The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2013) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2013)



Critic Consensus: The Reluctant Fundamentalist is technically proficient, with solid acting and cinematography, but its message is so ambitious and heavy-handed that some of its power is robbed.

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Movie Info

We begin in 2011 in Lahore. At an outdoor café a Pakistani man named Changez (Riz Ahmed) tells Bobby (Liev Schreiber), an American journalist, about his experiences in the United States. Roll back ten years, and we find a younger Changez fresh from Princeton, seeking fortune and glory on Wall Street. The American Dream seems well within his grasp, complete with a smart and gorgeous artist girlfriend, Erica (Kate Hudson). But when the Twin Towers are attacked, a cultural divide slowly begins to crack open between Changez and Erica. Changez's dream soon begins to slip into nightmare: profiled, wrongfully arrested, strip-searched and interrogated, he is transformed from a well-educated, upwardly mobile businessman to a scapegoat and perceived enemy. With time, he begins to hear the call of his own homeland. Taking us through the culturally rich and beguiling worlds of New York, Lahore and Istanbul, The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a story about conflicting ideologies where perception and suspicion have the power to determine life or death. (c) IFC Filmsmore
Rating: R (for language, some violence and brief sexuality)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By: William Wheeler
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 27, 2013
Box Office: $0.5M
IFC Films - Official Site


Riz Ahmed
as Changez
Liev Schreiber
as Bobby Lincoln
Martin Donovan
as Ludlow Cooper
Nelsan Ellis
as Wainwright
Victor Slezak
as Maxell Underwood
Haluk Bilginer
as Nazmi Kemal
Imaad Shah
as Sameer
Chandrachur Singh
as Bandy Uncle
Adil Hussain
as Mustafa Fazil
Ali Sethi
as Ahmed
Gary Richardson
as Anse Rainier
Golam Sarwar Harun
as Ranting South Asian ...
Claire Lamont
as June Davis
Ismail Bashey
as Pak-Punjab Deli Cust...
Mahmood Mamdani
as Pak-Punjab Deli Cust...
Taylor St. Claire
as Cable Company Manage...
Roy McCrery
as Agent Ford
Clayton Landey
as Agent Jackson
Mark Oliver
as Immigration Officer
James Sutton
as Airport Security
Jamie Moore
as Cable Company Worker
Vince Canlas
as Kenzaburo
Yinka Adeboyeku
as NYPD Officer
as Nigerian Merchant
Kuldeep Lulla
as Lahori Boy in Merced...
Daksh Vashisht
as Bobby's Shooter
Charu Shankar
as Lovely Girl at Weddi...
Javed Basu Kesselman
as Pakistani Bond
Chris Smith
as Mike Rizzo
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Critic Reviews for The Reluctant Fundamentalist

All Critics (92) | Top Critics (30)

It's a timely narrative subject, but its treatment in The Reluctant Fundamentalist is fundamentally flawed.

Full Review… | May 17, 2013
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Nair has found a real gem in Riz Ahmed, who anchors the film with a charismatically watchable performance. He's in virtually every frame and you hang on his every word.

Full Review… | May 16, 2013
Toronto Star
Top Critic

A provocative, ambitious drama about the unconsidered assumptions that power our cultures, for good or ill.

Full Review… | August 26, 2013
Flick Filosopher

Despite some promising moments, it never quite coheres into a convincing story. It's worth seeing... but it ultimately feels like a missed opportunity - like a pedant groping for a profundity beyond his moral ken.

Full Review… | August 16, 2013
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Reasonably thoughtful, moderately engaging material dealing with some thorny issues. It may be a catalyst for intelligent conversation, which is more than you can say for most movies.

Full Review… | July 12, 2013

The film seems to dance around the idea of being really critical of America-of analogizing American "exceptionalism" with Islamic fundamentalism-and instead resolves itself with an ending more befitting of a beauty pageant contestant's speech.

Full Review… | June 14, 2013
Film Comment Magazine

Audience Reviews for The Reluctant Fundamentalist

A charismatic lead character and good production values, but the story just states the obvious and is rather pointless. I also found the love story sub-plot quite implausible and boring.

Ross Collins

Super Reviewer


A little long, and a little slow at times, but I like how this film showed different perspectives, demonstrated how things are not always as they seem, and how paranoia greatly interferes. This is an interesting movie about the inner conflicts of a man who straddles two worlds. On one hand, he has bought into the American dream of wealth, status, luxury. Yet his Pakistani roots with a modest family income, and meaningful work pull in the opposite direction. Add to that the alienation he feels when he is treated terribly by his adopted American society after 9/11. Well crafted, beautifully acted...especially by Riz Ahmed, and Liev Schreiber.

Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

In "The Reluctant Fundamentalist," Anse Rainier(Gary Richardson), an American university professor, has been kidnapped in Lahore, Pakistan. Bobby Lincoln(Liev Schreiber), a journalist, has a lead in Changez(Riz Ahmed), a professor with supposed ties to local militants. Changez agrees to talk to Bobby but insists at starting at the beginning, like his being recruited out of Princeton University at Underwood Samson, a top investment firm, by Jim Cross(Kiefer Sutherland, perhaps doing penance for playing America's favorite crypto-fascist) in 2000.

"The Reluctant Fundamentalist" take great aims to show the world is not that simple, while being very critical of both rampant capitalism and fundamentalism and keenly exploring notions of identity in the post 9/11 world. So much so, that the movie lacks any sense of urgency which is a definite problem concerning its framing device. Look, I could listen to Riz Ahmed and Liev Schreiber shoot the breeze all day, but we really don't need to hear Changez talk so much about him having hot, sweaty sex with his artist girlfriend Erica(Kate Hudson)..........ok, maybe just a little.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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