Telluride 2014: Jon Stewart's "Rosewater" Is a Fine First Film, But That's About It

It's solid, but there's nothing emotionally engaging about it.

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0 3.5 out of 5 stars
Jon Stewart
Starring: Gael Garcia Bernal , Shohreh Aghdashloo , Kim Bodnia , Dimitri Leonidas , Jason Jones , Haluk Bilginer , Golshifteh Farahani
Jon Stewart; based on Then They Came for Me: A Family's Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival by Maziar Bahari and Aimee Molloy
Duration: 103 minutes
Release Date:
November 7, 2014
MPAA Rating:


Now, I don't mean to diminish Bahari's experiences, which I am confident would have broken me on day two. I only mean to say that in movie form (or at least in the form of this movie), his story falls into a familiar genre of stolid, reputable films that shine a light on the truth, are duly praised and gravely nodded at, and then forgotten. As history, it's important. As a movie, not so much. 


"Obligatory" is how a lot of it feels, actually. Stewart's sincerity isn't in question, and he acquits himself better than a lot of first-time directors do. But despite his good intentions, and despite Garcia Bernal's earnest performance, Stewart (who also wrote the screenplay) can't find a way to make the story connect on an emotional level. 

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