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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. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Celebrated war correspondent Marie Colvin is a woman who is as comfortable downing martinis with high society's elite as she is brazenly staring down warlords and fleeing from gunfire. Driven by an enduring desire to bear witness and give voice to the voiceless, Colvin charges into danger, constantly testing the limits between bravery and bravado.

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Critic Reviews for A Private War

All Critics (144) | Top Critics (48) | Fresh (127) | Rotten (17)

  • While Rosamund Pike delivers an unbeatable portrayal of Colvin, the film itself fails to say anything new about addiction or the demons she battles.

    February 22, 2020 | Full Review…
  • Poor, gifted Rosamund Pike is persuaded to play the American-born Sunday Times journo at full throttle, when half-throttle would be a nice occasional variant.

    February 20, 2019 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    February 17, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • [An] impassioned if occasionally contrived drama...

    February 17, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • I can only say, with confidence, that the film features a magnificently fierce, alert and impassioned performance from Rosamund Pike, whose usual English rose delicacy is nowhere to be seen. It is top work, properly.

    February 14, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Its grindingly earnest tone is that of the hasty posthumous tribute, rather than the more textured, inquiring long view of a worthwhile biopic.

    February 14, 2019 | Rating: 2/5 | 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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