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A Mighty Heart

7/10
History . Biography . Thriller . Drama
 

Based on Mariane Pearl's account of the terrifying and unforgettable story of her husband, Wall Street Journal reporter Danny Pearl's life and death.

 
Actors: Irrfan Khan , Dan Futterman , Angelina Jolie , Mohammed Afzal , Demetri Goritsas , Zachary Coffin , Jillian Armenante , Azfar Ali , Harvesp Viraf Chiniwala , Denis O'Hare , Archie Panjabi
Directors: Michael Winterbottom
Country: USA , UK
Release: 2007-06-22
More Info:
  • Lawrence Toppman

    The title comes from the memoir by Mariane Pearl, wife of kidnapped Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. It applies equally to Winterbottom, who has made the rarest movie among this summer's releases: a taut police procedural that examines all sides of an issue and forces us to re-think our own.

    Charlotte Observer Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    Stunning.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Kenneth Turan

    Moving and frighteningly real.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    The film belongs to Jolie. She won an Oscar for 1999's "Girl, Interrupted," but this is by far her best performance.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Roger Ebert

    What is best about A Mighty Heart is that it doesn't reduce the Daniel Pearl story to a plot, but elevates it to a tragedy. A tragedy that illuminates and grieves for the hatred that runs loose in our world, hatred as a mad dog that attacks everyone. Attacks them for what seems, to the dog, the best of reasons.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Ken Fox

    Though absurdly criticized for being too "white" to play Mariane Pearl, Jolie gives an excellent performance. She portrays Mariane as gutsy, smart, passionate and highly efficient.

    TV Guide Full Review
  • Claudia Puig

    Emotionally and viscerally compelling and retains a suspenseful, edge-of-the-seat quality.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Rick Groen

    The film takes its cue from the widow, neither sermonizing or even villainizing, content to serve quietly as an admirable exercise in restraint and a moving example of the grace under pressure that is the essence of courage.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Shawn Levy

    The most striking thing about it is what it's not...a richly atmospheric film that races surefootedly through complexities of data and emotion like a spy movie and not at all like a sentimental sob story.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • William Arnold

    Visceral, alive and very scary.

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer Full Review
  • Ray Bennett

    Expertly fashioned documentary-style drama.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Stephanie Zacharek

    That sense of one small, private world shattering within the larger and even more unstable one around it is the essence of Michael Winterbottom's unmooring, bleakly beautiful film version of A Mighty Heart.

    Salon.com Full Review
  • Ella Taylor

    Michael Winterbottom has made an enormously moving document of the tense days between Pearl's capture and the news that he was dead.

    L.A. Weekly Full Review
  • Manohla Dargis

    Effectively fashioned, as jolting as it is polished, as well as a surprising, insistently political work of commercial art.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    The film's point of view is inevitably that of an outsider, which Danny Pearl was, and menace is the essence of this shattering story, which has been told with skill and urgent conviction. A Mighty Heart makes the terms of the terrorist threat palpable.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    A worthy film on a great, tragic subject.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Jack Mathews

    The story feels as urgent as the latest bad news out of the Middle East.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Lou Lumenick

    Remarkably apolitical, considering that it comes from the director of the Bush-bashing "The Road to Guantanamo."

    New York Post Full Review
  • Ruthe Stein

    Heart-wrenching film.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    The film is fascinating and at times disturbing, but Winterbottom's arms-length style mutes any emotional impact.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Glenn Kenny

    What does not work, in a movie where almost everything, including dramatic rhetoric, has been kept on a modest scale up to this point, is the heavy-handed way Winterbottom (and Jolie) contrast the pain of loss with the pain of begetting toward the end.

    Premiere Full Review
  • Scott Tobias

    Jolie simply exercises Mariane's persistent will, and honors her in the process.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    The movie is clipped, blunt, and grimly realistic. It is practically a POLICIER , although the suspense is mitigated by our knowledge that the investigation will end badly.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • David Ansen

    Like many of Winterbottom's movies, it falls a step short of its full potential. Its tact is both its strength and its weakness. The climax feels rushed: it's the rare movie these days that feels too short.

    Newsweek Full Review
  • Dana Stevens

    This is one of those roles where casting can't help but trump acting. Like Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra, Angelina Jolie IS Mariane Pearl--and that marquee-size "is" gets in the way, not of her performance, but of our ability to suspend disbelief and watch it.

    Slate Full Review
  • Richard Schickel

    This movie does not fully separate itself from our admittedly low -- even slightly shameful -- expectations, does not become the pure documentary it might perhaps better have been.

    Time Full Review
  • Justin Chang

    In his first studio venture, Michael Winterbottom coaxes forth a staggering wealth of detail from this terse, methodical account of Pearl's kidnapping and murder in Pakistan.

    Variety Full Review
  • Ann Hornaday

    A taut, meticulously crafted police procedural.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Anthony Lane

    The result, like many of Winterbottom's films, lies an inch short of disarray; we CAN keep pace with the investigation, but only just, and that sense of splintering honors the unpredictability of the setting.

    The New Yorker Full Review
  • J.R. Jones

    Functions primarily as a suspense film, and it manages to be gripping even though the outcome is already known.

    Chicago Reader Full Review
  • Lisa Schwarzbaum

    Despite the best of intentions, an actress who makes her own headlines gets in the way of the big picture.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Rene Rodriguez

    The overriding tone of A Mighty Heart is neither indignant nor sentimental: The film is consistently cool, almost to a fault.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Carrie Rickey

    For the most part, Michael Winterbottom's well-intended film, the true story of an idealistic journalist and his gallant wife disinvites emotion by focusing on process at the expense of passion.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    I almost wish A Mighty Heart were about the Captain, and I'd bet director Michael Winterbottom does, too. The character contains all the contradictory impulses of this region of the world that the West tries and miserably fails to boil down to black and white.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Pete Vonder Haar

    The movie is engrossing and well-acted throughout (especially Khan), but ultimately leaves us less optimistic about the prospects for peace.

    Film Threat Full Review
  • Michael Sragow

    A Mighty Heart has the surface tension of a first-rate docudrama but neither the passion nor the vision to encompass its powerhouse subject.

    Baltimore Sun Full Review
  • Marrit Ingman

    The elliptical narrative also recalls Fernando Meirelles' somewhat similarly themed "The Constant Gardener," a film ultimately more heartfelt and accessible to mainstream audiences because its maker is unafraid of grief and explores it more deeply.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • J. Hoberman

    Angelina Jolie is the major alienation effect in A Mighty Heart, although she's not the only one. The hectic pizzazz with which hired gun Michael Winterbottom directs this tale of terrifying terrorism is another distraction.

    Village Voice Full Review
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