Box art for State of Play

State of Play

  • Rated PG13


Academy Award®-winner Russell Crowe leads an all-star cast including Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams and Helen Mirren in the blistering thriller about deception, manipulation and corruption.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 14
2 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Mature, well-acted thriller mixes violence and politics.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this Russell Crowe/Ben Affleck thriller is a mix of violence, political intrigue, and sexual innuendo -- all mature themes that are unlikely to appeal to young viewers. Characters steal, drink, smoke, and lie to the point where it's unclear who's the victim and who's the victimizer. There's some strong language (including a couple exclamations of "f--k"), drinking, and smoking as well. Sexuality is more discussed (including conversations about adultery and three-ways) than shown, except for some flirting between a couple of characters.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the movie's message about the relationship between the media and politics. Do you think real-life politicians try to deceive the press -- and that real life reporters pretend and sometimes outright lie to get a scoop?
  • Teens: Do you and your friends rely more on the Internet than on print for news? Do you think newspapers are a sinking ship (as depicted in the movie)?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 2
    see all State of Play reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: It's like a time bomb that's never dismantled but never explodes. The movie is good enough that the ending leaves you ... not angry, exactly. Unfulfilled.

- David Edelstein, New York Magazine, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fresh: It's the kind of slick showstopper that's packed with enough twists, turns and deadly tension to lead the news any day of the week.

- Shannon J. Harvey, Sunday Times (Australia), Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

4 stars

This film single handedly revives the genre of the political journalistic thriller, which was so popular in the 70s. What makes it such a pleasure to watch are the outstanding performances, especially by Crowe, Bateman, Mirren and, yes, even Ben Affleck and the very smart script that needs an observant audience but is very rewarding in the end. The level of excitement stays high throughout the whole film as the plot thickens and the constant threat gets bigger, just like the genre requires, yet the grim humor doesn't feel out of place. The result is a praise to the profession of the journalist and a highly entertaining, intelligent piece of film. People who found the blockbusters of the 2009 summer lacking in substance should be pleased.

- ironclad1609, Tuesday, August 31, 2010

3 stars

As a fan of the original BBC TV series I was expecting bad things from this and was pleasantly surprised. Of course, you can't turn a six part series into a two hour movie without sacrificing a measure of complexity, though, on the whole, Kevin MacDonald and his writers do a good job of streamlining the plot. I would even go so far as to say that the film version benefits from the removal of a couple of decidedly fishy red herrings that didn't stand up to retrospective scrutiny. For those who may not know, Brad Pitt was originally attached to the project but dropped out in pre-production when he failed to see eye to eye with MacDonald. Was he right to do so? Well, yeah, probably, because the film is merely good when it could and should have been great, though I don't believe his departure hurt the film artistically, even if it did so financially. Judging the quality of his performance by the fact that I missed John Simm (the original Cal McAffrey) far less than I expected to, Russell Crowe, Pitt's eleventh hour replacement, was fine. Ben Affleck, however, was no substitute for Paul Morrissey, though in fairness to him, his Stephen Collins, Congressman, is massively underwritten here compared to Morrissey's Stephen Collins, MP. Which brings me on to another point: for a film in which time is so obviously tight and simplification is the order of the day, why is MacDonald so keen to introduce a tangential rolling discourse on the future of print journalism versus online blogging? At such awkward moments, it's like watching a talented cast twiddling their thumbs while an ex-journo has a wank.

- harrycaul, Wednesday, August 18, 2010

3 stars

it was good but not anything amzing. B-

- bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb1, Thursday, July 29, 2010