Silkwood - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Silkwood Reviews

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Super Reviewer
April 13, 2015
"Silkwood" may not be particularly suspenseful, but its portrayal of extraordinary bravery from an ordinary woman does leave an impression. Tons of young, budding stars fill out the cast although their full range of skills has yet to develop. That having been said, it's the best bit of acting I can recall seeing from Kurt Russell. Cher's complete lack of glamour or pretense struck me as unusually authentic. It's worth seeing if for no other reason than reminding yourself how little things seem to change over the years.
Super Reviewer
½ April 30, 2011
Silkwood felt kind of preachy and also hippie at the same time, but Meryl Streep is a pretty magnetic actress, and she pulls us through.
Super Reviewer
September 14, 2010
All I knew about it was its tagline (besides its IMDb Rating) before going for it.

Tagline: On November 13, 1974, Karen Silkwood, an employee of a nuclear facility, left to meet with a reporter from the New York Times. She never got there.

I misinterpreted "She never got there." as "She went missing." What I thought would be the beginning of the movie was the end of the movie!!! And it was quite a job to sit all through to the end. The wikipedia page on Karen Silkwood was rather more interesting (especially the last para under 'Estate of Karen Silkwood v. Kerr-McGee' section. Talk about conspiracy theories!!!) than the movie (something that I also felt about 'The Elephant Man', but 'The Elephant Man' was still better than this... way better). No, I wasn't looking for big time action with blasts & explosions (mind you that 'North Country', one of my favorites, didn't have much action either) that I ended up being disappointed. But I wasn't looking for such a slow & dull story-telling either.

The performances by almost everyone, specifically Meryl Streep & Kurt Russell, were great but not enough to save me from the ample amount of boredom that the movie tends to generate.
Super Reviewer
April 29, 2007
A leisurely and generally low-toned movie about a factory worker in a nuclear 'parts' firm who becomes contaminated and drifts leftwards into Union affairs. Meryl Streep offers a determined, not very sympathetic portrait of a working-class lass with a not very delicate air.
Super Reviewer
March 20, 2014
A rather ordinary film that is vaguely similar to the Erin Brockovich tale but not as compelling. Would work better as a doc.
Super Reviewer
October 10, 2010
A superior adult drama based on a true story of the Karen Silkwood case which is brilliantly directed by Mike Nichols. Silkwood, played by the amazing Meryl Streep in a riveting Oscar nominated performance is a frustrated factory worker in an Oklahoma plutonium plant. we follow her growing awareness of the dangers of exposure to herself and other plant workers, her developing union activism and intense struggle to improve conditions for everyone, and because of inadequate safety measures she and several employee become contaminated with radiation. Her death in car accident on her way to a meeting with a Times reporter and a briefcase full of evidence left many unanswered questions. Nichols painstakingly gets absolutely superlative performances from his large cast especially from Kurt Russell and Cher in an Oscar nominated performance. An impressive and moving motion picture. Highly Recommended.
Super Reviewer
½ November 10, 2007
A very well acted film. The perfomances are great across the board. The film explores the true story of a woman who tried to take on a major corporation in the 1970s and may have been killed as a result. The film is an interesting character study, but there in lies the problem. The film has trouble figuring out exactly what it is. This isn't a huge issue, I love that they took time to establish character. Cher gives a great supporting performance, but a lot of her subpolt seems uneccesary to the central narative. Still the film is well made and the performances alone make it worth your while.
Super Reviewer
½ August 10, 2007
I like all of the actors in this but certain parts were a bit overdone.
Super Reviewer
½ September 16, 2008
Politically incorrect Nichols directs a very controversial story,Karen Silkwood's unabashed fight against the manipulative nuclear plant.Pretty engaging considering the irrational behavior of corporations at the period,leading to her imminent murder.There was a time when Nichols films didn't suffer much from a cliched script (Charlie Wilson's War) nor from a pseudo-intellectuality (Closer).Streep and Cher keep the rhythm and despite the flaws,it remains a truthful drama.
Super Reviewer
December 20, 2007
April 11, 2015
A real life character study of do wrongers trying to do notch acting in this tense thriller.
½ November 6, 2014
The last sentence of the summary shows how little the average person and Hollywood in general knows about nuclear electric power. A person doesn't get contaminated by radiation. If you get contaminated , its by contamination. If you get irradiated, its by radiation. Modern nuclear power plants have processes and equipment that aims to prevent people from getting contaminated, but if it does happen, the dire consequences of it happening are.......? You take a shower. Yup, that's it.
½ September 17, 2014
Solid enough, but never quite steps it up to a truly engaging level. The script never delves deeply enough for me to either understand or care more about Karen, or any of the other characters for that matter. I think it's intentions are also muddled.
½ May 19, 2014
Meryl and Cher are amazing as always in this movie and Mike Nichols is always a wonderful director. It had a nice story but I wasn't all that into it.
March 7, 2013
Meryl, Kurt, and Cher immerse themselves in their characters perfectly though Silkwood itself is not as engaging as its characters.
June 15, 2007
It's an interesting story. It makes you think about nuclear power and the people working in those plants. It kind of just plods along as far as the movie goes. It's not really extraordinary. It's sad to know that people who have worked in those types of plants can come in contact which such harmful chemicals. It's a cautionary tale and if you have any interest in nuclear power or if you just want to have a different perspective the next time you watch an episode of The Simpsons give this a watch, it'll make you think and it might also make you angry.
½ January 13, 2012
Simply put, this film told a great story. Silkwood is the story of a nuclear power plant worker who goes toe-to-toe with the plant fighting for employee safety. What results is a story of struggle for fairness, and a corporation's farthest extreme in preventing Silkwood from digging too deep into the inner workings of the plant. The acting was great, especially on the part of Streep, who put a lot of soul into her performance. There were parts of the film that were a bit overdone that made the image of the tale crack, but there was much more to like about this film than to dislike. All in all, a great movie with a good story, and a definite recommendation from me.
July 11, 2010
Another great performance by Meryl Streep. And Cher was amazing to. Although the story was of course predictable (who doesn't know the true story!), Director: Mike Nichols and Writer: Nora Ephron add a more interesting interpration to Silkwood's story. For that, I liked this movie a lot.
October 15, 2007
The austere almost-documentary style of Silkwood's story serves Mike Nichols very well. Austere though does not mean we do not connect with these small town people; we do, and with Karen Silkwood especially, as we see her react to her exposure and what she feels is a conspiracy by the company she works for.

Meryl Streep is in absolute top form. What is most impressive is it is not a big showy role like some of hers' are, but what we see is a real person, all the minute details of what makes a performance feel life-like. It is not in the big showy speeches, but in the everyday moments that Streep shines, the little moments i.e. gestures etc., that brings her character off the screen and into your consciousness. She is supported by Cher and Kurt Russell both terrific as well, hitting the exact notes that Streep does. The three together are heartbreaking and real.

The script from Nora Ephron and Alice Arlen is impressive even if it panders to emotions and somewhat manipulates - this does hurt the film a bit. The pacing is especially good though, for it allows you to understand these people, this woman and their connections to each other as it moves towards Karen's contamination and the subsequent conspiracy. Finally, it is Nichols' assuredness with the camera that levels the film out and makes it work. It could've been just another passion project/ real-life story brought sloppily to the screen, but with his hands, and many other talents involved, it becomes a hard-nosed, and well made drama.
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