Critics Consensus

Timely, solidly acted, and unabashedly earnest, Rosewater serves as an impressive calling card for first-time director Jon Stewart.



Reviews Counted: 151

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Average Rating: 3.6/5

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Movie Info

Rosewater is based on The New York Times best-selling memoir "Then They Came for Me: A Family's Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival," written by Maziar Bahari. The film marks the directorial debut of "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart, and stars Gael García Bernal. Rosewater follows the Tehran-born Bahari, a broadcast journalist with Canadian citizenship. In June 2009, Bahari returned to Iran to interview Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who was the prime challenger to president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. As Mousavi's supporters rose up to protest Ahmadinejad's victory declaration hours before the polls closed, Bahari endured personal risk by sending footage of the street riots to the BBC. Bahari was arrested by police, led by a man identifying himself only as "Rosewater," who tortured and interrogated him over the next 118 days. With Bahari's wife leading an international campaign to have her husband freed, and Western media outlets keeping the story alive, Iranian authorities released Bahari on $300,000 bail and the promise he would act as a spy for the government. (C) Open Road Films

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Gael García Bernal
as Maziar Bahari
Kim Bodnia
as Rosewater
Haluk Bilginer
as Baba Akbar
Nasser Faris
as Haj Agha
Hamid Masri
as Admission Guard #1
Ayman Sharaiha
as Blue-Eyed Seyyed
Ali Elayan
as Channel One State TV Interviewer
Nidal Ali
as Prison Soundsman
Alex Claus
as Prison Barber
Firas Fanni
as Another Prisoner
Alaadin Khasawneh
as Prison Guard
Wissam Tobaileh
as Admission Guard #2
Manar Mughrabi
as Female Agent
Manaf Irani
as Avid Debate Watcher
Mohammad Sami
as Teenage Boy
Miles Jupp
as Maziar's Producer
Andrew Gower
as Jimmy the Avid Editor
Edward Ward
as Field Producer
Jason Jones
as Himself
Jonathan Hopper
as Young Rosewater
Bassam Hanna
as Rosewater's Father
Nafisa Ghazi
as Rosewater's Mother
Hassan Sha'er
as 1980 Prison Warden
Hamza Muhaisen
as Young Maziar
Ali Hussein
as Maziar's Newborn Daughter
Saro Karaoghlanian
as Maziar's Friend
Hannah Douglas
as Flight Attendant
Eyad Zoubi
as Shah's Guard
Saif Goussous
as Polling Station Policeman
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News & Interviews for Rosewater

Critic Reviews for Rosewater

All Critics (151) | Top Critics (48)

  • Would you confess to crimes you hadn't committed? I know I would. I'd crack before my tormentors had even cleared their throats, which may be why I found Rosewater so inspiring.

    May 8, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Straightforward and solid.

    May 7, 2015 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Kate Muir

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • Stewart has created a humane black tragicomedy that reminded me of Tom Stoppard's anti-Soviet satire Every Good Boy Deserves Favour.

    May 7, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Humour of the most absurdist kind does find its way into the film.

    Feb 18, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • The main question Rosewater grapples with is whether Stewart can hack it as a filmmaker. The answer: sort of?

    Nov 21, 2014 | Full Review…
  • Rosewater certainly has merit as an act of atonement on Stewart's part and a tribute to people like Bahari... In the end, however, the movie needs to stand on its own, apart from its noble intentions and the popularity of its writer-director.

    Nov 21, 2014 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Rosewater

"Rosewater" is well acted and constructed, but it lacks the emotional punch one would expect from the source material.

Christian C
Christian C

Super Reviewer


The story of Maziar Bahari's imprisonment begins in 2009 when Daily Show correspondent Jason Jones went to the politically torn country of Iran, to interview Bahari during the presidential elections. Bahari is an Iranian-Canadian journalist from Newsweek whose family had always been imprisoned for political and social taboos. The film shows the torment and utter agony Bahari was up against during his tenure in an Iranian prison. Read more at

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

Maziar Bahari: Sir, can you tell me why I'm here? Circumstances surrounding a film can often impact the thoughts one has, when attempting to review/critique it. Obviously a film should stand on its own, but certain aspects always have an effect on one's perception. I say this because it would be difficult not to talk about Rosewater without mentioning writer/director Jon Stewart's role in all of this. He made the film, so obviously he has plenty of involvement, but the fact that his role was a minor factor in why the story that led to this film exists (however inconsequential The Daily Show may really be in all of this) is an interesting factor to consider. Keeping that in mind, based on the quality of this directorial debut from Stewart, I would say he found a way to be very respectful to his subject, in an effort to make a compelling drama that may not be what one would expect, when it comes to watching a film put together by the host of Comedy Central's The Daily Show. read the whole review at

Aaron Neuwirth
Aaron Neuwirth

Super Reviewer


A solid but not deeply moving recounting of the events. I'd keep an eye on this Jon Stewart guy, I think he's going places.

Julie B
Julie B

Super Reviewer

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