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.

88%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 73

74%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 42
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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 (73) | Top Critics (20) | Fresh (64) | Rotten (9)

  • Leave it to Werner Herzog. The iconoclastic German film-maker ditches the documentary rule book for this intimate profile of the 88-year-old former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

    Nov 11, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Kevin Maher

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • Despite the film's obvious interest, it is a bit conceited and stately, a little like Wim Wenders' movie about Pope Francis, though without the sycophancy. Or almost.

    Nov 8, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • An important and interesting documentary about tumultuous times, then, but one that slightly suffers for being a touch too dry and over-friendly towards its subject.

    Nov 7, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Meeting Gorbachev a Werner Herzog documentary with a difference: it could be a documentary by anyone. It is that maddeningly bland.

    Nov 6, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • 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…

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