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W.

3.2 out of 5 stars 646 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

W. takes viewers through Bush's eventful life -- his struggles and triumphs, how he found both his wife and his faith, and of course the critical days leading up to Bush's decision to invade Iraq.

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Oliver Stone’s W. is similar to his other movies about American presidents (JFK, Nixon), which is to say these films are much more about Stone’s imagined versions of reported events than they are alleged reenactments. As such, W. is Stone’s case for what he sees as the absurdity of George W. Bush’s ascendance to the White House and especially the arrogant blunder of the Iraq War. Josh Brolin is very good as the miscreant son of George H. W. Bush (James Cromwell), Vice President to Ronald Reagan and 41st president of the United States. Adrift in a sea of booze and squandered opportunities, the younger Bush is largely driven by a need for his disapproving father’s love and respect, which never truly arrives. Becoming a hatchet man for Bush Sr.’s administration, “W” (as his wife, Laura--played by Elizabeth Banks--call him) meets Karl Rove (Toby Jones) and heads toward the Texas governorship, despite his father’s preference that the more golden son, Jeb, get all the family’s support in his Florida gubernatorial bid.

Told in broken chronology, W. focuses on Bush’s post-9/11 path to waging a “preventive war” in Iraq despite no hard evidence of weapons of mass destruction to justify it. The major players in W’s administration--Rove, Colin Powell (Jeffrey Wright), Condoleeza Rice (Thandie Newton), and especially Dick Cheney (Richard Dreyfuss)--all participate in closed meetings that look and sound like every investigative account by the New York Times or Bob Woodward about the administration’s inner workings leading up to the war. Much of this is quite fascinating if a little weird (Newton’s performance is indeed strange), but the drama is often powerful, particularly around Powell’s resistance to the rising tide for a supposedly slam-dunk war. A number of the film’s key performances, besides Brolin’s, are very strong, especially Cromwell, Jones, Wright, Dreyfuss and Bruce McGill as George Tenet. --Tom Keogh

Beyond W. on DVD


Family of Secrets the book

W. the Soundtrack

W. the Original Motion Picture Score

Stills from W. (click for larger image)











Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Banks, Ioan Gruffudd, Colin Hanks, Toby Jones
  • Directors: Oliver Stone
  • Writers: Stanley Weiser
  • Producers: Albert Yeung, Bill Block, Christopher Mapp, David Whealy, Elliot Ferwerda
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Widescreen, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish, English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG-13
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: February 10, 2009
  • Run Time: 129 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (646 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001MVWFAO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,805 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "W." on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Reviewer Dr. Beth #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 20, 2008
Format: DVD
To be honest, I am a liberal who went to this movie expecting to see a funny parody of George W. Bush along the lines of a Michael Moore film. While I did laugh at times during the film, I left the movie feeling strangely sympathetic towards poor W. Stone plays it surprisingly straight, presenting Bush as the kid who had trouble finding his way as a grown-up. The main focus here is on Bush's relationship with his father, particularly his efforts to constantly try to please George the elder and falling short, especially when compared with his brother Jeb. Stone effectively weaves in flashblacks from Bush's college and early adult years with his first term as President. Some major events, including the 2000 election and September 11th, are given almost no attention, but again, that's not the main focus of the film.

The movie is superbly cast. Josh Brolin does an amazing job as W.; he manages to capture Bush's mannerisms in a portrayal that is uncannily accurate without becoming a caricature. Then there's James Cromwell, who looks and sounds nothing like George Bush senior but somehow manages to depict the former President perfectly just the same. Most of the other supporting roles are excellent as well, from Richard Dreyfuss as Cheney to Jeffrey Wright as Colin Powell; the one exception was Thandie Newton's Condoleezza Rice, who DID feel more like a caricature.

No matter which side of the aisle you find yourself on, this is an engrossing movie with the potential to appeal to many different types of people, and I definitely recommend it.
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good acting job but that was all. Even as a person who did not agree with his politics I thought it was completely unbalanced. There is no way he was that big of a moron. It was a smear job, not an honest portrayal.
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Format: DVD
Oliver Stone's "W." is one of the year's most absorbing films, and that's because, as the tagline suggests, it reveals that George W. Bush has been greatly misunderestimated. Watching this film, we see not the forty-third President of the United States, the former Governor of Texas, or even a politician in general. From my perspective, we're being told about an insecure man who reaches too far in an attempt to earn his father's approval. This movie is not a political commentary--it's a character study. Better still, it's a character study that's more or less historically accurate, with Stone and writer Stanley Weisner relying on published works and in-depth reports for the screenplay. Liberties were obviously taken; after all, there's no way anyone could know exactly what was said behind closed doors. But all the basic scenarios are well documented, which is to say that the film never once felt contrived. The end result is a compelling, complex, and occasionally funny examination of a person who always has something to prove.

Josh Brolin is perfectly cast as the title character, flawlessly capturing the mannerisms and diction we've become so familiar with over the last eight years. We see him as a determined but incompetent man who claws his way up to the presidency without the necessary skills. Pay close attention to scenes featuring W. in staff meetings; it quickly becomes clear that political heavyweights like Dick Cheney (Richard Dreyfuss), Karl Rove (Toby Jones), Condoleeza Rice (Thandie Newton), Colin Powell (Jeffrey Wright), and even the infuriated Donald Rumsfeld (Scott Glenn) are making all the important decisions. As for W., well, let us not forget that the real President Bush publicly declared that his faith in God influenced his foreign policy decisions.
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George W. surely lived in the shadow of his great father, but made his own way politically against all odds as a swaggering "everyman" Texan. His rise from alcoholism to the presidency is surely a story worth researching and telling. This movie tells an aspect of his story that is thought-provoking and entertaining, a caricature of W. that lacks depth and insight into the former president's drive and character.
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I appreciated the thoughtful insight into the father-son conflict, and George W.'s feelings of inadequacy as a result. This aspect of the movie was very well done. The movie explores the reason(s) why George W. was the complete polar-opposite of his father and why he was so doggedly resolved in the mindset of "my way or the highway." During the movie, I actually felt sorry for him. Later, I read a piece about the vicious sibling rivalry between George W. and Jeb. The lack of affection and affirmation by George Sr. helped to create a insecure bully and an insecure President. What a sad, historic tale. Thandie Newton acts like a cartoon character, but everyone else is spot-on. Josh Brolin is amazing, especially in capturing the emotions of yearning for approval and disappointment.
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Die hard G W Bush fans probably won't like this film as much as non Bush fans. It seems to paint a believable portrait of the formative years that he went through. All the drinking and hell raising didn't sit well with his father who always favored Jeb to be the future President. But, G W was a lot more likable than Jeb and after he met Laura and quit drinking his rise to power was on the fast track. The movie really shows how much influence Karl Rove and Dick Cheney had with the President. The backroom politics that Rove and Cheney maneuvered to give Bush a reason to invade Iraq was dealt with fairly and also how his father was against it. Bush the elder explained why he didn't invade Iraq after kicking them out of Kuwait. His son should have listened. This movie doesn't deal with other aspects of the Bush presidency like the Great Recession and what caused it.
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