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Silkwood seethes with real-life rage -- but backs it up with compelling characters and trenchant observations. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

This drama is based on the true story of Karen Silkwood (Meryl Streep), who works at a nuclear facility, along with her boyfriend, Drew Stephens (Kurt Russell), and their roommate, Dolly Pelliker (Cher). When Karen becomes concerned about safety practices at the plant, she begins raising awareness of violations that could put workers at risk. Intent on continuing her investigation, Karen discovers a suspicious development: She has been exposed to high levels of radiation.

Cast & Crew

Critic Reviews for Silkwood

All Critics (31) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (23) | Rotten (8)

  • Extraordinary portrayals of everyday people characterize the contribution of director Mike Nichols' talented diverse cast. Once again, Nichols justifies his past plaudits for bringing the best out of his players.

    November 23, 2014 | Full Review…
  • The facts it can lay its hands on do not support a politically alarming or dramatically compelling conclusion to the mysteries of this case. Nor do they lead to a very uplifting statement about the motives and character of its central figure.

    July 1, 2011 | Full Review…
  • A very fine biographical drama.

    July 6, 2010 | Full Review…
  • Silkwood's "ordinariness" protects her from being labelled a wild-eyed Trot, but that should not be allowed to obscure her courage or the whitewash ladled onto her story after her death.

    February 9, 2006 | Full Review…
  • Silkwood is the story of an ordinary woman, hard-working and passionate, funny and screwed-up, who made those people mad simply because she told the truth as she saw it and did what she thought was right.

    October 23, 2004 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • For most of its running time it is so convincing -- and so sure of itself -- that it seems a particular waste when it goes dangerously wrong.

    May 20, 2003

Audience Reviews for Silkwood

  • Feb 27, 2017
    Some fine performances, but let down by a dour pace and a saggy script.
    Marcus W Super Reviewer
  • Apr 13, 2015
    "Silkwood" may not be particularly suspenseful, but its portrayal of extraordinary bravery from an ordinary woman does leave an impression. Tons of young, budding stars fill out the cast although their full range of skills has yet to develop. That having been said, it's the best bit of acting I can recall seeing from Kurt Russell. Cher's complete lack of glamour or pretense struck me as unusually authentic. It's worth seeing if for no other reason than reminding yourself how little things seem to change over the years.
    Christian C Super Reviewer
  • Mar 20, 2014
    A rather ordinary film that is vaguely similar to the Erin Brockovich tale but not as compelling. Would work better as a doc.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 30, 2011
    Silkwood felt kind of preachy and also hippie at the same time, but Meryl Streep is a pretty magnetic actress, and she pulls us through.
    Jennifer X Super Reviewer

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