Box art for Fair Game

Fair Game

drama, thrillers

From the director of The Bourne Identity comes this riveting thriller inspired by the experiences of real-life CIA officer Valerie Plame (Academy Award nominee Naomi Watts).

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 14
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
2 out of 5
3 out of 5
1 out of 5
2 out of 5
Positive messages
1 out of 5
Positive role models
2 out of 5

Tense Valerie Plame story mixes drama, politics.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this engaging, suspenseful political drama -- which is based on the true story of former covert CIA operative Valerie Plame, whose identity was compromised in the press, and her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson -- portrays the U.S. government as a formidable villain that tries to suppress the truth. Expect some strong language (including "f--k" and "s--t"), lots of yelling and verbal fighting, and some war footage. Characters also drink and smoke cigars. It likely won't appeal to most kids, but politically-aware teens may appreciate the movie's eye-opening look at recent U.S. history.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the movie's tension and moments of violence. How did it affect you? How did the movie accomplish this?
  • How does this real-life story work as a movie? Do you think filmmakers changed any facts to make the movie? Why might they choose to do that?
  • Did Wilson do the right thing by writing the article and attempting to tell the truth? What would have happened if he had done nothing?
  • Would you say that Wilson and Plame are heroes or traitors? Or something in-between? Why?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 23
    see all Fair Game reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: 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.

- A.O. Scott, New York Times, Friday, November 5, 2010

Fresh: A crackling political thriller that deftly navigates the knife edge between all-too-familiar recent history and more universal personal drama.

- Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, Friday, November 5, 2010

Fresh: What the filmmakers do capture brilliantly is the human cost of espionage and political gamesmanship.

- Christopher Kelly, Dallas Morning News, Thursday, November 4, 2010

Audience Reviews

3 stars

Doug Liman who gave us the fantastic Bourne Identity and one of the most enjoyable superhero-films ever made with Jumper has made one of his best films to date with true life based Fair Game. This is a film which lands it's hooks to audience immediatly from it's opening scenes. Liman's direction is very tight here and his way to use camera is equally impressive and innovative. He cleverly mixes real documentary footage into a filmed scenes and the result is riveting. This is politically charged filmmaking at it's most powerful. There are few directors in this world who can create tension like Liman does. Here he even turn conversations exciting and nail biting experience to watch. Not only he is capable to entertain viewer but he is equally talented to bring the best from his actors and crew. Naomi Watts has never been better than she is here as a Valerie Plame. Sean Penn is equally good in a role that demands very much from him. His Joe Wilson is man in a need of telling the truth and earning the justice. As these characters both get tangled more and more deeper in a complex web of deception and threat the whole film just get more and more exciting to watch. Fair Game is easily one of the finest political thrillers that has been made. It becomes a also a drama about two people in a serious pressure and serves a well nuanced story about humans on the edge of their personal breaking point. Where Liman's Bourne Identity and Jumper were both films more about physical action, Fair Game is film where action and tension is created by words and atmosphere. This all comes to me as a very welcome surprise and something that we are not used to see that often anymore in a filmmaking anymore. I must also mention some of the fantastic technical virtues of this great film. First of all it was not only directed and produced by Liman himself, but also photographed too and he does balanced work in all of those fields. His sense of urgency and the constant hectic feel pushes it's way through from his images. He truly seems to understand his characters and the situation they are going through here. I also need to mention the career best score by talented composer John Powell which adds tension and complexity into this film more than i can express with my words. It is truly a Powell's finest hour yet. Fair Game is a important and poignant film with authentic feel and a further proof of Doug Liman's mastery as an filmmaker. There are minor flaws at times in this film's pacing and Sean Penn's cliched, supposed to be uplifting, speech in the end feels totally unnecessary and even a bit corny. Still Fair Game manages to glue us into our seats with it's twisty and suspenseful story.

- emilkakko, Saturday, October 6, 2012

4 stars

I am NOT a political movie fan. However, this movie was extremely interesting. This would have been a fantastic movie even if it was fiction. But, what made this story frightening is that it was true. I remember the 2003 pre-Iraq invasion media blitz to bolster public support for the war. The real-life characters in this film, heroes, dared to speak the truth about the Iraq situation in an environment of blind frenzy disguised as patriotism. The tragic story of Joe and Valerie Wilson is amazing. The movie does a fantastic job of telling their story, and showing the emotional distress, that this moment of national shame caused the Wilsons. I only wish that I could have rewritten the that Karl Rove and Scooter Libby were sent to jail for life for treason!

- itsjustme2004, Tuesday, June 5, 2012

4 stars

A fantastic political thriller type film that features great performances from Naomi Watts and Sean Penn, but it moves a little too slowly in parts, and gives no real depth to the characters. This film is brimming with anger, which is compelling, and the performances are brilliant which is what drives the film. Overall, Fair Game is an above average political thriller/biopic that deserved more attention.

- fb701560354, Monday, January 9, 2012