Theater of War
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Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children is widely regarded as one of the most important plays of the 20th century and a powerful, punishing statement of protest against the grim folly of war. Brecht's drama is often staged in Europe, but it has rarely been given major productions in the United States; however, in 2006, with the ongoing war in Iraq occupying the minds of many in the United States, playwright Tony Kushner prepared a new English translation of Mother Courage and director George C. Wolfe persuaded Meryl Streep to return to the stage to play the lead in a… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 67%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Engrossing and timely, this crackles with ideas about art, politics, religion, and the terrible costs of war."
‑ Andrea Gronvall, Chicago Reader
"Theater of War, Walter's invigorating film, asserts the value of Brecht -- and the power of art -- for our troubled times."
‑ Wesley Morris, Boston Globe
"The delights were in seeing arguably America's greatest actress, Streep, going through the clunky process of rehearsing while telling us how she interpreted her role."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"A thought-provoking documentary about the life and work of Bertolt Brecht and the 2006 Public Theatre's presentation of Mother Courage and Her Children"
‑ Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
"If you can't define "Brechtian," this documentary, ostensibly about the Public Theater's production of Mother Courage and Her Children, may elude you, yet the all-too-brief glimpses of Meryl Streep finding meaning in the play may make it all worthw"
‑ Maria Garcia, Film Journal International
"For theater lovers in general, this documentary -- a look at a high-powered production of a modern classic and a chance to watch Meryl Streep build a character -- is intriguing and educational. For partisans of Bertolt Brecht, it's mandatory."
‑ Walter V. Addiego, San Francisco Chronicle
"As a onetime dramaturg and Brechtian, I enjoyed the chin-wags and the glimpses of Streep in rehearsal -- especially her quivering admission that she can't bear the thought of anyone seeing her process."
‑ David Edelstein, New York Magazine
"Mildly engaging with brief moments of insight, but it's mostly a missed opportunity to dig deeper into the play's sociopolitical relevance to the world of today"
‑ Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru
"Meryl Streep is absolutely the least interesting thing about this inventive doc that takes an unprecedented look at the staging of a high-profile theater production."
‑ Edward Douglas, ComingSoon.net
"All of this makes an interesting, if not gripping, film about the play, the playwright and the lead-up work to a stage production. It also leaves me wanting a great deal more."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Theater of War, while informative, feels more like a trailer for Mother Courage than a film of its own."
‑ V.A. Musetto, New York Post
"Though Theater Of War is informative -- both about Brecht and about the effort it takes to mount a big New York production -- Walter overreaches in trying to connect Brecht's anti-war sentiment with contemporary protest movements."
‑ Noel Murray, AV Club
"Neither Meryl Streep's as-yet-unpolished performance nor the entire construction of this particular production of Bertolt Brecht's celebrated play are done much favor by this doc's unedifying attempt to shoot the moon."
‑ Eric Henderson, Slant Magazine
More reviews for Theater of War on Rotten Tomatoes