Review: Jon Stewart’s Rosewater: Laughing Through the Torture

ROSEWATER, Gael Garcia Bernal, 2014. ©Open Road Films/Courtesy Everett Collection

We got a few more reviews of Rosewater after its theatrical release on 7 November 2014:

13 November 2014

  • Richard Corliss for Time Magazine

[…] Jon Stewart’s movie […] admits a saving sense of humor and proportion to the ordeals of its real-life protagonist. […]

More important, the first time adaptor-director has created a fine film with few surprises but a genuine grasp of the director’s craft. Shot in Jordan by ace indie cinematographer Bobby Bukowski (The Messenger, The Iceman), the movie has a sharp grasp of time and place […]

You may quibble with the international caste of Stewart’s casting: the Mexican García Bernal as Bahari […] That question matters less, given the strong and expertly judged performances all around — especially García Bernal’s nuanced juggling act of anger and anguish, hope and despair.

The virtue of this movie is its commitment to political ambiguity and emotional truth. […] Though not really a comedy, Rosewater is a demonstration of the creed behind The Daily Show: belief in the crucial need for impious wit against entrenched power. The freedom of the press is also the freedom to depress, and to inspire.


  • Peter Travers for Rolling Stones Magazine

That the movie is as tense and chilling as it is owes much to Stewart’s keen eye for the way humor surfaces even in the dark places. […] Mexican actor Gael García Bernal plays Bahari. He’s exceptional in his scenes with the first-rate Kim Bodnia. Kudos to Stewart for making Rosewater more than an earnest plea for journalistic freedom. He makes it personal.

(Source: Rolling Stone Magazine)

  • Manohla Dargis for The New York Times

Among its virtues, “Rosewater,” the directorial debut of Jon Stewart, is an argument for filmmakers to start their trade after they’ve looked beyond the limits of their own horizons. […] Mr. Stewart’s interest in the material is obviously personal, but his movie transcends mere self-interest.

(Source: The New York Times)


24 November 2014

  • David Denby for The New Yorker

It also comes across as a satirist’s impassioned bid to promote global sanity. In “Rosewater,” Stewart suggests that a government that will not tolerate humor is capable of the worst tyrannies.

(Source: The New Yorker)