W. - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

W. Reviews

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Laremy Legel
Film.com
May 6, 2011
Full Review | Original Score: C+
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November 10, 2008
As Poppy Bush says, and says again,"You disappoint me, Junior."
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Dave Calhoun
Time Out
November 7, 2008
'W.' is neither coruscating nor edifying - but without the benefit of hindsight, it's probably the best we can hope for.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/6
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch
October 21, 2008
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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David Denby
New Yorker
October 20, 2008
W. feels poorly timed: too late to have any effect on the public, most of whom long ago checked out on the President, and too early to provide more than a schematic interpretation of who he is.
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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
October 20, 2008
Perhaps Stone believed that the only way you can make sense of the George W. Bush debacle is by presenting it as a goof -- a Freudian cartoon. But if that's the case, he erred on the side of caution.
Full Review | Original Score: C-
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Tom Charity
CNN.com
October 18, 2008
It has its moments, one of the finest at the conclusion.
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Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
October 18, 2008
The film may be ill-timed, arguably unnecessary and no more psychologically probing than any other Stone movie. But much of it works as deft, brisk, slyly engaging docudrama.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Dana Stevens
Slate
October 18, 2008
If Stone's portrait of George Bush is laid on with a trowel, maybe it's because God seems to have engineered the real Bush's life with a similarly crude sense of irony.
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Christopher Orr
The New Republic
October 17, 2008
This may be the most overdetermined psychological profile since Hitchcock wound up Norman Bates and let him go.
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Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
October 17, 2008
W. is a scattershot attempt at stylized portraiture that plays like a half-baked editorial cartoon.
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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
October 17, 2008
In spite of Josh Brolin's heroic efforts, W. is a skin-deep biopic that revels in its antic shallowness.
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
October 17, 2008
Although clearly not the definitive biography of Bush, W. is absorbing and amusing to ruminate over.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
October 17, 2008
Ultimately W. feels flat, despite the good work of the cast.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
October 17, 2008
In the end, W. makes up in immediacy what it lacks in objectivity.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
October 17, 2008
Whatever you think of Dubya, he has balls. The movie doesn't.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
October 17, 2008
W. does for recent history what Oliver Stone's epic Alexander did for ancient times.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Scott Tobias
AV Club
October 17, 2008
Had Stone realized he was making Dr. Strangelove, W. might have been an absurdist hoot, but that would require the sort of dramatic choice he stubbornly resists making.
| Original Score: C+
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
October 17, 2008
It's Stone's faith in himself that's the stumbling block here, first convinced he has something new to contribute to the already exhaustive Bush-analysis business, and then rushing to get the film out in theaters before the election.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
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Lou Lumenick
New York Post
October 17, 2008
More of a hastily executed charcoal sketch than a portrait, Oliver Stone's W. is nonetheless an often compelling, tragicomic psychological analysis of Dubya, viewed through the prism of his relationship with an allegedly disapproving father.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
October 17, 2008
In the midst of these tumultuous times, in the midst of this tumultuous election, Stone has delivered his most tepid film.
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Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
October 17, 2008
W. is not the hatchet job some may have expected (or hoped for). It is instead a measured and thoughtful meditation on a leader who, this terrific movie believes, inadvertently made the world as roiling as his soul.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
October 17, 2008
Timid, toothless and tepid, this episodic comedy-drama suffers from the one shortcoming I never thought I'd encounter in Stone's work -- failure of nerve.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
October 17, 2008
It's certainly a worthwhile curiosity, and it's not what anyone expected. At the movies these days, that alone is worth something.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
October 17, 2008
Perhaps the crucial reason W. succeeds as much as it does is the surprisingly empathetic work of Josh Brolin.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Andrew Dansby
Houston Chronicle
October 17, 2008
Instead of satire, W. works best as a filmmaking allegory. That going into a production unprepared is a lot like doing so with military conflict. The execution was off before the first camera started rolling.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Tom Long
Detroit News
October 17, 2008
As a film, it simply attempts too much, consequently accomplishing little.
Full Review | Original Score: C-
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Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
October 17, 2008
Despite a talented cast that includes James Cromwell as George H.W. Bush, a.k.a. 'Poppy', and Jeffrey Wright as Colin Powell, W. achieves the depth of a TV miniseries.
| Original Score: 1.5/4
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Tom Maurstad
Dallas Morning News
October 17, 2008
Rather than throwing gas on the fire, the in-the-moment, history-as-it's-happening framing of W. throws a bucket of water on the experience. This movie doesn't explode; it fizzles.
Full Review | Original Score: C
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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
October 17, 2008
This is a familiar and facile take on the president, attributing the Iraq war to his oedipal problems with H.W. and treating him alternately as an object of fun or pity.
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Manohla Dargis
New York Times
October 17, 2008
W. does something most journalism and even documentaries can't or won't do: it reminds us what a long, strange trip it's been to the Bush White House.
| Original Score: 3/5
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
October 17, 2008
Leaving the theater, you may have the sudden sense that, really, it is too early for this movie to have been made, as sharp and as complicated as some of its pieces are.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
October 17, 2008
W. is an engaging and sometimes revealing watch. At the very least, it's a change from the mindless Bush-bashing that has become so tedious.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Bob Mondello
NPR.org
October 17, 2008
We're awfully close to the real events in W., still feeling the effects of this presidency. ... So the concentration on personality flaws feels a little off-point somehow — insufficient, almost frivolous.
Full Review | Original Score: 6/10
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
October 17, 2008
W. offers a failed mix of political satire, psycho-biography, SNL-style mimicry, and Shakespearean tragedy.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
October 17, 2008
Unsure where to aim or what to hit, Stone appears flummoxed, even flaccid, content to holster his own opinions and recycle others, mainly the tried-but-tepid notion that, hey, Junior has a Daddy complex.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
October 16, 2008
Stone may not lead the charge against George W. Bush as viciously as he might have. But he doesn't misunderestimate him, either.
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Amy Nicholson
I.E. Weekly
October 16, 2008
Oliver Stone stirs up a new emotion: Nostalgia. Oh, the halcyon days of 2003!
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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David Ansen
Newsweek
October 16, 2008
W. might have had some impact had it been made four years ago. But it's both too late and too early for a movie about our sitting president.
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
October 16, 2008
Oliver Stone's W., a biography of President Bush, is fascinating. No other word for it.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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John Anderson
Newsday
October 16, 2008
Oliver Stone doesn't do comedy, intentionally. But perhaps he should: The half-baked, hayseed Hamlet he's created in W. feels alive only when it ventures into the comically absurd.
| Original Score: 2/4
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
October 16, 2008
It doesn't stand with Stone's acknowledged masterpieces. The history is too fresh and under-digested. But W. does show a master filmmaker plunging into the history and politics that have been his passion for much of his career.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
October 16, 2008
Whatever you want W. to be, you'll almost certainly be disappointed.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
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Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
October 15, 2008
The moments Stone and Weiser select to sketch Bush's character are more of a jumble than a natural progression.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
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David Fear
Time Out
October 15, 2008
Stone searched for an inner life within a public figure who's only scrutinized in opinionated sound-bite punditry; endeavors this even-handed and entertaining shouldn't be misunderestimated.
| Original Score: 4/6
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Christy Lemire
Associated Press
October 15, 2008
Brolin's so good, he almost makes us feel sorry for Bush. Almost.
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Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
October 15, 2008
I recommend it to everyone, but I am afraid it will end up as a seedless sermon for the already converted to Bushophobia.f
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Todd McCarthy
Variety
October 7, 2008
The film is unable to achieve any aims higher than as a sort of engaging pop-history pageant and amateur, if not inapt, psychological evaluation, due to the unavoidable lack of perspective and a final act that has yet to be written.
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Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
October 7, 2008
It deserves a fair hearing by U.S. audiences, for Stone goes out of his way to give Bush a fair hearing.