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W. (2008)

tomatometer

59

Average Rating: 6/10
Reviews Counted: 212
Fresh: 125 | Rotten: 87

A surprisingly sympathetic portrayal of the 43rd American president, W. is fascinating in spots, but merely rudimentary as a whole.

44

Average Rating: 5.5/10
Critic Reviews: 48
Fresh: 21 | Rotten: 27

A surprisingly sympathetic portrayal of the 43rd American president, W. is fascinating in spots, but merely rudimentary as a whole.

audience

42

liked it
Average Rating: 3/5
User Ratings: 109,122

My Rating

Movie Info

Whether you love him or hate him, there is no question that George W. Bush is one of the most controversial public figures in recent memory. In an unprecedented undertaking, acclaimed director Oliver Stone is bringing the life of our 43rd president to the big screen as only he can. W takes viewers through Bush's eventful life--his struggles and triumphs, how he found both his wife and his faith, and of course the critical days leading up to Bush's decision to invade Iraq.

PG-13,

Drama

Stanley Weiser

Feb 10, 2009

$25.5M

Lionsgate - Official Site External Icon

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Cast

Latest News on W.

February 9, 2009:
RT on DVD: Oliver's W, Spike's St. Anna, and My Name is Bruce!
What better way to celebrate the inauguration of President Barack Obama by watching Oliver Stone's...
November 7, 2008:
Video Exclusive: Josh Brolin and Elizabeth Banks on W.
RT sits down with Josh Brolin and his on-screen First Lady Elizabeth Banks to learn more about W.,...

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All Critics (215) | Top Critics (48) | Fresh (125) | Rotten (87) | DVD (8)

As Poppy Bush says, and says again,"You disappoint me, Junior."

November 10, 2008 Full Review Source: Film.com
Film.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

'W.' is neither coruscating nor edifying - but without the benefit of hindsight, it's probably the best we can hope for.

November 7, 2008 Full Review Source: Time Out | Comment (1)
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

W. feels poorly timed: too late to have any effect on the public, most of whom long ago checked out on the President, and too early to provide more than a schematic interpretation of who he is.

October 20, 2008 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Perhaps Stone believed that the only way you can make sense of the George W. Bush debacle is by presenting it as a goof -- a Freudian cartoon. But if that's the case, he erred on the side of caution.

October 20, 2008 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It has its moments, one of the finest at the conclusion.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: CNN.com
CNN.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film may be ill-timed, arguably unnecessary and no more psychologically probing than any other Stone movie. But much of it works as deft, brisk, slyly engaging docudrama.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Neither a smear campaign nor propaganda piece, but rather a fascinating look at one of the more controversial presidents in recent memory that may end up changing your perspective on the Bush you only thought you knew.

November 6, 2012 Full Review Source: Lyles' Movie Files
Lyles' Movie Files

No matter which way your political stripes run, W. won't likely rub them the wrong way.

September 28, 2011 Full Review Source: American Profile
American Profile

Brolin outdoes himself in the title role.

August 16, 2011 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

Stone's film is like an affectionate kick in the groin of a good old boy you'd like to have a beer with, or with W today, a near Beer.

January 25, 2010 Full Review Source: Kinetofilm
Kinetofilm

I'm unsure who W. will really appeal to: It's a poor historical document; it's not nasty enough for people who hate Bush and too nasty for the few still supporting him.

August 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Washington Times | Comment (1)
Washington Times

Stone's filmmaking fails to charge the narrative with the needed turmoil

August 26, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion
CinePassion

Aided by an Oscar-worthy turn from Josh Brolin, what "W." attempts is something far bolder than badgering. Instead, Oliver Stone spews a subtler invective than normal here - insightful and indicting of a country's complicity up to a point.

June 17, 2009 Full Review Source: Suite101.com
Suite101.com

Uma mistura de documentário e esquete do Saturday Night Live.

April 25, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema em Cena
Cinema em Cena

It's a film with a shelf life, I think. Unlike W himself, it should mature over time.

March 6, 2009 Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney Morning Herald

Stone and screenwriter Stanley Weiser have little...to offer us.

March 6, 2009 Full Review Source: The Age (Australia)
The Age (Australia)

An absorbing and weirdly enjoyable portrait of a slight, meritless man and his calamitous presidency.

March 6, 2009 Full Review Source: The Australian
The Australian

Endeavours this even-handed and entertaining shouldn't be "misunderestimated."

February 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Time Out Sydney
Time Out Sydney

An interesting post-mortem on the still warm corpse of a presidency, but not top-shelf Oliver Stone.

February 27, 2009 Full Review Source: MovieTime, ABC Radio National
MovieTime, ABC Radio National

More character piece than the expected tragedy or parody, W. is surprisingly good fun.

February 27, 2009 Full Review Source: FILMINK (Australia)
FILMINK (Australia)

Part satire, part biopic, part behind-the scenes political drama, W gets stranded in a no-man's land somewhere in between.

February 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph (Australia)
Daily Telegraph (Australia)

It's interesting, it's well done, but that's about it.

February 27, 2009 Full Review Source: At the Movies (Australia)
At the Movies (Australia)

First and foremost, W. dazzles by Josh Brolin's astounding performance, but the film itself entertains and engages thoroughly from start to finish.

February 20, 2009 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

A movie that's like a photo album made of moving pictures, focusing on his early, untamed life, the extraordinary turnaround and finally the first term.

February 20, 2009 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Rather simplistic and reductive, but something tells me Oliver Stone didn't mind it turning out that way.

February 12, 2009 Full Review Source: Window to the Movies
Window to the Movies

The bulk of the story comes straight from things widely known about the man, and the blanks are filled in by surreal familial moments that make Barbara Bush look like Mommy Dearest and George Sr. look like a mannequin with a Quaalude addiction.

February 11, 2009 Full Review Source: Film School Rejects
Film School Rejects

Audience Reviews for W.

I'm really conflicted about this movie, specifically what rating to give it. On one hand, it's an interesting movie, and I applaud Stone for having the balls to release it while Bush was still in office. On the other hand, there are a lot of issues going on. For one thing, maybe this film was released too early. It covers only a small portion of Bush's presidency, leaving a lot of important stuff out. It also seems confused about what it is trying to be, and the point it's trying to make. The one thing that it definitely makes clear, is that Bush has "daddy issues". That seems to be Stone's thesis, and he is mostly successful with it. However, the apporach being taken is a mess. The narrative and the tone are all over the place, the film is very selective with what episodes in time it features, and, even with the apparent pyshoanalytical approach, the film still feels a little pointless. It doesn't help that the pacing needs a lot of work as well. It feels longer than it is, and at 129 minutes, this is not good. Like I said though, the subject matter is interesting, and some of what is featured is rather fascinating. It would have been nice to see a balance between family stuff and political stuff though. The performances are terrific, and the casting is quite good, even though some of the actors' resemblances are a little spotty. They make up for it with their acting though. I give this film a mild recommendation, if only for the acting. I should give this film a 3, due to all of the flaws, but I liked it enough to feel comfortable giving it something higher. 3.5 is too much, but It'll have to do since there is no option for 3.25. I really want to know what happened to the old Oliver Stone. I'm not saying tihis film wasn't important enough to be made, but I really question the way it was handled. Stone used to be a master at sharp, insightful, and daring cinematic gems. This has very little bite or drive, and, even though I am not a fan of Bush, I'm glad this film wasn't a total condemnation of him. Still, it needs work.
January 2, 2013
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Well-acted and well-shot, but doesn't provide an answer to the question everyone was asking: why make a biopic about a president you hate? It's almost like Stone was just trying to be the first to put this history on film, writing Bush-isms from press conferences into implausible Oval Office conversations and unimaginatively imagining the relationship between the powerbrokers in the lead-up to the (second) Iraq War.

Film, unfortunately, is a medium that can't help but glorify its subjects, and though the hackneyed script makes it evident that Bush is no hero, the total effect is one of idealizing the protagonist, and seemingly testing your ability to root for him. But unlike Cronenberg's Crash or Haneke's Funny Games, (or even American Psycho), this is isn't a brilliant examination of our urge to watch that which repels us; rather, it's a sloppy capitalization on generalized sentiment that, much like the WMDs all the president's men are seeking, never quite goes off.

Over time, when the realities finally fade in our memories, this film may stand up better, but for the moment, familiarity breeds contempt. Even four years after its release, it's still too soon. This film is an effigy, a straw man burned in the street for momentary effect, and one that regardless of how well we understand the feeling behind it, really doesn't say or do anything to improve our comprehension of what it purports to address: how an utterly unqualified applicant could obtain the biggest job in the world. A shame, too: a lot of good acting went to waste here, Richard Dreyfuss as Dick Cheney, in particular.
April 24, 2012
danperry17

Super Reviewer

Very interesting and insightful movie which flips back from W's youthful days to his days in the White House, its amusing in places and lets you in on all sorts of area's of W's life. Wether its all true is another matter, from his on off relationship with his father to his boozeful youth and to his almost inept controlling of the White House, I was always thinkin 'is this all really accurate?'

I'm sure some is and some is artistic license, buts its still good.
The cast is excellent as you would expect for a bio of the president, Brolin does very well as W and really makes you believe he's just a regular joe born with a silver spoon in his mouth haha but I guess that he is.

Very good and well made but like all bio's its abit boring in places and as I'm not into politics that much its alittle hard to follow in other places, but its still very good, it actually makes you kinda like W in the end :)
February 9, 2012
phubbs1

Super Reviewer

It's very rare that I hear poor feedback with regards to a film by director Oliver Stone. Several months ago, I got tired of hearing all this, so I went and watched his 1991 political drama JFK, which is now one of my favorite films. After spending what seemed like forever trying to get my hands on another Stone film, I finally got a chance to see W., a film which now makes me skeptical about Stone. This makes me believe that he must have either worshiped or loathed Bush; this film was released before Bush was even out of office.

Full Review: http://wp.me/p1Urcx-z5
December 22, 2011
spielberg00

Super Reviewer

    1. George W. Bush: I use a condom. I'm not dumb.
    2. George Herbert Walker Bush: What are you cut out for? Partying, chasing tail, getting drunk? Who do you think you are? A Kennedy?
    – Submitted by Frances H (4 months ago)
    1. Colin Powell: [to Cheney] Fuck you.
    – Submitted by Veronica B (23 months ago)
    1. George W. Bush: Who's in charge?
    – Submitted by Veronica B (23 months ago)
View all quotes (3)

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