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"CHARLIE WILSON'S WAR"
(2007) (Tom Hanks, Philip Seymour Hoffman) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Extreme Minor Heavy Minor Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None None None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Extreme Moderate Mild Moderate Heavy


QUICK TAKE:
Dramedy: A party-going congressman, a bitter and sardonic CIA case officer, and a wealthy Texas socialite set out to help Afghan rebels fight off invading Russian forces, all in the hope of stemming the spread of communism in 1980.
PLOT:
It's 1980, and Charlie Wilson (TOM HANKS) is a liberal congressman from Texas with a penchant and well-deserved reputation for chasing women and drinking booze. Yet, the thing that grabs his attention at a party featuring drugs, strippers and frolicking nude in hot tubs is a TV news story featuring Dan Rather reporting from Afghanistan.

The recent invasion of Soviet forces there has also drawn the interest of Texas socialite Joanne Herring (JULIA ROBERTS). One of the richest women in that state, a fervent anti-communist crusader, and part-time lover to Charlie, Joanne convinces the congressman that he needs to do something, particularly with displaced Afghanis fleeing to refugee camps in neighboring Pakistan.

With his personal assistant, Bonnie Bach (AMY ADAMS), in tow, Charlie heads there to meet President Zia (OM PURI) and gets a firsthand view of what's occurring. Now seated on the Defense Appropriations committee, Charlie doubles the meager budget for U.S. covert operations, but wants more info from someone high up at the CIA.

Instead, he's sent disgruntled and sardonic case officer Gust Avrakotos (PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN) who's upset about not getting an assignment he deserved, but is willing to assist the congressman mainly because he doesn't play by the rules. With the assistance of others and helping foster unlikely alliances, they and Joanne try to pull as many strings as possible, all while hoping to convince Committee Chairman Doc Long (NED BEATTY) that increasing the covert ops budget even more is the right thing to do.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Older, politically savvy teens might be interested, and the film's star power might attract others as well.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For strong language, nudity/sexual content and some drug use.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • TOM HANKS plays a flawed but dedicated congressman with more of a reputation for drinking and chasing women than anything else, but who delivers on his promises. His latest effort, urged onto him by Joanne with whom he has sex, is to help fund Afghan resistance fighters against the Soviet military that's invaded their country. Knowing how to work the system, he then pulls strings, helps create unlikely alliances and more, all to get what he wants and needs. He also drinks, shares a hot tub with nude strippers, and is around drugs.
  • PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN plays the unkempt and coarse, but witty and smart CIA case officer who ends up working with Charlie on this case. Unhappy with his superiors for denying him the assignment he wanted, he uses strong profanity, and smokes and drinks.
  • JULIA ROBERTS plays the rich Texas socialite and fervent anti-communist crusader who's used to getting what she wants, and this time it's Charlie's help in defeating the Soviets who have invaded Afghanistan. She's Charlie's occasional lover, and she drinks some.
  • AMY ADAMS plays Charlie's chief aide who assists and must put up with his ways.
  • OM PURI plays the Pakistani president who's upset with the meager help provided by the U.S. to his country to deal with the Soviet invasion problem in neighboring Afghanistan.
  • NED BEATTY plays a good ol' boy congressman who's chairman of the committee on which Charlie sits and needs to channel necessary funds to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a quick look at the content found in this political dramedy that's been rated R. Profanity consists of at least 40 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also heard. Sexually related dialogue is present, as is nudity (full from female strippers getting into a hot tub, while a man's bare butt is seen getting out of the same), while women are seen in varying degrees of revealing attire, a belly dancer segues into more sexualized moves, and off-screen sex occurs.

    Violence includes war related footage (all from a distance) of machine guns mowing down people from the air, as well as the destruction of war-related equipment (choppers, tanks, etc.). There's some brief talk of disturbing, but unseen violence, and other bad attitudes are present.

    Characters drink and/or smoke, while drug use (cocaine, pot) also occurs. Briefly tense family material is also present. If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Some people do cocaine and drink in a hot tub, and later a limo, all in Charlie's presence (he has a drink in the hot tub, while a person in the tub comments on being "completely high").
  • Charlie jokingly admits that he likes chasing women and drinking whiskey.
  • Charlie asks if he can get a man a drink, with that man saying it's 10 in the morning.
  • One of Charlie's workers pours liquor for him in his office.
  • A young woman smokes pot while with Charlie.
  • Charlie has a drink at Joanne's place, as do others. She then asks Bonnie to get her a drink, but then pours one for herself. Joanne is later gone when Bonnie returns with it, so Bonnie then drinks it.
  • Charlie has a drink.
  • When asked if he wants something to drink (in the Pakistani President's palace), Charlie asks for some alcohol but is then reminded that there's no drinking there.
  • Charlie has a drink in a plane, and asks Bonnie for another.
  • Gust brings Charlie a bottle of booze as a gift, but later admits that it's bugged for surveillance.
  • There's talk of an investigation involving drugs and Congressional members.
  • Charlie asks Gust if he drinks, with the latter replying, "Oh God yeah" (and the two then drink).
  • Charlie, Gust and another man have drinks.
  • Gust and Charlie have drinks on a plane.
  • Charlie and Joanne drink.
  • Charlie and Joanne have drinks, as does some of Charlie's staff.
  • Gust has a drink.
  • Charlie has a drink.
  • Charlie and Gust have drinks.
  • People drink at a party.
  • People drink champagne.
  • Charlie has a drink.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see children and adults at a refugee camp who are missing hands or limbs, while others have bad scars.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • All of the workers in Charlie's office are young, attractive, and shapely women, most if not all of whom show varying amounts of cleavage in their low-cut or partially unbuttoned tops (some viewers may be offended by such hiring practices, but the women all seem to like working for him).
  • Gust clashes with his boss over not getting the assignment he wanted and thinks he deserved. There's a comment about Gust having previously broken a large glass window, and we then see him do just that again (to spite the man and his decision).
  • Charlie talks of his childhood past where a mean neighbor put glass in food that he then let Charlie's dog eat, resulting in the vomiting of blood and subsequent death (none of which is seen, just referenced).
  • Although not directly personified, the Soviets have bad attitudes for invading Afghanistan.
  • A U.S. embassy official in Pakistan is not terribly cooperative in terms of helping Charlie or giving him the info he requests.
  • There's talk of the rape and use of bayonets on pregnant women (not seen).
  • Gust says he doesn't believe in God, but tells Joanne he could change his mind in a hurry if she slept with him tonight.
  • Under her breath and while leaving, Joanne calls some of Charlie's female staff "sluts."
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" may be unsettling to those with low tolerance levels for such material, but probably few others.
  • We see some struggling at a refugee camp, as well as a guard or soldier whacking people with a rod of some sort. We then see children and adults who are missing hands or limbs, while others have bad scars.
  • There's talk of the rape and use of bayonets on pregnant women (not seen).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Machine guns/Missiles/Attack choppers/Tanks/Anti-tank guns Carried and/or used to threaten, wound or kill others and/or cause property damage. See "Violence" for details.
  • We see the silhouette of a rocket launch.
  • Guards carry machine guns.
  • There's talk of the rape and use of bayonets on pregnant women (not seen).
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Are you f*cking kidding me?" "What the f*ck are you talking about?" "You told me to go f*ck myself," "No f*cking idea who this guy is," "Go f*ck yourself," "F*cking child," "F*ck your time," "Who the f*ck are you?" "I'm in no mood to get f*cked around," "Totally f*cking unspoiled," "Okay, I'll go f*ck myself," "Here's to you, m*therf*cker," "Think how f*cking dangerous that is," "Sh*t-load," "Well, sh*t," "Oh sh*t," "Nobody gives a sh*t," "You can teach me how to type, but you can't teach me how to grow t*ts," "You're dignifying her in the ass," "You look very good naked," "Jail bait," "Sluts," "Douche bag," "A massive tool," "What the hell are you talking about?" "Don't be an idiot," "Oh God yeah," "Communist bastards," "You bet your ass" and "You did a hell of a job."
  • Joanne uses an open safety pin to separate the mascara on her eyelashes.
  • Charlie talks of his childhood past where a mean neighbor put glass in food that he then let Charlie's dog eat, resulting in the vomiting of blood and subsequent death (none of which is seen, just referenced).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 40 "f" words (1 used with "mother," 1 used sexually, 1 seen written), 9 "s" words, 1 slang term using male genitals ("tool"), 1 for breasts ("t*ts"), 11 hells, 4 asses (1 used with "hole"), 5 uses of "G-damn," 2 each of "Jesus" and "Oh my God" and 1 use each of "For the love of Christ," "Oh God" and "Swear to God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see several nude women (full side and rear views) get into a hot tub with Charlie, another man, and another woman. The women are noted as being strippers and we see more views of their bare breasts in the water, while we also see Charlie's bare butt when he gets out (but his interest was more on a new story on TV featuring Dan Rather in Afghanistan than with the women, although he does talk to them).
  • A woman shows some cleavage.
  • Charlie jokingly admits that he likes chasing women and drinking whiskey.
  • All of the workers in Charlie's office are young, attractive, and shapely women, most if not all of whom show varying amounts of cleavage in their low-cut or partially unbuttoned tops. About them all looking that way, one jokes about the saying that you can teach me how to type, but you can't teach me how to grow "t*ts." The camera then focuses on a woman's clothed butt in her tight skirt as she walks along.
  • After Charlie talks about his checkered past with some reprimands, a young woman jokes that she wants to sleep with the man who had the most. She then suggestively says how about if she gives Charlie the second best view in the District (while in a dress shirt that's open in the front, thus showing views of her panties as well as cleavage-revealing bra). We next see her reclined against him on a sofa, with his hand on her bare belly (she still in her bra and panties), but she then falls asleep or passes out, and thus nothing happens between them.
  • About someone else in the CIA, Gust reminds his boss that he (the boss) is "f*cking the man's fiancée." When his boss says he won't dignify that with a response, Gust replies, "You're dignifying her in the ass" in some hotel.
  • We see a benefit where a woman is dressed like an ancient Egyptian or similar slave (showing cleavage).
  • Joanne shows some cleavage and kisses Charlie. He states that he's a liberal, with her suggestively replying not when it counts, and she pats him on the clothed butt.
  • Post sex and in a bathtub, Charlie tells Joanne he's surprised by the amount of energy women have after sex (as Joanne is clothed and doing her makeup). Charlie comments on her looking good naked (she's now dressed), but she then walks by and lets the water out of the bathtub (we don't see anything beyond his bare chest). He then guesses that there won't be a second time tonight, Joanne replies that she guesses somebody can't count, and he counters that by adding he was talking about himself (suggesting she had sex with someone else that night).
  • Charlie constantly calls one of his young and attractive employees "jail bait."
  • There's talk of an investigation involving drugs, Congressional members and sex.
  • We see a belly dancer in standard garb that shows cleavage and a bare midriff. She starts doing the usual thing, but then segues into more suggestive and sexual moves, including spread legs, all to entice a man (as a diversion for Charlie and his crew).
  • Charlie grabs Joanne's clothed butt.
  • Gust jokes about some group of people where if the men want to make love, their first choice is their own men (a dig on the unattractiveness of their women).
  • There's talk that if an Afghan woman is raped, it needs to be by four men, because if it's only one, the man will walk since it's considered fornication.
  • We see Joanne in a cleavage-revealing bikini.
  • Joanne shows cleavage, while we see miscellaneous cleavage.
  • Gust says he doesn't believe in God, but tells Joanne he could change his mind in a hurry if she slept with him tonight.
  • Under her breath and while leaving, Joanne calls some of Charlie's female staff "sluts."
  • The camera goes up a woman's legs to her clothed butt.
  • Hearing that Joanne is on her honeymoon, Charlie asks if he's going to see her naked again.
  • SMOKING
  • Gust smokes a number of times, while various minor and miscellaneous characters also smoke (cigarettes and cigars).
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • A woman at a refugee camp comments on having had six children, while we see another woman grieving over a grave.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The historical accuracy of the film and/or any artistic license taken with the truth.
  • How U.S. efforts to thwart the Soviets in Afghanistan led to the arming of future terrorists against the United States.
  • Womanizing.
  • How politics does make for strange bedfellows.
  • There's talk that if an Afghan woman is raped, it needs to be by four men, because if it's only one, the man will walk since it's considered fornication.
  • The comment about the U.S. Government intervening in other countries' affairs, but always leaving before the job is completely done.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Gust clashes with his boss over not getting the assignment he wanted and thinks he deserved. There's a comment about Gust having previously broken a large glass window, and we then see him do just that again (to spite the man and his decision).
  • We see distant aerial footage of Soviet attack choppers opening fire on villages and nearby structures with machine guns and missiles. We don't see any blood, but do see some people being mowed down.
  • We see some struggling at a refugee camp, as well as a guard or soldier whacking people with a rod of some sort. We then see children and adults who are missing hands or limbs, while others have bad scars.
  • There's talk of the rape and use of bayonets on pregnant women (not seen).
  • We see missiles fired into a bridge, as well as tanks firing.
  • Several tanks are hit by anti-tank guns. A Russian chopper then fires at people, but is hit by a missile, as are others. Various aircraft and vehicles are also hit and similarly explode.



  • Reviewed December 3, 2007 / Posted December 21, 2007

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