A Private War

Critics Consensus

A Private War honors its real-life subject with a sober appraisal of the sacrifices required of journalists on the front lines - and career-best work by Rosamund Pike.



Total Count: 131


Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,332
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In a world where journalism is under attack, Marie Colvin (Academy Award nominee Rosamund Pike) is one of the most celebrated war correspondents of our time. Colvin is an utterly fearless and rebellious spirit, driven to the frontlines of conflicts across the globe to give voice to the voiceless, while constantly testing the limits between bravery and bravado. After being hit by a grenade in Sri Lanka, she wears a distinctive eye patch and is still as comfortable sipping martinis with London's elite as she is confronting dictators. Colvin sacrifices loving relationships, and over time, her personal life starts to unravel as the trauma she's witnessed takes its toll. Yet, her mission to show the true cost of war leads her -- along with renowned war photographer Paul Conroy (Jamie Dornan) -- to embark on the most dangerous assignment of their lives in the besieged Syrian city of Homs. Based on the extraordinary life of Marie Colvin, A PRIVATE WAR is brought to the screen by Academy Award nominee and critically acclaimed documentary filmmaker Matthew Heineman in his pulse-pounding narrative feature debut.


Rosamund Pike
as Marie Colvin
Jamie Dornan
as Paul Conroy
Stanley Tucci
as Tony Shaw
Tom Hollander
as Sean Ryan
Faye Marsay
as Kate Richardson
Nikki Amuka-Bird
as Rita Williams
Corey Johnson
as Norm Coburn
Amanda Drew
as Amy Bentham
Raad Rawi
as Gaddafi
Hilton McRae
as Adam Watkins
Jérémie Laheurte
as Remi Ochlik
Manoj Anand
as Sri Lankan Hospital Patient
Michele Belgrand
as Old Time Friend
Pano Masti
as Ignacio
Gurnita Kaur Kahlon
as Sri Lankan Hospital Patient
Alisdair Simpson
as Newcaster #2
Imogen King
as Lily Shaw
Michael Haydon
as Newspaper Editor
Kishore Bhatt
as Sri Lankan Hospital Patient
Ian Morine
as Gaddafi's Aid
Amanda Smith
as Passerby
Tatjana Sojic
as Newscaster #3
Rudy Valentino Grant
as Kensington Party Member
Angela Yeoh
as Young Female Journalist
Bharat Mistri
as Sri Lankan Hospital Doctor
David Modigliani
as Newscaster #1
Faraz M. Khan
as Gaddafi Soldier
Nadeem Srouji
as Iraqi Captain
Tristan Tait
as US Public Affairs Officer
Gina Morrish
as Mrs. Lee - Gypsy Mother
Natalie Gayle
as Amy's Friend
Rami Delshad
as Abdallah
Toma Shelmon
as Iraqi Militia Corporal
Mahmoud AlFarj
as Iraqi Construction Foreman
Wissam Tobaileh
as Head of Media Syria
Xavier Gomez
as Sick War Child
Raman Srinivasan
as Tamil Group Leader
Rani Jalal
as Iraqi Militia Officer 1
Emil Hajj
as Gaddafi Translator
Thaer Manakhi
as Iraqi Militia Officer 2
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News & Interviews for A Private War

Critic Reviews for A Private War

All Critics (131) | Top Critics (30) | Fresh (116) | Rotten (15)

  • At a time when pressured media budgets are conspiring, with the general preference for escapism over reality, to threaten war reporting's very existence, A Private War unflinchingly reminds us of its value.

    Feb 17, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • A Private War is at its best when it focuses on tension and danger in the field... These scenes land us in the moment unlike much of the more conventional human drama [director Matthew] Heineman builds elsewhere.

    Feb 13, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • I admired A Private War for its tough, forthright, pro-journalist attitude.

    Feb 13, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • It's a powerful but clear-eyed acknowledgment of the importance of journalism.

    Nov 16, 2018 | Full Review…
  • While it occasionally pulls away from Colvin to let the nightmarish inhumanity of war provide power and feeling, it all too often relies on juiced-up expressions of humanist heroism.

    Nov 16, 2018 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • "A Private War" doesn't ask you to understand the politics of war, only the human side. And it shows the toll war takes on people's souls, most of which it never gives back.

    Nov 15, 2018 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for A Private War

  • Jul 29, 2019
    A Private War is gritty and raw character drama about Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin. The film follows the last ten years of Colvin's life reporting on conflicts in Sri Lonka, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria, along with her struggles with PTSD and substance abuse. Rosamund Pike gives an incredible performance, really transforming herself into her character. However, the script is rather weak and doesn't do a particularly good job at getting at what drove her to do the work she did, or chose the places she did, or what made her voice unique from others. Yet while it has some weaknesses, A Private War is a powerful and provocative film about the life of a war correspondent.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Feb 06, 2019
    Pike is great, but the movie never coalesces around a coherent idea of who Colvin really was outside of vague ponderings about her wanting to do good and something about trauma. One feels that the real Colvin deserved something better.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 15, 2019
    A PRIVATE WAR (3 1/2 Stars) It's nice to see a fierce woman at the center of the familiar journalist in a war zone story, and Rosamund Pike's unsparingly aggressive performance as Marie Colvin, a BBC correspondent who lost an eye and wore a patch, makes her a "Fifth Estate Pirate" for the ages. This true portrayal of a woman whose outrage led her into deadly conflicts may seem like a lot of typing at computer screens, smoking, and fighting with editors to let her get into increasingly dangerous situations, but this urgently directed film wants to shake us out of our selfie-culture complacency and ask ourselves if we would be anywhere as ballsy and brave as Marie. Jamie Dornan surprises with an earthy, edgy performance as her photographer, reminding us that he has more than 50 shades to him. It's an imperfect film, episodic but impactful, but Pike is the real show, literally and figuratively exposing us to a woman whose imperfections were matched by her passion and heroism.
    Glenn G Super Reviewer

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