Movie Review: Fair Game (2010)

In Movie Reviews on January 30, 2011 at 8:07 am

Normally, I steer clear of political movies, because typically they are one sided and over the top in jamming a message down the audiences throats. However, when you put what I consider the two finest actors working today (Naomi Watts and Sean Penn) onscreen together, I am going to see it no matter what the subject matter. Watts and Penn are the main reasons you should see this movie.

If you are the type of person who can not understand that you are watching a movie, and not a documentary news reel, you most likely will not enjoy this film. It plays fast and loose with the subject matter, and is skewed to the left of the political spectrum when dealing with the WMD debate. But if you can get past your political views on this matter, you will find a well written directed and acted drama. Sean Penn is outstanding as Joe Wilson, Valerie Plame’s husband who started the political hot potato with an Op-Ed piece in the NY Times. He is so determined to bring what he thinks is the truth to light about his wife that he fails to realize that she is pulling further and further away from him.

Watts, who should have been nominated for an Oscar for her performance here, gives her best performance yet in what has already been a stellar career. She makes you want to root for her and her cause, even if you don’t believe in what she is fighting for. By the end of the film, you really do forget about the political motivations of the characters and just get sucked into the personal world of Plame and Wilson.

The movie is not without it’s faults. The most glaring is that is never really gives the viewer a reason why Wilson would write the Op-Ed piece to begin with. I was left with a “why is he so mad” feeling at the beginning , and only after the movie unfolds do you get where his anger comes from. There are also a few moments of the film which are incredibly hard to follow and figure out what is going on. The script does a great job etching out the Plame and Wilson characters, but leaves all the other smaller roles untouched, so you never really get a sense of who anyone else is.

These flaws can certainly be overlooked because of the performances of Watts and Penn.

3.5 out of 5 stars, if you can look past the political angles.

2.5 out of 5 stars if you take your political bias into the viewing.


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