Directed by Oliver Stone
A skin-deep biopic of our sitting president.
The title of Oliver Stone’s biopic about President George W. Bush invokes the nickname used by fans and detractors alike, said Manohla Dargis in The New York Times. But it equally could have stood for: “Why?” While W. can be “queasily enjoyable,” it offers “nothing new or insightful” about the president. Stone rushed to release the film before the election, and “it can’t help feeling like a prologue to a more involved story.” Stone stuffs his film with facts as he hopscotches back and forth between Bush’s younger years and his first term, said Richard Corliss in Time. But the film lacks a point of view and a narrative arc. W. “isn’t tragedy or farce; it’s illustrated journalism.” Stone’s other examinations of the American psyche and presidency, JFK and Nixon, weren’t just painstaking portraits but “ferocious retakes” of the nation’s history. W. could’ve been a “historically useful satire,” said Ann Hornaday in The Washington Post. That would require more perspective than Stone can currently provide. The American people are still in the midst of this movie.