Meeting Gorbachev

Critics Consensus

Meeting Gorbachev plays to filmmaker Werner Herzog's endlessly inquisitive strengths -- and reveals the fascinating story of a pivotal political figure.



Total Count: 54


Audience Score

User Ratings: 22
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Movie Info

Werner Herzog and André Singer's riveting documentary, filled with unforgettable archive materials and based on three long interviews, provides incredible access to, arguably, the world's greatest living politician. Now 87 and battling illness, the visionary Mikhail Gorbachev, former General Secretary of the U.S.S.R, has mellowed and slowed down. Still, gently but resolutely, he is pushing towards his goals. Herzog, as on-screen interviewer, does not disguise his affection, celebrating Gorbachev's three remarkable accomplishments: negotiations with the U.S. to reduce nuclear weapons; cessation of Soviet control of Eastern Europe and the reunification of Germany; and the dissolution of the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc. All of this in six years! One German diplomat sums up Gorbachev's approach: "The process went so quickly that... opponents were overcome by the reality of the situation." Herzog and Singer remind us of the drastic and unforeseeable way the world changes.

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Critic Reviews for Meeting Gorbachev

All Critics (54) | Top Critics (16)

  • Herzog can be forgiven for his hero worship of the statesman so instrumental in the reunification of Germany, a politician who was born to rural peasants and never forgot that the people come first.

    May 29, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Part of Herzog's wonderment at Gorbachev - "one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century," he says - surely has to do with such a rational, placid-appearing man not just surmounting insuperable limits but doing so with world-historical impact.

    May 24, 2019 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Defining a politician's titan legacy in a singularly unexpected way, Meeting Gorbachev meets its expectations.

    May 16, 2019 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • It's always a treat to hear Herzog's grave Teutonic accent, and for the most part he turns out to be a fairly thoughtful interviewer even if he fails to so much as bring up the name "Putin."

    May 9, 2019 | Rating: B | Full Review…
  • Meeting Gorbachev is a hagiography, but it's unafraid to position itself as such; Herzog makes his case proudly and passionately.

    May 7, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Historians of the period will learn nothing new from the movie, yet it remains a stirring enterprise, especially when it peers back, beyond the bright public record of Gorbachev's heyday, into the mist of what feels like a distant past.

    May 3, 2019 | Full Review…

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