Parents' Guide to

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Compelling but uneven dramedy has swearing, drinking, more.

Movie R 2016 111 minutes
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 6 parent reviews

age 2+

age 17+

Iffy for 17+

True story about a journalist who is in Afghanistan

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (6 ):
Kids say (5 ):

It's by no means perfect, but in some ways, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot goes further than other films in communicating what the war correspondent experience really is like. It doesn't just reveal the highs -- the journalistic scoops, the adrenaline-spiking wins -- it also frankly deals with the some of the lows, primarily the chaos and dislocation that both soldiers and the media encounter when dropped into embattled countries like Afghanistan. But here's where the film taps out: capturing what happens when they're settled in, so to speak. Though it does show the characters slowly normalizing what's a decidedly not-normal existence, it would seem -- at least based on what we see here -- that the usual way anyone copes in such circumstances is through drinking, drugs, and casual sex. No doubt that's likely accurate, but there's an inordinate focus on that stuff (even though the film takes great pains to impart the fact that such extracurriculars don't really work that well, or for long) when larger questions loom: How do journalists' expectations and approach to their work shift when they witness the day-to-day existence of the citizens in the country they cover? How do they maintain ties back home? Can they?

Also problematic, though not enough for it to entirely detract from the film's strengths, is the tone. The yearning to keep things light when making a movie about a subject so dark is understandable. But Whiskey tries too hard to do so, giving it a more-dangerous-and-with-bigger-stakes Eat Pray Love vibe that it doesn't deserve. Fey is winning, displaying a burgeoning ability to balance both pathos and comedy, but treading that line isn't always successful, and the movie's humor chips away at some of the potency of the more serious moments. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is worth a watch, but it could have been more of a contender.

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