Not Everyone Loves ‘A Mighty Heart’

Angelina Jolie in caramel-face. Photo: Courtesy of Paramount Vantage

An informal peer survey suggests that the moviegoing public is somewhat evenly divided on whether to catch Sicko or A Mighty Heart this weekend. More thoughts on Sicko to come, so for now, we consider the latter. Of A Mighty Heart, New York's own David Edelstein's says, "[Jolie] plays Mariane with a kind of brusque economy" and "tamps down her drama-queen instincts," but he concludes that the film ultimately lacks "an explanation point, something visceral to drive home the fate of Daniel Pearl." What do other critics have to say on the matter?

Rant: "A Mighty Heart is torn between being a gritty police procedural and the dramatic portrayal of a widow's anguish. What we are left with is a haphazard fusion of both stories that smacks of Hollywood self-gratification … it says surprisingly little and renders itself quickly forgettable … Watching Jolie take on the role of an Afro-Cuban woman by wearing a black frizzy wig and slathering herself in bronzer is distracting, bordering on grotesque … the result is a messy car wreck." —N.V. Cooper, Entertainment Weekly

Rave: "This is a smart and serious film, however much it may also function as a star vehicle … the immediacy of the setting, heightened by documentary techniques, makes this a chastening film, a portrait of the explosive new world in which we live … [the film's style] yields a sense of place that's as vivid as anything seen on TV news … menace is the essence of this shattering story, which has been told with skill and urgent conviction. A Mighty Heart makes the terms of the terrorist threat palpable." —Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

Related: Mariane’s Labyrinth [NYM]
Portraying Pearl: Dan Futterman [NYM]