Although Tom Hanks (The DaVinci Code), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote) and Julia Roberts (Ocean’s Twelve) are accomplished actors, their presence in Charlie Wilson’s War wasn’t enough to erase my skepticism about the movie. Oh sure, with these three I knew it couldn’t be bad, but I wasn’t exactly sold on the subject matter. Seemed like there’d be ample opportunity for a case of heavy eyelids. I like being wrong sometimes. To state it simply, this movie was great. I have no shame in admitting that political movies sometimes leave me stupefied, but I was able to keep up with this one, LOL.
Directed by the acclaimed Mike Nichols (The Graduate, Closer) the film is set in 1980. In 1980 I was a year old, so there was no personal recollection of any events for me. A brief plot synopsis: Hanks is the title character, a congressman from TX who secretly becomes involved in helping the people of Afghanistan fight the Soviets after they invade their country. Julia Roberts plays Texas gal Joanne Herring, a salty southern belle and old friend of Charlie’s who wants him to take a stand. Up until this point Charlie’s main activities consist of cavorting with women and doing small favors for other congressmen. He’s a lovable hound, but now he has a chance to do something meaningful. And he does. Along with Gust Avrakatos (played by Hoffman), Charlie begins to outfit the Afghans with the weaponry they need to defend themselves. I feel like my description hasn’t done much to convince you to run out and catch this movie, but it was damn good. Funny, entertaining, and uniquely heartwarming. There was never a dull moment, actually. It is definitely worth checking out, and probably the best movie for Hanks and Roberts in quite a while.