Movie Review: Rosewater


Rosewater focuses on the Iranian government's detainment of Maziar Bahari over allegations that he was a spy. I knew going in that it was based on a true story, but I didn't know anything else about the film, and it ended up being very interesting.

Maziar (Gael Garcia Bernal) lives in London with his wife, who is six months pregnant. He was born in Iran, so it makes sense that Newsweek sends him back to Iran in June 2009 to cover the election; he'll also get the chance to visit with his mother, who still lives there. He films both the election and the dissent that follows, and the next day, men from the Iranian forces come to his mother's house and take him to prison, where he will remain for the next four months because they're convinced Maziar is a spy for the U.S. government and Newsweek.

This movie was written and directed by Jon Stewart, and in spite of its serious content, there was some light humor sprinkled throughout as well, which I liked. It was nice to see Gael Garcia Bernal back on the screen, as I hadn't seen him in a movie in a while, and Shohreh Aghdashloo (House of Sand and Fog, also a great movie) plays his Iranian mother, and Claire Foy (Season of the Witch) as his pregnant wife.

Yes, see this movie. I did find it interesting that Bahari's torture wasn't portrayed as that violent in the film, but I also read an interview with Jon Stewart that said he didn't want blood and violence to detract away from the film in general. This isn't a movie I would rush out to see - it's good for a matinee - but since I wasn't previously aware of the events surrounding Bahari's detainment and capture, I found the events to be quite interesting. I'd recommend this movie for anyone who enjoys films based on true stories, or who followed the Iranian events as they occurred in 2009.

Rosewater is in theaters today, November 14th, and is rated R with a runtime of 103 minutes. 3.5 stars out of 5.

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