Theater of War (2008) - Rotten Tomatoes

Theater of War (2008)

Theater of War (2008)



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Bertolt Brecht's +Mother Courage and Her Children is widely regarded as one of the most important plays of the 20th century and a powerful, punishing statement of protest against the grim folly of war. Brecht's drama is often staged in Europe, but it has rarely been given major productions in the United States; however, in 2006, with the ongoing war in Iraq occupying the minds of many in the United States, playwright Tony Kushner prepared a new English translation of +Mother Courage and director George C. Wolfe persuaded Meryl Streep to return to the stage to play the lead in a production that ran for free in New York's Central Park for four weeks. Filmmaker John Walter examines this landmark production in the documentary Theater of War. In addition to featuring excerpts from the play, Theater of War offers a behind-the-scenes look at the creative process behind the staging of +Mother Courage, and includes interviews with most of the creative team. Walter also offers insights into Brecht's tumultuous life and career, the history of his masterpiece, and what many regard as the play's definitive staging, starring Brecht's wife, actress Helene Weigel. Theater of War received its premiere at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival.

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Critic Reviews for Theater of War

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (10)

Engrossing and timely, this crackles with ideas about art, politics, religion, and the terrible costs of war.

April 3, 2009 | Full Review…
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

For theater lovers in general, this documentary -- a look at a high-powered production of a modern classic and a chance to watch Meryl Streep build a character -- is intriguing and educational. For partisans of Bertolt Brecht, it's mandatory.

April 3, 2009 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

All of this makes an interesting, if not gripping, film about the play, the playwright and the lead-up work to a stage production. It also leaves me wanting a great deal more.

April 2, 2009 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Theater of War, Walter's invigorating film, asserts the value of Brecht -- and the power of art -- for our troubled times.

March 26, 2009 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
Boston Globe
Top Critic

As a onetime dramaturg and Brechtian, I enjoyed the chin-wags and the glimpses of Streep in rehearsal -- especially her quivering admission that she can't bear the thought of anyone seeing her process.

December 29, 2008 | Full Review…
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

Theater of War, while informative, feels more like a trailer for Mother Courage than a film of its own.

December 29, 2008 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
New York Post
Top Critic

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