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Fair Game

Biography . Thriller . Drama

Wife and mother Valerie Plame (Naomi Watts) has a double life as a CIA operative, hiding her vocation from family and friends. Her husband, Joseph Wilson (Sean Penn), writes a controversial article in The New York Times, refuting stories about the sale of enriched uranium to Iraq, Then Valerie's secret work and identity is leaked to the press. With her cover blown and other people endangered, Valerie's career and personal life begin to unravel.

Actors: Vanessa Chong , Sonya Davison , Tom McCarthy , Rebecca Rigg , Norbert Leo Butz , Jessica Hecht , Anand Tiwari , Bruce McGill , Brooke Smith , Ty Burrell , Sean Penn , Naomi Watts
Directors: Doug Liman
Release: 2010-12-03
More Info:
  • Nathan Rabin

    It's ultimately a tale of heroism in the face of fearsome, powerful opposition, but as stubborn pride masquerading as ideological purity proves Wilson's Achilles heel, the film's heroes reveal themselves as flawed to an almost fatal extent, and messily, fascinatingly human.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • A.O. Scott

    Things worked out between Joe and Valerie, and for their real-life models, who are now the subjects of a terrifically entertaining movie. But that does not mean that justice was done, or that truth prevailed.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Joe Williams

    For a nation at war with its own values, Fair Game is a compelling, pertinent and scrupulously true political thriller in the honorable tradition of "All the President's Men."

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Owen Gleiberman

    Fair Game gets you riled up all over again at a deeply unpatriotic abuse of power.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Elizabeth Weitzman

    Though based on a true story with a well-known outcome, Doug Liman's Fair Game is as suspenseful as any fictional thriller -- and considerably more tragic.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • J.R. Jones

    Doug Liman's Fair Game is a model exercise in dramatizing recent political scandal, and easily the best fact-based Hollywood political thriller since "All the President's Men."

    Chicago Reader Full Review
  • Kirk Honeycutt

    Liman outfits the film with spy-thriller packaging worthy of his "The Bourne Identity," so the film probably will attract above-average coin and possibly awards attention.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    Exposed, abandoned, branded as traitors, the Wilsons finally have no choice but to tell their story, the latest chapter of which is this potent Hollywood melodrama.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Pete Hammond

    With first-rate performances from Sean Penn and Naomi Watts and a compelling script, this suspenseful, taut drama should keep audiences nailed to their seats.

    Boxoffice Magazine Full Review
  • Mike Scott

    The result is a movie that is about as riveting as -- well, as your average Robert Novak column.

    New Orleans Times-Picayune Full Review
  • Ann Hornaday

    The kind of taut, serious adult drama Hollywood rarely produces anymore. Quality-starved audiences should flock to it, if only to ensure that more of them get made.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Roger Moore

    As spy thrillers go, more chilling than thrilling. But that's what makes it easy to relate to.

    Orlando Sentinel Full Review
  • Steve Persall

    Liman handles the spy stuff with Bourne-again flair, especially the opener when Valerie proves her mettle during an assignment to secure a snitch.

    Tampa Bay Times Full Review
  • Claudia Puig

    More admirable than riveting, Fair Game works best as a portrait of power games at the highest levels.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Michelle Orange

    Physically Watts is of course a decent match for the even more aggressively glamorous Plame; in spirit, it would seem, they are even closer. In the field Plame was first and foremost an actress, a pretender whose belief in her pretending was often of mortal consequence.

    Movieline Full Review
  • Liam Lacey

    The more compelling performance comes from Watts as Valerie.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    Watts is the movie's soul, thoughtful and deep-revolving.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    Watts gives a deep and Oscar-worthy performance here, displaying the steely composure that made Plame a valued NOC (non-official cover operative).

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    Liman's sensibility isn't sophisticated enough to tease out the nuances of what must be a pretty interesting marriage; the movie is more about texture and surfaces and surface tensions.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Roger Ebert

    What's effective is how matter-of-fact Fair Game is. This isn't a lathering, angry attack picture.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Rex Reed

    Fair Game is an important exposé of corrupt political power gone toxic. It's good enough that it deserves to be better.

    New York Observer Full Review
  • Kenneth Turan

    It seems to be doing everything right but still doesn't manage to leave you with a completely satisfied feeling.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    It's more than enough that the Wilsons were punished and pilloried for telling the truth. We don't need to see them sanctified by righteousness.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Marc Savlov

    Still, this is recent and public history, and Fair Game, which both fascinates and infuriates, comes across as little more than a footnote in an ever-lengthening list (thanks, Wikileaks!) of the Bush White House's sordid, potentially treasonous actions leading up to and beyond the invasion of Iraq.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    Spends too much time covering ground well known from the headlines. But the scenes of the couple at home with their children and friends are uniquely fascinating, if not, in Wilson's words, "very 007-ish."

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Kim Newman

    In the filmography of liberal-skewing, Bush-era true stories, this is a measured, persuasive item.

    Empire Full Review
  • David Fear

    Then Plame's cover gets blown, and so does the film's; suddenly, the clunky melodrama that had been lurking in the shadows starts hogging the spotlight.

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • Shawn Levy

    Fair Game, a murky potboiler based on memoirs by both Plame and Wilson, makes a hash of these piquant ingredients.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Randy Cordova

    An emotionally inert film that never pulls viewers into the spiraling web of deceit that the couple face.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Kyle Smith

    Fair Game stars three imposing performers -- Naomi Watts, Sean Penn and Sean Penn's lavish and intemperate hair, a fuming gusher of crazy-ass Sweeney Todd locks that dominates every scene. I couldn't tear my eyes from it, maybe because I couldn't maintain focus on anything else in this histrionic and shamelessly misleading wonk-work.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    Most of the scenes depicting the couple's domestic life are borderline-banal, and they miniaturize the political drama that plays out partly in public, partly in the shadows but almost always in a middle distance just beyond emotional reach.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    Fair Game takes one of the more shameful sub-chapters in modern US politics - and turns it into a strident, condescending Hollywood melodrama.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Nick Pinkerton

    Penn's lachrymosity and hotheaded indignity seem cartooned against Watts's contained conviction-though more incongruous couples have certainly existed-but the film's assertion of Plame and Wilson as real people rather than characters consists mostly of draining them of anything compelling.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Justin Chang

    Fair Game serves up impeccable politics with a bit too much righteous outrage and not quite enough solid drama.

    Variety Full Review
  • David Denby

    An effective political melodrama that induces a peculiar emotion--the bitterness generated by an old anger that has faded into dull exasperation and now flares up again. [8 Nov. 2010, p.92]

    The New Yorker Full Review
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