Review: Rosewater

26 March 2015 Lauren Carroll Harris

Review: Rosewater

Lauren Carroll Harris, Ed#477, Feb 2015


That Jon Stewart has written and directed his debut film with the approach of a newsman rather than a comedian should come as no surprise. His satirical Daily Show has been delivering sensible news journalism for almost two decades. Underneath Stewart’s gags, his mandate has always been paradoxically earnest: to tell the truth. Rosewater compassionately tells the true story of journalist Maziar Bahari (an excellent Gael García Bernal), wrongly imprisoned by the Iranian government in the midst of their possibly rigged 2009 elections. Taking its lead from political dramas like All the President’s Men (1976), Rosewater could easily have been a documentary, and its rhythms often play too close to that form. But when it ventures into the more abstract territory of its tortured protagonist’s mind, the film is able to show how comedians can be unlikely heroes
for serious causes, and how humour and imagination can survive the worst totalitarian attacks.

» Review by Lauren Caroll Harris

This article appeared in Ed#477 of The Big Issue.