of the most moving things for me was seeing that some of the high-ranking politicians really did recognize that, hey, we need to meet with these young men and hear what they have to say and that footage is amazing stuff.

Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper

October 11, 2004
Scott Von Doviak
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com
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Brinkley has done his homework, and the evidence is on the screen.

October 8, 2004
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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Butler is on record as a close friend of Kerry's, but he's also a well-respected documentarian, who introduced Arnold Schwarzenegger to America in Pumping Iron and chronicled the heroism of Ernest Shackleton in The Endurance.

Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution | Original Score: B

October 7, 2004
Jeff Strickler
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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Filmgoers in the mood for one more go-round will be fascinated by this documentary by George Butler.

Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune | Original Score: 3/4

October 6, 2004

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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October 6, 2004
Jane Sumner
Dallas Morning News
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A partisan film but ultimately a powerful one.

Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News | Original Score: B

October 6, 2004
Frank Scheck
Hollywood Reporter
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A highly effective campaign biography.

October 6, 2004
Peter Rainer
New York Magazine/Vulture
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It underscores, with ample footage from his rallying speeches and his 1971 testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, just how important it was for the antiwar movement to be represented by someone like Kerry.

Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture

October 6, 2004
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
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A lucid, emotionally affecting portrait not just of one man but of his times.

Full Review Source: Washington Post

October 1, 2004
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
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What happened to the confident 27-year-old we see in the movie, who stares down the police, a hostile Nixon Administration and unfriendly journalists to deliver impassioned first-hand arguments against continuing the Vietnam conflict?

Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Original Score: 3/5

October 1, 2004
Tom Keogh
Seattle Times
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His deep knowledge of the now-presidential candidate provides a portrait of a young man consumed by his mission, as he saw it, to save his country from itself.

Full Review Source: Seattle Times | Original Score: 3.5/4

October 1, 2004
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
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Knowing this much about the frankly impressive early years of one candidate certainly casts him in a new light, one beyond the sound bites and attack ads.

Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel | Original Score: 4/5

October 1, 2004
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
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Butler does an adroit job of indicating that John O'Neill - the architect of the present smear attacks on Kerry's war record - has his own inglorious history.

Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Original Score: 3/4

October 1, 2004
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
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It is difficult to leave this movie without the conviction that Kerry's wartime experience was anything but honorable, regardless of how you feel about his leadership role in Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press | Original Score: 3/4

October 1, 2004
Tom Long
Detroit News
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To be sure it's blatantly partisan, but this documentary about the current presidential candidate's youth is also a moving exploration of Vietnam veterans who ended up protesting the very war they had fought in.

| Original Score: B

October 1, 2004
Jonathan Curiel
San Francisco Chronicle
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An unabashed paean to Kerry's character at a time in the presidential election when Kerry's character is being questioned

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 3/4

October 1, 2004
Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
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Though the film is superbly crafted and occasionally - as with footage of Kerry's testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee - inspiring, it figures to be another sitting duck in the free-fire zone declared by the GOP.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 2.5/4

October 1, 2004
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
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Butler's film still manages to accomplish what the candidate's foundering campaign has utterly failed to do.

| Original Score: 3/4

October 1, 2004
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
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What it shows is not just the Vietnam War experiences of John Forbes Kerry but the experiences of the men who were with him and of the generation from which the candidate's story cannot be extracted.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 3/4

October 1, 2004
Stephanie Zacharek
CNN.com
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Going Upriver, unlike some of the other documentaries that have been released this year, will maintain its value even after the elections are over.

Full Review Source: CNN.com

October 1, 2004
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
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If you want to know about Kerry's formative years, this movie will tell you.

| Original Score: B-

October 1, 2004
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
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His film is pro-Kerry, yes, but the focus is on history, not polemics, and provides a record of the crucial role of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, who because of their credentials could not be dismissed as peaceniks.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 3/4

October 1, 2004
Daniel Rubin
Philadelphia Inquirer
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Butler's mission might have been better served by giving Kerry's critics some say.

| Original Score: 2.5/4

October 1, 2004
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
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The movie is guaranteed to engage the decided and undecided alike, regardless of party affiliations.

Full Review Source: Miami Herald | Original Score: 3/4

October 1, 2004
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
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Instead of history, we get hagiography.

Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger

October 1, 2004
A.O. Scott
New York Times
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George Butler's new documentary, unabashed in its admiration for John Kerry, is clearly meant to intervene in the current presidential campaign.

Full Review Source: New York Times | Original Score: 3/5

September 30, 2004
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
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... it is one of the paradoxes of Going Upriver that it does not fill you with partisan zeal.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 3.5/5

September 30, 2004
Desson Thomson
Washington Post
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George Butler's documentary may not sway any political opinions one way or the other, but it does provide ample evidence that Kerry did more than show up for battle.

Full Review Source: Washington Post

September 30, 2004
Jan Stuart
Newsday
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Of all the progressive- leaning documentaries that have invaded cinemas in recent months, Going Upriver may be the most nakedly akin to an extended campaign ad.

Full Review Source: Newsday | Original Score: 2.5/4

September 30, 2004
Ernest Hardy
L.A. Weekly
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By personalizing the anti-war movement around Kerry's own personal and public journeys, the film powerfully reminds the viewer of all that was at stake around the war and in '60s American society.

Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly

September 30, 2004
Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
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... Going Upriver is a measured, calm, well-researched and thoughtful portrait of both a man and an era.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 3.5/4

September 30, 2004
Todd McCarthy
Variety
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Reveals a young man willing and able to make principled moral decisions, both to fight in the war and then, with experience behind him, to oppose it.

Full Review Source: Variety

September 29, 2004
J. Hoberman
Village Voice
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I got a charge out of Going Upriver.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

September 28, 2004
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
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A compelling, blow-by-blow account of John Kerry's service in Vietnam -- and, more than that, the full revealing chronicle of how he ultimately came together with hundreds of his comrades to form Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: A

September 23, 2004
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