Charlie Wilson’s War



In 1980, wealthy and deeply conservative Houston socialite Joanne Herring (Julia Roberts) sets up a meeting between her old buddy, Congressman Charlie Wilson (Tom Hanks) and Zia-ul-Haq (Om Puri), the military ruler of Pakistan; Herring wants to see something done about the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. One hell of a story, too good to be true (but it is), well directed by the man who gave us Primary Colors (1998). The characters remain shallow, but Hanks is wonderful as the carefree Congressman who even has his own “Charlie’s angels”, Roberts is good as the manipulative socialite, and Philip Seymour Hoffman gets all the big laughs as the hot-tempered spy who is sick and tired of his incompetent bosses.

2007-U.S. 97 min. Color. Produced by Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman. Directed by Mike Nichols. Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin. Novel: George Crile. Cast: Tom Hanks (Charlie Wilson), Julia Roberts (Joanne Herring), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Gust Avrakotos), Amy Adams, Ned Beatty, Emily Blunt… Om Puri.

Trivia: Nichols’s last film.

Quote: “You know you’ve reached rock bottom when you’re told you have character flaws by a man who hanged his predecessor in a military coup.” (Hanks to his assistant after talking with Zia-ul-Haq)

Last word: “[Charlie Wilson] was there a lot. We had experts for everything, but the real expert was Charlie, and when he wasn’t on the set I would call him and ask him about stuff and he would write me emails all the time. He was very much part of this film. Only last night, Bill Bradley who was our senator and who had run for president, he called my wife after he had seen the movie and said ‘I was there, I was there! I was Charlie’s friend through all of this, that’s really how it was!’, and that was the best praise we have received so far.” (Nichols, Time Out)

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