Fair Game

(i)

 

Tense Valerie Plame story mixes drama, politics.
  • Review Date: October 31, 2010
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2010
  • Running Time: 104 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Although the movie makes it clear that Joseph Wilson is trying to do the right thing by telling the truth about the war in Iraq, instead of accomplishing something positive, he and his family lose their peace of mind and their well being. The United States government (circa 2002-2003) is portrayed as a formidable villain, and the characters are tempted to give up, but they keep fighting. Their victory is small compared to the price they've paid, but they at least meet the challenge.

Positive role models

Both Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame could be considered positive role models in their own ways. Wilson is shocked to hear that the government has lied to the American people and tries to help spread the truth, even at the cost of his wife's job and their family's well being. Plame is personally involved with one of her projects, trying to save the lives of a family in Iraq before the war starts. She's tempted to give up the fight, and her marriage suffers great tension, but both she and Wilson persevere against all odds.

Violence

Several tense arguments and shouting matches, and characters receive death threats. The entire story takes place on the verge of war, which adds an underlying tension to the film. Subsequently, viewers see a few attacks and explosions in the Middle East involving secondary characters.

Sex

A married couple kisses, and it's implied that they have sex.

Language

Language is fairly infrequent overall; "f--k" is used a couple of times, and "s--t" is heard a few times. Other words include "a--hole," "p---y," "a--hole," "damn," "hell," "oh my God," "crap," and "goddamn."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Adults drink a bit too much (mostly beer and wine) at dinner parties. One character smokes cigars.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this engaging, suspenseful political drama -- which is based on the true story of former covert CIA operative Valerie Plame, whose identity was compromised in the press, and her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson -- portrays the U.S. government as a formidable villain that tries to suppress the truth. Expect some strong language (including "f--k" and "s--t"), lots of yelling and verbal fighting, and some war footage. Characters also drink and smoke cigars. It likely won't appeal to most kids, but politically-aware teens may appreciate the movie's eye-opening look at recent U.S. history.

What's the story?

In 2001, Valerie Plame (Naomi Watts) is working as a covert CIA operative. Her husband, Joseph Wilson (Sean Penn), is a former ambassador. After reports of a huge sale of yellow cake uranium, the CIA agrees to send Wilson to Niger to investigate. He determines that no such sale took place, but months later, the White House reports the opposite and uses this information to justify going to war in Iraq. Wilson responds by writing an op-ed piece in the New York Times. Unfortunately, Plame's identity comes out in a subsequent news story, thereby destroying her career. The timing couldn't be worse: She was in the middle of trying to rescue a family from Iraq. And now she and her family are receiving death threats ...

Is it any good?

QUALITY

This kind of political thriller can be tricky to make; the tendency is either to throw in too much politics or too many thrills (see Green Zone for an example). But director Doug Liman finds a nice balance with FAIR GAME, sticking fairly close to the real-life facts, even if he does employ a few tried-and-true Hollywood tricks for easy shortcuts. Overall, he takes a story about secret meetings, phone calls, and article-writing and makes it dynamic and suspenseful.

Best of all, Liman adds a welcome, moving human level to recent history. It's heartbreaking to see Watts, as Plame, helplessly watching TV pundits casting judgment on her, and the strain on Plame and Wilson's marriage is palpable. The pair were more or less branded as traitors for a time, but here we see them as two good people who tried to do their best in the wrong place at the wrong time. The characters are angry, yes, but the movie itself keeps a cool head.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the movie's tension and moments of violence. How did it affect you? How did the movie accomplish this?

  • How does this real-life story work as a movie? Do you think filmmakers changed any facts to make the movie? Why might they choose to do that?

  • Did Wilson do the right thing by writing the article and attempting to tell the truth? What would have happened if he had done nothing?

  • Would you say that Wilson and Plame are heroes or traitors? Or something in-between? Why?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 5, 2010
DVD release date:March 29, 2011
Cast:Naomi Watts, Sam Shepard, Sean Penn
Director:Doug Liman
Studio:Summit Entertainment
Genre:Drama
Run time:104 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:some language

This review of Fair Game was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written bykhan2705 February 14, 2011

a compelling and engaging political thriller/human drama.

3.5/5 Plame's status as a CIA agent was revealed by White House officials allegedly out to discredit her husband after he wrote a 2003 New York Times op-ed piece saying that the Bush administration had manipulated intelligence about weapons of mass destruction to justify the invasion of Iraq this political thriller is the second political thriller after The Ghost Writer from last year, and the second best too. that one was very thrilling in a stylish and off beat way. this is a solid documentary like plainly moving movie. this movie is based on real accounts so its a true story which always entertain you. direction of this movie is good but i expected slightly more. screenplay is engaging and very much engaging. there are slight problems in writing that effects the second half of the movie. art and other technical direction is fine. editing was ok. story is good. movie is overall good to watch. Naomi Watts is such a talented actress, she is very good in this movie, good and natural performance, same for Sean Penn, he was good too. acting wise good. Importand and unsettling subject matter handled in a mature, sophisticated way. Captivating drama, skillfully scripted, a compelling human drama and a engaging political thriller. see it.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Great role models
Parent of a 12 year old Written bymichael12123 October 9, 2015

The most boring movie EVER!

This movie is utter $hit! Don't bother watching it, If i could i would have give it a negative 99999 out of 100. It is soooo boring that me and my kid couldn't keep our eyes open! DONT BOTHER TO WATCH THIS ( RAP SOOO FU(KING BORING! BULL$HIT!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written byTheSuperman765 April 4, 2011

I rate this film ON for ages 12+

The good stuff * Messages: Although the movie makes it clear that Joseph Wilson is trying to do the right thing by telling the truth about the war in Iraq, instead of accomplishing something positive, he and his family lose their peace of mind and their well being. The United States government (circa 2002-2003) is portrayed as a formidable villain, and the characters are tempted to give up, but they keep fighting. Their victory is small compared to the price they've paid, but they at least meet the challenge. * Role models: Both Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame could be considered positive role models in their own ways. Wilson is shocked to hear that the government has lied to the American people and tries to help spread the truth, even at the cost of his wife's job and their family's well being. Plame is personally involved with one of her projects, trying to save the lives of a family in Iraq before the war starts. She's tempted to give up the fight, and her marriage suffers great tension, but both she and Wilson persevere against all odds. What to watch out for * Violence: Several tense arguments and shouting matches, and characters receive death threats. The entire story takes place on the verge of war, which adds an underlying tension to the film. Subsequently, viewers see a few attacks and explosions in the Middle East involving secondary characters. * Sex: A married couple kisses, and it's implied that they have sex. * Language: Language is fairly infrequent overall; "f--k" is used a couple of times, and "s--t" is heard a few times. Other words include "a--hole," "p---y," "a--hole," "d**n," "h**l," "oh my God," "c**p," and "godd**n." * Drinking, drugs, & smoking: Adults drink a bit too much (mostly beer and wine) at dinner parties. One character smokes cigars.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Great role models

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