Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 152


Audience Score

User Ratings: 13,605
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Rosewater Photos

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 (152) | 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

  • Jan 17, 2016
    "Rosewater" is well acted and constructed, but it lacks the emotional punch one would expect from the source material.
    Christian C Super Reviewer
  • Aug 17, 2015
    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 Super Reviewer
  • Feb 08, 2015
    A true story about how bearing witness in a totalitarian country can get you in to trouble. It was tense and dramatic and made all the more enthralling by it being a true story about human bravery in the face of tyranny.
    Ian W Super Reviewer
  • Nov 30, 2014
    About ten years ago, I met a couple of French tourists who saw Jon Stewart buying diapers at a pharmacy. Now, the thing was, they knew he was famous but not what for. Today, the answer to that question gets a little more complicated with the release of Stewart's directorial debut "Rosewater" about Maziar Bahari(Gael Garcia Bernal), a journalist who is unceremoniously jailed and beaten, after being falsely accused by the Iranian authorities of being a spy, following the Iranian elections of 2009. What is most surprising with "Rosewater" is what Stewart manages to pull off visually, not just in the way that archival footage is combined with the ongoing drama but in the way that isolation is expressed, as Maziar is kept from communicating with the outside world, especially his very pregnant wife Paola(Claire Foy), and vice versa. And what the movie also makes perfectly clear, at least until Stewart does lay it on a little thick towards the end, is how the new forms of technology will aid dissent in countries that still rely on repressive methods that were old when the Spanish Inquisition were using them.
    Walter M Super Reviewer

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