"Charlie Wilson's War" - The Reviews Are In

Here's what various critics and bloggers are saying after last night's press screening of Mike Nichols' Charlie Wilson's War:

David Poland, MCN:
Charlie Wilson's War is another story well told that should have been a masterpiece ... and isn't. It could well be a $100 million movie for Universal and have a seriously competitive run for Phil Hoffman in Supporting and you never know, but in a year with so much that really does work, even with limitations ... tough sledding.

Kristopher Tapley, InContention:
"Charlie Wilson's War" is Mike Nichols on an off day. 97 minutes of keep-a-smile-on-your-face pleasantry, at best, but packing a hell of a performance from Phillip Seymour Hoffman, the film left a number of Aaron Sorkin's best lines on the cutting room floor while coming off much more impotent than one might have expected from a reading of the 145-page script that made the rounds over the past two years. It might be too easy to call it in the "Primary Colors" wheelhouse, but even that is too much of a favor to extend.

Jeffrey Wells, Hollywood-Elsewhere:
Charlie Wilson's War (Universal, 12.25) is a very good-but-not-great political dramedy with a very solid and settled Tom Hanks, an agreeably arch and brittle Julia Roberts (in the finest sense of that term) and a brilliant Phillip Seymour Hoffman...give this man a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination and no jacking around...thank you!

It's not a monumental achievement but that's okay...it really is. It's a film aimed at the over-40 set and that's cool also. All right, yes...it feels a little too pat and tidy and perhaps a wee bit smug, but that's fine also. There is room for this kind of thing in our moviegoing culture. Charlie-o is not a Best Picture contender but then we knew that last week when Time's Richard Corliss called it -- the unkindest cut! -- "likable."

It seems that a consenus is forming that Charlie Wilson's War is a solid, good-but-not-great holiday prestige pic that isn't quite Oscar material, but might secure nominations for Aaron Sorkin's screenplay and especially Philip Seymour Hoffman's performance, who now seems to be a lock for Best Supporting Actor (much more so than his dynamic performance in Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, whose Oscar chances seem grim).


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