Charlie Wilsons War

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3

Content: -2

Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Ned Beatty. Political comedy/drama. Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin. Directed by Mike Nichols.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Charlie Wilsons War is the true story of how a playboy congressman, a renegade CIA agent and a beautiful Houston socialite joined forces to lead the largest and most successful covert operation in history by aiding the barraged people of Afghanistan.

Charlie Wilson (Hanks) was a bachelor congressman from Texas who had a habit of showing up in hot tubs with strippers and cocaine. His Good Time Charlie exterior, however, masked an extraordinary mind, a deep sense of patriotism and a passion for the underdog, and in the early 1980s the underdog was Afghanistanwhich had just been brutally invaded by the Russians.

Charlies longtime friend and patron and sometime lover was Joanne Herring (Roberts), one of the wealthiest women in Texas and a virulent anti-communist. Believing the American response to the Russian invasion was anemic at best, she prods Charlie into doing more for the Mujahideen (Afghan freedom fighters).

Charlies partner in this uphill endeavor is CIA agent Gust Avrakotos (Hoffman), a coarse and cynical operative in a company of Ivy League blue bloods. Together, the three of themCharlie, Joanne and Gusttravel the world to form unlikely alliances among the Pakistanis, Israelis, Egyptians, arms dealers, lawmakers and a belly dancer. Their success was remarkable. Funding for covert operations against the Soviets went from $5 million to $1 billion annually. The Red Army retreated out of Afghanistan. When asked how a group of peasants was able to deliver such a decisive blow to the army of a superpower, Pakistani President Mohammad Zia ul-Haq responded simply, Charlie did it.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Bolstered by Aaron Sorkins biting wit and yet again another mesmerizing performance by Tom Hanks, Charlie Wilsons War is stunning film work. Whats interesting to me is that while there are several films out right now, not so subtly implying that we get out of Iraq now this film says we did the right thing by aiding the Afghans and it chastises us for not doing more to stabilize that nation.

Sadly, it gets a justified R rating. Today, filmmakers dont even try to imply hedonism. We have to see it in graphic detail. And if you are disturbed by crude, obscene and profane language, well, you might want to skip this one.

DVD Alternative: If youre looking for uproarious satire without the R-content of Charlie Wilsons War, try Dr. Strangelove. A very dark comedy about a military commander who goes, well, a little funny in the head, and launches a hydrogen bomb aimed at Russia. Stanley Kubricks brilliant comedy pokes fun at politicians and the absurdity of seeking ways to blow up the entire planet. Peter Sellers, George C. Scott head intrepid cast. (Caution: Adult subject matter.)

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: Around 40 obscenities, mostly the f-word.

Profanity: I caught 4 profanities the irreverent use of Gods name and that of His Sons.

Violence: We see some wartime atrocities and real children injured in war these little ones have no arms because they reached down to pick up what they thought was a toy, only to find it booby trapped. There truly are monsters in this world.

Sex: Mostly implied, but there are people in the film, some claiming to be Christians, having indiscriminant sex.

Nudity: One of the opening scenes takes place in a hot tub, with several nude men and women in it, doing drugs and drinking to excess; Charlie drinks throughout, indicating that he is an alcoholic, but the liquor never seems to prevent him from being quick witted I question that.

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Several sexual conversations and remarks.

Drugs: Drinking, smoking and some drugs throughout; this is done to show a hedonistic lifestyle shared by many a politician. These people could teach Britney something about excess.

Other: A religious man is portrayed as a buffoonish zealot.

Running Time: 97 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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