Parents' Guide to

Nothing But the Truth

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Writer jailed protecting source; strong language, violence.

Movie R 2008 107 minutes
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Nothing But the Truth is an absorbing fictionalization of the true story of the outing of a covert CIA operative named Valerie Plame. Her husband, a former U.S. ambassador, was an outspoken critic of the Bush administration's claims that Iraq had obtained materials to make "weapons of mass destruction," a lie used to justify bringing down the Iraqi regime. Administration officials retaliated by illegally outing Plame to a journalist, thereby forcing her resignation. Fair Game, a 2010 movie, focused on Plame and her husband. This movie focuses on the plight of the journalist who wrote one of the news stories at the time.

Writer-director Rod Lurie blurs right and wrong, creating characters who are realistically flawed, and some downright self-serving and evil. He also adds a feminist angle, noting that women who take heroic stands are often denigrated for abdicating their roles as mothers in favor of upholding professional principles. For all the issues Lurie decided to address, he chose not to tackle the real story's worst detail -- that the government itself had leaked the name of a covert agent to get back at the agent's husband, but the reveal put her, and scores of covert CIA operatives she'd worked with around the world, at risk. The movie offers an ironic reveal of its own at the end about the identity of the source, which oddly almost undermines the entire political argument of the movie, but it makes for a good surprise.

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